My mother is getting technical

While my mother was here, I was planning to dedicate some time to fight her computer illiteracy. As always, my bad planning and her sly (sneaky?) nature left us with about 40 minutes before her plane for all the teachings.

During those few minutes I only managed the bare minimum. Firstly, I installed Skype on her computer, registered her and configured her account, and made it to autostart in Online mode all the time. I gave her a brief lecture on what it is and how to use it (just the chatting part, no VoIP). Then we moved on to GMail. She had an account there for a long time, but never used it. I just showed her how to read messages, reply to messages, and compose new ones, and our time was up. No filtering, no labels, no archives.

While I was talking, she was mostly writing. With a pan on a piece of paper. She wrote almost a full page, re-drawing the icons and putting arrows all over the place. Too bad. When I came back from the airport, I noticed this piece of paper on my living room table, exactly where she left it.

After all these, imagine how surprised and proud I am to find my mother logged in to Skype every day for hours. She is chatting with me, participating in the conferences, and doing a terrific job. She also figured out the whole GMail thing. Probably not with labels and filters yet, but she does send emails. She even figured out the attachments, which I didn’t even explain to her.

I know that user interfaces are getting more intuitive with each year, but I still have to say – Ma, I’m proud of ya! Ya doing great!

6 thoughts on “My mother is getting technical”

  1. Wow, that’s great indeed, but what amuses me more is the way you guys whatch us crawling around net, making our slight progress – like loving parents watching their kids awkwardly climbing a sea-saw. Hey, we are not do bad after all and it’s reaaly good that you feel proud of your Mum.

  2. hey conventional computers are terribly unintuitive and awkward – we’ve just ended up adapting to them. just look at the history of the qwerty keyboard for example, it was designed to slow down people! and now we have speedtypists!

    I don’t blame anyone comp-illiterate to be apprehensive about it, but its really cool the way your mom got hte hang of it so fast! :mrgreen:

    My mom got started through computer games… just solitaire and that kind of thing. Games usually remove the initial apprehension :) after that we have to quarrel to get hold of the PC!

  3. Hey Sanjay,

    Yeah, games help on the first stages. The Internet, in all its forms and shapes, helps to continue the process.

    Communication channels (email, Skype) provided for extra enthusiasm for my mom. :)

  4. Hi there, we seems sharing the same boat with our mom’s! My mother started hitting the keys with her favorate solitaire too and when i came here in Florida she has to learn to use messengers and e-mails to communicate with me in fast paced. Now, she seemed at home to it and doing well.

    I’m trying to have them download skype too for a free talk, than calling from a phone and billed big time, you know. Anyhow, i’m glad to know your mom is doing well, I know how proud she is having you as a son. Give my best to her.

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