Keeping Abreast of Technology

  oresome 21:15 28 Feb 2007

Another thread on TV licence payment methods prompted me to consider this.

We are of various ages contributing to this forum, but how confident are you that you will still be able to keep up with the technology of the day in say your late seventies and eighties in order to conduct your affairs via the web or whatever replaces it?

We seem to be getting ever more reliant on the computer for a number of lifes necessities and I for one couldn't imagine being without it, but I don't relish the thoughts of getting to grips with a new operating system and transfering my files across at that time of life?

Perhaps I need a fallback plan to tranfer everything to over the counter transactions?

Apologies to those who have already achieved that age and are coping admirably, no offence intended. Perhaps you could share your experience.

  Kate B 21:18 28 Feb 2007

I have no idea - I think it's pointless to fret about it. If you can cope now I guess you should work on the principle that barring disaster you'll be able to cope then. But I think there are more important things to worry about.

  Jak_1 21:19 28 Feb 2007

Direct debit solves most problems and easy to setup.

  terryf 21:24 28 Feb 2007

I am 74 and after 44 years in computing can just about manage, in fact I work as a computer volunteer for Age Concern and help over 55's with their problems, some are ladies who have recently been widowed and have been landed with a computer system that 'he' dealt with. Another person felt he was being dis-enfranchised if he didn't know about computers because 'everyone' talks about looking on their website for info. Most people have no problems after a bit of patient tuition but the general consensus is that it no good being shown 'how' by the younger generation. They are clever but a quick flash on the keyboard as a demo is no substitute for proper tuition. I also took a course in adult education which helps me to help others.

  Bingalau 22:23 28 Feb 2007

I am now 77 all bar a couple of days, I bought a computer out of the blue about four years ago,to see if I could work the damn thing (Failed miserably). I went to beginners classes in night school and once I got the basics, and realised it wasn't going to blow up in my face, I went to more night school classes and learned the rudiments of Photoshop. From then on my wife knew where I was every minute of the day. It was either the golf course, the gym or on that blinking computer. I think when you youngsters get older there will be new gadgets out, computers will be old hat. You will no longer be worried about road congestion because you will all have your own personal flying machines. Gadgets galore will be yours. I only wish I could share and enjoy the future with you.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 22:33 28 Feb 2007

To be honest if you get to the stage where you cannot sort out a direct debit online yourself or with help this will be the least of your problems.


  oresome 22:47 28 Feb 2007

I think that's a too dismissive GANDALF <|:-)>.

My experience of many people some 15 years older than myself in their seventies is that computers are a no no for them. Perfectly able people, but the technology came along too late in their lives for them to have the confidence to learn and use.

So who's to say that in another 15 years, I won't be in the same situation with the prevailing technology?

  Kate B 23:02 28 Feb 2007

you won't be in that position, oresome, because you're open to technology and you know what it can do for you. My grandmother would love email but she simply doesn't want to know - because she's never had to deal with technology.

My first brush with computers was at school with a machine that ran Basic, tucked away in a freezing computer room at the top of my draughty Yorkshire convent. I wasn't terribly interested in that but I had been around computers all through my childhood, since the 1970s, as my dad was an IBMer and used to bring them home to play with. In the late 70s he had an Apple II that he programmed and I first started using computers as work tools in the early 80s. My point is that computers have changed immensely since then and I've taken the changes pretty much in my stride.

In the early and mid 80s I was a bit of a whizz on the terminals connected to the then BBC current affairs mainframe; then I was a bit of a whizz laying out pages using Adobe Pagemaker on one of those little Mac Classics click here ; then I was pretty nifty at handcoding and using the rather arcane editorial system at the FT. I had my first PC running Windows for Workgroups in about 1992 - all very different and I was always interested in them, getting the most out of them.

My biggest challenge recently has been a course on InDesign which was pretty intense - but I've never yet been defeated by any software and I imagine I'll always feel the same. I think many people here, regardless of age, are the same.

  Forum Editor 23:17 28 Feb 2007

to deal with a computer as you get older depends to a large extent on what kind of mind you have, and this is something over which you have little control.

I have tutored people in their 70's who had little difficulty in getting to grips with the basics, and on several occasions I have been driven close to the edge of sanity by people in their 30's who just couldn't seem to grasp what I was talking about. It's a question of the way you think, and some people just don't function in that way. If I was to generalise I would say the easiest group to teach - and I've said this several times before - are women in their twenties.

My worst pupil ever was an 86 year old man who decided he wanted to learn how to stay in contact with the manager of his South African farms via email from London. He bought an expensive Sony laptop, and so started weeks of agony for both of us. After nearly two months, visiting him twice a week, I had still not managed to get him to the state where he could write and send an email. Each time I visited I noticed that the machine was running, and one day I told is wife (85) how impressed I was that he was practising in my absence. "He's not" she said. "Don't tell him I told you, but he doesn't know how to turn the computer off, so he leaves it running constantly".

He was a lovely man, and had a wealth of stories about how he had single-handedly built his business until he was one of the biggest farmers in the country. Sadly he died shortly after our course of tuition, still not able to send an email.

Not everyone wants to be online, or to pay for things that way, and I hope our society doesn't reach the stage where such people feel totally alienated.

  Kate B 23:21 28 Feb 2007

I had some success teaching a man in his 70s how to use a laptop to write his reviews in Word and send them as attachments via Outlook to us - he is a leading dance critic that I worked with for a few years. Not technically minded at all but although he wasn't keen on using the computer he was determined to crack it because he knew he had to.

He wasn't an easy pupil at all but we did crack it. He'll never be interested in 99 per cent of the things his laptop can do and I still occasionally hear from him if he runs into trouble, but it's very rare these days and I feel quite proud of teaching an old and slightly obstinate dog a new trick he had to learn but didn't really want to.

  Jim Thing 23:22 28 Feb 2007

"Apologies to those who have already achieved that age and are coping admirably, no offence intended. Perhaps you could share your experience."

I live in a sheltered apartment complex reserved for wrinkled persons (I'm almost 78). My neighbours include several people who are well into their 80s, but who manage to keep their PCs and laptops in working order with a little help from time to time.

I confess I'm finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with the pace of development, but my main problem is a frustrating failure to remember what I did to solve a problem that I know I've solved before for someone else.

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