Another perplexing computer tale for seniors

Computers, ack!

I want to say that technology doesn’t come easy to older folks but the truth is that we want to use them without investing the time to understand them. Don’t change things and make us learn new stuff. And so the story starts.

Back in May I thought it would be nice to write my blog posts in the screened porch. I could admire the pond and the back yard. Be one with nature and productive too.

I have a desk top computer. I would need to buy something portable. Something bigger than my Kindle and smaller than my old laptop which was very heavy. I procrastinated for months. I would check the ads and gag on the prices. Then there were the features. Do I need 1T? Do I know what it is?

Finally I sought some advice and was able to focus on what was important. Since I wouldn’t play fancy games or stream movies, what I needed was simple (and hopefully cheap).

I ordered on-line because I was too lazy to go to the store. The computer looked like it had everything I needed and then some.

It came the next day. I opened the package, lifted it and said, “$%#@@ (that’s a bad word), this sucker is too big and heavy!”

I should have known better but I was comparing it to my cats. Mollie is 7 lbs. and light as a feather. This sucker was under 5 pounds and I swear the mafia used it to sink bodies in the ocean. How can this be?

I took it back the next day.

In the meantime I went on-line and read stuff that I didn’t want to read (cruising shoe websites is my preferred reading).

You have to love Amazon reviews. One loves it and one hates it. Then there are the 1,000 word techie reviews and you’re not exactly sure what they said. People are comedians and make you gag with their comments. (It took a margarita to get me through!)

You can’t play the age card with the prepubescent staff either. Asking for a suggestion on what is easy for a senior gives you a funny look. I interpret the look to mean the person has a grandmother who plays bingo in the church basement and wouldn’t consider a computer or they have a grandmother with a smart watch who texts at the table. I don’t know which.

For the size and weight I wanted, I could either get a cheap google Chromebook (way under $200 – ding, ding, ding) or pay more and get a windows baby laptop that people complained was slow. (Slow is relative. How does it relate to my situation? How slow is slow? Download a doc in less time than a cat barfs? Slower than nail polish drying?)

I selected the Chromebook and went to a “real” store. The beloved husband (at my insistence) came along for support. He was as helpful as a tit on a bull but I valued his encouragement.

The weight was good (still, 2.6 lbs. of technology is heavier than 2.6 lbs. of potatoes, how is that?). Keyboard was ok. I have small hands and don’t need a numerical keypad.

I have to learn the Google system. I can manage my Kindle Fire so I am hoping for the best. I have 14 days to return it.

If I only have one return, I will consider it a success! Ding, ding, ding!

Question for readers: Too much time on the computer gives me eye fatigue. I can’t dim my (Dell all-in-one desktop) monitor. I’ve tried several times and despite having a brightness button, pressing it doesn’t change anything. Does anyone have experience with a blue light blocking screen?

 

 

98 thoughts on “Another perplexing computer tale for seniors

  1. I have blue shade scheduled to turn on at a specific time every day on my kindle. I’ve never thought to dim my computer screen. I’ll have to dig around to see if it’s doable. I post most of my WP post from my iPhone app. That way I can write them while H thinks we need to be on the road or out and about! I have to have my computer for writing my books though. You are right about how some of those laptops seem heavier than what they say.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Computers Part Deux or Trois or I’m a Princess | Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

  3. Pingback: Random 5 for August 20 – Computers, aging, commenters, trips, seasons | Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

  4. So glad you found something. It can be so confusing. I have had my share of computers and finally have settled on my HP Envy – love it….and for a lighter laptop to use outside also I have my Microsoft Surface….love it too. Use it mostly for my business – it even came in a beautiful case to protect it. Now all I have to do is keep the grandkids away from them! I also get eye strain but just put wetting drops in my eyes and get off the computer for a while….of course reading my Kindle also bothers me…..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We’re an Apple family here. I refuse to be drawn into the confusion that surrounds all the other brands, having learned early on [at a high financial and emotional price] that an iMac’s simplicity is for me. I admire anyone who can wrestle with other brands and come out the victor. You go girl!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just posted using it. What a freakin’ ta-do! Part was the computer and it’s stupid omission of a simple delete key. The other is that I post in WP the “old” way so I had to cope with the new format. Couldn’t figure out how to schedule it but it didn’t matter for this one. After I sent it, I immediately went on my “real” computer to see it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I do think you’re absolutely accurate when you reference that seniors don’t take the time to learn new systems. I tend to be patient with computer learning because it truly fascinates me. But my friends struggle much more because they get frustrated too quickly. One thing I do regularly, is Google every single problem that I encounter. I find that other people’s experiences really inform me and act as a tutorial. I hope you have excellent success with your new computer!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am better than most. When I worked we had different systems to learn. I started with Windows 95 and left when they had Windows 7. I google just about everything. I don’t know what we did when we didn’t have that.

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  7. Like you we had great always evolving computers at work ( and they were sometimes so much work, when I cam e home I wanted simple and mindless so I bought an Apple. Our business computers are still MS – despite the agony of updating them and ourselves when required.
    For me, nothing is as good as actually holding and trying out a computer in a store before buying…then I price shop on line. Hope yours gets trained and you get it settled in.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Searching for reviews and/advice in anything in he tech world is difficult because things change so quickly and what you’re reading may be out of date and unfortunately some articles aren’t dated.
    I’ve used apple products for over ten years but I wanteda laptop for the same thing you’re using it for…to work or write on the screened in porch. so I took a Lenovo I had from my old job that was a few years old, brought it to Best Buy, had them wipe it clean and install a new hard drive and operating system. It’s great and serves the purpose though it is heavier then the newer laptops. The problem is I have to learn how to use a PC all over again after a decade of Apple.
    And so it goes…:)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nothing is easy but this sounds like a less expensive way to go. I have an old laptop (it’s a very shiny red) but the battery is dead (new battery is way over $100). It would need an OS update and at the end of the day, it’s heavy. I rarely used it new. I just wanted something bigger than my Kindle and with a keyboard. It’s getting better. I need to invest the time in it. Still getting used to the keyboard.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. New technology doesn’t bring out the best in me either Kate. Hang in there, and hope the Microsoft fairy does its magic. 💛
    When I was working, it was all PC’s. 3 years ago and took the plunge and embraced Apple. Nothing has gone wrong! … although it did take me a couple of months to get comfortable and trust it to do what it needs to do without my interjection. There’s a letting go of control needed that’s for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I had the same problem with screen brightness. I heard there were special computer glasses one could wear, but never found any in a store. And then one day, I discovered that by simply tipping my laptop screen farther back at a larger angle, both the brightness and clarity changed for the better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My problem is both the screen brightness with glare and the overhead lighting. One commenter was able to help me fix the glitch with the screen brightness so it’s much better. I should think about changing the overhead track lighting we have.

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  11. I’ve got blue light blocking on my current (new) monitor but it’s appalling (bright yellow!) and I really wouldn’t recommend it. Instead, may I suggest that you right click on the desktop and see if the menu offers you graphics settings? (For instance, Intel Graphics Settings). If you go into that then you can lower the brightness from the settings rather than using your monitor. And I sympathise – I’m using a new desktop and monitor and had a heck of a time trying to find all the different settings and getting things as I want them. I need the brightness up for my work, and down all the rest of the time and it was a total pain! (I also use a Dell, but not an all in one).

    Liked by 1 person

    • The settings weren’t working to dim the monitor nor were the buttons on the monitor but another commenter was able to work me through that. I’d still like to check out the clip-ons though. Thanks for the tip. My eyes are very sensitive and I spend too much time on the computer, especially now that I’m trying to figure out a new one.

      Liked by 1 person

                • I don’t really remember. No more than a year or two. I changed doctors because I didn’t know why I had so much trouble with my vision. On my first trip to the new doc, he said “You have to get your cataract taken out.” Fixed everything and the surgery is not a really big deal. They used to talk about it getting “ripe.” My doc said that it should be taken care of as soon as it poses an issue with vision. Waiting too long can cause the lens to thicken and it’s harder to get out. Every doc is different.

                  Liked by 1 person

                    • Definitely do it when it impacts your vision. For insurance coverage, it has to impact the vision. It’s not a big surgical procedure and the different in vision is extraordinary. At least it was for me. Now you can get lens inserts with your prescription that eliminate glasses.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • My dad had it done, he had implants and was astonished at how well he could see (more to the point his colour vision returned to normal. That’s the thing that I need to have intact. I dread when blues and lilacs will look yellowy-grey, don’t think I could cope with that even without my work.) I’m in the UK so our structure is different. I can’t really afford private work so it’d have to be NHS and while it’s ‘free’ (we pay for the NHS out of our taxes) they’re fussy, too.

                      Liked by 1 person

  12. I see that you’re having trouble with spending too much time on the computer. Sometimes I have that issue, especially if I haven’t been giving my eyes enough rest from the screen, so I would look into some gaming glasses. They have a slight yellow tint to them so it doesn’t hurt your eyes. The brand that I got mine from are Gunnars! They are a little pricey, but totally worth it xx

    Melina | http://www.ivefoundwaldo.com

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I recently purchased a Microsoft Surface Pro for just the reasons you wanted a small laptop. It’s ok, but I really expected to use it as a tablet at times, which I never do. I do love the touch function, though. I’m with you about learning new technologies… makes me want to adopt a grandchild with IT talent.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I looked at the Surface Pro but it was more $$ than I wanted to pay for writing blogs. I cart my Kindle Fire with me when I need to wait for appointments and that won’t change. The Surface Pro looked like a neat toy though. I miss the touch screen.

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  14. Learning a new computer is not easy. About every other week, I find something I didn’t know. I loved your descriptions of comparing the weight of things or length of time. What a hoot! You are amusing, even when you are frustrated. Wish I had that trait.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve watched a few of the youtube videos. There are so many amateur idiots there, it got tedious. I did find one guy who was great, 24 minutes of real stuff. A lot of my trouble stems from my impatience and I want to know one thing. Just figured out today how to more easily delete by keyboard (there’s no delete key). It’s a learning process.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. This post had me laughing at the title…before I had even read the content…which made me laugh even more. I do feel your pain. Like many of your other commenters, I am also a mac user…so I am sadly no help on the dimming question.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Sorry, I’m a Mac person all the way. Give me pictures that I understand. I do agree with you about having to re-learn things though because every time they come out with a new update, it takes me a while to find things. Have patience and fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I just got a new laptop a few weeks ago. It’s a new type of hard drive that my husband knows all about, but don’t ask me. It doesn’t spin like the other models. It is a 13 inch Dell Inspiron 13 5000 series. I love the size and weight. Much less bulky and it’s lighter to carry around. I never sit in one spot for long when on my computer writing. I really love it except for one drawback. It seems to get awful hot after sitting on my lap for a while. I’m too late to return mine.

    Sounds like you made the right choice for your needs. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I got a Chromebook recently. And I LOATHE learning new tech that replaces the way I already do things. I’m very tech savy for a user. I use all the shortcuts, and I actually like learning GENUINELY new thing.s

    But if I already have a learned way of doing things and now I have to relearn to accommodate for the new tech, I get extremely cranky. This is just my lazy brain not wanting to move into new ruts.

    The things I like about the Chromebook – it really is light and easy. And it holds a charge for a very long time (comparatively).

    Things I loathe – In order to save space, keys that I used regularly, are missing. The DEL, END, for example. But the loss of ALL CAPS is where my blind rage is induced.

    They have added an utterly useless and annoying key. A bar really – right where ALL CAPS should be – that pops a window to do a google search. WTF????? I have never in my life thought – Gosh I wish I could just click a button on the key board to google search this world. I can right click and do it. It’s not a lot of work.

    I’m a fan of ALLCAP as you can see. I’ve been typing with the ALL CAP in that spot for 35 years. I’ve had the Chromebook for 3 months and I still pop that window at least 3 times while using it.

    I just want to take the keyboard designer out to a sludge pit, explain that they are going to be dunked for being an idiot. And then push.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Maybe I can help you. (God! I can’t believe I’m actually saying that). I was doing tutorials which were all about the keys, slots, and mechanical components. According to one, you can revert that search key to an all caps key. I don’t know how to do it because that wasn’t what I was looking for but if you google it, you should be able to find it. You can also create function keys too but again I didn’t digest that stuff. Now you have me worried about delete. It’s easier than backspacing over something.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi Kate,
    You might have already done this, but I checked online for you and others have had the same problem of not being able to adjust the brightness on a Chromebook. The two solutions mentioned are: take a look in your settings. If the top row of keys have been dedicated to be ‘function’ keys, the brightness doesn’t work. In that case, change the settings. And the second solution, which is easiest and the thing that seems to be the solution to every single computer problem known to man – logout, shutdown, log in again. If that doesn’t work, log is as guest instead of under your name and see if the brightness is different. If it is, and better, it’s a settings problem. Refer to above!

    I run Macs – desktop and laptop – but am happy to try to help further if needed.
    Karen

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s my Dell desktop that I can’t dim. I have been all over google and Dell’s website and something is overriding the button but I haven’t been able to figure out what. The Chromebook works but if I want function keys I have to do that in the settings. I’ll remember not to. Can you came live with me for a week? We can go shopping for a cell phone and a step tracker too. All techy stuff! So far I’ve been disappointed with the “support” or “training” that’s included but I am going to use my desktop to google the docs and other applications. I went into the docs (which is similar to Word) and there wasn’t a built in tutorial. Boogers. I think it’s the learning curve and I am not a technically intuitive person.

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  20. Amazon reviews are the best! even when I still ponder why a customer got hemorrhoids from usinug an instant pot ;o) I often go to a walk in store to look for something I need and what fits to me and later I look online for the best price, there were too much bad surprises ;o)

    Liked by 1 person

  21. oh, so glad u got a chromebook. i got one and i love it. as for the brightness button, there are two , they are on the topmost line of keys of the keyboard… pressing one increase the brightness, pressing the other decrease it. the keys looks like a cogwheel, one smaller than the other.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I realize that my comment sounded like it was about the Chromebook but I figured that out fast. It’s my Dell all-in-one desktop that won’t dim. I have a button on the monitor but many google searches came up blank. It’s overridden by the OS supposedly.

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