I’ve always said that the key to using and beginning to understand technology is not to be afraid of it. And a reader named Doug agrees. He wrote this in response to an article breaking down the basics of wireless. “One thing I might add is that being afraid never gets us anywhere. I let wireless technology sneak up on me and I was left ignorant. What I’ve done is talk to people, get confused, and then go back with questions. I am not an expert, but I can navigate around my home network. As I built I talk to salesmen at Bestbuy, PC Connection, and others. I finally jumped in and did not drown. I am still green, but I did it. By the way, the 16-year-old smart-arse down the street was a big help once I overcame my fear of his ease with the lingo.”

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Doug – that is actually the best advice ever. I’m no teenager. I grew up with a rotary phone and black and white TV. I learned about tech because it was a requirement in my job. I learned more about tech because I learned not to fear it. I’ve seen a lot of highly-educated professionals simply refuse to learn things. They ended up being sorry about that later because tech is going to move on without you whether you choose to master it or not.

My number one rule for learning about new tech is not to fear it. And, believe me, I break this rule all the time myself and it’s always a bad idea.

I think the first thing to know is that, it’s not some form of mysterious magic. There’s zero need to be intimidated. In your lifetime, especially if you’re a bit older,  you’ve learned to do things way more complicated than using a smartphone.

You don’t actually have to understand how it all works to use it. You don’t need to know how to take an engine apart to drive a car. You don’t need a deep understanding of the ins and outs of heating and air conditioning to use your furnace. You don’t have to understand how your power is generated to switch on a light. All you need to do is get a basic understanding of what the parts are called and which ones you’re supposed to touch. For a care, you need to know terms like ignition, steering, brakes, speedometer, wipers, and gas gauge. For a PC, it’s terms like wireless, browser, updates, mouse, and settings.  To drive, you need to remember basic rules like what the traffic lights mean and what side of the road to drive on. For your PC, you’ll need to understand some basic rules of web safety.

It helps to find a friend who understands the lingo. Never be afraid to ask to have an explanation simplified.

I have a couple of questions for our readers. How comfortable are you with new technology? Do you make an effort to understand the lingo or do you just consider it over your head? If you’re comfortable with tech, tell us the steps you take to learn new things. Let us know in the comments.

~ Cynthia