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Computers can open up a whole new world
Scripps Howard News Service


February 20, 2006

For those folks who haven't caught up with the 21st century and still remain in the realm of times gone by, you don't know what you're missing. You're missing a lot if you're still afraid to use a computer and wander the Internet.

A friend of mine told me years ago something that made sense when I thought of computers as something too difficult to conquer.

"Do you drive a car?" he asked me."

"Of course I do," I replied.

"Well do you understand how the motor works under the hood of the car or do you just push the starter and drive away"?

Hmm, I thought, this is getting silly. But I answered him anyway.

"No, I'm not a car mechanic and you're right, all I do is turn the key and drive off."

"Well," he finally explained, "that's what a computer is all about. You don't have to be a computer mechanic to press the start button and go from there."

He was absolutely correct, bless him. If you know how to type you can use a computer. And if you can use a computer, you have all the world's information at your fingertips. Best of all, you can be in touch with the rest of the world, especially those people important to you. Of course, they have to use a computer, too.

Today I opened up my e-mail and got a kick out of some "Thoughts for 2006" that someone sent on to me. The way it works is this: someone sends something funny or wise or cute or informative and you pass what you get a kick out of along to others via electronic mail. In my e-mail today were two thoughts that made me sit up and think. And that's no mean feat because the way the world is going I'd just as soon put my head in the sand and clear my mind of most thoughts. But the two thoughts I'm going to pass along to you are worth the thinking about.

- "Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?"

- "In the '60s, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal."

I have no idea where these thoughts originated. Some days I get some wonderfully funny photos with great captions on them. Other days I'm treated to political columnists I've never read before. Being able to receive e-mail is a learning experience each time I open it up.

The Internet is a fascinating place. You can ask any question of it and usually get a raft of answers no matter how obscure the subject is. For instance, I wanted to know the name of a silent film actress. The information I received was about many actresses, the names of their silent movies and even what the movies were about as well as their personal lives. Problem with the Internet is it can be an addictive time-taker.

On the other hand, it's a must to have when my grandsons come to visit; they've made a computer in our house more than a luxury. If you've got grandchildren visiting you don't need toys to keep them busy. Today's children are computer savvy. No matter how young, there are programs they can play. It's a lot better than sitting them in front of a television set because computer games are interactive, engaging both their hands and their minds.

Having a computer in the home means youngsters will look forward to visiting you and telling you, as mine are always reminding me, "Grandma, you've got to upgrade. You need more power." Having them happy when they visit is worth all the power I can get.


Contact Barbara Bova of the Naples Daily News in Florida at

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