Friday, 30 November 2012

Computer lessons (Μαθήματα Η/Υ)

About a month ago, my workplace decided to offer the staff a subsidised computer training course - you are paid for attending lessons. It meant staying at work for a few hours after you finish, something very few working wives and mothers really want at a time in their lives when they are already too busy. I was roped into taking part because the minimum attendance number had not been reached. The five 3-4 hour-long lessons are now keeping me at work until 7-8pm on the days that the course runs.

My evening work at MAICh gave me a glimpse of the evening meals enjoyed by the students: soup is always on the menu, followed by meat or fish, with at least one carbohydrate, and the ubiquitous salad and fruit.

Kitchen and ground staff, as well as some of the younger members of the administration staff, were all taking part. They are generally people who do not spend all their time sitting at a desk with a computer on it. I wondered what I really needed to learn about computers that I didn't already know. In the first lesson, I thought the answer to that was 'nothing': one of the first things we did was to 'learn' how to turn a computer on, and then we learnt that the Windows screen kept the same things on it that our office desk would have, were we not to be using computers. OK, I thought, as I silently read 'other material from my secret cache.


  The family still have to eat: I prepared the dough, and some instructions on how to cook a pizza.

The next day, I realised I had lost a memory stick where I kept some files I was working on at the time. Luckily for me, I did have back up copies of my work, but admittedly, like all people, we are sometimes lax about things like that, and my files weren't completely up to date in terms of back up. I fretted a little. Maybe that's why I need computer lessons, I thought.

The second lesson proved much more exciting - the very well informed info-tech instructor advised us about how we can jaz up our WORD files. WORD is a program I use regularly, and if I had time, I could make all those graphics discoveries that I learnt about in the lesson all by myself. But time is of the essence and I don;t have time to much around on such things. After the lesson, I went home to download some files that I had sent to myself through my workplace's intranet. Alas, I was to discover that the internet wasn't working.

 I specifically reminded them to take photos for me.

What to do now? I fretted, much more than the last time. I had lost the memory stick, the internet wasn't working, so I was now stuck. The next day, I noticed there was still no internet at home. I went into work early, frantically downloaded/uploaded/saved whatever I could onto a new memory stick. It was then that I noticed the black memory stick, wedged between the computer tower and a black file box. I still had time to write a little post about how my kids had their first no-adult-supervision cooking session while I was away. To my horrors, Blogger did not seem to be working. I gave up and got on with 'real' work.

I was pleased to see that the house hadn't burnt down when I arrived back home, and I was equally pleased to see the results. The kids have seen me roll out filo pastry dough, so perhaps this is why they made a mistake with the pizza dough -they were trying to roll it out too thinly. But if they hadn't made this mistake yesterday, they wouldn't be better pizza makers today. I called their pizza creation 'omelette pizza' because it turned out to be much easier to eat it folded up.

So here I am back at home. I've backed up my file register, the internet is now working, but I found I still couldn't write anything on Blogger. I did a quick internet check, although I admit that it took me a while to find an appropriate search string to give me the information I wanted: for instance, 'blogger down' led me to some entries about similar problems that took place over a year ago. The best one was 'can't (WITH the apostrophe, take note!) write a new post blogger', where the latest entry had appeared only half an hour ago. The 'best answer' to the question had already been posted: 'turn off draft blogger'. And sure enough, it worked.

Despite being too tired to do much, I still found the time to show the kids how it 'should' be done.  Life doesn't get much better than this in our tiny small quiet part of the world.

Next week, we'll be focussing on Excel. Powerpoint will follow, and the last computer course session will be based on the use of the internet. I clearly have a lot more to learn than I thought. There will always be something for everyone to learn, no matter how long they've been using a computer for.

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