Thursday, June 17, 2010

Technology and the Gainfully Unemployed

Many people with day jobs have the benefit of access to an IT person or department. If something goes wrong with their PCs, they should be able to get help. At least they have co-workers to ask if they don’t know how to do a particular task in Excel, or figure out which Word command they need.

But the GU usually work alone (though perhaps those who work in coffee shops can ask fellow laptop users). Sometimes when we agree to take on an assignment, it turns out to be outside our technology comfort zone. So we can be in for some wasted time and frustration.

Two examples:

--I had to include 2 original graphics in each weekly program for a local production. I couldn’t get Photoshop to execute the ideas I saw in my head. I tried to figure it out on my own and managed to get a few features to cooperate, but got hung up on layers. Finding helpful online help was a challenge. After far too much time, I finally had the graphics I wanted. But by the next time I used Photoshop, I’d forgotten some of the things I’d learned.

--A friend hired me to file a document requiring certain attachments. She sent me one, but each page was a separate JPEG and I needed them all in a single PDF. I tried opening each JPEG, printing it, then using my scanner, but for whatever reason I still couldn’t get the pages into a single document. Fortunately in this case, another friend helped.

In addition to days of misery following my recent computer crash and hours reloading software and adjusting settings, I’m still dealing with some side effects.

The solution: find a computer/technology whiz and see if I can barter some editing or writing for assistance and customized training.

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