Welcome back to Tech-Knowledgy, where I answer your questions about tech. I get many great questions from readers and I am posting the questions and answers below so others can learn and/or respond. Feel free to post your tech questions in the Comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. I hate tech! I am a smart person, but tech makes me feel stupid. Why does tech make me feel stupid?
A. I get this question a lot and, believe me, not one of my readers is stupid. There’s nothing like tech to make you feel stupid. My answer to that is, “Don’t hate the tech, hate the designers.”
If you’re struggling with tech then the design is flawed. Period.
I give Apple a lot of credit in making tech simple. The iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch each have one button. That’s it. To get music, apps, video, contacts, and photos on these devices is simple. iTunes is simple. Making a phone call is simple. The combination of simplicity and functionality in these devices is remarkable.
App designers for Apple products have followed suit. If an app is complicated, it gets slammed in its reviews in the iTunes Store. Apps with clean designs and simple functionality are what sells in the App Store. Take a game that is consistently the biggest selling game in the App Store: Angry Birds. The game is simple in its concept, shooting cute birds at annoying pigs, but the game is also fun and addictive.
Another way Apple makes tech easy is by having physical stores with Genius Bars. If you run into trouble or are confused with any of their devices, head to an Apple Store. There will be someone there to help you out. Such a simple concept, yet other tech companies have yet to adopt the idea.
The Kindle is another ground-breaking product that used the concept of simplicity to its advantage. Amazon made reading books on the Kindle easy and also made the purchase of Kindle books easy.
So if you’re feeling frustrated with tech, look to see if there is an easier way to do what you’re doing. The idea of tech is to make your life easier. If you’re more frustrated with tech than satisfied with it, then you might just be using the wrong tech.
Q. I’m living outside the US and I want to watch US tv shows. What are my options?
A. I feel your pain. As an American ex-pat living in England for 3 ½ years, I was constantly frustrated when I went to websites such as Hulu, cbs.com, abc.com, comedycentral.com, etc. and was told that their programs are not available outside the US. I could understand their dilemma as the rights to broadcast shows in each country are sold separately. But I still wanted to watch my shows.
Your two best choices are Slingbox and US iTunes. With iTunes, you need a US iTunes account which you can get with a US address and either a US credit card or a US iTunes gift card.
Log into your US iTunes account and purchase the tv show you wish to watch. You can download and watch your purchased show no matter where you are. If you really like a show, make sure to sign up for a subscription to save money over buying individual shows.
Q. I’m on Facebook but I’m really basic at tech. Sometimes friends want me to copy and paste some text to share it, but I don’t know how to do that. How do I copy and paste?
A. To copy text, highlight the text you want to copy. You do this by moving your cursor to the text you want to copy. You can double-click to highlight a word or triple-click to highlight a paragraph. After your highlighting is done, you can either:
1) right click your mouse (Windows)/Cmd+click your mouse (Mac) to pull up a menu and choose “Copy” or
2) click Ctrl+C (Windows)/Cmd+C (Mac).
Now what you highlighted has been put on your Clipboard (you don’t actually see the Clipboard, but the text is there).
To paste what is on your Clipboard, click on the page where you want the copied text to be pasted. Then either:
1) right click your mouse (Windows)/Cmd+click your mouse (Mac) and choose “Paste” from the menu or
2) click Ctrl+V (Windows)/Cmd+V (Mac). [Please don’t get confused by Ctrl+P/Cmd+P, which is the command for printing.]
Voila! Your text is copied and pasted.
*Image by Peter Renshaw