Monday, September 02, 2013

Teaching an old dog TWO new tricks!

Yesterday was Father's Day here in Australia and I spent the day over at my dad's house sitting down and letting him feed me with his (delicious) homemade cakes and biscuits and drinking one cup of tea after another.

My dad lives an hours drive away so with him always off busy doing things and my having worked full time until recently it had been some months since I last physically saw him (though we have spoken on the phone regularly).

Dad told me about how he and his 'girlfriend' (they've been together for years now) are going on a month's overseas trip in late October - and instead of telling me his travels plans, such as WHERE they will be going, my dear old dad excitedly told me how my brother (who he recently visited) had set him up with Skype so he could stay in touch while out of the country.

Dad whipped out a brand new funky little modern laptop with touch-screen capability (that he bought recently because it is light and easily fits into his backpack), and fired up Skype to show me (very proudly) how easily he can type messages to my brother and proclaimed that he can even 'if we are both online at the same time, talk to each other by video!'

I had to laugh.  Dad hadn't even tried to do any of that yet, my brother had just told him it was possible.

So, I took control of the keyboard/touch screen, added my own Skype contact, and because I carry my mobile phone every where with me and have the Skype app already installed, soon video chatted with my dad all the while having him sitting next to me.  He got all excited, and at first (because he is significantly deaf without his hearing aid) shouted at the screen as though I was hundred's of miles away (yes, I use the words miles instead of kilometres because my dad was raised on using Imperial measurements, and although he later learned metric, my maths genius dad always falls back on his imperial measurements if he is unsure of the accuracy of his metric answer); but he soon worked out for his own self that he doesn't need to shout - though I think we still will need to because of his lack of hearing.

At some point I said to him he should probably consider having a facebook account.  Both dad and his girlfriend were horrified by this suggestion to begin with, but I told them how it is just as easy to use as Skype - and actually allows for much better means of staying in touch with the family (seeing as we are all on facebook and not really on Skype).  It was enough for them to be happy for me to log into my own account, show them the types of things they can do - which soon got them past their 'horror' of joining facebook, and so, to make it easy for them, I opened up an account and sent friend requests to each aunt, uncle, cousin, and sibling relevant for my dad.

Soon, friend requests had been accepted, and lots of 'congratulatory' messages for joining facebook were flooding in keeping dad and his girlfriend busy and excitedly reading all these family contacts. I showed him how he can private message his contacts, upload photo's (so we can see the highlights of his trip before he even gets home - to which he got even more excited about).

So all in all, I had a great day teaching my dad how to use for his own benefit some modern technology.  Here I've been using facebook for years and its is just 'ordinary' to me - but it was an exciting new world for my 72 year old dad.

Happy Father's Day, dad.  May we have many more to celebrate together!

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