There are some of you here who are suspicious of tech without necessarily being grandparents. You look at tech as you would look at an albino cockroach. It is vaguely familiar yet you wonder, 'What if it flies? Can I handle it or will I be able to run fast enough?'
That happens to be the case for a cousin's girlfriend's father who simply cannot fathom tablets. He is okay with the tablets you swallow, because he has to swallow a lot for his tingling back. But the computer-y kind boggles his mind. We all know someone like that. And some of us ARE like that. Here's how a non-tech person becomes a cool, debonair tech lingo spewing socialite. At the very least, be able to click a few buttons without suffering a heart attack.
All things have a power button
That's right. Every device a man or woman has made comes with a power button. You press it to turn it off or on. If technology unsettles you, know well that you can turn it off. Just look for a tiny button or knob or lever. If you have accidentally deleted files on a computer, quickly press the power button. It will not restore your lost files. But it will provide you with a temporary sense of relief like when we pile washed clothes under a bed cover when the guests show up. My aunt would do that and ask me nicely to turn it back on when I visited. After that, it was my problem. Buttons are a way of transferring ownership of problems. Which explains why when roads break down or the traffic management collapses, somebody turns off a switch and walks away. And no one wants to come by later because they do not want to own that mess.
If you've seen it on TV or social media
You should not have to run away from tech unless it is called a T800 which is a Terminator from the future. It is the only thing on TV that is real. That and how Bangladesh is experiencing a bumper lemon harvest during a moment of political crisis earlier this month.
Technology will grow a consciousness and kill us all. But before that happens, TV will tell you hackers can grab all your life's information in seconds as you walk past. So you stop walking. Or the fact that a Bangladeshi invented Facebook. First step toward becoming tech savvy after knowing there is a power button is to understand that nothing on TV or social media can be trusted.
Don't click that
An older relative of mine asked if I could repair his computer. It was filled with too many exciting offers that he could not keep up with. He has family abroad. That makes him feel like Tom Hanks in the movie Castaway. He is isolated from everyone who is in a different land. And there is no basketball called Wilson for him to share thoughts with. He has a cat but that is even more useless than a basketball although you can technically throw both. Luckily, he has Facebook and Gmail and the world is less far away than it initially appeared. The world is also full of ads that he clicks. He has free time so he checks out everything. Remember back in school, during those times you were punished in front of the principal's office for leaving sand piled on the fan blades just before your classmates came in from the hot playfield? Everybody has done that. And in those hours of Nothing-To-Do, you check out everything: number of tiles, cracks on the walls, amount of chewing gum you stuck behind the recess bell. My bored relative clicked on every link that came his way.
To become tech savvy, you avoid all links. Avoid great deals, money offers and especially videos of chicks. The last ones are always the worst because videos of chickens walking around on dirty, poop strewn farmland is the worst.
Google is your annoying, over bearing friend
You will still share rumours or what us Bangladeshis call 'Gu-job'. This crappy reality is connected to our base desire to gossip because unlike non-ninja turtles, we are social animals. We love to spread information. I am in some online groups that discuss cars. If someone posts a legitimate query, more than 80 percent will be rubbish replies of what people think it might be. Except these people are very sure about it.
How about 'Car will not start?'
Solutions range from 'get a new engine, here's my shop number' to 'tires are worn out' and 'Gemini is not in favourable position for the solar eclipse.' Google can be like your good friend that offers too much advice. Way too much. Your job is to pick that which appears from more socially trusted sources. The final step to becoming tech savvy is to not share all the news links. Type the same thing in Google and scan through at least 4-5 of the searches results. Half the time, it will be fake. Like the news about Bangladesh not having any unemployment.
If your back aches though, go see a doctor. Do not ask online or Google because the result is always the same: it is cancer or worse: death cancer.
With the tricks listed so far, you will become truly tech savvy, meaning you will be able to avoid the unnecessary clutter and chaos that is out there.
Ehsanur Raza Ronny is a confused dad, all-round car guy, model car builder, and cartoonist. He is also Editor of Shift (automobiles), Bytes (technology), and Next Step (career) of The Daily Star.