I want to take this opportunity to talk about why I’ve elected to be a little more explicit about my focus on using technology with confidence.
It starts with what is now almost 15 years of questions.
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The opposite of confidence
Not long ago, I spent a little time trying to distill common themes and threads from the nearly fifteen years of questions I’ve fielded for Ask Leo!.
What I realized is that, for well over half of the questions I get, there is a simple underlying thread.
I can’t call it a theme, because it’s often not the explicit topic of the questions being asked; yet it’s more common than problems with Windows Update, more common than ever-changing user interfaces, more common than compromised accounts and lost passwords, and more common that data loss.
Fear shows itself in many aspects: fear of malware, fear of data loss, fear of account hacks, fear of updates that destabilize systems, even fear of accidentally doing the wrong thing.
Note that it’s not that the actual thing has, in fact, happened — very often it has not — it’s simply the fear that it will.
Fear can be paralyzing. Fear can keep you from enjoying what technology can bring. Fear can prevent you from trying new things, or even believing you can. Fear can even cause you to make mistakes — sometimes the very mistakes you’re afraid of!
The opposite of fear, of course, is confidence.
One of the major obstacles to confidence is finding and understanding the information you need. How can you be expected to use technology effectively if you can’t find resources to help you do so, or if you can’t understand them when you do?
Technobabble gets in the way.
I’ve often joked that my job is a glorified translator: translating questions into terms that will lead to an answer, and then translating that answer into English understandable by the average non-technical person.
Confidence comes from understanding.
On confident computing
I do more than answer questions about technology. As I’ve mentioned before, my “deep, dark, secret” is that I try to sneak some education into the answers. It’s my hope that a little bit of knowledge will increase your understanding, and that, in turn, will give you more confidence.
Confidence to protect yourself online.
Confidence to handle errors.
Confidence to avoid ever losing data.
Confidence to tell truth from fiction, solutions from scams, and legitimate threats from overblown click-bait.
Confidence to know what to do next, in a variety of situations.
Confidence to do more, be more, connect more, and explore more of the world that today’s technology makes available to us all.
Putting it in the newsletter title is a not-so-subtle reminder to me of what I’m trying to do, and a sign of what you can expect.