Take advantage of the many people who are offering technology tips and tricks to you as a public service.
Technology providers and devices drive one another to change while consumers do their best to hang on for the ride. Tips and tricks will certainly help when a feature or process remains the same and I look forward to more public attention on the importance of sharing solutions—the comments on David Pogue’s column are just the tip of the iceberg!
I hope that all of us who use technology and need answers develop curiosity as a life skill along with a commitment to asking for what we want. If you need to know how to use a device or program more effectively, take a few minutes to search the web for other folks talking about the same thing. Don’t wait until you have a problem. Let your needs and wants drive your questions too.
It can make you crazy trying to try and get all your knowledge from a manual that was written to explain technical specifications and operations. The people who wrote it may or may not be effective communicators, but either way they are not likely to be sharing your learning curve or feeling your pain.
Ask some questions of other people who are like you and learning as they go. There are lots of great resources like Google Groups, technology websites like CNET’s Tips and Forums, and even product reviews can help you learn about the capabilities of your technology when you don’t know which questions to ask. If you can formulate your questions, use Help functions in software, or Support sections on company websites as a frontline for specific answers.
Get out there, have a look, and remember if you don’t find what you want at first—ask a different way or ask a different search engine!