Tech “savvy” in 10 minutes

Let's be honest, when was the last time you used the word “savvy” for anything else?

In my day to day life, I hear a lot of people making the excuse that they’re “not tech savvy” enough to fix their damn printer or save a file to the desktop, or remember their email, and it's bugged me to the point of writing this article.

Let me start out by stressing that I don't strictly come from an IT background, I’ve never received any formal education in the matter, and I’d say a solid 70% of my knowledge comes from the fact that I broke something when I was younger and had to figure out how to fix it.

That’s the guts of the point I want to make in this article. That tech isn’t something to be scared of, tech is only dangerous when you’re ignorant of its capabilities, and unfortunately, that's what gets exploited, and what gives tech a bad name.

But don't despair! You only need a few skills under your belt to fix most of the things you’ll encounter, and they’re easy to solve.



Your tech is just a machine, and machines have logic holding them together

You drive your car, right? Hell even if you don't, you should be able to tell me that the engine is what makes your car drive.

Computers are the same.

They have an engine, a battery, an interface, and a whole mess of tubes and wires to get the energy and information around the car to drive.

It's the same with your body, and computers are no different. We’re all machines, welcome to Earth.

When a mechanic or a doctor has somebody in front of them describing a problem, they’ll narrow down where the problem is happening, and start there, and keep eliminating possible problems until they find what's causing the issue, and apply a fix that usually works.

Using computers is all about problem-solving. Using the scientific method to prove, or disprove something so you can achieve your end goal.


Settings are just the best darn thing!

Settings menus are just the best darn thing about tech; you click or tap a picture of a wrench or gear

Just take a poke through the settings menu of whatever you’re using at your leisure. I will usually go through the settings whenever I download an app to figure out just what I can do with the app, and it's a great place to find the “frequently asked questions” and “help” sections

A lot of settings menus will have a great little "reset to default" option, which you can use to undo anything crazy you've somehow managed to do


Persistence is key

If the first thing you search for isn’t working, try searching using more key terms, like the model of the device, the version of the software you’re using

Just full-on describe the issue in intimate detail to the search-bar if you need to. The system is smart enough (most of the time) to send you in the right direction

"But what search-bar?!" you cry as your brain writhes, in a desperate attempt to become "savvy"

Which brings me to our next point, in case you didn't know...


Google is your friend

I remember a few years back when my younger brother told me that the people in phone repair shops just googled how to do it and followed guides most of the time, I was kind of amazed because I was thinking that I’d need some degree of formal training to do something like that.

Nah.

Google the problem.
Follow the steps.

Look, I know when something goes wrong and you don't know how to fix it, its probably the first time that device or program has acted like that for you?

Luckily…
You’re not the first person to receive an error
You’re not the first person to have seen fire and been burned by it.

Other people have fixed this problem, and they’ve probably put the solution on the internet because of a few reasons: the manufacturer needs to know,and they want to spare people the time of troubleshooting like they did.


Flowcharts!

Okay, this is a bit of a bonus tip, because I only discovered it while trying to find images for this article!

Say you have a printer problem, but you have no way of figuring out what the make or model of the printer is.

Go to our good friend Google

Ask it for “printer troubleshooting flowchart”

You'll get something like this:

Hell even type in “printer flowchart”, or “printer troubleshooting” and you’ll find a whole diagram describing every step you can take to solve your problem

It's important to note that while sometimes this may not work, that doesn’t necessarily mean that flowchart is useless, they’re a great way to quickly understand the logic behind how computers work and will make you much more confident in your own ability!

What I'm really excited about is when i stumbled upon this treasure trove, I saw manufacturers and users making flowcharts for very specific models of equipment and different versions of software

If you're a visual learner like me, this is a goddamn goldmine.

I wish I had googled that years ago but hey, there are plenty more problems to solve


You don't need to know any jargon, but it helps

Let me be real here and say that I hate tech jargon; its all acronyms, and letters, and sometimes even numbers and it all blends together in my head and its confusing, so I avoid it whenever I can.

A lot of guides you see will have a whole lot of jargon in there, but that leads me to my final point


You have access to all of humanity's knowledge all at once

I cannot stress this enough, if you see something and you have no idea what the hell it is, just put it into Google and read the snippet of wikipedia that pops up, a lot of the time its the fastest way to make sense of what you're looking at

"But what if the snippet has jargon I dont understand?!"

Simple.

Google that word, read the wikipedia snippet, rinse and repeat

You go down that rabbit-hole as long as it takes to get what you came for!


I hope this helps demystify some of how tech works, or at the very least get you to finally fix that thing you've been putting off because you weren't "savvy enough

Liam Maher

Liam Maher