My Retirement Hobby is Surfing the Web
I actually bought my first laptop when I retired ten years ago but it languished in the cupboard more often than not for the first few years. It wasn't that I didn't know how to use it because I went on two Computer courses to learn how to use the magic under the keyboard, send emails, delete spam and familiarise myself with the technology and terminology.
Writing of which, an odd thing happened today when I typed in my chosen title for this hub I am a Silver Surfer. Up popped an automated message warning me this Hub would not be published because it sensed something to do with drugs and illegal substances!
I would like to make it clear that here in Britain Silver Surfers refer to grey-haired, usually retired people surfing the internet, id est the older generation. However, I quickly deleted that Hub, having progressed no further than the title, and started again here with a new title!
I was familiar with qwerty having learned typewriting at school on one of those large, heavy machines that made an impressively loud clatter when we were all practising to type at fifty words per minute. An even louder sound was the whirr, click and clonk when we returned the carriage.
My first typewriter
Books and Screen
Last winter and for many winters previously, I bought second-hand books online to read the hours away when the weather was too inclement to venture out. I preferred non-fiction and biographies mainly, enjoying getting to know the person rather than the story they wrote. There is one exception to that which I will come to later. Nowadays, I have discovered ebooks.
I used to rely on my television set for documentaries and programmes about travel. I liked to travel the world from my armchair but never got to know the people involved ~ only know about them, not inside their heads, but these days I can interact as much as I like through the internet.
Virginia Woolf's Diaries came close though, I read them all last winter and think I got to know inside her head rather well as she was a brilliant if irregular diarist. I have read most of her novels but liked her diaries best, especially as she and I both lived in the same village of Rodmell in Sussex UK ~ except she died two years before I was born. But it made me feel we had something in common.
Virginia Woolf wrote by hand
The Social Network
My grandchildren first put me in touch with social media when they added me and showed me how to add family and friends who were already participating. It was rather daunting initially, realising that everything I typed on there would be recorded for eternity, unlike the spoken word. I was careful at first, just clicking like when I liked something someone wrote on their status, then I graduated to commenting and found that I often got a comment back. Soon after that I found the delete button which proved to be a handy tool. I found the emojis too, I was on a roll! Someone should invent a dislike button but I enjoy using the new range of like choices.
The most successful finding of like-minded friends for me, however, were the games, of which there are literally hundreds to choose from. For several months I had various farms up and running as well as some inane but addictive games that I won't name. Addictive is the word, the inventors of such games are very clever people, encouraging players to spend money to pass a level. Yes, I did a bit of that. But I wanted last winter to be different because I was a new widow.
I looked around and joined some groups, some I didn't get on with and left, having discovered there are some pedantic and belligerent people out there. I am in only a few groups at the moment, mainly related to either my home county of Sussex or to where I am living in Devon, because I have discovered online writing as a new hobby.
My favourite group is a special one, where I am an administrator for an author. I am also his researcher, proof-reader and advisor on English, all done online. We first met in a Sussex group when he joined to ask for information about Sussex, particularly during World War Two, because he was writing a book about a boy in Brighton during the war. We were pleased to help him with some links and I went on to furnish him with photographs from the internet as visual aids of the places and times, he being a 'johnny foreigner' from The Netherlands. He has published five books now, all of which I researched, proofread, and edited online for him. They are an excellent read and I am especially mentioned in each of the acknowledgements. It sure beats playing those annoying games and made me feel useful again.
The progress of man
I spend many hours searching for photographs to put in my social network groups, which they seem to appreciate judging by the likes and comments. I have tried other social media platforms but decided they aren't for me. I have bought items online; I pay most of my bills online. I could even order groceries online and have them delivered, I am not lazy enough or busy enough to do that yet but the option is there for me to use.
I was introduced to Hubpages by my author friend, who is a prolific Hub writer, so while he was away on sabbatical I decided to write some Hubs myself to try and impress him. I think I have succeeded but whatever the outcome, he is a very good fiction writer and has taught me a lot, so this Hub is my tribute to him for being such a good online friend and mentor.
I can keep in touch with people by email, like my granddaughter at school in Thailand and my other granddaughter who only lives just along the road, but the internet is useful when she asks for help with her homework. I have created a CV for my adult son who does not like and will not learn computer technology ~ get Mum to do it is his mantra ~ but that's okay, because I can use his pair of hands around the house in return.
The good thing about being a woman is that we can multi-task, I can watch television over my laptop so I never need to be bored any more. I can do anything (legal) that I want to on the internet, it is a wonderful invention and beats the days of hand-writing letters after buying the paper, envelopes and stamps then walking to the post box to catch the mail then waiting forever for a reply. I am sure I could do many other things on my laptop as well, I could not live without one now, it means the world and it brings the world to me with it's instant interaction ability.
The world at my fingertips
Even More Uses
Lately I have taught myself how to use the office facility on my laptop, which I found rather difficult at first - but now I have managed to write two books with it! After I was widowed I decided to write my memoir as an escape and because I preferred my thoughts to be in the far distant past rather than the painful recent past. My author friend reciprocated the favour and helpfully edited them for me; next we uploaded them, and hey presto! I was an author. All via this wonderful invention ~ the internet. Book three is in progress so there's no stopping me now. I can also read ebooks, watch films, or catch up on television programmes on my laptop, anywhere at any time. The world is my lobster now, haha!
Email has outmoded post
Do you prefer reading paper books or ebooks?
Granny is slowly learning
© 2015 Bren Hall