My number one advice to people wanting to learn how to get better with computers is to play. I grew up with computers ever since I was a child and the very first thing I remember doing with it was playing. I remember being five years old and going to the electronics store with my parents when they went to go pick out their first computer. While they were talking to sales people, I was playing around on the machines, learning how to use a mouse and a trackball. It was so exciting when my parents finally brought home a computer and I was able to get on it and venture forth in Oregon Trail, or pretend to be important typing up a paper in Microsoft Works, or exploring the point and click world of Myst.
Looking back on it, I believe that looking at computing as a chance to play is what has made me so confident with computers today. I think this is also what has made Apple Computers so successful, they have brought play back into the world of computing. Yes, the iPhone allows people to get directions, edit spreadsheets, send e-mails, and participate in conference calls but…who doesn’t have angry birds installed as well? By mixing entertainment and productivity into one little technological package Apple as encouraged users to not only use technology but to play with it as well.
Now, if you think all of this play business is a little silly, you might be surprised what the research is saying about it. Stuart Brown, during his TED presentation, suggest playing increases brain function and problem solving. Large computer tech companies such as Google, Rackapace and Steam have discovered the effectiveness of play, and as a result have allowed for innovation to flourish. So let us all stop looking at computer work as boring and mundane, and begin looking at it as a chance to play, learn, and innovate.