Miranda Castro
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A technological wonderland at your fingertips

I had to be dragged literally kicking and screaming into the wonderful and sometimes maddening world of computer technology.

I owned my first computer for nearly a year before I had the courage to connect its mysterious parts and switch them on. My friend, homeopath and computer enthusiast Francis Treuherz, held my hand while showing me that my computer was not going to jump out of its casing and bite me. He translated everything in my physical office into what I was seeing on that first, tiny computer screen (a Macintosh SE for those of you who have known them!) and helped acquaint me with what fast became a deep and enduring friendship!

Getting smart at last
For the first eight years or so I used three programs on my Apple computer: email, Word, and MacRepertory (homeopathic software).
     

In 1997 I defected and purchased my first PC. I took some classes and read a bunch of books to understand what I was doing. The "For Dummies" books didn't work for me ... there were simply too many words in them. I found books with pictures to be worth thousands of words. And pretty soon I started whizzing about my computer in ways I could never have dreamt about even a year before.

Connected at last
The World Wide Web was touted as a way to connect with people and businesses around the world at the click of a mouse. But for years I found the Internet frustratingly, maddeningly slow. It never compared to flicking through a magazine ... waiting for pages to load was rather like waiting in line at the supermarket ... only worse! Like millions of others who have dial-up modems, I didn't use the Internet much. This winter when I got hooked up with high speed Internet access via a cable modem ... everything changed! Jumping from site to site is now like having ten books open on my desk at once. At last, the Internet has delivered its early promise. It's like having color television after years of black and white.
     

At the end of 2002 I took the huge step of going more or less paperless, and I now carry my office around with me, thrilled to be able to set up shop anywhere there is a power outlet. My office used to fill a room: the books and patient charts alone filled a small truck each time I moved. My whole office now fits into a smart little briefcase and weighs seven pounds. I use 25--35 programs daily and love the versatility and connectivity. Last year my 75-year-old aunt in England was given her first computer. She hated it for months ... it made her feel stupid and crazy but she persevered with her classes and homework, and at the beginning of December she sent me her first email.
     

So if you are just thinking about getting your toes wet but haven't got the nerve to take the plunge, think of my 75-year-old aunt! Get connected and join us in this magical, always wide open, global sea of information!


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