Thanks for the Gift: How Do I Use It?

By Jesse Card

I have a confession. I’m allergic to all the newfangled mobile gadgets out there. Sure a tablet would be a lot easier to carry around than my laptop when I want to browse the internet and increase my productivity when I would otherwise be wasting time with social pursuits (who needs to talk to a person’s face anymore? We have FaceTime for that!). I’m missing out on tracking my cardio output, playing games, and analyzing my sleep patterns by not having access to the millions of apps on the market. I know all of these things, and yet I persist with my digital resistance.

And yes, my 5-year-old son can do all of those things if you hand him a mobile device.

One other thing I know, however, is that when I do finally capitulate to modernity I will not have to accelerate my failings in hours of frustration over my new device: It turns out that the market is all too ready to help me along in my future digital addiction! So, if you, like I, have been left behind in this handheld hubbub, here are some tips for wrapping your head around your mini-machine.

Before leaving the store – Hopefully you were part of the buying/product selection process. This is important because there are many different types of devices, each with their own operating system and auxiliary devices to make their use simpler (such as a sponge-tipped stylus to help users with neuropathy). By browsing products before purchase you can find the product that best matches your needs and whose operations are most intuitive to you. Further, most stores have a program to provide in-store device set-up for free or for a small fee. This process will simplify importing contacts, setting up apps and notifications, and protecting your device inside and out. Most stores will do the set-up after the purchase, but there may be a time limit associated with the free services.

Getting help later – If you have already made it home with your product and find that you are having trouble making it work, there are lots of options to get help. Again, the purchase location may have some services to help you out in the store or at home. Best Buy, for example, will tutor you on your device for free if it is a Samsung product, and they have different packages for teaching you to use other devices at home or work, for a fee. Verizon holds in-store training workshops for devices purchased there. There are also numerous options to get training on the web: and have online training materials and there are thousands of video tutorials on, to name a few.

And, of course, for those of you gifted with great stores of patience, you can always ask your child or grandchild to show you how to use the darned thing.