Someone once joked that the Tea Party Movement was my generation's punishment for teaching our parents how to use the Internet. As many of us know, that teaching continues on a daily basis; a big part of the Thanksgiving ritual for many will involve going through a punch list of parental computer issues before being allowed to sit down and eat turkey. In my family, I am the IT guy. A friend -- who is his aged mother's IT guy -- forwarded me this transcription of a phone exchange he had recently trying to help her with the iBooks app for the iPad.
> Paul: Touch where it says "Store"
> Mother: Not Collections?
> P: I meant it when I said Store. Press Store.> M: Ohhhh! Look! Look at all these things! I see dsfkljsa; akslfjkfdsa daslkfksaf -->> P: Mom? Hang with me here. On the upper right i need you to search for the word iPad.>> M: Where's search?>> P: See in the upper right there's an oval with a magnifying glass? Touch there and type -->> M: Oh! What did i do?>> P: (silence)>> P: You see where there's a button that says FREE? Press it.>> M: I get the white box!>> P: Mom? That's the information box that tells you about the book. What I need you to do is press anywhere outside the white box.>> M: The screen is all grey! what happened! Did they sell me a defective one? I knew it! Sell the defective unit to the old lady -->> P: Mom. Look in the upper left corner. Do you see something that says "iBooks"?>> M: Yes.>> P: Good. And you see the button that reads FREE? Now listen carefully. I need you to touch that button.>> M: I get the white box!>>> (20 min later)>> M: Oh! Now the button turned green and it says "Get Book." Do I press that?>> P: Yes please.>> M: i get the white box!>> (15 min later, the app has downloaded. We're inside the app)>> M: Wait! I see a bookcase! Where's the book?>> P: Mom? just wait a second -->> M: I see it! How do I open it?>> P: How might you think you open it? (I'm trying to get her to think...)>> M: No! Now I see all my icons.>> P: I sounds like you swiped the screen and you're looking at your Home page.>> M: How do I know I'm at the Home Page? It doesn't say Home Page.>> (later, we're inside the book)
> P: I'm going to show you a few tips about iBooks so you'll be able to enjoy reading the User Guide.>> M: I can do this myself you know.>> P: I understand. Now you know how on your Kindle you can make the letters go big -->> M: I'm not an idiot. I see there's the aA button - - wait! where did it go? The buttons! They all disappeared!>> P: I'm guessing you touched somewhere near the buttons. That makes them disappear -->> M: Well that's the stupidest thing I've ever -->> P: Some people prefer to read without computer buttons on the screen. If you'd like the buttons you merely touch where you think they should be.>> M: How am I supposed to know where I think they're supposed to be if they're not there?>> (Then I show her different settings. I am feeling giddy and decide to show her Themes. Big mistake)
> P: Look, you can choose White, Sepia, or Night. My preference is Sep ->> M: What just happened?!>> P: (silence) (because I'm on the phone and cannot react to what is happening in front of her eyes)>> P: Mom?>> M: The screen. It just turned black! oh no oh no oh no oh no oh no...>> P: Mom, it sounds like you selected Night. Why don't you choose White, I think that would be better for you?>> M: How do I do that?>> P: Remember the aA button?>> M: I thought I pressed Themes.>> P: Right. That's an option you get when you press aA.>> M: But I don't want to change the size.>> P: Mom?>> M: (silence)>> P: Why don't you click the aA button and that will bring you to Themes...