Understanding the Code part 1

19/10/2018

Have you ever wondered how those under 35 seem to be able to pick up any device and use it while you're struggling to operate the Video remote? Do you feel like they speak another language? In a way they do, and they are referred to as 'Digital Natives' - people who grew up in a digital environment.

This week's blog aims to help you crack the code, and translate some of the basic vocabulary.

If you're over 40, you can probably remember the days before Windows, when we had to 'format' a disk before you could use it, and if you pushed the wrong button, you could wipe out everything. Well that experience has left many of us with an ingrained fear which is largely unfounded nowadays. Macs are designed to be idiot proof, and Windows hides the files you shouldn't mess with, and almost everything is backed up, and you usually get a message which asks if you're sure. It's actually a lot harder than you think to lose all your data now, and if you do, you can usually undo most of what you've done, although this may take an expert.

There is a universal language of symbols, which will help you find the buttons you need to operate most digital devices. If you search for these, you should be able to operate many devices.

Symbols

Power - on and off - sometimes you press the button, and other times, you need to hold it for 3 seconds. If you want to turn something on or off, use the button with this symbol.

Pause / Play / Stop

If you're watching videos or listening to music, these controls allow you pause (two vertical lines), play (triangle pointing right) or stop (square) whatever media you are using. You'll see them on your DVD player / remote controls and any programme which allows you to view or listen.

A few more media controls are shown in the image below:

Menu options

Once you have the device on, most digital devices include a menu (list of options) that allows you to find the things you need, such as programme lists on your satellite box, software that is on the device, and options for what the device can do. You can usually move through menus without making changes to the device, so it's a reasonably 'safe' way to explore.

Settings

Settings create the environment for most device. The settings option on your phone will control things like time zones, languages etc. On your Satellite box, it will be the channels, options for captions and audio description etc. Settings allow you to organise your device to function the way you want. They can usually be changed and reversed. A good way to use them is to change one setting, check to see if you get the desired result, and if not, change the setting back, and make a different adjustment.

As more of our world is online, it's important to learn the code, which will help you move to being a 'digital immigrant.'