OMG! Suddenly I’m illiterate…

I recently read Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother and it was a revelation. I suddenly realised that I am illiterate. “How’s that?” You ask,”you’re a literacy specialist You read and write all the time,you use the computer all the time for work,of course you’re literate.” Not so! I’m talking about computer literacy. Quelle horreur! I was brought up in an age when literacy was so important. Being able to read and write effectively was the basis of my education and books were my primary source of entertainment. Hand writing was taught as a skill and people still wrote letters. Remember pen pals? I remember when the nuns made us all take typing in sixth form, and my response to their admonition that a girl needed a skill to keep her in work till she had her babies, ” I’m not going to be a secretary,I’m going to have a secretary”

My first encounter with a computer was in about 1970 when I worked for Commercial Union in High Holborn. In those days they took up the whole of an office basement and were accessed by filling in a strange form with little green box,one for each character that you wanted typed into the computer. My first attempts at programming one came when we bought our kids a Commodore 64 and we made it say “hallo Patrick”. Happy days. Then came Microsoft and everything became much more user friendly.

However I digress, the revelation caused by Doctorow was reinforced when my primary school teacher daughter mentioned that she was teaching her class basic programming as part of the curriculum. OHG how am I going to help my grandchildren with their homework. So far I’ve enjoyed helping them read and write and encouraged them to love books, so to stay one step ahead I’ve signed up for a MOOC offered by Codecademy. I’m starting with HTML and then I might move on to Python (OO get me!) and my kids call me Technogranny.


Doctorow released the bestselling novel Little Brother in 2008 with a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike licence.[22] It was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2009.[23] and won the 2009 Prometheus Award,[24] Sunburst Award,[25] and the 2009 John W. Campbell Memorial Award.[26] (Wikipedia)


9 thoughts on “OMG! Suddenly I’m illiterate…

  1. I get it. I really do. While not as early as you, I got my first computer in the mid-80s and have kept up and upgraded and renewed and relearned and updated….but this edition of Win 8 ’bout had me at the Peter Principle. I have so many files from so many years stored in the Cloud wherever it exists (along with extraneous disks that no longer fit anything but I wish they did and maybe someone will someday invent something to recover old data and flash drives full of who knows what… ). I digress. I think I’ll avoid html however.


    1. Hi Janet, I have to confess that I still have XP on my laptop, but I do love my iPad .
      If you look on HTML as new language it is very logical and straightforward. Much easier than Greek or Irish which are my latest language projects.


  2. Smiling on the inside. I can totally identify. You, however, are way ahead of me . I don’t even know what mooc is! (Put me out of my misery, please)
    As for html, well…
    And my five year old grandson has just been given his dad’s old apple laptop! How will we ever converse!?


    1. Me neither, but there is a very straightforward course provided by Codecademy. Just google it. You can work at your own pace and it’s explained,step by step. It will mean that you can edit your posts and understand the code, not essential, thanks to WordPress, but sometimes useful.
      Good luck!


Please let me know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s