‘Dummies’ take on modern technology

For the longest time, I wrestled with the idea of owning an iPad. I had a smartphone, which fit neatly in my pocket, and I had a computer that fit neatly in my basement. I didn’t see the point of owning another gadget, especially since I was still unskilled in the two electronic devices I already had.

Then came the answer to my prayers: “iPad For Seniors, For Dummies.” It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it?

The Dummies series includes more than 260 publications. I own “Living Vegan for Dummies” and “Backyard BBQ for Dummies” (I go through phases). Years ago, I wanted to learn how to throw my voice but was disappointed to find there was no “Ventriloquism for Dummies” available.

Nancy Muir, the author of this new iPad book, has published more than 100 articles on technology and is a leading software consultant. I assume she is about 11 years old, because no one my age could know that much about computers.

The intro begins by noting: “This is a book for people who have no experience with tablets.”

Hold on, seniors like me take several tablets every morning. The writer explains that the book was written for the target audience of mature people, but no matter how simple Nancy tries to make this, if you are north of 50, you are going to have to resist having a tantrum after the first three pages.

Also in the introduction: “With your new iPad, you’ll learn how to have fun. You can explore the online world, organize your receipts and look at naughty videos.” (It doesn’t really say that last one, but including that information might finally entice some seniors into the Apple Store.)

The section “How to Choose the Right iPad for You” is more sage advice from the expert. Here, we learn that there are different styles and that “the new ones are getting lighter and thinner — great for the older population.” This sounds more like ad copy for Depends.

And this section: “How Much Memory Do You Need?” Coincidentally, this is also the name of a free brochure now available at my geriatrician’s office. There’s also advice on whether to purchase an iPad that uses only Wi-Fi or to invest in a device that also has 3G. The author asks: “Do you want to use your iPad only at home or do you want to walk around with it?”

This makes the 3G version a perfect gift for my uncle Leo, who occasionally disappears at night and wanders off into the forest.

There is a chapter on how to shuffle, a program that takes all your music — in my case, that would be my three Neil Sedaka songs — and plays them in random order. My wife hates it when I shuffle. That’s why she hid my open-back slippers.

I had trouble understanding a lot of stuff in the book, which made me feel very dumb. That’s when I decided it was time to buy another one of the actual top-sellers in the series: “Self-Esteem for Dummies.”

Television personality Dick Wolfsie writes this weekly column for the Daily Reporter. Send comments to dr-editorial@greenfieldreporter.com.