George Henderson, 66
“Within in a couple of days of using alex, I sent my first email.
I was so proud.”
George is a semi-retired electrician living in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Although George gained experience and received training on computers while at work, the system he got used to was constantly being updated. “As soon as I got used to the system, it would change,” he says. “And although the company provided on-going training, it took time to get used to the changes.” George had always used PCs and computer of his own at home. “We’ve had a computer in the house for 15 years, but I would rarely use it. I tried it a couple of times and would end up having to phone my son for help. I was worried that I would do something wrong. I would only use the computer about once a month, when I absolutely had to.” It was Mrs Henderson who first learned about alex. “My wife gets The Lady magazine regularly and pointed out the piece on alex. As I was reading it through, I thought that’s the computer for me!‟ said George. The Hendersons then sent off for a DVD which demonstrated the ease and simplicity of alex. Within a month of reading the article, George had purchased alex. “I was taken by surprise on the price. I thought it was going to be a lot more as you get so much for the money,” he said. George found it easier than expected to set alex up. “The DVD explained a lot. We also got an instruction book which was easy to use if we got stuck”, he says.
“Once it was all set up we received emails from alex which keep us up constantly updated about the computer”.
Marion Colman, 63
“When I read about alex I was curious and hopeful straight away.”
I'm 63, divorced and working full time. Ten years ago I was traumatised when my employer computerised my entire department in a very short space of time and offered me - by then into my fifties - two days of "crash" training on Windows. Yes, everything from Word to Excel in just two days. My previous work experience ranged from Girl Friday in a stately home, PR positions and roles in TV and the music business. All this was in the pre-IT era so my experience of computers at this point in my life was virtually nil.
Two weeks later, unable to cope and out of my depth, I resigned. I simply couldn't cope with the new technology and felt desperate. I fell back on my people skills and landed a wonderful job in the retirement sector. And, though the role was office-based, there wasn’t a computer in sight. What a relief!
Put simply, I was a technophobe, sent into panic by the mere sight of a computer. I felt miserable, pathetic and embarrassed. My two sons were frustrated that they couldn't email me, particularly when my grandchildren came along and photos had to be posted. Needless to say, I received very few.
When I read about alex I was curious and hopeful straight away. A computer for someone like me? That’s a dream come true! Admittedly, I was sceptical and apprehensive when the package arrived, (I was even incapable of reading instructions of anything remotely techy), however, getting alex up and running and ordering broadband was simple.
Susan Springer, 65
“alex does everything I need and was missing out on.”
After reading about alex in The Lady magazine, it didn’t take Sue Springer long to realise that this was the computer that would bring her into the 21st century. Having never used one before Sue, who is 65 and lives with her husband, a retired BT Engineer, in Booton, Norfolk, had always been wary of computers. So, feeling out of touch, she signed herself up to a six-week computer course for beginners last September. For two hours every Thursday, Sue attended a course at her local Sixth-Form College. “Starting with the basics and using Windows 7 on a PC, we were shown how to switch the machine on, before learning how to send and receive email and surf the web,” Sue says. However, she still had trouble using the computer unaided. And she is not alone. “There were members on the course who turned up every week, yet still struggled with the basics of turning the computer on. Some people have PCs at home, but even after the two-hour lessons every week, they still can’t use them. There are so many things that can – and do - go wrong when using PCs.” All that changed for Sue when she purchased alex. Following the simple user manual, she was able to set the computer up without any help at all but she knew help was always on hand if needed. Sue feels that alex is so self explanatory that most customers are unlikely to need any assistance. “Within a day, I was sending e-mails and browsing the internet. It was all so simple,” she said. Sue now emails and surfs the web daily - something she once believed was beyond her. alex has also enabled Sue to shop online and download the photographs from her niece’s wedding, an event she was unable to attend. Sue concludes, “I wouldn’t use a PC as it is too complicated. I didn’t grow up with computers, so starting from scratch now is very difficult. Also, as we live in an isolated area, it’s difficult to receive help. My brother is even worse with computers than me but he’ll soon be purchasing alex as well. If he needs any help, I’m confident enough to give him lessons!” Sue added, “I have stopped going to the computer course as most of it is not relevant or necessary with Alex – It does everything that I need and was missing out on".
Anne Buckingham, 75
"I use alex for emailing and searching for information.
I’m learning all the time.”
Working in tourist information, computer-illiterate Ann never had much need for – or interest in – computers. “My husband Stanley uses them”, Ann explains. “When he retired from medical research 20 years ago, they were just starting to become commonplace. Like many of our generation, Stanley was self-taught, picking up knowledge and techniques from work and learning as he went. These days, he uses the computer mainly for banking, playing games and shopping at Amazon. Until recently, my only involvement was when Stanley wanted to show me something on his screen.” Slowly though, Ann began to feel that she was missing out, so she enrolled on a free course for seniors provided by her local council in Wheatley, Oxfordshire. The course taught the basics of using a computer. “Most of us hadn’t even typed before, so even using a keyboard was new to us. And even though we learned from scratch, I still wasn’t comfortable using a PC.” Then, an article in The Lady magazine introduced Ann to alex. “I read the article and related to it straightaway,” she said. “I believed that if the author of the article could use alex then so could I.” One month later, Ann, now the proud owner of an alex computer, was proving herself right. With two sons living abroad, Ann has plenty of incentive to get online, and while she had been promising to get a computer for over a year, she’d struggled to summon the necessary enthusiasm. Anne continues, “Once alex arrived, I set everything up on my own. There was nothing frightening about this; in fact it was all so easy. At the moment, I use alex for emailing and searching for information. But it’s still new, so I’m learning all the time. Like a new toy, it’s great fun.” Ann has become protective over alex, “It’s mine! Stanley has his computer, and this one is mine.” When a further article on alex appeared in The Lady, Ann instantly sent it to a friend, with a recommendation to purchase.