Doc holds office hours Friday mornings

"Coffee and Computers" may be one of the missing links in the computer food chain.

For those not familiar with "Coffee and Computers," it is the new, free, computer get together held each Friday morning, starting at 9 o'clock, in the conference room of the Tustin Area Senior Center, 200 S. 'C' Street, Tustin.

Its purpose is to try to fill in a gap in the help process for computer owners. It is there to offer a place where people of all ages can come together and share their computer experiences and get answers to those seemingly perplexing problems which plague all of us who own computers, surf the Internet, use Email or struggle with applications programs like Word or Excel.

There is no formal structure. People come in anytime from 9 o'clock on and enter into the discussion. There is free coffee and sweets, the chairs are comfortable and the room is air-conditioned. And you can come in any Friday that you have questions or just want to visit.

Last week the discussions ranged from problems with error messages appearing suddenly to trying to "foot" and "cross-foot" in an Excel spreadsheet.

There is a wide range of expertise in the room. One person came in and sat quietly. When asked if he had any questions, he said that he just wanted to sit there and listen to the discussion so he could learn. Another person had wide ranging computer experience that he shared with all of us.

Others have very specific questions. One lady was working with spreadsheets using Microsoft Excel. One of the other participants helped her. Many people had Internet or Email questions which provoked lively discussions.

Getting help with computer problems is one of the perplexing tasks of computer ownership. So many of the problems are random and seemingly weird in nature. They are not the types that call for taking a sixteen-week class, waiting 20 minutes for telephone technical service, or taking the computer apart and bringing it to Con Tran at Universal Computer Service. What really is needed is just a place or a person that can guide you to a solution.

"Coffee and Computers" is designed to be that sort of place. There is no sign-up required and people can come in any Friday and partake in the discussions. There are computers in the lab next door for "hands on."

In future I plan to discuss some of the specific actions that you can take to get help with your computer like help menus, technical service, newsgroups, knowledge bases and good books. However, so many of the problems we encounter only need a little guidance like we are trying to provide at "Coffee and Computers."

So, come in any Friday and visit, have coffee and sweets, and talk computers.

Remember, keep the neurons happy, the synapses snapping and enjoy computing.


Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at:

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