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Oldies' joy at one Val made earlier; STAR'S COMPUTER BRINGS NEW HOPE: MAN OF THE PEOPLE.

Byline: Eamonn Holmes

IT WOULD now be virtually impossible to run your life without access to a computer because the world demands we all to know how work the internet and send an email.

Seventy per cent of UK households have access to the web and almost as many have broadband.

That's great. But what about the other 30 per cent who have to drive on the hard shoulder of the super-dooper highway? As you'd expect, just about everyone under 25 knows how to use a computer, send emails via a mobile and download music, movies and God knows what else with the flick of a few buttons.

But there are more than six million over the age of 65 who have as much chance of knowing what to do with a computer keyboard as can play a bit of Bach on a piano keyboard.

That's why we should applaud the introduction of a new simple-to-use PC with just six buttons which will give the computer illiterate the chance to return to the human race.

Plastic The gadget is the idea of former Blue Peter presenter Valerie Singleton - but presumably it is made of sterner stuff than a cereal box and some sticky-back plastic.

Computer use has grown enormously even in the past 18 months, driven largely by the banks, building societies, retailers, schools and universities.

We are now expected to bank online, apply for anything from a car tax disc to social security benefit and get all our information about a business, shop, school or holiday via the internet.

Nobody writes letters any more and the recent postal strikes will speed up the process whereby those who want our money will chase us via email or text.

One credit card company sent me four texts and three emails in a week because I was a day late making a payment.

Every aspect of our work is on computer. Every record about our health or education is stored somewhere on a hard disk.

The downside of all this is that we work harder because we all expect an answer or information to arrive quicker. There's no hiding any more.

But the positives are countless. Our connection with the world at large is astonishingly fast and fruitful.

And thanks to Val, the growing number of grey voters will be able to feel part of the mainstream once again. Welcome!
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Nov 15, 2009
Words:398
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