Voices From the Lab: Find What You Need at Austin Free-Net

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John, a visually disabled Vietnam War veteran, came to the Rosewood Zaragosa Columbo with 1980s ComputerNeighborhood center with basic computer skills.  He had worked in the early 80s on computer systems which used numbers and symbols only.  But, he had the basics down  pat.

“The system I worked on would take up that entire desk right there,” smiled John as he remembered his first time working with computers.  No doubt our systems today are small by comparison.  But John uses a special monitor because of his vision issues and he loves that AFN Trainer Traci showed him how to enlarge the font for the entire screen so he wouldn’t cause too much stress on his eyes.

Because of income needs in his younger days, John moved on from computers to air-conditioning systems and H-VAC (high-voltage alternating current) systems.  “I used to work on all the major City of Austin buildings, including this one.  It’s nice to come back and see them all in such good shape.”

John likes to use the free gym and say hello to his friends at Rosewood Zaragoza before he comes in to use our free computers.  “I work out. I drink a cup of coffee.  I say hello to the ladies.  I come in here and work on the computer, and then I go home and take a nap!”   Love that schedule, John!

Louis ArmstrongOver the course of his time with AFN, he’s been trained on creating an email account and even making online purchases – something that often times can be scary to a new user.  He shared with Traci that he is an avid saxophone player and was in need of a new instrument bag.  His love of music is a “genetic link” as he proudly shares that he is a direct descendant to Louis “Sachmo” Armstrong!

While he waits for UPS to send his instrument bag, he continues to check his new email account and experience new things on the computer.  “The computer is healing for me – in small amounts.  You have to remember to take a break from it every now and again.”

John uses the Austin Free-Net computers at Rosewood Zaragoza to improve both his knowledge and continue his socialization.   He is but one of our more than 10,000 clients that visit our free computer classrooms each month.

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