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Beacon Senior News

Do it yourself, with the help of the Internet

Jun 26, 2020 09:58AM ● By Adam Cochran

The DIY movement has taken off with the help of the internet

My mom and dad raised me to be a habitual researcher.

Dad is an encyclopedia of knowledge, about World War II aviation specifically. Mom raised me to be a Jack of all trades and a connoisseur of the obscure. Both parents taught me not to purchase anything without doing my research. They taught me that being able to find the answers is more important than knowing the answers.

Now, they use “the information superhighway” for their research, aka the Internet. Each of my parents has a smartphone and a laptop. But over the past few months, my mom’s computer has begun to show signs of wear and tear. The letters are missing from the keys and it occasionally refuses to type some letters. Then, the laptop had a near-fatal illness a few weeks ago when the fan died.

Fans are cheap, usually around $20, but putting in a computer fan can be a little complicated. I ordered a fan for her and had every intention of installing it, but got busy and forgot. She called me one day and told me that she looked up how to replace the fan on YouTube and asked if I thought she and my dad could do the repair themselves.

There are two ways to respond to a question like this:

Option 1: “No! Don’t touch it. You might break it.”

Option 2: “Of course you can do the repair yourself! You’ve changed the brakes in the car, remodeled three-fifths of the house, adopted four kids with nearly no assistance from an attorney, and helped a class clown who despised homework learn the research skills necessary to eventually earn a master’s in Journalism. I’m positive that you can change the fan on the laptop.”

I chose Option 2 because Option 1 is never the right answer.

Google it

A few years ago, I bought a lot of stickers that say LMGTFY (Let Me Google That For You). Although the phrase is admittedly snarky and passive-aggressive, it’s a valid answer to most questions. Most of us possess a device—a computer or smartphone—that is capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man…and sometimes we use it to look at cat videos. However, when something breaks, the Internet can be a real lifesaver.

YouTube offers video tutorials on how to fix almost any model of everything. Wikipedia is the ultimate peer-reviewed source of information, and it never gets outdated. can settle any marital spat about “What else was that actor in?” Shazam tells you what song is playing on the radio. WolframAlpha solves almost any complex equation, and it’ll show you the work. Lifehacker, Wikihow, iFixit, and countless other sites will teach you how to fix, repair, build or otherwise enhance your personal environment.

The one thing the Internet can’t do is give you the courage to use the tools to dismantle and reassemble. But that’s the fun part.