John Socha ("Jack") Frequently Asked Questions
How did you get in the business of explaining technology to beginners?
Explaining things has always been interesting to me. In the Army at 18, I trained to be an "intelligence analyst." [I was too young to be an agent and would probably been a bad one!]
The analyst is the guy who takes pieces of information, from may sources, and tries to see the bigger picture. I ended up at the Pentagon and it was far from glamorus or -for the most part- even exciting.
During my college days and later I was in retail camera sales, requiring a lot of explaining. And then there was radio broadcasting, explaining weather, traffic, sports and why the carpet sale next weekend is a really good deal!
When did you start explaining computers?
In the late 80's I did radio ads for a company that made "IBM PC clones." So I bought one and other folks at the station bought them too. This was before Windows, so there was very little "point and click."
After explaining to others how to copy and paste files for the millionth time, my wife joked I should just put it on a cassette. It was a great idea.
So I quit my radio job and wrote and recorded The DOS Tape. We did three editions and a special version for IBM. Later we produced What is Windows? and others. These all did well, as nobody was explaining things to beginners the way I did.
When did you start explaining digital cameras?
In the late 90's I had a syndicated Radio Computer Magazine show than ran weekly for a couple of years.
A pioneering company called SoundVision was selling simple digital cameras and they sent me one for review. I was intrigued, and got hooked on digital.
I ended up doing the same thing I did with computers: I explained what they were all about, but this time in a classroom setting and also as a mulrimedia CD, How To Buy Your First Digital Camera.
Favorable reviews resulted in offers to write more about cameras, this time for magazines. I also spend some time in Silicon Valley "ghostwriting" for a client.
What advice do you have for camera buyers?
Learn photography basics and "get the right tool for the job." Too big or complicated a camera can be a burdon, and too limited camera can be very frustrating.
Do you need a computer to use a digital camera?
While it is still possible to take your camera to a store and have prints made, the lure of sharing and social media is strong. But if you get a computer, it is essential to understand where you picture files are located.
My First DOS Laptop