[lug] Excellent Rant

Michael J. Pedersen marvin at keepthetouch.org
Mon Mar 19 17:38:00 MST 2001

Guys, I just came across this guy's rant on /. and HAD to distribute it. I
think it might deserve a medal for the clearest explanation of computer
illiteracy in the world (or something close to it). Anyway, here it is:

Begin rant - This not meant as any kind of flamebait - it's a real problem
that I struggle with every day and I make only infinitesimal progress.
The difference between the average car and the average PC is that your average
AOL'er can tell you they drive a 94 Chevy Camaro, it's a 5 speed, takes
unleaded gas, and needs the oil changed every 3000 or so miles. There's a good
chance they know what kind of tires they bought, where the dipstick is, and
how to fill the radiator with antifreeze. They might even have a good idea
what the bluebook value is.

Now ask the same folks what operating system they're using, what version of MS
Office is on their PC, what browser they use, how to run a disk defrag., or if
they know the difference between memory and storage. They will shrug and reply
that they're not very technically inclined. Because they DON'T CARE. They
expect computers to be magical. Hence the millions of chainmails that people
send hoping to get a check from Intel or Disney. Hence a senior manager often
saying "put it in the computer" and having no idea what he means.

It doesn't matter that they use their computers for 8+ hours a day and their
car for only 2. Their expectations of computer specific technology are way too
high. How did this happen? Software is a TOOL. They don't expect a hammer to
know carpentry, or that a car knows how to drive itself.

Granted bugs make the problem worse, but if people were interested in becoming
skilled users they'd learn to demand better software. -sorry this is rant it's
the end of a monday.

Michael J. Pedersen
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