[vcf-midatlantic] OT: people don't understand computers anymore

Dave McGuire mcguire at neurotica.com
Tue Jun 7 15:38:38 EDT 2016

  A very short response to your very long rant: "Yes, I agree 100%." :)
 Someone who uses a wrench shouldn't have to know the finer points of
wrench DESIGN.  They should just know how to use one safely and effectively.

  It really does depend on who we're talking about.

  My comments were speaking particularly to software developers.


On 06/07/2016 03:30 PM, Tony Bogan via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
> This is a very long rant. Feel free to nod off or delete it at any time :-)
> First, best reply so far to this thread:
> "I really wish more folks understood a bit more about physics though, too many attempt to occupy the same space at the same time. ;-)"
> Now.... My 10 cents (too long to be considered 2 cents!)
>>  Agreed 100%.  The big problem we have, though, is that people have
>> lost sight of what knowledge is necessary to write software (not throw
>> it together, but WRITE it) effectively and efficiently.  They know
>> they've lost sight of it, and they think that's fine.
> If this topic were just about people working in "computing fields" (pick hardware, software, whatever) the above comment fits the whole conversation. However, seems we are mixing and matching throughout this conversation to apply to all people who USE computers in all walks of life. Then we have to pick and choose which group a given comment applies to. The above has nothing, IMO, to do with the average person/consumer (and I don't think it was meant to....just trying to (poorly!) make a point) so we move to the next (not picking on any one persons comments, just was a wide ranging post good for quoting!)
>>  The other problem is that we still call them "computers".  Yes, of
>> course that's what they are, but then so are our phones, and our air
>> conditioners' remote controls, and most everything else.  What most
>> people sit in front of nowadays are terminals, simple communications
>> devices which do little other than browse the WWW on any given day.  If
>> it's not that, it's running games, turning a complex very capable
>> machine into a toy.
> I disagree with this generalization. My business is boats. Fishing boats and riverboats. Yet we have a word processor, quick books and page layout (used to be pagemaker, now it's indesign) running all day nearly every day.
> At home I use photoshop, indesign and a couple web design programs nearly as much as my web browser. Again, the comment applies only to specific groups of people, again IMO, as opposed to people in general.
>>  In short, very few people COMPUTE with computers anymore.  That's not
>> a problem, of course...but still calling them "computers" rather than
>> "terminals" or "toys" confuses people and affects their thinking.  If
>> you "know computers" that might mean you "can browse the WWW" or you
>> "can play with toys".  It very rarely means that you actually "know
>> computers".
> Terminals or toys would apply again only to certain groups. The fact that I also use my computer as a toy when I can is but one part of using all or as much of its capability. Do some people pretty much ONLY browse the web? Sure. But for those people that's what a computer is SUPPOSED TO DO. Again, for those people. Speaking as a user (while I programmed back in the day and I use Java and lua and others (albeit not very well) today, I have never considered myself a programmer. Never. ) I'm a user, or perhaps a "power user" in that I am the guy my friends and family refer to as "tech support." The average person would have never owned and wouldn't own a computer to this very day if they were still build your own have to solder and tweak etc etc. People had that opportunity back in the day. Guess what, they didn't want it! Some
> Of us did, but we were then, are now and likely always will be in the extreme minority.
> Someone in my world (user) who "knows computers" is someone who knows the software, the operating system, the basics of hardware (in today's world that's knowing the different connections really!)
> That's me to my friends and family. I am lucky in that I also have the old school technical knowledge, even though it is at a novice level compared to many of you. Back then I was a user, who liked to tinker as long as it didn't explode mom and dads hard earned money sitting there on the desk in its beautiful beige box. I ran a board for ten years, knew baud, swapped cards etc. I was elated when I got my first Mac. No more spending time on things to make it work. I needed it to "just work" because the computer for me, like most all the people
> I know, is a tool. An appliance. It's a toaster. It's a microwave. But it is so much more without having to know HOW and WHY it's a toaster and a microwave and a tv and and and all in one.
> 99% of the people never have and never will know how to fix a car, or even a bike. If they did, they wouldn't have one. My daily life requirements preclude me from having the time to learn all the things I'd like to. While I certainly know more than my friends and family do about computers, and my 8 bit habit goes a little further, in the end I'm a user. I don't need an ee degree to use word, Photoshop, indesign, dreamweaver, quickbooks.
> When shit breaks on my boats that I cannot fix I don't get pissed or lament the fact that I didn't become a diesel mechanic AND  a boat captain, I call out diesel mechanic guy. (Mitch actually) my crew says "aren't you upset?"
> I say, "No, that's why God invented mechanics!"
> Now if the lament is about how piss poor today's new mechanics are?? Oh yeah, that conversation can be had about a lot of topics including computers!!
> All depends on the group of people we are discussing.
> Tony 

Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
New Kensington, PA

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