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I guess that what you think of what I am saying here all depends on what you call "literate"... anyway it looks to me like (pre-built PC) computer companies are ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Enthusiast
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    Is Technological Literacy Rare These Days?


    I guess that what you think of what I am saying here all depends on what you call "literate"... anyway it looks to me like (pre-built PC) computer companies are making things far too easy for users. I would just say all PC companies, considering that most of them are fundamentally the same (build a computer tailored to the customer, with software pre-loaded on the hard drive), but I think Dell is a perfect example. They install EVERYTHING for the user. Then when the smallest thing goes wrong the customer gets all upset and has no idea of what to do. They don't know the basics of troubleshooting (and God help them if they go to the Windows troubleshooter). They don't know how to change basic settings or configure basic stuff... and I'm not talking about baby boomers here, I'm talking about modern teenagers and twenty-somethings who are much more demanding with computers. Think about it: nearly every young person these days plays video games, uses the internet almost daily, burn CDs, download files, upload MP3 playlists, and write school papers on their computers. But if something goes wrong, do they have the slightest idea as to what to do? No, simply because it's all been set up for them. They just hit the power switch and click on icons. For example, a teenager will click on the Internet Explorer icon, and something goes wrong. He will call his parents to fix things. But do the parents know what to do? No, and for the same reason. So the parents call tech support. But does tech support know what to do? No (phone-based tech support is absolutely HORRID these days... the associate can't figure out an answer any faster than the caller can). So then when they reach a REAL expert, they find out that an icon's shortcut path was changed inadvertantly.
    I don't know about any of you, but this is very frustrating to me. People are surrounded with computers and yet they don't really know how to use them.
    It's just pathetic.

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer LondoJowo's Avatar
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    It doesn't bother me as I realize that there are many computer saavy people who only know how to fill their car up with gas and drive it.

    I don't know if you work in a computer related job or not but the fact that most people just want their computer to do what they need has been putting money in my pocket for quite a few years.

  3. #3
    Linux Engineer d38dm8nw81k1ng's Avatar
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    the good thing about a computer illiterate mother is that she has accepted that she can't understand what i do with it. my dad, however, is more knowledgable. not as good as me, but he still has a crack at doing stuff with it. what gets on my nerves is computer idiots thinking they know more about computers than me.
    Here's why Linux is easier than Windows:
    Package Managers! Apt-Get and Portage (among others) allow users to install programs MUCH easier than Windows can.
    Hardware Drivers. In SuSE, ALL the hardware is detected and installed automatically! How is this harder than Windows' constant disc changing and rebooting?

  4. #4
    Linux Guru AlexK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LondoJowo
    It doesn't bother me as I realize that there are many computer saavy people who only know how to fill their car up with gas and drive it.
    I second that, I know heaps about computers, but when it comes to cars, anything more complicated than changing a light bulb and Im off to the dealer complaining.

    To me it seems that this form of computer illetracy is on the rise these days, I still get calls from friends who are stumped by this message: "Non system disk error..... " They still don't realise they should have the floppy out of the drive before booting.

    Quote Originally Posted by d38dm8nw81k1ng
    what gets on my nerves is computer idiots thinking they know more about computers than me.
    True, my trick with people like this is to let them try out what they plan to do and then when it usually goes wrong, make them come grovelling back to me for help.
    Life is complex, it has a real part and an imaginary part.

  5. #5
    Linux Engineer LondoJowo's Avatar
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    To me it seems that this form of computer illetracy is on the rise these days, I still get calls from friends who are stumped by this message: "Non system disk error..... " They still don't realise they should have the floppy out of the drive before booting.
    What's nice is when you get a service callout for this. I had this happen, the customer couldn't run their 15MW generator set because the HMI computer was down. They figured that the harddrive crashed, I was setup to perform a new install (OS, PLC Communication drivers, & HMI software), and by chance I decided to go into the BIOS to see if the drive was recognized. It was recognized and looked good, that's when I found out that someone mucked with the BIOS setting and set it to boot from USB.

    The customer had to pay for my roundtrip plane ticket, and 3 days of service at $1,100 a day. Not to mention the money they lost during the two days of not generating power.

  6. #6
    Linux Enthusiast scientica's Avatar
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    Allow me to make a short rant:
    When I drive a car, I admit that I occasionally wonder how it works under the hood, and since I've been working this summer and had the privilege of driving a company car to and from a few of the different sites I worked on the problem was that this car got some "disease", it consumes way too much oil (I'm talking 1 bottle of engine oil per 1-3 gas filling up). Sure theoretically I could look in all the avavlibe documentation and schematics on the car and try to figure out whats wrong, but I realize that's above my knowledge (at least for now), and for the second, I don't have time to learn it - so all I 'can' do is treat the symptoms and fillup oil (the trickiest part was finding the hanlde for the hood (this Volkswagen doesn't look like the familiar Toyotas I drove while taking my driver's license, but once under the hood finding where to fillup oil wasn't that hard (it's part of one of the so called security checks (the one "under the hood" requires us among others to know where to check the oil level and where to fill it up, the rest if more or less knowing where to check the other "main" fluid levels and where to fill them up) we have to learn here in sweden for the driver's license)) ). The car is gonna be send to grease monkeys for check up soon, and to get back to the world of computers.
    The point here is that, as long as the car works fine there's no need to know what goes on under the hood, but when something happens we might not have any choice but to open the hood. The difference between cars and computers is that there's really now "computing's license" where we quire people to be able to "open the hood and fix/treat trivial things".
    Just in the same way that I don't want to know how the car works (other than just for fun or in the "how the fsck does this pice of car work??!?!?!?!" ) many people don't want to know how PC's work, they just want them to do as told - since they understand that they don't have the time/will to understand how it works.
    What we as programmers can do is to make it easier to process when things go bad, eg, when and app fails to start we can have a program/wizzard(aka "the Thing") that we've told the users to start when programs just crashes or wont start at all, the Think could ask the user to describe what happened, and possibly let teh user tell it what program they tried to start and then have it start the program with some "debug/diagnostic" wrapper/mode, which produces some log file which it then sends to the admins which then have some more info and clues as to what the problem is.
    We could also write more "intelligent" error messages, at least for the versions we release to illiterate, eg: in stead of "Non system disk error..... " we could write "Error: B1. Non system disc error. Refer to \"Error B1\" in 'Common erros and fixes'" and ship a little book with "Common errors and fixes", where eg this error is described like:
    Error B1 - Non system disc error
    The sytem was unable to find a system (bootable) disc. Please check that floppies, CD, usb-memories, etc are disconnected before booting and try to reboot, if the error stil remains when no removeable media is pluged in please contact your system administrator/customer support and report error number "B1".
    for errors that the users should 't see or most likely can't handle they could simply be informed briefly what the error is and that they like will have to contact their poor punchbag.
    Well, given that it's sort of like an utopic idea, but theoretically possible, and theory is all we know to work, or not
    Regards Scienitca (registered user #335819 - http://counter.li.org )
    --
    A master is nothing more than a student who knows something of which he can teach to other students.

  7. #7
    Linux Guru bigtomrodney's Avatar
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    People's lack of knowledge in anything doesn't bother me, it's just the unwillingness to learn or listen. You can't be expected to know it all, but when someone turns their back on important information I just lose patience. Things should just work, but people are getting far too intellectually lazy IMHO.

  8. #8
    Linux Guru Cabhan's Avatar
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    I don't have a problem with people not understanding computers; my problem comes when they think they do. It is SO aggravating to have someone brag to you about things you did 3 years ago or to tell stories of things you KNOW they can't do.

    If people aren't good with computers, and know it and admit it, I have no problem.

    Like me (and apparently all of you) with cars .

  9. #9
    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigtomrodney
    People's lack of knowledge in anything doesn't bother me, it's just the unwillingness to learn or listen. You can't be expected to know it all, but when someone turns their back on important information I just lose patience. Things should just work, but people are getting far too intellectually lazy IMHO.
    I agree with that. I do repairs for folks and some of them are genuinely interested in *learning* about their PCs as I fix them. The first step to knowledge is admitting you don't know something. The path to further ignorance is refusing to learn something new.
    Registered Linux user #270181
    TechieMoe's Tech Rants

  10. #10
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    Computer companies could save oodles of cash by not having the tech support people, who after all of their certifications still don't have a clue. Companies pretty much assume that if a "tech" has all required certifications, then he'll know what he's doing and can do whatever with a computer. While this may be true, most people just study for a test, take it, pass it, and forget all the information. It's much more effective if a company sits them in front of a computer and test them themselves. EVERY tech support guy I've spoken to gets the problem wrong and provides some entirely ridiculous off-shoot answer. Obviously something is wrong.
    Then the CUSTOMERS could save money by actually solving the problems themselves and getting the right answers through forums such as this, where people actually know what they are doing.

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