Tag Archives: Rant

Kids Can’t Use Computers… And This Is Why… Consumer Electronics Sucks

I was pointed to an article today called Kids Can’t Use Computers… And This Is Why It Should Worry You and it bugged me so much I had to respond at more length than was available in a FaceBook post.Datamation Cover June 15th 1985

The article covers a few topics, some of which I agree with, but the general theme is “you don’t understand  the inner workings of computers and I do, so you’re stupid”. There are (currently) 800 or more comments and growing so I assume it has gained some traction.

It’s written by a Computing teacher who is frustrated by people who come to him for help. I thought it was a teacher’s job to help people learn, but hey, maybe he’s just having a bad day. Unfortunately this guy seems to believe that the reason people don’t understand is, not because the consumer electronics industry generally sucks at User Experience, but because these lazy sods simply refuse to devote their lives to understanding the internal workings of their computers and phones.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been a geek in IT for thirty years or more.  I love technology and I love tinkering with the internals of computers, but I’m frankly embarrassed to be associated with the industry sometimes.

I can usually hack my way through a problem because I’m used to the nuances of software and hardware, but if some bewildered soul comes to me and says “The computer is saying Error Code: 0x32C8. What does that mean?”, I’m much more likely to look sheepish on behalf of the whole industry and say “Yeah, it’s not your fault. There’s no possible way you could know that. Let me do some arcane magic now and fix that and let’s pretend you never saw it”. I really feel for people when their computer makes them feel stupid and I need them to realise it’s not their fault.

So here are a few of the points that made me mutter “Bullshit!” under my breath as I flicked through the article this afternoon. Continue reading

Watching TV Fries Kid's Brains

I was accidentally exposed to more than a minute of commercial TV the other day and I'm still recovering, so it's no surprise that toddler's malleable minds are mangled by TV.

It seems to be an accelerating spiral to the bottom. As broadcast TV becomes irrelevant, the networks have to pump out cheaper and cheaper dross peppered with ads just to survive.

We now have at least two or three "shopping" channels where they stopped pretending it wasn't about the ads and spew a barrage of hucksters, quacks and loud, fast talking hawkers selling stuff you don't need.

[…shudder…] Quick! Where's the remote….?

Whew! That was close. Got away with only a faint waft of smoke from a few scorched brain cells, and a slight sense of despair for the future of humanity.

#rant #internet #tv

One Extra Hour of TV Reduces Toddlers’ Kindergarten Chances
Each extra hour of TV damages toddlers’ vocab, math and class engagement 3 years later.

Microsoft still don’t get it, do they…

I made a reluctant expedition into the Microsoft jungle this evening because my ISP suggested one of my PCs might be infected with a virus. They suggested checking with Microsoft Security Essentials.

This is the download page.



I can only guess they are offering me the choice of a 32 or 64 bit version but what the hell is the average punter supposed to make of that?

It’s 2013 for god’s sake. Haven’t they learned anything about user experience? Anything?

So, nothing to see here. Time to retreat to the sane world as quickly as possible.

The Rules of Engagement for Instant Messaging

Tsk Tsk. You have been referred to this page because you have committed one or more of the Cardinal Sins of Instant Messaging (IM) and need retraining.

The basic rule of thumb is: “Do I really need to break Ian’s concentration with a red hot poker in the eye right now?”, but here are the specifics:

  1. If I don’t answer immediately I’m not being rude (or I might be, at my discretion). Just wait, I’ll get to you. IM is not the other end of my chain for you to yank.
  2. Don’t interrupt me to tell me what you are going to do.
  3. Don’t interrupt me to say “Nothing has happened yet“.
  4. Don’t interrupt me by answering “Ok“.
  5. Don’t interrupt me with “Thanks“. See 6. Pointless Pleasantries.
  6. Don’t say “Hi“, “Good morning“, “Sorry to bother you” or sign your name. You are not writing a letter so dispense with the noise. It’s ok to be terse; I won’t be offended.
  7. Last, but not least, if you are going to interrupt me, then take the time to compose an actual message. If you fire off a sentence as fragments in multiple messages, I will not sit there waiting for you to get to the damn point, I will come around to your house and rip your bloody arms off.

Ok, now you know, and we can be friends again.

Having read read this you probably just smacked yourself in the forehead when you realised how crass you were. If you are about to Instant Message me to thank me however, please start again at Rule 1.