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Oh my god

  1. Mar 13, 2010 #1

    ideasrule

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    I feel a little giddy, so I'm going to poke a little fun at my mom. She may be stupid (still reading mom?? Keep on reading...), but she's cool in that she can laugh at herself, so here goes.

    Yesterday, my mom finished an essay for her ESL class and needed to print it out. She's had a computer in her house for over 15 years, took several college-level programming courses, and uses her laptop on a daily basis.

    She came to me, so I said, "OK, print it". She didn't know how. I said, "OK, email it to me and I'll print it." She didn't know how. I ended up printing it for her.

    I made several corrections to the paper version of the essay and handed the paper back. She made the corrections on the computer and somehow managed to lose the changes, and had to make the corrections all over again. She stays up until 3 o'clock doing so, saves the file to her USB, and leaves for class at 7 a.m. I was awake at 3 a.m., but she didn't ask me to print the file.

    She arrives in class, heads for a computer to print the file, and can't open the file on the USB. She never noticed that the school computer uses Office 2000 while her laptop uses Office 2007. Then she tries to open her email, thinking that it was the USB's problem. She goes to the sign-up form instead of login, and starts filling out her name, address, username, password, etc. Eventually she gave up. I could have had the problem fixed in a minute, but she never called me (I'm on March Break) or asked any of her classmates.

    Oh my god. How can anybody be this clueless?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 13, 2010 #2
    I feel your pain. My mother is just as bad. It's because they don't use the computer regularly enough, and when they do they get mad that you do things for them without letting them do it. The problem with letting them do it is that it happens once in a blue moon, and they don't write down the steps to recall it later. So you end up repeating yourself, over, and over, and over again.
     
  4. Mar 13, 2010 #3

    ideasrule

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    The problem is, my mom does use a computer on a daily basis, and she's taken numerous programming classes before. It's a mystery why she's so clueless.
     
  5. Mar 13, 2010 #4
    I have an opposite problem with a friend of mine. He knows too much about computers and for some reason this makes him feel that he always has to do things the hard way. A computer screen just doesn't look right to him unless he has a DOS prompt.
     
  6. Mar 13, 2010 #5

    Borek

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    Same can be said about some wifes.

    ducks behind the chair
     
  7. Mar 13, 2010 #6

    Evo

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    That's too funny! Although I give her credit for being able to use Word 2007, what a nightmare!! I don't know what I would have done without the tutorial Math Is Hard sent me. It is so counter-intuitive.
     
  8. Mar 13, 2010 #7

    drizzle

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    ...... Because she was busy raising you!
     
  9. Mar 13, 2010 #8
    It's funny to listen to people who likely grew up with PCs as a fact of their existence be critical or impatient with people who can't wrap their minds around the things and what they're trying to accomplish. Sometimes it takes some really abstract thinking to figure out how to get things to happen that you want to happen. Younger people -- who take computers for granted -- don't see it that way. I realise that. I'm pretty much in the middle.

    I don't know as much detail about functions in specific pieces of software as the younger people in my office. Some of them are amazing whizzes with Excel. But when something goes wrong with their computer or they want to buy a new one, they come to me for help or advice because they don't know or understand the first thing about the hardware they're working with. They're way better at playing games, though.

    And then there's my mother who's not ever worked in a office and, so, doesn't even know how to type let alone operate a computer. She was at my place last fall and had missed some episodes of her favourite soap opera. I looked it up and, sure enough, the network airs back episodes on their website. She was amazed, tickled, and entranced. Really? She could sit at my computer and watch episodes of her show that she'd missed?

    So I sat her in my office and showed her how the video menu on the screen worked. Where the play, pause, and volume "buttons" were. I demonstrated the mouse to her, showing her how my hand movement corresponded with the little arrow moving around on the screen. She's literally not ever touched a computer before. I forgot myself and was telling her to "right click" and then realised that just looking at a mouse, it's not evident that there are buttons to press on it. It's a smooth surface. I backed myself up a bit and held the mouse up to show her (it's a cordless mouse) that there are in fact two buttons to press on top. I handed the mouse to her so she could feel it in her hand, and she pointed it at the monitor and pressed the buttons, as if she was operating a remote control. I had to stop myself from laughing as I explained to her that, no, the mouse had to be down on the desk to make it do stuff.

    I guess all I can suggest is, patience. Know that what appears self-evident to you isn't necessarily to people for whom this is still really new stuff.

    Although, okay, I will laugh about one person who we hired who had no computer experience whatsoever. He was an older fellow and old-boys-club who's had some female underling working for him the whole of his career and he's not ever had to learn how to even type a letter by himself. (He wasn't my hiring choice.) We gave him a crash course on computer use and on our software in particular and then sent him to one of our remote offices along with someone else to help him out for about a month. Then he was on his own. He drove the younger people in my office insane by phoning daily with questions about whether he ought to right or left click on something. (The answer was, invariably, "Try both and see what happens".)

    One day I couldn't help but burst out laughing when he e-mailed me and told me his printer was out of ink. He wanted to know if he could get some digitally or if he had to go to the store and buy some. He wanted to download ink. Oh man. I laughed. It got even worse when he wanted to know what he needed to buy and I explained ink cartridges to him and told him to open the machine, take the cartridges out and take them to the store and ask the clerk for more of the same. He couldn't figure out how to open the printer. So I told him to unplug the printer and take the whole machine down the store with him and ask them to replace the cartridges for him.

    And that's just one story. Don't get me started on what we had to do to get pictures off of his digital camera and sent to our office. And truly, you'd have to know how pompous and obnoxious this guy was just as a person to appreciate how my usual stance on patience wore down to nothing in no time.
     
  10. Mar 13, 2010 #9

    Evo

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    OMG, that's hysterical!!
     
  11. Mar 13, 2010 #10
    This person is way ahead of us, we have to wait until the wave-particle duality concept has been extended to molecules. "Beam down the ink, scotty".

    New word:

    an·di·gi·bet·ic (un-dee-gee-bay-tic)
    adj.
    1. Not digibetical
    2. Unfamiliar with computers; uncomputerate.
    n.
    One who is unfamiliar with computers; an uncomputerate.
     
  12. Mar 13, 2010 #11

    drizzle

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    :rofl: Good one Andre
     
  13. Mar 13, 2010 #12

    ideasrule

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    Very cute. Now your gender is really showing.:biggrin:
     
  14. Mar 13, 2010 #13

    OmCheeto

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    maybe your mom is from the future! :bugeye:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hh3C0vyyttk&feature=related
    Embedding disabled by request

    And just to point out that technological foibles go both ways:

    My sister told me that she was in her office one day when one of the youngerlings came in and said that the vacuum cleaner was broken and needed to be replaced. Replaced? She'd just requisitioned it 3 months earlier. She had the youngster bring in the broken machine only to find that the bag was full.

    It's no wonder they had to invent ones with clear bodies and no bags. No one would buy the "old" models because they stopped working after a few months.
     
  15. Mar 13, 2010 #14

    lisab

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    Ahaha....did that person think the dirt went through the cord, into the wall, and...?

    Years ago, I was showing someone how to use a fax machine. I fed the original in...it went through the machine slowly (they were slow back then), and as it came out the other end she said, "Oh no, it didn't take it!"
     
  16. Mar 13, 2010 #15
    That's just it, lisab, I think that an awful lot of people don't think the idea all the way through.

    I had someone once ask me if they could fax a cheque to me to pay an outstanding invoice.
     
  17. Mar 14, 2010 #16
    Surprisingly my Grandpa picked up computering nearly instantly. I hate to say it, but he has taught me a few things that I had no idea how to do!
     
  18. Mar 14, 2010 #17

    ideasrule

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    I don't know if I'm one of the "younger people". I had a computer since I was 7, but my parents had a computer since I was 3.

    Also, I wouldn't call using a computer "abstract thinking". It takes no abstract thinking to realize that you hit File-->Print to print a file, or that you hit "Attach" to attach a file, or to realize that Office 2000 looks very different from Office 2007, or that you don't follow the signup link to log in to an email account. Granted, a person who's never touched a computer before would find it difficult, but that's not the case here.

    That's not technical incompetence; that's just stupidity. Even an illiterate kid in Africa who's never seen a computer his entire life should know that ink is a substance and substances can't be transferred electronically.

    Let me guess: he had to take the entire camera to your office.
     
  19. Mar 14, 2010 #18

    lisab

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    On a PC, you have to click on "Start" in order to turn it off. That's pretty abstract :smile:.
     
  20. Mar 14, 2010 #19

    turbo

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    That's MS-speak for "I'm going to start stopping." See? Clear as mud.
     
  21. Mar 14, 2010 #20

    Choppy

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    I hestitate to laugh at people in situations like this. Sometimes it is a little humerous. But I've been on the other side of the coin.

    Years ago, when I first met my wife's parents, we went out fishing. On returning from the trip, her father asked if I would clean the fish. I said sure, if he would show me how.

    He couldn't believe that I didn't know how to clean a fish. It's such a basic skill (and arguably a lot more important than knowing how to print a file on a computer). Of course I wouldn't have even known what to bait my hook with had it not been for them.
     
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