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e_moon60

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Of work and other things [Aug. 5th, 2010|05:28 pm]
e_moon60
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[Current Mood |awake]

The book is moving steadily along, hurray, hurray.    Every book has parts that continue to grow without much difficulty, and I certainly enjoy those weeks and hope for more.   Momentum helps--it's when I get a week with too many interruptions and don't "make the words" that things get stickiest.  That being said, there's some structural work to be done pretty soon now and some decisions to be made on where this one will end and the next will begin.  Today's output--just over 2500 words.

The new picnic table R- made looks great in the back yard.  Now if the temps will drop below 100F so we can enjoy eating out there for lunch or supper (breakfast is doable) it'll be great.   Dragonflies were going nuts over the pond while I ate lunch (having moved to the chair under the oak tree near the lily pond where it was maybe a half-degree cooler.)   Widow Skimmers (two males, skirmishing), Neon Skimmers (ditto), some Blue Dashers and Eastern Pondhawks and maybe something else but it was too hot to move around the pond with binocs.

Sometimes you get emails that make you wonder why that person thought you wanted to hear what they had to say...not clearly hostile ones where you know they intended to hurt, but the kind that invite a less-than-sympathetic response because of cluelessness.  

I'm also of the opinion (and it is an opinion, and not a statement of fact) that right now in the 21st century, no person with a doctorate claiming professional expertise in any field is justified in claiming no computer skills.   Any person with a college degree, actually, and that includes those with disabilities (who are actually more likely to grok computers and what they can do.)  Less than total computer skills, sure.  I rely on the technical expertise of others at times; I don't want to spend the time it would take to learn all the things my webmistress or other techxpert knows.   I don't have all the latest electronic tech--don't need it, don't want it all.  But I certainly can handle my own email, my own browser, post comments on blogs,  crop/resize/etc. and upload images to my blogs or send them in email at a reasonable file size, and so on.   Any college grad--however far back that degree was--should pull up the big girl/big boy pants and get with it, if they can't do the same.  No emailing giant images that don't fit on any normal screen (for instance.)    Complaining about software you don't like--sure.  We all do, about one thing or another.   But show some basic willingness to engage with the silicon monsters, even if you regularly cuss at them when they screw up.  (As a rancher friend of mine said years ago: "I will boot you with my size 12 ostrich-skin boots if you don't boot nicely this time!")  

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: gauroth
2010-08-05 11:14 pm (UTC)
Huzza for the book! My daughter (works in a bookshop in N London) lent the first 'Vatta' book to a friend and now he's ordered the entire set from her shop! Double huzza!

It astonishes me that so many of my friends who are about 40 - 60 don't want anything to do with the Internet. They are so helpless when, for instance, they need to know the train timetable and ask me to check on my phone! I don't understand it, the Internet is easy to use! You don't need to be a Programmer!

They don't know what I see in Games, either, sigh. They are missing So Much!
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[User Picture]From: keristor
2010-08-06 06:27 am (UTC)
I'll look up timetables etc. on the net, but I also see very little point in computer games. Designing them, yes. Writing them, yes. Playing them? Not really. The only ones I generally use are the ones which came on Windows, soltaire and the like, which I occasionally use for wind-down before going to bed, and if I didn't have then handily on the machine I'd use a deck of real cards (anyone remember those? Actual bits of paper stuff with pictures printed or painted on them?).

Although I'm tech-literate (I'm a programmer) I don't have the 'latest' anything, and in a number of ways I'm a tech-luddite. My mobile pgone makes phone calls and sends and receives SMS (text) messages, it doesn't have a camera or 'apps' or any other 'smart features. It's a phone, and Ghu knows where I'm going to get another one when it dies. And frequently I'm known to say "I hate computers!" and threaten to throw them out of the window.

I can well understand people who don't want to use the net, or type, or especially use some dead rodent pointing device. I know people who still feel the same about using the telephone (and they aren't all over 50, several of them are under 30). It's a choice, and it's one a large proportion of the population make. Just as I don't go to football matches and other popular events, they too could say I'm "missing so much" -- yes, I'm 'missing' something which bores me. My preferred hobbies of programming, reading, analysing Bach chorales, etc., likely bore them too. "But if you don't analyse Bach chorales you're missing so much!" I could say, and be correct, but everyone makes choices and has preferences...
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From: baobrien
2010-08-06 04:34 pm (UTC)
I find solitaire with actual playing cards MUCH more peaceful than the online version. Playing it online inspires compulsive behavior for me - "just one more time!" until forever.
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[User Picture]From: keristor
2010-08-06 06:42 pm (UTC)
I'm disciplined *g*. I only play it until I win, then I can turn off the computer (or at least the monitor), which is usually only a few games. The same way as I prefer biscuits which come in small stacks, I can then have just one stack (whereas if it's a packet or a tin with no divisions I'll eat the whole lot). I'm not so good with reading, though, I'll say "just to the next chapter" and then not notice until the end of the book...
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[User Picture]From: controuble
2010-08-05 11:27 pm (UTC)
Funny...my computer doesn't listen to me when I threaten it with my boots, but then again, I don't wear size 12s, either.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-08-06 06:05 am (UTC)
Mine used to get its plug pulled (this was in the days when shutting down abruptly didn't bother them.) I would also stomp out of the room and leave it alone as long as I wanted (some people, I found, were so intimidated that they thought they had to "keep up with" the machine. No. My machine, my little electronic slaves, if I want to go read a book, it has to wait for me.)
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[User Picture]From: controuble
2010-08-06 11:00 am (UTC)
if I want to go read a book, it has to wait for me.

But of course! Books are much more important than electronics. I spend way more time with my nose in a book than anywhere else.
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From: ozdragonlady
2010-08-05 11:43 pm (UTC)
Something I became aware of while rolling out new a application at work - quite a number of people cannot see the screen. Especially at the high resolutions customarily used now. So the font size in some areas of the screen just isnt visible to them.

So you are not just asking them to do something new, but also to recognise that they (shock, horror) need glasses - or worse, need multifocal glasses .... and as we all know, multifocals are a sign of advancing age (like, I started to need mine before I was thirty ...)

When you couple these psychological aspects with anxiety at displaying their lack of computer literacy, you are behind the eight ball trying to get them to use computers.

An inability to understand the implications of large images is not restricted to the computer illiterate, either. Anyone whose experience has only been with fast and unlimited download rates will not have the slightest idea of the issues they can cause.

Using a computer competently as a word processor, even with average level surfing, does not necessarily result in an awareness of the underlying mechanics and thus understanding of such facts as image size - and if your only experience with email is dependent on drag-and-drop methodologies (as in average user Apple apps) you are just not going to get the issues the rest of us suffer from.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-08-06 06:11 am (UTC)
And a lot of material is badly designed for viewing, too. So many bad websites...and webforms... Size is part of it, so is spacing, color choice, font choice...and worst of all, illogical organization. (They all learned from Microsoft programmers how to hide the necessary and flood you with the useless.)

Screens could be less crowded (which improves readability, even w/o increasing font size) and early instruction could include how to increase font size. Design of screen, choice of font and color, could also improve readability.

But yes, I agree it's not only the person's fault who has some computer-panic. The thing is, if you're an independent professional, you need to get over it or hire an office manager/secretary/PA who is computer-competent and can email or post to the blog or whatever for you.
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[User Picture]From: keristor
2010-08-06 06:35 am (UTC)
The latter was my thought -- "we have secretaries for that sort of thing". It's still an attitude I see in a number of managers who still prefer to have someone take dictation and provide them with printouts. Not everyone has even my level of typing proficiency (and I use that last word ironically, seeing the number of mistooks per sentence).

As for bad websites, one would think that the BBC would get it right. But no, their latest redesign has loads of Flash, lots of "text-bites" and little deep coverage, and the text (a) goes right to the edge of the screen and (b) if you make it bigger (as I have to these days even using glasses) scrolls off the side (oh, and it looks like a cheap tabloid). I don't know how much they paid for it, but it should have been negative. Another triumph of form over function.

So I can well see a person looking at a few prominent websites and saying that they want nothing to do with it.
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From: baobrien
2010-08-06 04:42 pm (UTC)
My sister has worked as a web designer/artist over the years. We had a memorable conversation once, years ago, where she said she was bored with the jobs where they wanted a plain vanilla website - and I gave her a business user perspective on the use of all that fancy garbage she liked so much. Yes, it might be more fun to design, but the user wants to get in, get the info they want and get out. I suspect that there's a strong trend in web owners to think that more complex is better - think of the comments I've read here about LiveJournal's design decisions.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-08-06 06:42 pm (UTC)
She needs to read Tufte's books on the visual communication of data.

One of my best friends is a web designer specializing in clean, uncluttered, easily navigable websites...and she has very satisfied customers who see their websites working to improve their bottom line. The websites aren't all alike, but they all give both the site owner and those who come to the site what they want.



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[User Picture]From: ann_mcn
2010-08-06 12:11 am (UTC)
In the small family owned business where I work (I am not kin), the two 30 year olds can turn on a computer and get email, but that is all. No clue about saving emails for documentation, for instance. They are both college graduates, but they're intellectually lazy, and 20 years younger than the ones you're complaining about. Oy.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-08-06 06:13 am (UTC)
Sad, sad, sad.

It wasn't age that I was most thinking of, though, but the fact that professionals in various fields have ignored the possibilities and instead painted themselves into a corner.
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[User Picture]From: rain_hatchett
2010-08-06 04:29 am (UTC)
The over-sized images really get to me on my online art galleries. I'm on dial-up and my poor browser needs to refresh the page ten times while loading just one image alone.

I wrote a brief post on my gallery blog about folks who refuse to use proper file compression, a while back. One artist replied that they didn't want their works to look like garbage. I explained that if his artwork is all over 6 megabytes a pop, it would take me all afternoon just to see one of them. I just don't have that much time.
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[User Picture]From: freyaw
2010-08-06 11:17 am (UTC)
Not to mention that if you've got dial-up, the connection will time out rather than sit there all afternoon... There was a group of people whose local events I was considering attending, but when their website was so horribly designed with music and awful rotating gifs as background chewing up all the bandwidth that it timed out on anything but ADSL2+ (the top available speed here in Australia - at the time I was looking at this, it was rare and expensive), I decided that I could do without them and their lack of sense.
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[User Picture]From: rain_hatchett
2010-08-06 07:05 pm (UTC)
Exactly! Often I have to sit there and hit refresh every thirty seconds just to keep it going.
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[User Picture]From: blueeowyn
2010-08-06 02:23 pm (UTC)
... where this one will end and the next will begin Next one???? Squeee! As an aside, I am thrilled that Kings is coming out the day it is (and I am NOT pre-ordering from Amazon, I'm getting it from a brick-and-morter on release date) since I happen to be off work that day and the next two.

As for computers; I do know some people who are never going to get computers and in their cases I'm willing to give them a bye. My step-father has a Master's degree but retired quite a few years ago, never used a computer before now and has hand tremors which would make typing rough and using a mouse nearly impossible. I think with some of the less savvy people who didn't grow up with computers; the problems are a mixture of pride and lack of people who can teach them at their speed and in their language. My mom hasn't been on the internet that long but had some tech skills before that (typing technical papers in the early 1980s) but it took some careful coaching by us kids on things to avoid doing (she now checks Snopes and sends corrections to people) and how to get it all working. Even now I sometimes have to rephrase things a lot so that she can relate to it. People who don't have support to do that will be at a disadvantage, especially if they have other challenges (vision, tremors, hearing, etc.).

I've threatened computers with being accelerated at 9.8m/sec/sec ... esp. when the CPU had issues while copying a file onto a disk and destroyed BOTH files.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-08-06 05:11 pm (UTC)
Well, I didn't "grow up with computers." When I was in college, and some computers were now less than room-sized (more like grand-piano-sized), only people taking computer science (then a new field) got to see them, let alone touch one. It's not just age--it's attitude; another commenter's pointed out that some people in their 20s don't progress beyond email and light surfing. (And a friend of mine had a daughter who--despite her mother's enthusiasm for computers, had to be pushed into finally getting one (and promptly got it infected by viruses, etc. Daughter is now running a business and needs to be better with it, but still hates it.) My mother (born in 1913) was eager to learn about computers. Physical handicaps (my mother was eventually foiled by severely limited eyesight) are certainly an issue--and yet there are people who use computers to help them cope better with their disabilities. This is especially true with interfaces that presume youthful eyesight and reflexes (all those black boxes with tiny letters in a not-very-contrasty color--I helped my mother cope with a new TV/VCR by putting colored sticky-dots on the controls, and I now keep a magnifying glass handy myself.)





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