Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tools of the Trade

Jane's been trying to email her biography and photo for the competition in which she was placed. Being a technophobe, this has proved to be rather difficult.

'I sent it,' she said. 'But they say it hasn't arrived.'
We go through the usual...is it still in the drafts folder, the sent folder, the trash? But no. The whole thing, attachments and all, has completely vanished into the ether.

Now, Jane's a genius when it comes to writing plots (making cakes, designing cards, etc.), but does she understand computers? No. Both she and my husband come from school of thought that believes that computers should just do what you want them to do. You shouldn't have to understand how to work them.

Wasn't it the case that when cars were new, you either needed considerable mechanical skills before daring to leave home, or you employed someone to drive it, and mend it, for you? And wasn't it the same with computers? In 1980, you needed a degree in programming to make a computer perform the most simple function. Now, as with cars, we're all just expected to be able to work them, and anyone who can't is seen a being a bit, well, dim. But it's not fair, is it?

Not everyone is cut out for scuba diving, or stamp collecting, and we can choose whether or not to be involved in these activities; but cars, and computers...they're pretty much de rigueur these days.

You only have to look at some folk's driving skills to see that they should still be employing chauffeurs. And the likes of my husband should never be let near a computer. If he had actually thrown a laptop out of the window as many times as he has threatened to, I would no longer have a view - and nor would our neighbours.

But could he survive without it? He would be a junkie in withdrawal. There would be the shakes, the irritability, the unpredictable behaviour...Mmm.

I wonder, how many creative people struggle with the technology that was invented to help them, and how many don't bother with it at all?
And is it the fault of the individual that he or she struggles, or the designer?

When we really do have computers that respond to the command, "Computer, send photo no.34 to the competition organiser," Jane and my husband will be fighting each other for a place at the head of the queue.


SallyQ said...

Hi Leigh
Just to let you know I've tagged you for a book meme :-) See my blog for details.

Rob-bear said...

I'm one of those practical types who thinks that things should function as described (and promised). If it doesn't work, you take it back to the shop from which you got it and raise bloody h**l (in a polite manner), as in, "You sold me this; why isn't it performing as promised?" Yes, it's a pain in the posterior. It also lets other folks know that goods in the shop can be problematic.

Then, in your blog, you can tell folks where, or where not, to buy things.

As I say, "Blogging is freedom of the press for those who don't own a press." And "Earth has no fury like a blogger scorned."

Trust me on this. Bears are very intuitive, and very familiar with human ways. (Not to mention the peculiarities of trying to deal with clerks in shops.)