The Ruminator

Come on up and grab yourself a beer.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Computing for Dummies

When it comes to computers, my attitude is essentially that of Socrates – the only thing I know is that I know nothing.

Actually that is not quite true. I know a little bit, but I am very aware of my own ignorance. I’m good at figuring out the simple processes, and can find my way around those programs designed for people with basic computer literacy, but no real training. Bet you can tell that by looking at my blog.

I know how to fiddle around with programs until I figure things out. I also know when to leave things the hell alone and call in the experts, thus preventing me from pulling any spectacular FUBARs on my own equipment. I also know the value of a backup disk.

Still, despite my extremely elementary level of computing skills, I have somehow become the office ‘expert’ because of how much more I know than the other staff (although admittedly there are only 9 or 10 of them). And this is really quite frightening. I once thought that this was because of my age (see previous post on this subject), but even the young staff members have been coming up with some astonishing questions lately.

Below is a sample of the problems which have been brought to me just in the past week. My internal monologue is in italics (actually some of this I said out loud too), and the age of the person is given in brackets, because surely some of these people should know better.

SM (32): Marissa, I think this floppy disk you gave me is broken. It won’t save. Look – it just keeps saying ‘disk is write-protected’. What the hell does that mean?
M: Hmmmmm, well, let’s look at Mr Disk shall we? See this little black plastic tab? [Click] write-protect off [click] write-protect on [click] write-protect off . . . Magic!

SM (36) Marissa, can you install this program for me? I don’t know how.
M: Take installation disk. Put in computer. When installation program boots up, keep hitting the thing which says ‘Next’ until it isn’t there any more, which means it is time to click the thing which says ‘Finish’ instead.

SM (36) Marissa, I thought you said you saved those photos on the network drive for me. But my computer won’t open them, see?
M: Well, not if you try opening a jpg file with Microsoft Word, no. [What IS it with these people who think Word opens everything!]

SM (23) Marissa, can you open this Acrobat file for me? You have a much more updated version of Acrobat than I do.
M: Yes. Now, see this little picture on your screen which says ‘Download Adobe Acrobat’ . . .

I won’t even go into the night (approximately 7pm) I had to spend 30 minutes trying to explain how to use a scanner (Put document face-down on scanner. Press big, glowing button . . .). And all of these inane questions are happening while I’m busy trying to do my actual job – the one they pay me for. Sometimes I just really want to scream.

Of course, it is also possible that I am an impatient, unsympathetic, patronising bitch.

Nah, I didn’t think so either.


Post a Comment

<< Home