Save the Internet; delete a Zwinky.

A follow-up to "News Flash: Many People Still Hate Work!"

Date/Time Permalink: 12/20/07 01:59:50 pm
Category: General

I just saw this post over at The Daily WTF forums, and it illustrates perfectly a point I was making with my older blog post (linked in title). I'm copying the WTF forum posting here for prosperity, because this forum post deserves to be carved in marble and framed on the wall.

Being a programmer and the only computer literate person in my family, I get tech support calls from my family all the time. I got a phonecall from a brother-in-law today:

Him: Hey, you're good with computers right?

Me: Yes.

Him: And you know how to program computers?

Me: Yes, thats my job actually.

Him: Could you explain programming please?

Me: I'm sorry, what do you mean?

Him: I want to make a game like Halo, but I don't know how to start. Could you explain what I need to do?

Me: You should probably go to the library and get a book.

Him: Can you just tell me what I need to do?

Me: Wait a minute. Are you asking me to explain how to program computers?

Him: Yeah.

Me: Over the phone?

Him: Yeah.

My brother in law apparently made several unsuccessful attempt to "learn programming" by opening up exes in Notepad. He created a text file with the words "Morph the screen into something cool" and couldn't figure out how to run it, even had the balls to ask me "how do I install my program? Do I just put a shortcut on the desttop".

My dad, a programmer, lent him an unfortunately titled book called "Teach Yourself Java in 24 hours". He immediately flipped to the back of the book and reading sections on server and Swing development, and was very excited to see that he could write his own server after just one day.

In the end, I was unable to teach my brother in law how to make his own Halo over the phone, and he decided that I wasn't a very good programmer.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when you tell people that learning technology requires no work. It works the same way for an operating system, regardless if you are trying to learn Linux, BSD, Windows, MacIntosh, or even a cell phone.

They all take work. They all take learning. They all mean you have to read manuals.

This is absolute truth, and to fail to accept it is to deny yourself any further progress in life. No one can help you, then.

PS I'm too outrageously busy with paid-money type work still, so this is all the blogging you get. The project involves US politics, so it threatens to melt my sanity as well. It's day 10 of a 14-day marathon project, due Christmas eve at midnight (I'm not kidding), so I'll be back to level and posting in the twilight zone between the next two Holidays.

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