April 28th, 2005
|jimbojones||11:09 am - I am continually amazed at technical ignorance.|
Exhibit one: a well-educated, intelligent, professional woman no more than ten years my senior concernedly lists "we don't have internet" and "Outlook is giving me messages about not finding the server" as, not two symptoms to the same problem, but two separate problems. I explain that if there is no internet access, there's no way to get email either, since you have to use the internet to get to your mailserver. (They don't have a mailserver in their office, and never have.) She got the idea, but it was clearly a new one on her... how do you not get that you have to have internet access to get to email?
Exhibit two: a middle-aged sounding woman mistakenly calls my cell phone while I'm in the supermarket this morning. She listens to me say "[eight syllable business name], this is Jim, may I help you?" and, unfazed, asks to speak to Antony anyway. I politely and cheerfully tell her "I'm sorry, you have the wrong number." With a tone of voice implying possible mental retardation on my part, she attempts to persuade me that she has in fact dialed 655-[number] - I'm not sure if the goal of this is to convince me to return Antony's (presumably stolen by me?) cell phone, or magically turn into Antony, or what. I explain to her that she has actually dialed six SIX five [number], not six FIVE five [number]. She doesn't sound very clear on this, so I reiterate "you didn't dial 655." Grumbling, she disconnects.
IMMEDIATELY, the phone rings again. I glance at the CID, and, yes, it's the same woman. Sigh. Politely I answer and say "sorry, you dialed 665 again. you said the number was 655." She seems rather suspicious of this idea. She disconnects. RING RING RING. "It's still me." Disconnect... and it rings again. Wtf, is she hitting "redial" and expecting it to fix her original fuckup? This time, fuck it and fuck her, I just hit "mute" and put the phone back in my pocket.
I turn to the guy bagging my groceries, who's grinning at me, and say "it is the year two thousand and five, and there are people who have still not figured out how to use a telephone!" (Am I the only one who finds this more than a little disturbing?)
Exhibit three: on the flip side of the coin, retrotechnical ineptitude! While at my Sociology final this morning, a young lady concernedly asks the instructor for a pencil sharpener - there is none in the room. Dismay reigns. I look over and say "well, I've got a pocketknife..." She looks confused and says "will that work?" Now, I could understand "can you do it for me?" from somebody with no experience using simple physical tools, but... will it work? Wtf? When given the concept to start with, how do you not immediately grasp the idea of shaving the wood off of a pencil's tip with a freaking pocketknife? (For those concerned with her fate, I took the pencil and whittled a point on it for her. She expressed gratitude and implied no small measure of amazement.)
Current Mood: boggled
Current Music: Little T and One Track Mike - Shaniqua
Heh. God those things (dial TV tuners) were clumsy. Remember how at any given gathering, usually less than 10% of those present could successfully navigate the complexities of using the "fine tune" knob at the base of the tuner dial to actually hit the target frequency on the UHF channels?
I also remember people frustratedly repositioning the VHF antenna over and over and fucking over again when trying to improve a UHF channel's reception. LEWL. Soooooooo few people knew that there were two separate antennas for the separate frequency spectra...
One of the things that really grabbed my attention as to how much more reliable the most fundamental technologies has gotten in my own lifetime, though, was one time around five or six years ago when my girlfriend-at-the-time couldn't get her car to start. At all. I mean, as in, she called me for a ride into work because the vehicle was "broken." I got in, turned the ignition, and the engine was turning over strongly enough but just not catching - so of course I gave it a little gas, and IMMEDIATELY "Vroom!" it fires right up like a happy little kitten, no stuttering or stumbling or anything. I give her a questioning look, and after some discussion we figure out that she hadn't ever... touched... the gas pedal while trying to start the car. In her six or seven years of driving, she had never encountered a vehicle that wouldn't start without giving it a little gas. Holy shit, batman! Me, I grew up with cars that getting them started could properly be considered an art-form - like lighting a charcoal barbeque (and in some cases, like lighting a charcoal barbeque without lighter fluid) - and even the nice cars, you put your foot on the gas pedal prepared to feed it some gas, 'cause they might start without it, hell might even do so the majority of the time, but you didn't think of it as "expected".
In related news, a school buddy of mine has an oldskool British mini, complete with manual choke, and observing the confused look on girls' faces as he adjusts the choke while getting it started and later as it starts warming up is just freaking priceless. (Not that most guys know wtf a manual choke is either, but they tend to carefully conceal their looks of bafflement.)