I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets frustrated with technology. Yes, it’s wonderful, what it can do for us, but it’s also endlessly complicating. The old joke about not being able to program the VCR, is now multiplied a hundredfold, with each new piece of digital equipment; even with each new version of an old program. The old, non-programmable electronics were more than enough to have to learn all the bits and pieces of. Each one unique. Each one functional.
This digital age, with so many programmable, and re-programmable artifacts, is astounding in it’s endless variety. It is also endlessly frustrating in the many ways to do the programming, the editing, the setting up, and the searching for, Wrong.
Maybe some of you never have this problem. You instinctively know how to stroke the keys/touch screen for each new application. After all, it’s intuitive! Or not. Hmmmm…perhaps, this instinct mostly applies to programmers…. or millennials 😉
Like learning English, if you grow up with it, it seems to come naturally, but if you are learning it after the fact, say, as a second language…. it’s complicated. I frequently end up doing things the same ‘old’ way, simply because I don’t understand the function of the new bits and pieces; how they are applied, or where they need to be used. There aren’t enough instructions, and if there were, they wouldn’t be clearly enough written, since the writers of the instructions frequently assume you already know all the ‘basics’.
I’ve been a technical writer. I understand all too clearly, where the failures in an instruction manual are, and why they happen. Often times, a company has the engineers write up the instructions, and then just slaps it into a book , or booklet, that way. This leaves anyone who isn’t an engineer on the short end of understanding.
The first reason for a lack of understanding, is because engineers have their own language to speak in, and they write the instructions in that language. The second reason, and this is the worst error, is because engineers already understand all the ‘basics’, therefor, they assume everyone else will too. So many steps get left out of the instructions because of that misunderstanding. And finally, the third reason instructions aren’t understood, even if they get written clearly, is because no one wants to read them anyway. There’s just too much time consumed in all that extra reading, for every new little thing that comes along. Hence, the only ones who understand all this new technology, are the millennials, who grew up with it, like growing up with English, or Cantonese, or Russian.
In sum, I enjoy oil painting because I understand it. It’s simple, basic, and in its own way, endlessly editable. Painting with a digital piece of equipment? Hmmmm….. I have seen some very beautiful works of art produced digitally, but I think I’ll pass on learning the techniques, simply because I don’t enjoy the frustration that goes along with having to ask, “How does this work?” for every little part of every little (or huge) new program. Even the (bless the person who invented word processing) writing programs are frustrating enough. Each new change, designed to make life easier, produces new anxiety in me. Something else to learn. Something else to understand. My curiosity just doesn’t want to go there anymore.
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© Ellen M Lattz and emariaenterprises, llc 2016.
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