We – people our age, ‘our generation’, youths, kids, teens, etc. – are in a strange kind of limbo. Some of us grew up with computers and can install an operating system in a matter of hours; some of us grew up with computers and yet have difficulty accessing our emails; and some simply don’t know how to do anything more useful than ‘Poke’ on facebook. Regardless, I think the general consensus is that we are computer kids of a computer age. (How many hours, for example, have I spent in front of a monitor today? I’m so not answering you that one.)
Many of our parents, however, are still getting to grips with using Excel and emailing, let alone comprehending why we’re so adamant we can’t go near Internet Explorer.
Some people like to divide the world into two categories – those who can, and those who can’t. Some call them Passionates and Non-Passionates*, some call them simply ‘them‘ (that works both ways) and some like to exploit the other.
Take, for example, the flashy monitor we had last year. By flashy I don’t mean suave, sophisticated or a bit of a show-off; I mean that it was black, then white, then black, then white, then black, then showing signs of Windows XP for all of a few seconds, then black… The problem was the monitor. How do I know? I just know, ok! If that’s not enough of a reason, the computer was working fine, and I could input whilst the monitor was flashing (although not without a headache). My mother, in a fit of hysteria, and without my advice, took the issue to the computer shop, where the problem was diagnosed and a prognosis given.
Your hard drive is shot, you need a new one.
My mother, running her own business, would like to have the files transferred to the new hard drive from the old one. It’s been done before.
So my mother shells out for a new hard drive. All our files are lost; not a tragedy, I’ll admit, since we back them all up, but a nuisance. Just imagine her frustration when, all shiny hard drived up, the monitor keeps flashing.
The point of this story, is that I would not have been taken in by this blasted computer man. I would have borrowed a monitor from a friend, replaced my flashy one and confirmed that the monitor was at fault. I would then have bought a new monitor (something we did a few months later and – wow! – we’re back in business) and retained all my lovely files and settings.
But my mother isn’t me, and she trusts that this chap has more knowledge than she does, and takes him at his word. Something that 70%** of other 40-something people would have done.
Now, I cannot understand why people have trouble attaching documents to emails, printing photographs, or copying files to CD. I really cannot, as it is the simplest thing in the world to me. But that doesn’t give anyone the right to exploit those people who don’t find it obvious – whether they’re Non-Passionates, Normals, Non-Geeks, or a miriad of other labels.
None of this, however, makes it any more forgivable for a middle-aged woman to declare that she ‘just can’t email’ and expect it to be accepted… Meet us half way, people!
*Which I think is a little unfair, don’t you?
**Not a real statistic…