Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Geekstravaganza

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  • Don Christie,

    I think this "You suck at maths" carton captures our problem.

    And my spelling prowess demonstrates it...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Late to this discussion (I've been out working, y'know), so.... I see, and hear, and accept what Russell has just said, and I am certainly not trying to undermine that.

    But this is the thought that has been running through mind as I read the whole thread...

    The thing is, I'm old enough (just!) to be the 'your mum' person for several people posting here.

    And I disliked the stereotype as much as Joanne did, for much the same reasons.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Making assumptions about someone's technical ability based on their age or gender is a non-trivial issue - the IT industry has enough trouble with sexism without compounding it in the way it approaches the rest of the world. I still get angry when I think about buying a printer off a sales clerk who directed the answers to all my questions to my male companion.

    I had to talk my mum through Eft-Pos, years after it was introduced -- she was just used to cashing cheques. It doesn't mean she's stupid, just used to doing things other ways. I also provided phone support on the digital picture frame I got her for Christmas -- although she did work out that unplugging it seemed to fix its glitches.

    But this is a real issue for mainstream devices. The reason everyone loved MySky when it launched here was that the same gear had gone through multiple iterations in Britain and it was really user-friendly. The Topfield works, but it isn't quite fit for a mass-market device that you're expecting people to self-install.

    Ditto for the Orcon deals. Your Mum (alright, my Mum) probably doesn't want to spend $80 a month just for internet, she doesn't need the extra speed and she won't use 10GB a month. It doesn't mean she's incompetent or something, it's just not the deal for her.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Sigh ... alright, not deals for your mum and dad, then. My point related to generation, not gender.

    Ageist!

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    P.S. Mr. brown - don't tell people where the exchanges are! they don't have signs on them for a reason.... What if Te Qaeda were reading???

    It's interesting that the owners of the unsigned buildings around Eden Terrace and other places consider they are secure because there is no big sign on the outside saying "Vodafone" or "Air New Zealand".

    Personally, I think microwave dishes on the roof and a big standby generating set give the game away. Not to mention the number of couriers and the like who've been there.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    It doesn't mean she's incompetent or something,

    Goodness no it doesn't...

    although she did work out that unplugging it seemed to fix its glitches.

    There you go, she could embark on a career in IT support now.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Hansel Dunlop,

    It precisely in trivial language that sexism manifests, and it is precisely its trivality and commonplaceness and consequent direct route to our unconscious that make it important to combat it.

    Hey, I can't argue with Freud! I mean his theories of how the mind works haven't been rigorously discredited or anything.

    I don't take this issue as a whole trivially at all. In fact I find it fascinating which is I guess why the women's studies papers I did at uni were probably the only ones that still stick with me vividly. I just find this instance trivial and I don't recall this kind of discussion popping up whenTze Ming Mok would generalise about all Asian dads being daggy. And why should it? Because it's a benign turn of phrase meant to make you smile but in no way would actually affect the way we relate to people.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Come to that, I don't "want to spend $80 a month just for internet". Whatever speed I get from Telecom and a 3G cap is fine for my browsing.

    I tried using BitTorrent, but rapidly got bored with waiting 24hrs for a file that might or might not turn up on my desktop - for a movie that I wouldn't have time to watch.

    You could put "40-something IT consultant" as the generic term for the technology resistant?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Not Freud, Sapir and Whorf (and yes I know that's a contentious hypothesis).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    This has made me think of one of the great Public Address readers, the late Dorothy Dean of Bluff.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Oh, and can someone write me a script to replace all instances of "your mum" with "a mainstream consumer"?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    but when you're asked to fix a system that's been really rooted, it's for a man who should have asked for help earlier but didn't.

    Heh, like the times I disabled my graphics card trying to upgrade the driver? The second time I did this (I know), I managed to take out the motherboard driver while I was at it. The whole system was completely unusable until I reinstalled Windows.

    Misplaced confidence is a better predictor of disaster than gender. Assuming ability is conferred with one's X or Y chromosomes is one way to acquire misplaced confidence.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Come to that, I don't "want to spend $80 a month just for internet". Whatever speed I get from Telecom and a 3G cap is fine for my browsing.

    You're no use at all to the unbundling ISPs. They pay a per-line rental rate, and the non-premium "ordinary" broadband services don't bring in enough to provide a viable margin.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Misplaced confidence is a better predictor of disaster than gender.

    Being a man means thinking you don't have to read the manual. Gets me every time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    __although she did work out that unplugging it seemed to fix its glitches.__

    There you go, she could embark on a career in IT support now.

    I'd have to send her the secret phrasebook first. You're not "turning it off then on" -- you're power-cycling the equipment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Once she's fluent, we can anoint her Official Geek. You must be so proud.

    :)

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Oh, and can someone write me a script to replace all instances of "your mum" with "a mainstream consumer"?

    Why not go for "Mum and Dad" or "your grandparents" or "the less demanding punter" or something?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    yeah... but i've read you remark that you can't remember life without the internet. russell's mum, like mine, can well remember life without television.

    yes, yes, yes. I have to say that I knew immediately that Russell was talking with generational mores in mind. Because my mother is hopeless. My dad discovered the Internet at 88, 6 months before he died, and he loved it. He browsed yachting and Formula One websites for hours on the laptop that my brothers' bought for him. As soon as he died, Mum wanted the computer out of the house. And it hasn't been allowed back in. I am routinely to be found haranguing her about at least learning how to email, so that she could stay in touch with family overseas. But no. She says she likes to write letters. So that's that. And anyway, she just asks me to email people, or download information, when she wants something. I won't stop trying, though.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    You're no use at all to the unbundling ISPs. They pay a per-line rental rate, and the non-premium "ordinary" broadband services don't bring in enough to provide a viable margin.

    Which is ineresting from my POV. I don't really need more bandwidth or more data (until I get ad-free decent IPTV). Funnily enough like Ben I really would like a fixed IP address.

    My suspscion is the cost of a fixed IP will not be that far from the cost of ermmmmm an ISP hosting plan ?

    Otherwise:

    With apologies to both sides of the sexist language debate for being very patronising - It is not for one person to correct the sexist language or behaviour of another; Rather it is their duty to help the offednding party to correct themselves. As the wee spat has shown we have a no win on this one. Had a lot of practise with midwives and antenatal teachers just recently.

    BTW. Could access orcon site, but couldn't get to the stage of actually buying a service...

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Why not go for "Mum and Dad" or "your grandparents" or "the less demanding punter" or something?

    It all means much the same thing, yes. Although I suspect I'll still use my own mum , mentally, as a benchmark for product usability. I just won't talk about it ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Jarno van der Linden,

    No love for the Three Kings exchange? Boohoo :( I telecommute for an overseas company! I bring in foreign earnings! Knowledge economy! Where are my faster bits? They said there would be faster bits! Ahem...

    As for my mother, she's the tech support for about half the Kenepuru. And yes, I am her tech support.

    Nelson • Since Oct 2007 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Oh dear...and if a chap does read the instructions ?

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I've stopped talking to my Grandma about technology altogether. I sense that it upsets her. The moment that clinched it was when I was talking about Wikipedia, and I could tell she wasn't getting it (since she didn't really get what the internet is), so I showed her on my PDA. I pointed out that her glorious Encyclopedia Brittanica set from 1985 contained much less data, which was much more out of date, and then I popped out the SD card on which it was stored and put it next to the letter E on the cover of the first volume just to bring the point home. When I also said that the same card also had a few hundred photos (and showed her) and about 5 hours of music (I played it), I noticed her eyes had gone watery and she was looking down and trembling slightly.

    I think opposition to technology is deeply personal for a lot of people because it reminds them of when they were young and deeply into their new gadgets, whatever they were, and now they don't even get what the current ones do. It just tells people how old and out of touch they are, and that hurts.

    That's why men won't read manuals. It's like going right back to the beginning, but without the bonus of also being young.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    I noticed her eyes had gone watery and she was looking down and trembling slightly

    Well yes -- I'd imagine it was quite traumatic for her, realising her beloved grandson was in fact Beelzebub.
    Begone with your black sorcery!

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    BenWilson sed (on pg 5)

    International Observer

    The thing is, in the current IPV4 world, addresses are a scarce resource and cost money to provide. Should the majority (who don't need one) subsidise the majority who do?

    eh? I've only just joined this thread. Must've been someone else who said that ...?

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

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