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FW: (was Re: Is this that 'recovery' stuff I've heard so much about? I thought it was just fables for children.)

This exchange appeared recently  on alt.tech-support.recovery, a
newsgroup where phone support techs got to blow off a little steam
about their work experiences. User-hostile attitude aside, I think
that Mr. Buhr has made an excellent point about how people approach
using and learning to use computers, one that ought to be taken into
account more than it usually is. The 'computer as an appliance'
approach that M$ and other major players often promote has always
struck me as condescending; if Kevin is right, it could also be
positively dangerous, discouraging users from trying to learn to use
them effectively (a difficult enough task given current software and
hardware). Perhaps the best way, though, isn't 'computer as a tool',
either, but rather, 'computer as a toy'. IME, the people who learn
fastest and most thoroughly about computers are usually the ones who
are having fun with them. 

On 09 Aug 1999 16:57:00 -0500, in alt.tech-support.recovery
buhr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx (Kevin Buhr) wrote:

>elrondh@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Elrond Hubbard) writes:
>> How is it that people can own and even use computers for years on end and
>> not learn anything about the machine? How can they fail to generalize from
>> their experience? How can they learn to use one program fairly well and
>> not realize that the same principles apply to all programs? WHAT, IN A
>I was pondering along these lines the other day, and I think I decided
>it had something to do with most people thinking of their computers as
>appliances rather than tools.
>Give a luser a hammer (hypothetically, man, *hypothetically*) or a
>screwdriver, and they'll generalize soon enough.  Typically, they'll
>overgeneralize, using the hammer to open beer bottles or the
>screwdriver to scrape a keyboard clean, but at least they'll be
>"learning" from their experiences.
>But give a luser a coffee maker and ask them to make you some hot
>water for tea, and if you're very, very lucky, they'll spend an hour
>and a half alternating between searching for a kettle and staring
>blankly before making you a steaming pot of rich, full-bodied coffee.
>You're even more likely to end up with your coffee maker, stuffed with
>tea bags, melting on a stove element.
>We learn to use tools mostly by playing around with them and applying
>them to a variety of different problems; we learn to use appliances by
>memorizing simple "scripts" that allow us to perform specific tasks.
>These attitudes influence what and how much an individual can learn
>from using something like a computer.
>Kevin <buhr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

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