Madly pointing and clicking

We all know this guy. You come upon him in the office or shop, trying to perform some realtively innocuous function, pointing and clicking like mad. He’s probably cursing, also, or at least whining about the way programmers hide functionality in their programs. Opening another winow, randomly clicking something in it, closing it again. Pulling up a menu without reading it, opening a setting dialog box and selecting an item that he doesn’t know or understand, trying it to see if it’s what he needs.

He feels that we can learn our way around complex software simply by stumbling onto the required variable and changing it. (It’s accidental, and therefore impossible to repeat.) But if you’re in doubt you should start clicking on things. You’ll probably find it.

He doesn’t know what the help button is for. He couldn’t find the undo button if it was on fire. He complains that the default settings don’t make any sense, without really understanding what the default settings are for. He can save his work somewhere on his hard drive, but seems unable to locate it once he’s done so. Doesn’t know Ctrl-V, or the difference between cutting and copying. He names files using a kind of stream-of-consciousness naming technique, and seems surprised whenever there are duplicate versions of everything.

He won’t get out of his chair long enough for me to help him. He also won’t go away long enough for me to figure it out, unless it’s already past quitting time.

Yeah, we go way back, he and I.

Current location : Tuscola, IL

Miles to go : 774

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2 Responses to Madly pointing and clicking

  1. Yes! There’s one in every office and organization. I especially loved the person who would call me and curse me out because she couldn’t open the PDF I emailed her, owing to the fact she never downloaded the free Adobe PDF Reader. When I pointed that out, she acted as if it was my fault she’d never heard of Adobe. Then she didn’t know how to print the PDF—not that she needed to, but she liked paper (no surprise there, she was a Luddite)—so another irate call, with me instructing her on how to print from the Adobe toolbar. Which seemed very self-explanatory to me—there was a picture of a printer on it. But as I get older, I have less patience with people who refuse to learn the basics of using their computers and browsers. The PC has been out for 30 years, the internet 20; anyone in their 50s who hasn’t been living in a cave or an isolated developing country should know by now how to use them. My husband’s uncle taught himself how to use a PC when he was 67 and eventually became a instructor, teaching other seniors how to use a computer and the internet. So there is NO excuse for this kind of behavior, except outright fear and stubbornness.

    • Doug says:

      I’m amazed that otherwise intelligent and functional people can be rendered helpless in this way. They’re not illiterate, they’re willfully illiterate. Family gatherings must be a treat, as the grandkids queue up to provide free tech support.

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