Linked by Kevin Russo on Tue 7th Dec 2004 06:19 UTC
Geek stuff, sci-fi... Geek is defined by as 'A person who is single-minded or accomplished in a scientific or technical pursuit'. Many of us either acknowledge ourselves as computer geeks or are labeled by Friends, Family, and/or Colleagues as the such. This is not a condescending statement and should not be taken in a negative connotative way. It is in fact an admiration of our technical skills and abilities.
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by KadyMae on Tue 7th Dec 2004 18:31 UTC

Some novice computer users *expect* you to help them, while they themselves don't want to do anything, such as reading a simple two line FAQ answer on some website. Getting fed by a spoon is what they want, that is when I tell them to "RTFM.>>

But many times, TFM is written by a geek for a geek and makes no sense to a layperson. I mean, I can pull up some humdinger instructions and manuals. (Anybody remember manuals on how to set up your VCR from the early 1980s to the mid 1990s? Hell, in my house I was the person who could figure that out [through trial and error and making my own notes in the margins.])

Where I work I had to write a manual on how to use OmniPagePro to scan microforms and a staff "how to" sheet explaining how to unjam the Xerox machines.

Everybody who uses them thinks they're fantastic. Why? Because I assume that you've no experience at all and write it accordingly. I worked hard to avoid technical jargon or explain it in context. I made sure that all pictures illustrating a step matched what the text said to do.

Both OPP and the Xerox came with manuals which I could read and understand (and I was greatful for), but if you didn't know the technical jargon, you'd be lost on several key steps. Don't get me wrong, both manuals were well done, but assumed an intermediate level of experience.

I honestly think that anybody earning a scientific or technical degree should have to take 2 semesters of technical writing, with an emphasis on understanding how to write for different audiences.

I work with some of the most amazing and intellegent people in my state. Some of them have no interest or inclination to learn more than the bare basics about computers.

(Then again, I have no interest or talent beyond the basics in accounting, hospitality, chemestry, physics, or gaming regulations.)

And, given the horrible things that a misplaced keystroke, malware, and viruses do to computers, and the frustration and heartache they bring, I completely understand why these otherwise brilliant and learned PhDs view computers with fear and loathing.