Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 22nd Sep 2010 17:58 UTC
Apple As I was casually browsing around today, I came across this blog post. It's about the recently released VLC media player for the iPad, which you can use to play just about any video under the sun on your iPad. The blog post is a complaint about a bit of help text that's not properly rendered inside the application - annoying, but no dealbreaker. Until I actually read the text - this is how you're supposed to get content on your iPad?
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Moredhas
Member since:
2008-04-10

I find it so hard not to get angry with people. Regularly I try to give people directions.
"Okay,just open up Explorer" I say
"What's that?", replies my uneducated subject
"It's your file manager" I return with. So he doesn't know the name of his file manager, big deal. Or so I delude myself.
"I don't think I have a... 'file manager'" at this point I twitch but keep my cool. I calmly explain that the file manager is where they can see their files, copy them, and otherwise use them. I see a smile and a nod as the idea seems to dawn on him. I expect him to click on that shiney "Computer" button. He opens iTunes... At this point, on the inside I am in a muderous rage at the idiocy of the so called (and sadly, likely true) "average" computer user. I take over control of the computer, the user's objections holding about as much meaning and coherency to me as the grunting of a large ape. The job is done, and I take a week off from "people" so I don't kill the next one to ask me a stupid question.

Reply Parent Score: 11

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Let me rephrase your support call for you. We have a user with a bunch of music and video files he wants to transfer to his iPhone. He downloaded the files, or got them from a friend, I don't know.

"Plug in your iPhone. You see? An iPhone icon appeared on your desktop. Now drag the music and video files onto that icon. You're all set. Have a great day!"

That's how it should be. I can assure you it's easier to explain drag and drop than it is to explain how to use the monstrosity that is iTunes - and using iTunes will inevitable lead to MORE support calls down the line, since iTunes WILL break. It's inevitable.

On top of that, help desks are a stupid concept to begin with. You can't help people operate a highly visual medium with just your own voice. It's idiotic. Sit down next to the same person, and it'll be easy as pie. Basic human psychology.

And don't get me started on remote assistance. It's a curse, as it doesn't teach anyone anything.

Edited 2010-09-22 22:15 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

Moredhas Member since:
2008-04-10

Oh I wasn't specifically talking about iDevices here, just any job that begins with Explorer. I usually try, even in person, just to tell people what to do, otherwise I take over, get stuff done in the vlink of an eye, and they don't learn a thing. Give a man a fish, he won't go hungry tonight, teach a man to fish and he'll never go hungry again. I really wish that held true with computers. By its very nature, tech support should be a doomed profession. People should pay attention to common issues and learn how to fix them, but I can't count the number of times I've "fixed" someone's iPhone by restarting it. And I often see the same people come back to the shop, not knowing how to restart it. Not. That. Hard. Hold the home button and the lock button... Nokias have a similar reset shortcut, but I forgive customers for coming back for that one. You need to be an octopus to do it, and it varies model to model. On Nokia slides it's usually holding all of # 1 3 answer and hangup. If power is a seperate key, you might need a third hand...

Reply Parent Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

We have a user with a bunch of music and video files he wants to transfer to his iPhone. He downloaded the files, or got them from a friend, I don't know. "Plug in your iPhone. You see? An iPhone icon appeared on your desktop. Now drag the music and video files onto that icon. You're all set. Have a great day!" That's how it should be. I can assure you it's easier to explain drag and drop than it is to explain how to use the monstrosity that is iTunes.


I have a potential solution for you Thom:

http://www.libimobiledevice.org/
http://dolphin.kde.org/

Dolphin drag and drop between panes works just fine, and libimobiledevice should make connecting an iPhone/iPad/iPod device auto-open Dolphin and show up in the window.

AFAIK, both pieces of this puzzle (Dolphin and libimobiledevice) will be available in the default install in the next release of Kubuntu. Enjoy.

With Dolphin, if one inserts an audio CD with an iDevice connected at the same time, one can even drag from a virtual pseudo-directory showing under the audiocd:/ and drop .mp3 or .ogg files straight to the iDevice all in one operation ... no need to rip and then sync at all.

Actually, to tell you the truth, according to the screenshots on the libimobiledevice homepage, you don't actually even need Dolphin (or KDE), you could just as easily actually use Nautilis and plain old Ubuntu/GNOME. However AFAIK Nautilis doesn't provide a CD ripper represented as a virtual pseudo-directory.

Reply Parent Score: 3

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

On top of that, help desks are a stupid concept to begin with. You can't help people operate a highly visual medium with just your own voice. It's idiotic. Sit down next to the same person, and it'll be easy as pie. Basic human psychology.

And don't get me started on remote assistance. It's a curse, as it doesn't teach anyone anything.


I don't agree with that last point. Remote support can be of immense benefit, both to those providing & those receiving support. Immediacy is the big one - I've lost count of the number of times that I've been able to fix a problem in 5 minutes, when it would have taken 30-60 minutes if I'd done the same thing on-site (if you include travel time, etc).

Onsite support isn't always possible, and remote support software is usually the best way to get around the limitations of telephone support that you mentioned. By and large, if someone can't provide effective support via something like VNC, they're probably not going to be much (if any) more effective onsite.

As for it not "teach[ing] anyone anything", education isn't the purpose of technical support (remote or onsite). If someone comes to you for training, then they probably have both a desire and a willingness to learn - that's usually not the case with technical support (at least IME). That said, the same tools used for remote support can be just as effective for doing training remotely.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Few n00bs know what a "file explorer" is, but anyone who's ever used XP for more than 10 seconds knows how to "double click 'my computer'".

Having worked with some people so computer illiterate that they weren't even aware CD-ROMs were read only nor that Microsoft Word was a different product to Microsoft Windows - I've had to learn to explain things in a way that they understand. And usually that amounts to:
me: close everything down
client: done that
me: now double click the 'My Computer'

Works every time (thankfully).

Reply Parent Score: 2

Moredhas Member since:
2008-04-10

Unless they're using Vista or 7. Microsoft no longer like you thinking of your computer as yours, it seems ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

Icaria Member since:
2010-06-19

Oh god, that's just too accurate. I'm not sure whether to laugh, or cry.

That said, DnD is a nightmare in itself: you never know whether dragging and dropping something in explorer is going to cut, copy, or create a link to the file, plus it's all too common for someone's finger to slip mid-dragging and for the file to get lost into the nethers of computer oblivion.

The number of times that I've shown someone how to open up two windows side-by-side (that is, after I've stripped most of the crap out of Explorer's UI) and ctrl+c/v or copy/paste from the context menus and, once I handed control back over to the user, the *first* thing the user did was maximise one of the explorer windows... ugh, it's just exasperating.

Worse yet is people who don't know where their files are: they just save their document to wherever the Windows save dialogue takes them, then they only know how to access the file from Word's recent files list.

Reply Parent Score: 1

axilmar Member since:
2006-03-20

Files and directories is not the appropriate metaphor for illiterate computer users. There needs to be another metaphor.

Reply Parent Score: 2