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Computer Use

What’s quite interesting about my job is telling people what you do.

People then immediately get quite defensive about using a computer in front of you, frightened that you are going belittle them because they can’t quite type as fast as you, or aren’t as competent.

As a case in point, I went to the opticians this morning, and obviously had to tell them that I use a computer screen a lot as it’s had to write software without looking at one. The optician, a 20-something lovely lady, then started explaining that she thought that I probably thought she wasn’t very good at using a computer (she was typing my history into a laptop) and that she preferred pen and paper.

Now, there was nothing wrong with the way that she was using the computer, she seemed quite competent, and the screen she was using looked quite complex and full of fields for her to fill in – and she actually did it very well making few mistakes.

So why is it that people feel that they need to excuse their computer use when in the company of a software developer?

Im sure that it’s probably down to people’s insecurities, but it really isn’t necessary. My job involves making software for people of all levels of competency to use, and if I’m arrogant enough to think that only computer literate people would be using a piece of software, then it is me that is at fault and not the user.

I guess people probably don’t think of it that way though….

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  1. Rich
    May 7th, 2005 at 12:51 | #1

    Interesting point
    I suppose I also feel meek at a garage, or in food shops, or a florist’s.

    I don’t get this nearly so much when I say I’m a PhD student or a computer scientist. That helps.

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