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mojotek's Journal: Understanding your tools

Journal by mojotek

I'm having trouble posting to a thread right now, so I'm just going to do it here since I found this topic interesting.

I saw a in a post about the Sasser virus someone state that what we need is an educated user base, and then all of these easily exchanged viruses would disappear. In a perfect world this would be true. An educated user base is ideal.

But I can't seem to get past the analogy to other technology that "average" people use everyday. Take the car for example. You're average driver has NO idea about the innerworkings of the vehicle. Not where to check the oil, transmission fluid, how to change spark plugs, etc. And these are the EASY things about car maintenance. They just want it to work when they need it.

It doesn't only apply to the actual innerworkings of a car either. Take defensive/skilled driving, the average driver wouldn't know how to effectively manage a skid, hyro-plane, etc. They just want to use it for their needs, they don't expect bad things to happen to them.

Both of these analogies translate directly to computer users. There are a number of people who undertand the inside of their computer at an expert level, but they are in the minority. There also a number of people who understand what to do when something goes wrong with their computer, but they are also in the minority.

We will never have a user base that is as educated as you would like, its just human nature. The "average" user of any technology just wants it to work. They don't want to think about everything that goes on behind the scenes. The average user also thinks that "bad" things will not happen to them, and if on a lark they do happen, then they will just get it fixed.

While I'm from the school of thought that anyone that uses anything important in their daily life should understand it sufficiently enough to repair it/use it safely, most "average" people are not.

Take a look at the days of the Old West, where it was a crime punishable by death to steal someone's horse. Why? Because it was that person's livelihood. The person that owned the horse also knew how to take care of it. To shoe it, feed it, brush it, saddle it, etc. We've just taken our technological leaps for granted now. While our car can be our livelihood, SOMEONE's gonna know how to fix it. And if our computer goes down, the tech guy's supposed to fix it right?

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Understanding your tools

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