back to article User stepped on mouse, complained pedal wasn’t making PC go faster

Welcome again to On-Call, The Register’s weekly column in which we provide a little therapy by letting readers share their stories of horror tech support entanglements. This week, met “Vince”, who “during 2002, unwittingly took on a contract with my local council to setup and operate a community cyber cafés.” Vince told us he …

Page:

  1. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

    Reminds me of a story

    Hahahaha. That mouse thing reminds me of the story my aunt told me.

    She joined one such class.

    When she was told to click with the mouse on screen - she took the mouse and physically tried to click on the screen.

    It was funny but she did learn stuff there.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Reminds me of a story

      No "Any" key on keyboard.

      1. Trygve Henriksen

        Re: Reminds me of a story

        But the old HP Agilent Logic analyzers have a 'Don't Care' button...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Reminds me of a story

          working in a lab we have numerous bits of Agilent kit. The only interesting thing about them is Agilent is an anagram of Genital

          1. Frank Marsh

            Re: Reminds me of a story

            Oh. My. Goodness. I used to work for Agilent/Genital and never heard or realized that. Thank you! I will never think of that time in the same way again.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Reminds me of a story

              >>"Oh. My. Goodness. I used to work for Agilent/Genital and never heard or realized that. Thank you! I will never think of that time in the same way again."

              I understand their new touch sensitive products are quite exciting.

      2. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

        Re: Reminds me of a story

        "No "Any" key on keyboard."

        Sure there is, and I had a canned reply for just that situation:

        it's also known as the space bar. They* used to have the word "Any" printed on there, but as it is used so often the print would wear off, resulting in warranty service calls for the keyboard. Which cost money, so they just stopped printing it on there.

        * The elusive 'they' - you can blame anything on them and get away with it as long as you move on immediately.

        Some users would "get it" and laugh, but most just went happily on their way, probably sharing their new-found knowledge with everyone around them.

        By directing users to use the space bar you avoid the ones who will hit Shift, Alt, Ctrl, Fn, NumLock or CapsLock key and then tell you nothing happened.

    2. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Reminds me of a story

      Scotty!

    3. fords42

      Re: Reminds me of a story

      I wonder if that was the same class my mum was in? She told me an identical story about one of her colleagues. Mind you, it's probably a common occurrence.

    4. boltar Silver badge

      Re: Reminds me of a story

      "When she was told to click with the mouse on screen - she took the mouse and physically tried to click on the screen."

      Like any group of people the elderly vary in IQ. My elderly aunt and uncle (late 70s) would put plenty of kids to shame with their surfing abilities, not just on a PC but on their tablets and phones too.

      Honestly - it doesn't matter who you are or how old you are, if you can't understand how to use a computer mouse (which was designed for the non technical) after an hour and be able to click on a simple icon then frankly you're just thick. Most elderly don't have a problem using a TV remote control and a computer isn't that much harder.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Reminds me of a story

        "Most elderly don't have a problem using a TV remote control"

        Really? Every time I go back to my folks I have to show one of them where the button for X is on the remote. In fact, most of my family tech support these days is teaching (or reminding) them how to do various tasks with technology, rather than fixing or setting things up.

        1. boltar Silver badge

          Re: Reminds me of a story

          "Really? Every time I go back to my folks I have to show one of them where the button for X is on the remote"

          Then no offence , but your parents are either senile or dumb.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Reminds me of a story

            Boltar,

            I have had Office workers ask similar questions when using computers.

            Some people are Techo-phobes or simply afraid to be seen to 'not know' so do nothing rather than demonstrate their lack of Knowledge.

            A little bit of 'Hand holding' and boost of their confidence can do wonders.

            Your response will ensure they never try again !!!

            I know we all laugh at the 'Lusers' but give them a chance first before condeming them !!!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Reminds me of a story

              What. Never try to use a remote control again?

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Reminds me of a story

            "Really? Every time I go back to my folks I have to show one of them where the button for X is on the remote"

            My problem is usually finding the right remote for X. There's the TV itself, the Mythbox and the Kodi (what a crap user interface that has - every single one of them) on the Pi.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Reminds me of a story

              "Really? Every time I go back to my folks I have to show one of them where the button for X is on the remote"

              Your remote has a short-cut key for pron?

              1. Lilolefrostback

                Re: Reminds me of a story

                Doesn't yours? Poor bugger.

          3. Paul

            Re: Reminds me of a story

            Then no offence , but your parents are either senile or dumb.

            no offense, but you're rude and thoughtless.

            1. Goobertee

              Re: Reminds me of a story

              Then no offence , but your parents are either senile or dumb.

              no offense, but you're rude and thoughtless.

              -------------------------------

              I vote for rude and thoughtless trolling by someone about 17 years old between the ear buds.

          4. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re: Reminds me of a story

            @boltar

            Careful there. I had an interesting experience with my next door neighbour. A lady with an IQ of 172 at one time. Programmer for most of her life - indeed I think she started before men decided it was a cool thing to stop women doing it. She was so bright that when the altzheimers got to the point she was shitting on her own back doorstep because she couldn't remember where her loo was she could still hold what seemed like a coherent conversation to most. She defied diagnosis until she was really bad.

            And even if its not something as serious as that peoples eyesight can fail to the point you cant read the buttons on a remote (assuming the bloody lettering hasn't worn off) and the spacial memory for that sort of thing is not part of most peoples early conditioning.

        2. Black Betty

          Re: Reminds me of a story

          The ones that really get my goat are those who flat refuse to learn the simplest things, because "I've got you, haven't I."

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Reminds me of a story

        "Honestly - it doesn't matter who you are or how old you are, if you can't understand how to use a computer mouse (which was designed for the non technical) after an hour and be able to click on a simple icon then frankly you're just thick."

        On similar lines, lots of software interface people talk a lot about "intuitive use patterns", which, if you you have no similar past experience to draw on, are anything but intuitive. Pensioners back in 2002 were quite unlikely to have any experience whatsoever with anything even vaguely resembling moving an object around on a surface and relating that to something moving around on a screen.

        Dealing with that age group myself to some extent 20 years ago, I found it worked best to use the sort of education methods used in schools in the 1950's. ie repetitive rote learning rather than flashy, exciting, interactive, attention grabbing and engaging learning that people are more used to today. It worked really well to get over the basic of what a mouse is and how to use it. Once that was done, moving on was much, much easier when liberally sprinkled with relevant analogies that the older generation could properly relate to.

        It's a less of an issue now, but back then I found many younger instructors assumed levels of knowledge and experience based on that young persons entire (but short life), experience the older (long lived) students simply didn't have. They got treated as idiots, to some extent, despite often having wide ranging experience of life, systems, processes etc that the instructor probably couldn't comprehend.

        Reminds of the one 85 year old guy that a colleague referred to as "a bit dim" but was actually a retired senior engineering designer who could still tell you anything you need to know about mechanical engineering. Once I took him asside and showed him the relevant basics that he'd not yet been shown, he was away and sailing on the PC ant within weeks was showing the other instructor (the one claimed this guy was "dim"), was showing him so very advanced engineering related uses for the PC that the instructor obviously was not understanding. It made me smile.

        Oh yes, I should add that explaining the mechanical design of the mouse to the 85 yo engineers helped a great deal in his almost instant and thorough grasping of what it did and how to use it. Back then pretty much all mice were the mechanical ball and roller types.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Reminds me of a story

          John Brown (no body),

          So glad you replied as I have had similar experience and can totally concur with the methods used.

          Too many people (usually quite young) forget that their life experience is not the norm for 'Older' people and that what is obvious to them is not to many others.

          All the time the issue is 'lack of empathy' and if you approached the situation with a bit of understanding from another persons 'point of view' would find many of the 'problems' go away.

          You have also highlighted what is known by modern Teachers that there are diffent ways of teaching that appeal to different people, so 1 flashy powerpoint presentaion can miss your audience if you are unlucky. [As we all know :) from PP hell ]

          If I had more 'Upvotes' you would get them :)

          1. ibmalone Silver badge

            Re: Reminds me of a story

            It's a bit like languages, if you're in your 20s you speak one generation of technology and like all first language speakers you picked it up because it was all around you and you didn't know anything else. People in their 60s are maybe on their fourth, but unlike languages you don't really get a choice in whether you are going to move country or not.

            I can certainly explain to someone how, for example, moving a mouse corresponds to moving the pointer on a screen, that many of the little pictures are icons (provided they are in a certain location and have certain context), and that to click "on" an icon in fact means to position the pointer over the icon and press the left mouse button. But there are actually quite a few concepts bundled up in there, and if they've already got a stack of conflicting concepts on board it's not surprising if their intuition keeps leading them in the wrong direction and it takes time to re-integrate.

            Tablets and phones are more direct in their interface, and my grandmother is quite happy using a tablet, while she still gets my dad to write down instructions for their array of remote controls. Assistive technologies are very important for older people, and while they carry privacy concerns people here are well aware of, things like the Echo have the potential to greatly improve people's quality of life http://www.ucl.ac.uk/research/domains/collaborative-social-science/social-science-plus/echoes-around-home (disclaimer, I'm not involved with amazon or the study, not sure if they've finished, by apparently feedback from the participants is quite good so far).

            Edit: I still don't know how to use my mum's sewing machine.

            1. Vector

              Re: Reminds me of a story

              " I still don't know how to use my mum's sewing machine."

              Speaking of sewing machines, that's why many older women put the mouse on the floor and tried to step on it. Mice, particularly from the early days, looked very much like the speed treadles from sewing machines at the time.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Reminds me of a story

            1 flashy powerpoint presentaion can miss your audience if you are unlucky

            FTFY

        2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

          Re: Reminds me of a story

          @John Brown (no body)-Another item that shows an age gap is attitude towards smartphones. Those of us who are 60+ can remember when there were only landlines with caller id. Often a family had maybe to 2 phones on the line in the house. Wanted to make a call, you shared the phone. Couldn't reach someone (a common occurrence), no message so call back. Away from home, no one could easily reach you. Older people often are not as worried about not answering the phone just because someone called if it interrupts something they are doing. The youngsters often feel they must answer every call even when it disruptive.

          1. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

            Re: Reminds me of a story

            Those of us who are 60+ can remember when there were only landlines with caller id.

            I'm 52 in a couple of months, and I can remember when there were only landlines *without* caller ID.

            And when pulse dialling was the norm.

            And when the GPO owned the telephone (singular) in your house.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Reminds me of a story

              "And when the GPO owned the telephone (singular) in your house."

              And, if you were unlucky, you had a party line. (Younglings, Google is your friend.)

              1. John Arthur

                Re: Reminds me of a story

                Re: Doctor Synatx. "And, if you were unlucky, you had a party line." Or even, as I remember as a child, you were on a rural party line with 5 other customers! When the manual exchange (central) rang all the 6 phones rang. Everybody picked up their phone and were supposed to replace theirs when they found the call was not for them. The conversations were often very faint!

                1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                  Re: Reminds me of a story

                  "When the manual exchange (central) rang all the 6 phones rang. Everybody picked up their phone "

                  No, when the manual exchange rang, you listened to the morse code to know if it was yours or not and if it wasn't for you you left it alone.

                  If the calls were faint it was because someone was listening in.

            2. ThaumaTechnician

              Re: Reminds me of a story

              "And when pulse dialling was the norm."

              And carefully placing a piece of cellophane tape on the pulse speed governor so as to get near-touch-tone speeds when dialing.

              1. Marcelo Rodrigues
                Devil

                Re: Reminds me of a story

                "

                "And when pulse dialling was the norm."

                And carefully placing a piece of cellophane tape on the pulse speed governor so as to get near-touch-tone speeds when dialing.

                "

                Don't forget the classic: dial from a locked phone, by tapping the hook in rapid succession. Quite boring way to dial, but so effective against locked dials...

            3. Updraft102 Silver badge

              Re: Reminds me of a story

              "I'm 52 in a couple of months, and I can remember when there were only landlines *without* caller ID..."

              I'm in my mid 40s and I remember all that stuff too. As far as the post that brought that up wrt attitudes toward smart phones... well, I'm so unconcerned in my smart phone attitude that I've never had one, and don't have any plans to change that.

            4. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Reminds me of a story

              I'm a few years behind you and easily remember when the GPO owned/rented you the telephone. Not only that but you had to ask your parents permission to use it, and if you were just going to phone a school friend you had to explain why the conversation couldn't wait until next day at school!

            5. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Reminds me of a story

              "And when pulse dialling was the norm."

              I'm younger than that and spent a few years living in a place where the phones had crank handles, not pulse dials - and 4-9 households shared the same line.

            6. Daytona955

              Re: Reminds me of a story

              I'm 61 and I can remember when the house phone didn't have a dial at all...

            7. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Reminds me of a story

              Hear hear... I'm 42 and remember landlines w/o caller ID, no call waiting, pulse dialing (still have the old dial phone somewhere, I think it even has a property of Ma Bell label on it). Local calls were 5 digits...

            8. swm

              Re: Reminds me of a story

              It used to be that you picked up a telephone and a voice would say, "Number Please". You didn't have to deal with any technology. I remember a full professor dealing with his first encounter with a dial telephone with lots of swearing but, in the end, he was unsuccessful.

            9. emess

              Re: Reminds me of a story

              "And when the GPO owned the telephone (singular) in your house."

              And when telephone numbers meant something. Our first telephone number was Lofthouse Gate 3120 (back in 1963)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Reminds me of a story

            @a_yank_lurker

            I'm old enough to remember landlines without caller id.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Reminds me of a story

            As a child of a doctor from back before answering machines or call forwarding, it was always necessary for someone to be at home, "minding the phone", possibly taking messages about life threatening emergencies or just dealing with sick or injured people.

            To this day I feel my dislike/phobia of answering phonecalls is entirely rational and beneficial.

          4. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Reminds me of a story

            "Older people often are not as worried about not answering the phone just because someone called if it interrupts something they are doing. The youngsters often feel they must answer every call even when it "

            A ringing telephone is a _demand_ for attention. That's why people hate leaving voicemail.

            My grandfather used to routinely pick up the phone, say "we're busy" and then hang up. When calling, you spoke to him on _his_ terms, not yours.

          5. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Reminds me of a story

            "The youngsters often feel they must answer every call even when it disruptive."

            Because the young live every moment like it's their last, or at least someone else's. So they treat every call like it's "A chance to move up if you act before everyone else." Or "Your mother just had a heart attack and is dying."

          6. Duncanmhor

            Re: Reminds me of a story

            I'm 42 and I remember only having a land line. It wasn't that long ago!

        3. boltar Silver badge

          Re: Reminds me of a story

          "Pensioners back in 2002 were quite unlikely to have any experience whatsoever with anything even vaguely resembling moving an object around on a surface and relating that to something moving around on a screen."

          You mean moving your arm and hand to move one object which in turn moves another in lock-step?

          Hmm, what, like a car steering wheel for example?

          Honestly, however you want to point it, using a mouse is not hard. The concept takes seconds to learn and the co-ordination little longer. I don't buy this whole pensioners don't have the experience line. Its basic hand-eye co-ordination.

          1. joea

            Re: Reminds me of a story

            "Honestly, however you want to point it, using a mouse is not hard. The concept takes seconds to learn and the co-ordination little longer. I don't buy this whole pensioners don't have the experience line. Its basic hand-eye co-ordination."

            In the words of Bugs Bunny, "what a maroon". Poor analogy, no empathy. Nothing to do with hand eye co-ordination and everything to do with "prior experience".

            Even using your analogy, poor as it is, at some point, "driver trainee" had been shown the basics of steering wheel usage, had been a passenger in some vehicle with a steering wheel or, at least, seen a movie or TV show depicting such usage and so gained basic knowledge of steering wheel usage.

            Get your head out man.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Reminds me of a story

              Poor analogy, no empathy. Nothing to do with hand eye co-ordination and everything to do with "prior experience".

              One of my engineers has a fancy rollerball mouse - I can't work it !

              To the extent that she has to have a 2nd regular mouse for when I need to review any work.

            2. boltar Silver badge

              Re: Reminds me of a story

              "In the words of Bugs Bunny, "what a maroon". Poor analogy, no empathy. "

              Wow, quoting bugs bunny. Rather sets the level of debate for the rest of your argument really. And wtf has empathy got to do with this? This is a technical debate, not Oprah.

              " and so gained basic knowledge of steering wheel usage."

              Oh please, You can get basic knowledge of steering wheel usage in seconds. Ditto a mouse.

              "Get your head out man."

              I suggest you take your own advice.

              1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

                Re: Reminds me of a story

                "And wtf has empathy got to do with this?"

                Empathy is the protocol you need to connect to the wetware.

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019