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Relive your misspent, 8-bit youth on the BBC's reopened Micro archive

Martin an gof Silver badge

As for your analogy, I also wouldn't expect "driving" to need an understanding of "automotive engineering",

The analogy I usually trot out in these circumstances - so apologies if anyone remembers me saying it in these hallowed halls previously - is that of a (hypothetical) newly qualified driver whose car breaks down one day, shortly after passing his test. He calls the AA out who diagnose a simple lack of petrol.

"But I never had to put petrol in my instructor's car!"

I feel the same about computer "users". Without some kind of basic understanding of what the computer is trying to do under the hood, users make all sorts of assumptions and end up making a bigger mess of things.

Like the scenario (this one is real - from one of my first jobs) where I get called up from the basement (where us engineers live) to the office because "the printer isn't working". I arrive to find the user repeatedly clicking the "print" icon (Word 5 I think, WfW 3.11) and no printout appearing on the Laserjet at the end of the table.

On the other hand, half a dozen printouts are making their laborious way through the colour HP A3 Deskjet at the other end of the table.

Because in those days, the print icon meant "print using last settings", and the user didn't have the nous to check what those were, despite having recently returned from a training course in Word and us having explained the printer setup to everyone repeatedly, since installing the second printer some months prior.


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