The Soapbox Papers

The Soapbox Papers is my two-cents worth.

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Location: Beloit, Wisconsin, United States

I am a cross between Tinkerbell and Calamity Jane.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Rules Number Three and Four

It has been brought to my attention that, while I have been describing my encounters within and with Mozilla for a few days, I never once mentioned how one can get Mozilla. As I said a few days ago, Techie Kid installed it on my computer. I really had no idea where in the world to get it until, prodded my an e-mail (thank you BH) I contacted Techie Kid via e-mail and found out that anyone can wander around the Mozilla site (Mozilla.org) and, if this is something one wants for his/her own use, install from there. That leads us to Rule Number Three:

Thou Shalt Know How to Find Stuff.

I've always recognized that Rule Number One is very true - no one can know everything. That makes it more important for all of us to know where to look for answers.

It used to be the Dewey Decimal System was taught in school. The Dewey Decimal System is that universal coding on library books, most notably on the spine of the book, so the library patron can find information by the card files (kept within watch of the librarian with a stack of scratch paper and pencils) or locate the book itself. I think there is another system being used now. I know that with computers in the library, in large cities a certain book may be located in various library branches, telling the searcher when the book they are looking for is 'out' and other things one might want to know about the book. I was never big on using the Dewey Decimal System. I preferred to get near the book I was looking for and browse - a time-taking hobby that resulted in learning a lot of things I would not have learned otherwise - rather like reading the dictionary or using the random link at Snopes.com.

Now I teach those who wander into the Computer Learning Center how to Google. You can find most anything there. But there are some things that one must learn from a living and breathing techie.

To this end, one must have a techie among one's acquaintances. I am one of the fortunate ones - I have Techie Kid in the family, and he of the benevolent spirit, has been bent on making me a modern Mom since he was about 8 years old. He knows my limitations, that I scored 16 (out of 100) on my Abstract Spatial Analysis test, and grumbles little when he tries to explain things to me the first, second and occasionally the third time...But what about folks who don't have a Techie Kid?

Network. Find one somewhere in your circle of friends and/or co-workers. Go to the family reunion and see if you don't have a second cousin or an in-law of a second cousin you can relate to. Failing that, find a small computer repair shop not affiliated with a computer manufacturer or major store that sells computers and wander in. Pay attention. Techies mostly speak Geek, and you will need to learn a few words of it yourself. It's not hard. Don't be afraid to ask for definitions. For heaven's sake, don't nod your head and pretend you understand when you do not. Techies will take you at face value. If you say you understand, they will believe you. Make sure that, if you indicate you do understand that you really do. Make an acquaintance you can e-mail in times of need. Don't be afraid you will burden your techie of choice. One who willingly gives you contact information (e-mail address, phone number, business card) won't mind hearing from you at all. (In fact, I have it on good authority that techies periodically meet and compare notes about the questions we (non-techies) ask. We are giving them fodder for these meaningful meetings when we call.) So Rule Number Four is

Thou Shalt Know Someone Who Knows Stuff.

Next: The Care and Feeding of Techies

Smokey

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