Arthur ajsiegel at optonline.net
Thu Sep 25 12:35:56 EDT 2003

>In the world in which I interact, the possession of basic spreadsheet
>skills - from the clerical staff, to the sales staff, to the CEO - is an
>expectation.  Like the ability to jot a memo in a simple word processor, or
>send an e-mail.   But it is also true that nobody formally is taught much
>about any of this, and there is a tremendous "futz factor"

Happens that in the hour since I wrote that I took 2 calls:

One, from a friend who is an avid and skilled Mac user, and who just went
into business and for which, yesterday, he had gotten set-up with a small
Windows peer-to-peer network.  He couldn't figure out how to get to Windows
Explorer to see his file system. The guru - me - suggests a right click on
the Start button.  Right clicks are apparently new to Mac folk.

And from the wife of a colleague who has a small business, and has an
assistant working on moving files from an old computer to a new, and they
ran into something -  I haven't called back to find out what yet.

My role is interesting - just an informal resource to folks.  The informal
transfer of knowledge being what the system seems to be dependent on at this

Perhaps this is a circa 2003 form of community.

On the other hand, others - probably not without cause - see more serious
issues at stake. From the front page of today's Yahoo:

Report Calls Reliance on Microsoft a Risk to U.S. Security

It is hard to talk about anything related computers today - certainly not
education - without addressing the Microsoft issue.  We use the word Excel
to mean spreadsheet, at this point.  Despite the fact that Microsoft had
little to do with its conceptual development.

None of this, in my hands, is a call to arms.


Microsoft can't expect the massive use of public funds to teach their
specific take on technology, and so by not finding a way of getting out of
the way they are in effect bringing things to a near standstill. Which
ultimately will come back to haunt them.

I, a great believer in enlightened self-interest, still holds out hope that
Microsoft will be clever enough to understand this and move over gracefully
and graciously when it comes to education.

But I will probably be disappointed.

So folks like me will probably become more shrill on the Microsoft issue as
time goes on.


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