[Mailman-Users] This is unixstuff warning

Chuq Von Rospach chuqui at plaidworks.com
Wed Jun 13 22:41:12 CEST 2001

On Wednesday, June 13, 2001, at 12:33 PM, Barry A. Warsaw wrote:

>     A> tools, etc., complain that unsubscribing from a freaking
>     A> newsletter is "too technical" ?
> I once knew of a chief of a very large medical informatics research
> organization that never learned how to use a mouse.

It's all what you know, and what you're trained in. I am (IMHO) a pretty 
darn good e-mail person, and pretty savvy on computer and internet 

Can I program a boot rom? nope. Can you? A virtual memory implementation?

Can you anethstitize a cat for surgery? Neuter one (as a point of fact, 
I spent a summer in a vet operating room passing gas to cats and dogs, 
but I digress).

Can you replace the pistons in your car?

Can you design the stress tolerances of a beam in a house that's being 

Why do some of us make the assumption that because someone is trained, 
technical or smart (choose whichever term you prefer) that this somehow 
endows them with the magical ability to use a computer or understand 
intuitively how stuff like mail lists work? We're trained in computers 
and mail lists and the internet. Just because someone has a technical 
background doesn't make them a computer person, any more than my 
background in computers makes me somehow able to read an EKG or run an 
MRI machine (hey, why not? they have computers in them).

There seems to be an underlying attitude of "hey, this isn't brain 
surgery. Why do they find it difficult?"

Here's a hint: if you don't have the training in this stuff, it IS brain 
surgery. I can't tell you how many times I've sat down and given 
presentations to groups about upcoming projects I'm working on where 
stuff I thought was fairly straightforward looked to them like I was 
building nuclear bombs. when you do this all the time, it GETS easy for 
you. That doesn't mean it's easy -- and it doesn't mean that people 
automatically 'ought' to Get It because they have some training in 
unrelated technical disciplines, any more than my background in internet 
protocols and user interfaces qualifies me to hack kernels. It might 
make it easier for me to LEARN kernel hacking, but it still takes work 
(and the obverse is true; if someone is a kernel hacker, why does that 
somehow imply they by definition ought to know how mail lists work any 
more than my mom does? Answer: they odn't, but we assume they're somehow 
stupid or arrogant when they don't get it....)

Chuq Von Rospach, Internet Gnome <http://www.chuqui.com>
[<chuqui at plaidworks.com> = <me at chuqui.com> = <chuq at apple.com>]
Yes, yes, I've finally finished my home page. Lucky you.

I'm really easy to get along with once you
people learn to worship me.

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