Technology – All Pervasive?

OK, I fill a technical role, for a technology company and tend to work closely with the IT staff on customer site. With that I know (hope) that I have a better than average grasp of technology. Conversely, I often have to explain technical concepts to business (non technical) users. Another good example would be helping my dad to use his computer and “make the internet work”

I must have been having a bad week but it struck me how there are certain concepts that we take for granted that maybe we shouldn’t.

E-Mail

I’m in the process of changing cars hence the Jaguar 14 photos. I found a car that I liked on autotrader but EVERY photo looked like it had been taken with a camera phone, shot through jelly, from a speeding train. There was considerable camera shake. My first thought was “What are you trying to hide?” but I was tempted so I asked for some more photos to be sent through. Now bearing in mind that this is a business I am talking about, the owner was unable to send an e-mail with an attachment.

All was not lost, he edited the entry on the autotrader web site to show the new photos. The point being, the more complex task, updating a web page was easier as this is a daily task, whereas e-mail communication is not.

Cameras

We are just back from a holiday in Florida, our second holiday since I got my new camera: a Nikon D50.I remember reading somewhere that digital photography was the fastest growing area of consumer spending and that there were more digital cameras in the US than people.

The D50 is not only my first digital SLR but my first SLR. Despite that it is the most ergonomic camera that I have ever owned. It took me a week before I had to fish out the manual.

Now far be it from me to decry the intelligence of your average American, or the clientèle of Disney but, for the obligatory family shot taken by a complete stranger, not a single person could find the shutter release. Once we got past that everyone had to be shown how to use the viewfinder rather than use the LCD screen. It didn’t matter how many times you told them, “just look though it” they still insisted on waving it in front of their faces.

So, no matter how familiar a technology is, if it is changed in however a slight manner, it will quite often bamboozle most people.

SQL

OK this is definitely a work related one. I recently struggled to get a colleagueto understand the concept of an “equi join” ie, relating to tables of data where two common attributes are equal. For example, where customer.town = shop.town to find people who used a “local” shop. The point that I couldn’t get across is that logically the converse is also true: shop.town = customer.town to find shops with local customers is exactly the same thing.

This is scary as I have been using the output produced by this persons SQL to check my data.

There’s no real point to this one other than never assuming someone’s level of knowledge.

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