Why are geeks so thick?

It is a mystery to me why those most useless at communicating are those whose trade is communication. Many advances rival those of the Victorian age; only the postal service stays in the Penny Black era. The Victorians crossed the bridge from centuries old horse dependency to air, motor, rail, mail, and telegram and telephone familiarity. Beat that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

Unable to keep up we plebs find ourselves in the slipstream of emerging innovation. As a consequence many of us are clueless as to what new devices do and how we can best use them to benefit our lives.
Coming from a sales background I can see a fortune to be made by explaining how gadgets work. This cannot be left to the geeks running the business. They may be iPod and Kindle tablet savvy but when it comes to communication they are knuckle-shuffling Neanderthals. What they’re doing is manufacturing pens for a largely illiterate market; doh!

I was delighted with my first digital camera. It was as far removed from traditional photography as the laptop and Word are from typewriters. Now digital cameras have passed their sell by date; that is progress for you.
I could hardly wait to use my first digital and downloaded the instruction manual. Yes; it is not a booklet; you download them. Imagine my dismay when having printed the guidebook I found it to be the size of a telephone directory. Its content was so geek that it may as well have been written in Egyptian hieroglyphics; a waste of space and rain forest.

To their credit I did see an enterprising couple making pin money by holding two-day courses showing new users how to get the best from their digitals. They would probably make a fortune by showing those yet to buy these cameras their advantages then taking orders for them. Geeks don’t think that way.

You see, that is how sales work: I was a very successful salesman and sales manager. This was because I had the nous to explain the benefits of my company’s products in a way that could be understood. Our philosophy was; you’ll get what you want when you convince the customer he will get what he wants: ‘don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle.’

What happens when we visit a geek-gadget store? The behind the counter staff have their heads so far up their hard drives they can’t communicate except in a language we do not understand. User friendly; you have got to be joking. They speak geek and haven’t the patience of a fruit fly.

If only an enterprising geek-gadget entrepreneur with an engaging personality would set up short introduction courses. He could at the close take orders and trouser a fortune. Would someone please explain to me what an iPod, an app and e-book is in simple language please? I might well buy one.

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    • Ulla Gundersen

      16 November 2012 • 06:39

      An iPd is a tablet computer. In the same way a small sportscar is a car. 🙂
      An app (short for application) is a program that let’s you use a computer for one or more specific tasks. That means it is a way to use a computer. There is a small app that shows you a compass on the screen so you know where north and south is. It can also give you your exact geografical position in degrees and minutes, by communicating with the internet and thus sattelites in the same way a mobile phone does. Another app lets you use your mobile as a flashlight, by amping up the light intensity of the screen. I did use my mobile like this occasionally without the app, but didn’t get the same strength light from the ordinary screen light.
      E-bok? It is a way of presenting a book (written text) in a digital format. Like this text is in digital format on euroweekly’s homepage. Some formats needs a special device to show the text, like Amaxon’s Kindle, iPod or iPhone, some can be read on ordinary PCs. But who wants to cuddle up with a big PC? Hence the smaller formats of the hardware, i.e. small machine. It needs to be handheld to oust the printed hardware, i.e.printed book of paper and ink. Personally I don’t think the book as ink printed hardware will disappear. It is too hand-on (pun intended).

    • Dr Stephen Shephard

      16 November 2012 • 12:07

      I take offence or is that a gate, Us geeks are not thick. Its just that many are unable to explain things in a simpler way so that the 90% of normal people can understand.
      Actually an iPod is a small walkman like device for listening to music. The music is compressed into a file called an MP3. File compression is a bit like using those vacusacks you get for storing more clothes in your suitcase or cupboards. Compression enables you to store more in the same space. There are variations on the iPod, most are size related except the IPod touch which as the name suggest has a touch screen. So you use your finger to select the music you can also watch movies on it.
      An App is a program or piece of software. Its is short for application. It was first officially documented use was in about 1992, but was probably in use much earlier amongst us geeks.
      An e-book is short for electronic book. And can be read either by an app or an e-reader device such as the Kindle. There are Kindle apps for most smart phones and computers. You store the e-book on the Kindle and then read it. An e-reader is much like an iPod except instead of storing and listening to music you store and read books. A kindle can store thousands of books. So if you enjoy reading they are probably worth getting since you won’t use all your luggage allowance carrying books.
      Ulla has got the iPod and iPad confused. They are not the same. The definition she has given is for an iPad.
      At one time I used to re-write instruction manuals for Video recorders, DVD players and even washing machines, for clients, into plain English. But the last one I did was about 8 years ago. There isn’t much call for it these days. Though I have taught people how to use word and various other programs or should that be apps.

    • Mike Walsh

      10 December 2012 • 09:54

      Thanks both; nothing personal I assure you. I was having a go at shops that sell such technology. I have just replaced my 2005 laptop. Understandably things have moved on and being on my own familiarising myself with it is formidable learning curve. Thank goodness I had everything backed up.

      If the very nice geek shop owner had a commercial brain cell he would have preceded his thanks with: “By the way, it will take time to familiarise yourself. I can recommend so-and-so. He / She will sit with you at €15 an hour so you can avoid weeks of suck and see.”

      No, having trousered my €500 he was delighted to abandon me. That is typical of the trade.

      In Britain, perhaps more in Spain, 20% have never used the internet. Wow! What opportunity. Again, all it takes (and this applies to any app) is for a seller to 1) set up 2-hour demo after which he sells the apps to those who have attended the freely advertised demo. 2) Offer all customers a free 2-hour teaching session .. .. .. or a €100 four hour teaching course for just €40 for customers special offer.

      Thanks both for your interested observations. Michael.


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