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Yeah, well. A colleague of mine is an historian, in her early 50's I think.

For three years now she has been taking notes in her small notepad of the four same shortcuts: ctrl-A, alt-tab, etc. She still doesn't get attachments and doesn't understand the differences between a zip file and a folder (I blame windows but still...).

I think she's good at her job (research and producing articles) but she isn't catching up with the tech.

The struggle is real.




I think part of the problem is rote memorization rather than learning concepts.

(Eg: maybe if someone learns about the context of a "task switcher" and "shortcut" they could be taught how to search for 'task switcher shortcut windows'.

Instead we train users to treat keyboard shortcuts like magical incantations. I don't think that does a service to users of any age.


She's a knowledge worker, highly paid and was in her 20's when computers became ubiquitous.

Her education, the job she's supposed to do... it's like a carpenter who don't want to learn about electric screwdrivers.

As soon as you try to get a bit more general: “Ctrl-A works in any applications or folders or anything with multiple items... it allows you to select everything at once.” She shuts down and gets back to her task of writing stuff.

The thing is: computers aren't magical enough yet for that kind of user.


>The thing is: computers aren't magical enough yet for that kind of user.

Isn't it the other way around? Ctrl+A does nothing on my machine, because I haven't set it up to do anything.

I think the problem is that most OS's were designed with programmers in mind, then have had a kind of 'user-friendly' face lift pasted over fundamentals that have remained more or less the same. I can see why non-computer people don't want to deal with that - you engage most of the time with the user-friendly mask, but it's fundamentally incoherent and inconsistent, since it's just a mask, implemented half-heartedly, by programmers who don't use it.

Ctrl+A is basically just an incantation. When people are presented by a bunch of incantations with no logical consistency, by a machine they aren't interested in, it's unsurprising they learn the bare minimum.


> Isn't it the other way around? Ctrl+A does nothing on my machine, because I haven't set it up to do anything.

Is that trolling ?

Dude... she's not banging some Perl in emacs... She's writing words in Microsoft Word running on a Windows like a gazillion of people do in the 9-5 workforce, with the occasional excel spreadsheets and file manipulations in explorer.

Ctrl-a, ctrl-c, ctrl-v everywhere, all the time.

It has been for 30 years. The fact it has no logical consistency (although I am pretty sure ctrl-all is a good candidate) it's not an excuse to forget about it everyday. Does she forget where the brake pedal is in her car ?

I am dev. I know computers are voodoo and run on magic.

But it's not a reason to forget how to turn it on every morning.




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