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Old 10-11-2011, 10:52 PM   #1
marfig
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Default Consoles and Computer Illiteracy

This afternoon I had the son of a neighbor come by because his Xbox couldn't play most of his disks. I had to explain to him I have no clue about consoles and how to fix them. My daughters have an Xbox because it would be that or no love from them. But I personally only make decisions on what they should play. If that thing got broken tomorrow, I'd be sending it to whoever could fix it. in short, I'm not an electronics person.

But since he also has a laptop I offered to lend him some of my PC games. Unfortunately the only game he seemed interested from my collection was Borderlands. And as luck would have it, I'm currently playing it (the retail version still requires the disk inserted to launch). So I figured: He actually owns the game. He can't just play it presently. So I'll be a bit lenient and nobly irresponsible and suggest him a crack. I'll email him some decent torrent.

At the mention of bittorrent he drew a blank face. "I don't know how that works". No sweat. Bring the laptop over, I'll just install the client and you can download it. Then follow the instructions on this NFO file.

A couple hours later he came over again. "I don't understand how to install this. And how do I open this NFO file? Where is it?". To make it short, I ended up installing the damn thing on his machine and sent him home.

....

Then I had a sort of epiphany.

It's no doubt through gaming that I gained most of my knowledge of computers. Ever since way back in the 80s when I owned my first computer-like console (a ZX Spectrum) and soon after a personal computer (an Amstrad PC 1512), that games had been the main reason why I would read up on computer usage and configuration. My love for programming also manifested itself early. But were it not for games, I'd probably have not maintained an interest on computers for a long time.

And with it came the slowly build up of knowledge on computers that didn't take long to extend well beyond the requirements to install a game, configure the system, and play the game on a machine. It's that experience born out of the need to be able to run a game on my computer that eventually gave me a career and has been putting the food on my plate pretty much ever since I was old enough to make my own money.

I'm of course no different than many of you. And those of you younger than me, will no doubt be no different than I. You may pursue different careers of course. But we share a deep knowledge of computers thanks mostly to our video gaming habits.

Consoles, on the other hand have been replacing the computer on many kids places. These are ultimately gaming machines and nothing more than gaming machines. Even the PS 3 that could have been a bit more than that, had the OtherOS removed not long after, turning it into yet another mindless gaming machine. Games made for these machines just work. No messing about it. But while this may seem convenient, it also means that the personal computer is only of secondary nature to these kids. The spurring of computer knowledge through gaming is just no longer present. And as they grow up, so will many of them remain mostly PC illiterate.

Can it be that we are raising a generation that will be less computer literate than the one that preceded it?
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Old 10-12-2011, 02:07 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig View Post
It's no doubt through gaming that I gained most of my knowledge of computers.

Can it be that we are raising a generation that will be less computer literate than the one that preceded it?
Totally agree!

People always go for the easy way. For consoles its just 'Insert disk and play'. Rather than fuss about the requirements and go into detail of what specs r required and why and how to install and how to change the directory if space is low etc....
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Old 10-12-2011, 02:28 AM   #3
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Well lets not confuse the knowing from the not knowing. Computer literate can mean an office worker who knows not much outside of their job and a little MS office training. The difference between that and a user and an enthusaist even beyond to an electrical engineer is always going to be a distinction in our lifetime.

I am in my mid 20's and I wouldnt say that the majority of my generation knows jack about computers. Though plenty of dumb not even computer owning fools know how to P2P some music.

Consoles have been around for my generations existance and the same going into the next. That hasnt changed. I dont think the amount of people that don't care about such things to alter drasticly either. Cell phones and tablets have and probably will bring a little more in these days.

Lets not forget when I was in school Apple II's were "insert disk" "turn on" "use app". Actually less knowledge needed than a PS3 if you ask me lol.
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Old 10-12-2011, 03:00 AM   #4
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lolololololol I'm sorry but that's funny as hell.

I wish I could softmod a 360 or that the pulse overload came out before I sold the pair I got super freaking cheap. I softmodded both of my original Xboxes, one is STILL kicking with a 250gb or something in it and maybe 50 games or so on it.

I dont know how people can PREFER to play on a console, graphics wise, the graphics on PC are just so much better. I do understand controller vs KB+M, some games are just better suited to one or the other, as well as personal preference.

Its depressing how things are looking,I mean, average IQ is supposed to be 100, I feel its probably more like 80 TBH. More and more people just seem completely just WTF? How do you survive. (Apple stuff really doesn't help since its obviously designed to be attractive to... well more of the "simple folk") As the saying goes: A fool and his money are soon parted. (I do however have an iPod due to it being pretty much the best touch screen media player/general AIO device) Nothing against apple users but, I mean do you really need disk icons to appear on your desktop when a CD/DVD is inserted? how about HDD icons? Do you really not know how to open finder and go to it? Not to mention the single mouse click, 2 buttons is just WOAH! way too many. (Not to mention my mouse and others with 8 buttons or more)

I mean all the stuff I know about computers, be it software or hardware I learned myself. Even though I know so much about it all, when it comes to networking/programming just O.o SO MUCH NEW STUFF.
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Old 10-12-2011, 05:51 AM   #5
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I don't think people are less intelligent. Simply they they choose to not apply their intelligence to gain more insight into a technology that invariably will keep surrounding them at a professional and daily level. It's possible that one day the Xbox or the Playstation will make it into our offices. But until then it is a sure bet these devices contribute nothing to our readiness. The question is whether they are being also detrimental.

It's interesting that you mention Apple. Not specific to this company anymore, but tablet devices are to have a similar impact on general population knowledge of personal computers if we are to believe the reports of people removing PCs from their lives and going entirely with tablet devices. Some of these don't seem much more than hollow claims on fan boards. But if we do want to take them seriously, one must wonder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RainMotorsports View Post
Well lets not confuse the knowing from the not knowing. Computer literate can mean an office worker who knows not much outside of their job and a little MS office training. The difference between that and a user and an enthusaist even beyond to an electrical engineer is always going to be a distinction in our lifetime.
Absolutely. What I'm trying to gauge is if the gap is widening or closing as we move through through the technological revolution. It's expected, as a society involves technologically, its citizens grow in knowledge of that technology; that they become more technologically savant. Or that is more or less the plan. However we seem to be putting too much emphasis on comfort and "easy-of-use", purposely abstracting more and more the used technologies away from users.

An analogy would be that of farming. We successfully inducted a large portion of our society into a lifestyle away from farming habits by constantly improving over them. And the technological revolution certainly helped speed this process greatly. However it's pretty much agreed farming is still an essential part of our ability to survive. But for the vast majority of the urban population -- that makes a large part of the world population -- we've lost the ability to farm. If I were, for some reason, to go back to this activity to survive I would probably die of hunger as I've lost every and any knowledge on how to build and sustain a crop.

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Originally Posted by RainMotorsports View Post
I am in my mid 20's and I wouldnt say that the majority of my generation knows jack about computers. Though plenty of dumb not even computer owning fools know how to P2P some music.
It's not so much that generation that concerns me. I'm thinking about the young birds of today and the ones following them.
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:16 AM   #6
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People nowadays are lazy... and they'll do anything to become even more lazy
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:59 AM   #7
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There are two types of computer users - those who are hungry to learn why and how the components and software work (regardless of what stage their obsession has reached) and those who know how to use a computer strictly for what they need and that's enough.

I deal with it every day working as a 2nd level analyst. On every single call I have to ask what the user's operating system is, which is usually greeted with I don't know, how can I tell, Windows 2007, Microsoft, Office, HP...you name it. You'd think their loading screen would at least stick in their mind but because it doesn't play a role in their daily tasks it doesn't stick.

Some people only know how to perform certain functions, open certain applications, etc and if something falls outside of that they simply want nothing to do with it.

It's not a matter of computer illiteracy in my opinion. Just look at how far personal computing has come. You used to have to belong to MENSA to even build one and now a trained monkey can do it. My 8 year old cousin built a budget gaming system with a little help from his father. Hell, TG has me building a system each time I review a case so if that isn't scary as all get out I don't know what is.

It's all about what priority computing takes in the individual user's life. Some simply want to game and that's it so they gravitate towards consoles due to their ease of use. Those who want more go for a PC. It's simple.
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