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IT and the Older Generation Expand / Collapse
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Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 9:43 PM
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item IT and the Older Generation

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Post #1576461
Posted Monday, June 2, 2014 12:58 AM
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Good thought-provoking editorial, unfortunately let down by several spelling mistakes.

Sorry, I'm very pedantic, I know, but it spoils my reading pleasure and shouldn't happen in an 'editorial'.
Post #1576471
Posted Monday, June 2, 2014 1:12 AM
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several


4

  • Ninth

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  • Anecdotal

  • Changed





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Post #1576474
Posted Monday, June 2, 2014 1:13 AM
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As one of the "middle generation" - a fifty something woman - I think the difference nowadays is that the technology works without being nursed along by those with more knowledge and this is now being realised by the general public of all ages. I was at a 70th birthday yesterday and the wife's present to hubby was a tablet. Her 92 year old father (long retired from building site management) is also happily browsing, shopping and emailing, something he's only learned in the last ten years.

The computer is simply a tool to achieve a goal (whether shopping of information or...) as women in IT have always known, you don't have to be a geek who understands its intimate workings to use it, just as you don't have to understand engine management systems to drive a car. Now that tool works efficiently and easily and cheaply, everyone can use it and the "silver surfers" who have the time, disposable income and desire to keep in touch with friends and family are an important market that should be targetted.
Nearly all my friends over 50 use Facebook, especially to keep in touch with their children, yet it is still so targetted at the school/college generation I find it annoying. Isn't it time social media grew up?
Post #1576475
Posted Monday, June 2, 2014 2:00 AM


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Making a program that is so usable it is easy is the ultimate goal.

Once a program or product has achieved it I believe there will be a natural tendency for everyone to copy the market leader.

If you are in software development I think you should accept that software cycles will eventually stagnate on individual products and you or your company should be constantly seeking to find or build new products. Software has the potential to be immortal (that was the promise of the digital age) and as a mathematical solution I guess there is an optimal or at least near optimal solution.

There's a heck of a lot of areas where the software needs improving. I've got a Windows Surface and while the OS is great some of the applications in the store are terrible. Spelling mistakes in menus and really poor content and layout. There's a lot of good work still to do in the majority of software genres.
Post #1576482
Posted Monday, June 2, 2014 2:05 AM


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I think that many of us belong to a generation that is an anomaly. I can see a similar path in the history of automobiles (or cars as most of us call them now).

Before cars were everyday mundane items that were used by all ages, there was a generation, or early adopters if you will, that tinkered with the motor vehicles. It was that generation that saw the motor industry rise with many of these tinkerers names being the global brands that we know today.

Are there still tinkerers? Yes.
Are there professional engineers? Yes.
Are there standardised components? Yes.
Are all components available to be used industry wide? No.
Am I talking about the auto industry or the computing industry? Both!!!

I believe that there are parallels here to be found although I am certain there are also plenty of differences.


Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
Post #1576485
Posted Monday, June 2, 2014 2:29 AM


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I think Gary is right on the mark with his comments.

I would say that I think there is far greater diversity to software than automobiles.
Recently automobile design really seems to be going down one route.

I have been struggling to find a car van. Vauxhall (GM) used to make something called an astra van which was perfect an estate car but with paneling on the back. They stopped production and no other manufacturers do anything similar. I am left with mini vans or proper industrial vans but nothing in between.

The mini vans are pretty small and the bigger vans are good but tend to be too high. I windsurf and its useful to have a lower roof so I can put boards on the roof.

Sometimes after a period of invention and diversity - diversity actually decreases.
I can see that this on occasion has happened in the software industry.
Post #1576487
Posted Monday, June 2, 2014 5:52 AM


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As someone stated (movie? book? paraphrased regardless): We stand on the shoulders of giants, building on their successes.

Every generation builds on top of what the previous generation accomplished. Supersonic aircraft built with TLAR engineering and slide rules, someone looked at the slide rule and those new-fangled "integrated circuit thingies" and came up with a calculator. I would say anyone born in the 1970s-80s is in the generation that saw the "old way" of doing things, and the "new way."

Grade school I was memorizing multiplication tables (badly,) by high school calculators were almost standard, and not long into college scientific / programmable / graphing calculators were becomming the norm. Computers went from the Atari 400 / Commodore 64 to the IBM PC Jr to the first Pentiums.

I think technology in general, and IT even more so, doesn't grow in a straight line, but more like a series of steps. But, each step comes faster and faster, as the tools to achieve that next upward step get better and better...

Dalkeith (6/2/2014)
I have been struggling to find a car van. Vauxhall (GM) used to make something called an astra van which was perfect an estate car but with paneling on the back. They stopped production and no other manufacturers do anything similar. I am left with mini vans or proper industrial vans but nothing in between.

The mini vans are pretty small and the bigger vans are good but tend to be too high. I windsurf and its useful to have a lower roof so I can put boards on the roof.


Here in the US, that would be a station wagon (although a station wagon was generally 4 doors.) They went out of style around the time mini-vans took off, and in some ways it's a shame as they didn't have the "bulk" of a mini-van but cargo capacity was at least as good.
Post #1576535
Posted Monday, June 2, 2014 7:25 AM
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My life time has bridged the gap between the computer and non computer worlds (I'm 64). In school I never had a calculator (just a slide rule). I still have the Curta calculator (google it) that my father purchased to help with his work when I was about 12 .. the $400 price was big money those days.

I see my 9 year old grand daughter pick stuff up with amazing ease. Her tablet malfunctioned, and when a replacement arrived, we dropped it off at her house but had no time to configure it. Apparently she did not need our help, got it going on her own. She is getting set to lease her own Minecraft virtual server to manage herself (she's on her own there, I know nothing about Minecraft).

But I'm in a position to see another side too. To many people, technology is seen as an end in itself, and it's not alway terribly useful. Just look at the techno-baubles being promoted in the car ads, or the voice recognition thermostats. Or the rabid urge to update smartphones every 2 years or less. Really folks.

But as always, so many of the 'latest and greatest' will also become next year's laughing stock, while the really useful technology will expand almost invisibly in the fabric of daily life.


...

-- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --
Post #1576573
Posted Tuesday, June 3, 2014 1:59 AM
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Thanks for this article, it was really thought provoking.

The parallels between cars and computers was spot on. Over the last 10-20 years I have found myself doing less under the bonnet of a car and cannot remember the last time that I opened up a pc. I guess this is a combination of less time, less need to do so and, in the case of cars, no longer being able to tinker due the design. Nowadays I just want to get up and running as quick as possible. I am not sure I have the patience to spend hours doing this type of thing.

Many years ago I used to laugh at my parents attempts to program the VHS video recorder, which was something I found so simple. Just recently one of my children 'organised' my Ipad for me. She found it so simple (it is when you know how). I never even knew I could up until that point. She laughed at me and then did the same with my phone, even setting up a new wallpaper with a silly photo. Probably made me feel like my parents did when I laughed at them.

There has been a worrying trend in recent years in that young people in the UK spend so long using apps on phones and tablets but there is not the interest in working out how these can be built. It seems so long ago from the early 80s when my friends and I used to spend hours programming on an BBC micro-computer.

ps I never even noticed the spelling mistakes....
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