Technologically Sound

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

Computer illiterate people bug me. I don’t know why they think that they don’t have to understand a computer, but apparently they’re thinking that computers are going to disappear for some reason. The reality is that they’re likely going to disappear before the computers will – unless someone comes up with a variant of the computer that’s so advanced, they don’t call it a “computer”; however, the computer illiterate will just be further behind. Let’s face it, computers are here to stay. You either get used to them or you get left behind in the dust. Get over it.

The people that bug me even more, though, are those that think they know how to use a computer, but they actually don’t. These people think they know everything there is to know about the computer or a certain program, and then proceed to show you the most roundabout way of doing something when you could do it easily in three clicks. Case in point: Mr. G today in Accounting class. You see, our new textbooks come with a CD that gives you some exercises to work on in Excel. I’ve dealt with Excel a few times, and though I certainly don’t claim to be an expert in it, I at least can navigate my way around in the program and do pretty much anything I need to do with not too much hassle. Anyway, Mr. G decided to teach us how to use Excel to do these exercises in our book. My annoyance factor went up by a couple points.

He brought Lana and myself into the office and we huddled around his computer – that is, I might add, quite slow. He had the headings of an amortization table set up, and the first thing he mentioned was that we needed a list of the numbers from 1 to 8 on the left-hand column. He asked us how we would go about doing that; I had no clue what he was trying to ask. When Lana said to type them in, he said, “No! That’s too slow. We can get the computer to do it for us instead.” I was about to ask him what the big deal was with typing 8 numbers, but I decided to just see where he was going with it. Anyway, he typed in the number 1 into the first cell, and then clicked on the little square in the corner of the highlighted cell – which serves to copy and paste when you drag it around. So he dragged it down and it filled all the following cells with the number 1. Hmm. That didn’t exactly work. I bit my tongue and let him stumble through it, though. He next typed the number 2 into the next cell, highlighted both of those cells, and then dragged it down. The computer automatically created a list from 1 to 8. Once he did that, I knew what he had been asking to do in the first place. But whatever. He accomplished his goal, and we moved on.

One of the columns required that we take a number from a certain cell and then multiply that by a percentage to get the amount of interest expense. Now, let me explain that his columns that he had created were labelled from A to E – but those didn’t correspond to the column letters used by the Excel program. Anyways, he tried to create a formula to take the data from his column E. I think his formula went something like ‘=(Column E * 0.04)’ – (without the quotes). Needless to say, the program was confused. Next he tried just ‘=(E * 0.04)’ – the program still puzzled over it and decided that he was an idiot and therefore couldn’t compute the formula. Here’s where I couldn’t stand it anymore. I was already getting annoyed from this person who thought he knew everything about the program, so I tried to calmly say that he had to use the column number from Excel, so it would be ‘=(L9 * 0.04)’ – and magically, the program wasn’t confused anymore! It was amazing! To think that using a proper formula could do something like that!

With a few more minutes of stumbling around with formulas (I decided not to bring up the formula generator that Microsoft so ingeniously invented for people like him, to take the work out of it), we finally got the table set up. Everything looked fine. Then he decided to create the rest of the table for the remainder of the life of the bond – which lasted over 20 semiannual periods. Amazingly, it only took him a few minutes to copy and paste the new numbers and create the chart – although I could have probably done it in half the time. However, at the end of the table, the figure was off by a few thousand dollars. It was supposed to be $1,600,000, and the number was somewhere around $1,540,000. The problem was that he had used Excel’s INT() command to get rid of the decimal places in a few of the columns – however, INT() simply truncates the decimal place instead of rounding it. In other words, it always rounds down. Anyways, without looking like too incompetent, he realized why the number was off and told us that it was because of getting rid of the decimal places, and that we should have used the rounding function instead. Then he very quickly shut it down and had us leave. By this time, I was almost ready to strangle him – or myself.

Technologically handicapped people have no place in this world anymore. I mean, they may be great people and all, but if they can’t figure out how to set the time on their VCR, they should be shot. These companies that make programs and technological devices try to make it as easy to do stuff as possible, specifically for people like this. I mean, Mr. G doesn’t even know how to turn the alarm off on his watch. Over the past few days, his alarm has gone off at 1:05 PM, and he just gets mad and starts fiddling around with his watch and pressing random buttons trying to get it stop. I want to just rip it off his arm and do it for him, because it pains me to have to sit there and watch him look like a fool, pressing buttons. If I didn’t know how to do something as simple as that, I would sit down that night at home and figure out how to do it, not stopping until I had turned off that stupid alarm. Chances are, it would take me about 10 seconds at the most, but hey – if you don’t even try to figure out how it works, there’s no point to having it. I should steal Mr. G’s watch one day and put in a glass of water – then set it on his desk. Then we would wait and see if the alarm went off. People that don’t know how to use watches shouldn’t have watches. Similarly, people who don’t have brains shouldn’t try to use them.

That’s my rant. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re at least technologically adept enough to have used a browser to get here. If someone had to do this for you, please turn the computer off right now – yes, the big button on the front of the computer with the circle and the line – and put your head inside the bowl of the toilet. Make sure to get your head nice and wet, then flush repeatedly. Then, do not come back to this site until you find out how to do so yourself. Thank you; you’ve saved me a lot of grief.

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