Saturday, June 21, 2008

Herding Cats or Care and feeding of users

I have 6 of them, so I know, cats are all the same but different. The cat nature is colored by the individual cat personality. This presents a problem at critical times like when it's time to go to the vet. Cattle are like dumb sheep compared to cats. Computer users are much like cats because though we are all doing the same things we are staunch individualist when it comes to our world in front of the computer. I have required the use of a Rosetta Stone to talk with some users, their colorful way of describing things is another language entirely. I have often been confronted by user arrogance and or frustration because they can't explain it or think the words are stupid and refuse to use them. Try that in another country. And we are talking about another country here, though in the Microsoft PC and Mac worlds we say much the same things, the Linux world can be a different dialect. How easily we can assume because computer words are part of our common language, we think we know it already. In the Microsoft PC and Mac worlds, many things are hidden from the user. If you don't see them you are hardly going to talk about them. In Linuxville there are no hidden rooms, though with the advent of the modern GUI, you can closed the door, somewhat. My point is that things are a little different in Linuxville, a user is required to communicate on a higher level. Knowing what to say, how to say it and what it all means is just part of being in the community of Linux users. This is from where support for your Linux system comes. Believe me, you'll never get your "clicky thingy" fixed if you don't call it a mouse. If you are new to Linux, keep your ears open to how things are said on web sites, forums and techie friends who are trying to help you. In any country, speaking the language opens a whole new world. Learning the local dialect gets you past the front desk, the first cab, the best wine list and winks and smiles from guys like me who wonder where you're coming from. First lesson you learn from herding cats, meows are not a language (neither is barking for dog lovers). Animals tend to communicate with gestures, postures, but with us expressive hand/face movements only emphasize, they don't explain. So, my encouragement to you new to Linuxville is to learn to talk techie, put on the geek words, nerdalize yourself and soon your be talking like a native. Oh yeah, in Linuxville "the finger" is for the mouse button.......

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