Sunday, September 21, 2008

guide to overcoming user inertia

Had to replace the kitchen faucet, looks so simple to swap the new for the old. Things I didn't count on hindered me. The new unit is improved over the old one, but you have to remove the old one first. There was no room to get a wrench in there so I had to remove the sink from the counter. The sink hold down clips were also in awkward places. OK, I got those clips off, the sink out and the old faucet unmounted. I didn't mention I also had to disconnect the drains and close the water supply lines. Putting the new stuff in was easy but there were details so like a good boy I read the instructions. I looked at the recommended order of assembly, counted the parts and took note of the no wench warning. A no wench warning? Seems some users would tighten too much. Then I put it all back together and it worked fine except it leaked. All the twisting of flexible and swivel connections and my finger tight fittings at the faucet end worked themselves loose. Being a better design than the previous faucet, I could reach up into the tight space to unscrew the faucet. I carefully tightened the fittings (using a wrench) and remounted the assembly. It works fine.
I wrote all this to say a few things concerning software, especially Linux and open source software. It may not look like what you are use to seeing, yet have the same tools or functions. It may cost less, be free or not be what is in popular use. But just because you are unfamiliar with it doesn't mean it's inferior, lacking in quality or too hard to learn. What is helping me, because I dislike reading manuals, is the instructional videos on the web. I know how hard it is for some to admit you don't understand, can't figure it out or don't get the logic. Manuals aren't for dumb people but are a shortcut for smart people to save the time and aggravation of having to figure it out. Instructional videos are even better, they give you a chance to see how it works with explanations in real time.
I am beginning to play with the graphics apps on my Ubuntu Linux machine. I have Inkscape, GIMP, Blender3D, K-3D and a few others. The videos save me from hours of reading and static screenshots. I used Rhino3D on XP but was afraid of Blender3D because the interface is so different. The videos are taking away that fear, I am beginning to comprehend what's going on there. It is the same with GIMP and Inkscape, the videos make the approach sane. Making instructional videos is quite an art, so I extend my thanks to all you who spend time explaining step by step how to use these applications so I can learn. So you see, here is the Linuxville guide getting guided by other guides, cool.

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