When I first started attending Houston’s Apple Computer Club (called HAAUG for short) I was lost as a goose, yet impressed with the cordiality and genuine helpfulness of the members. For folks who live in Texas, this name is reminiscent of the Fat Hog Days when school let out during the yearly County Fairs.
Perhaps some of my experiences will remind all of us of how it feels to be a new member. If not, the sheer ninesense (a word one of my students taught me) may soften your disk just a bit.
Yet for a new user the meetings weren’t just Greek to me, they were GREEK! I likened them to a calculus convention, especially the day I got into the wrong SIG because as a a teacher I didn’t fully understand what a program developer was.
However, one fine day I happened on a discussion group which was full of card-bearing geeks. The presenter was using a mathematical graph to illustrate his point. Then he hesitated, saying, “I never can remember which is x and which is y!”
That was my cue!
I piped up with the way I teach it to students explaining, “The airplane has to taxi before it flies. The taxi on the horizontal ground is x. The fly in the air is y. Ahem, of course y can fly or dive underground, but always travels vertically. My students always love the crashing part:-)”
I stopped amidst cheers of approval and the speaker gave any appreciative “Thanks” to me. For a tiny moment I was a fully anointed member of the club! Then the rest of the presentation went way over my head, pulling me back down to earth.
I stayed quiet and tried to leave unobtrusively when the meeting was over. My lesson was learned: Never go into a meeting whose name I can’t even understand!
Another time when I heard the expression Power User I consulted my novice jargon memory and decided I was definitely not one of those.
Now that doesn’t mean I’ve never touched a computer. I started out with TRS-80 when 16K was something to brag about. Then in my classroom I purchased numerous models of Apples, then Macs as they advanced in sophistication, even including iBooks and iMacs. Yet my usage has been mostly in the realm of research, writing, and education.
Nor do I see myself as ever being a power user. I do my bookkeeping and psycho-educational writing en masse in my home office, using my dynamic duo of updated Macs as work horses to perform mighty feats for my blog and other work.
My wonderful friend and spouse had the patience and the knack to spend hours delving into programs and techniques till he learned to love them. He did that for many years and we made a great team.
After he had mastered a program, he’d drag me – sometimes kicking and screaming – into new and greater uses for my Macs. I’ve been known to say, “I just haate learning all that new stuff!” Then in a few days Ive also been known to tell others what a delight this or that new gadget or trick is! I’ve always made myself tackle new things so I would understand how my students feel.
Something makes me keep going back to monthly computer meetings. I don’t think it’s the coffee–it’s too expensive. But every time I attend I find some new bit of information or fascinating ideas to go home and investigate.
Copyright by Hildra Tague 2013. First published in part in Apple Barrel March 1989, published by Houston Area Apple Users Group.