I’m currently studying to take a set of tests next month called IC3 (Internet and Computing Core Certification). I’ve hired a very astute and savvy tutor to help me out and his name is Eldest Son. I knew I had children for a very good reason and that they would come in handy someday.
So, we started with the vocabulary, with which I do okay. I find computer terms to be not only interesting but descriptive as well. For example, how can text be hyper? Who knew that a bot can become bad and turn into a zombie? Fascinating.
Then we get into real world examples. This is where our paths diverge and it becomes totally obvious that I am not a computer geek. “Okay, mom, I’m going to attempt to convert this blah blah blah into blah blah blah, are you watching?” I anxiously watch him perform ten different functions at one time and then I ask the obvious – how did you know how to do that?
His answer? “I dunno, I just do”.
It’s been my experience that computer geeks (and I use that term warmly) are better at DOING things on the computer than SHOWING non-geeks. Like myself.
This idea that my son just somehow knows the inner workings of a computer chip without formal education bothers me. The fact that he hated Windows Vista, decided to change to Linux, is currently running the Windows 7 Beta and actually knew how to wipe out his hard drive and start over boggled my brain. It made me want to lie down and rest my weary head. It was almost worse than bed spins.
I tried to talk to him again. “… but HOW did you know that? Did you read a manual? Did someone tell you how this works? Did you watch some sort of informational DVD?” He shook his head. “No, Mom. I just knew. I don’t know how. It’s just something I figured out for myself.”
This is the difference between my son’s brain and mine. I have to figure out everything I do step by step with the help of a book or a class and he has absorbed it all, apparently, through osmosis. It’s not that I can’t learn, it just doesn’t come naturally.
Plus, I haven’t had the advantage of working with computers since I was a wee tot. My first encounter with anything electronic, besides my dad’s prized calculator, was Atari Pong. The only joy I got out of that was making the ball get stuck in the corner. Otherwise, I wasn’t impressed.
The good news is that I’m moving on from hardware to software in my studies. Soon, I will be speaking Geek too. Just slowly, and with a stutter.
Nobody’s perfect… maybe even Bill Gates had struggles too.