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Desc:'Error?' This computer IS an error.
Category:Science & Technology, Horror
Tags:computers, kids react to, Millennials
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Comment count is 50
Oscar Wildcat - 2014-06-05
Now to really blow their minds: try addressing more than 256 memory locations with a machine instruction. You can't. Got to write code _that modifies itself at run time_ BITCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
baleen - 2014-06-05
This one just kinda depressed me.
RockBolt - 2014-06-05
Me too, only because it dovetails in with this-

http://coding2learn.org/blog/2013/07/29/kids-cant-use-computer s/

Since phones and tablets hide so much of the file system and applications behind a locked interface, it just becomes a magic box that solves problems and who knows or who cares why because 90% of the time its on Facebook or Twitter. All ability to troubleshoot or interest in tinkering with the way things work goes out the window when those skills can no longer be challenged or tested by the devices at hand.

These kids will probably be just as baffled by technology that doesn't have a touchscreen and do all of the thinking for them in 10 years as they are now. There is a fundamental difference in, "I am unfamiliar with this but lets give it a look and try a few things and see what happens" and "I don't get it SIIIIGH the power button is in the back I give up" mentality.

CIWB - 2014-06-05
Isn't that what always happens when previously new technology becomes more advanced and user friendly? Cars, radio, television, etc. It's just inevitable. Not to mention the simple impact of the novelty wearing off. Computers once seemed like something out of science fiction, now they're on the same level as a toaster.

EvilHomer - 2014-06-05
Stars for RockBolt and his link. Kids may have more access to technology now than in the past, but they're not learning how to use it, or rather, they're not learning how to troubleshoot and approach problems from new angles. Like that one kid says in this video, they know how to use Google, they know how to use Youtube. That's pretty much it.

We're becoming a society of Eloi. Fat, touchscreen-loving, Facebook-addicted Eloi.

EvilHomer - 2014-06-05
CIWB- pretty much. I know my grandparents could fix the fuck out if their cars; their cars were powerful, exotic, temperamental, and sometimes downright stupid. Anyone their age who owned a car HAD to learn at least some intermediate-level skills. Now, we're pretty clever if we know how to change a tire on our own; only dedicated automotive professionals will want or need to develop skills beyond that. Now it's happening with computers, and, in another twenty years, it'll be happening with our Google neural implants and home-model VR holodecks.

Caminante Nocturno - 2014-06-05
You old coot!

SteamPoweredKleenex - 2014-06-05
EvilHomer, that's a poor comparison. Open the hood of any vehicle built after 1990, and compare that to, say, a '56 Pontiac Star Chief.

The former could have its engine in sideways, a fuel filter that requires the removal of the engine's upper portion (fuck you, Mitsubishi!), and hundreds of other devices, parts, and systems that all require unique tools, a Chilton's guide, and a computer to properly service.

The Star Chief had a block, air filter, radiator, battery, and horn. The nostalgia over being able to fix them came from having auto shop taught in schools as well as more people having a farming background where you HAD to service your own tractor or you went under.

Gmork - 2014-06-05
EvilHomer - the dumbening has begun.

Hooker - 2014-06-05
Oh, God. That article again. I'd wage to bet the number of kids - let's say 10 year olds - that know the first thing you should do is reboot a computer when it's getting screwy today are about the same number as when the Apple II was new. The only difference is that the kids today know how to use a computer in its intended purpose. This "someone can't use something if they don't know how to fix it and/or build it" is an absolutely retarded goalpost. Similar things kids can't use by that standard:

A bicycle
The washroom
A chair
Their eyes

Adham Nu'man - 2014-06-05
To be fair, I had a Commodore 64 and an Amiga and then old PCs that ran on DOS. I don't feel I learnt much troubleshooting wise, and I always felt the "FATAL ERROR" messages were stupid.

animegurl1000 - 2014-06-05
Funnily enough, even though my first two computers were DOS-based, I never really learned how to perform the more complex DOS commands until the Windows 98/XP days.

Before that, I only knew the basics like "CD\WOLF3D WOLF3D" to run a game, or "WIN" to start Windows 3.1. Oh, and "EDIT" for the basic text editor.

aikimoe - 2014-06-05
So...you're saying the younger generation isn't as good as previous ones.

This is a startlingly insightful and fresh observation, gentlemen! Kudos! Kudos to you all!

baleen - 2014-06-05
I think it's rather difficult to make generalizations about the kids these days.

I read an article recently that said many parents are upset that their kids are spending too much time making computer games and not enough time on their studies. Any kid can spend a couple years learning flash dev skills and end up with a game that makes them money before their 20 years old. This stuff definitely requires troubleshooting and a lot of tinkering, just not the kind of tedious pixel pushing that game making required when I was a kid. When you see the many many thousands of online games being launched every month it definitely dwarfs what was happening in indie games in 1988. That's a good thing right?

What was depressing to me here was that this technology, which is so close to my childhood, is completely worthless. I was right there at the forefront of it and I didn't participate in its evolution, and I can't really tell you why.

EvilHomer - 2014-06-06
SPK - in regards to CIWB's car comment, the precise reasons why the common man has lost his ability to work on cars is irrelevant; interesting, worth examining, but irrelevant. It is sufficient to establish that this *has* happened, that our rapid Eloification in regards to a new technology is a historically identifiable pattern with plenty of precedent, and you seem to agree with us that it has. Nor am I seeing how your breakdown of the car situation weakens the analogy with computers. Modern computers are not simple devices. They certainly appear simple from the outside, but you strip away the veneer of usability and experience-based design, and it can appear every bit as intimidating as a modern car. (My engine might be complex as hell, but I drive automatic!) Furthermore, a _direct_ comparison can be made between engine parts that require proprietary tools to work on them, and an increasing number of devices, in particular, almost everything Apple makes these days. Hell, even my own tablet, a Samsung device, has a welded backplate; they do not allow me to change or replace my own battery, even though I know how to do this. Even with the skills to repair my own device, the company has made in-house servicing mandatory.

Hooker - I think you misunderstand our position. No-one is claiming that children need to know how to *build* a computer, or at least I'm not, and I don't Mr Bolt or Mr CWIB are, either. They needn't even be able to repair their device, per say, although being able to make repairs is certainly a good sign. Rather, as Mr Bolt said, it is about the ability to troubleshoot and approach tasks you _don't_ know how to do in a logical, methodical manner. I'm no computer genius, there are plenty of tasks on devices both modern and ancient that I don't know how to complete off the top of my head, but I can usually work the solution out within a minute, often within seconds, as I'm sure most of us here can too. The problem is less one of specific skills (although these are important), and more one of methodology and philosophy.

Now, I know, there's a natural objection here: what about the numbers? After all, back in the day computers were the sole reserve of geeks. People who owned computers tended to be from the brighter and better educated segment of the population, and those of us who bothered to own computers at this early stage were usually very curious about them. Overall adoption rates were low, but those who did adopt the technology, were well-suited to mastering it. Nowadays, almost everyone owns a handheld computer. Adoption rates are much higher, but the number of people who belong to the "tech-inclined class" has, presumably, stayed the same. If five out of every hundred children are motivated enough to learn about computers, and only these five children actually own computers, then obviously the average computer owner will appear to be proficient. If ninety-five children own computers, however, then the five motivated ones will be in the minority, and the average computer owner will appear to be unproficient. So maybe that's all it is? Kids only *appear* to have gotten dumber, because now dumb kids are using computers too? Well, I'd reject this argument. It may indeed play a part in skewing our perception, but I'm not so sure it's wise to be dividing children up into sets of "naturally gifted" and "naturally non-gifted", and at any rate it fails to address the very specific, design-oriented flaws pointed out both in that article and elsewhere. Even if most of the problem can be poo-poo'd away as a just a perceptual quirk caused by the shifting nature of generalizations, the fact remains that even those children who would have been gaining proficiency are having their growth hindered by increasingly restrictive, opaque, and convenient designs.

Gmork and Caminante - you guys looking forward to Season Five? I don't know if I can wait that long!

TeenerTot - 2014-06-06
The corporations that produce this stuff don't _want_ you to fix it. Be it cars or tablets or whatever--if it breaks, buy another one.

oddeye - 2014-06-05
I like the idea of filming the adorable reactions children have to obsolete technology BUT the way this is set up makes this shit.

Maybe you should give them a task to complete, like write something in a document or some such and then watch them try to navigate the commands and crap with the occasional pointer.

I'm a make a "Childreaction" channel...
EvilHomer - 2014-06-05
That is a very good idea. I would like to see how children react to you.

EvilHomer - 2014-06-05
Maybe you and Caminante can team up?

memedumpster - 2014-06-05
That would be awesome. Get the kids to write a short report on Windows 95, then give them a modern computer to do it with sixteen registration popups, a completely useless non-standard interface designed by hateful nerds with jobs that shouldn't exist, and 100% incompatibility for formatting from one piece of software to the other.

infinite zest - 2014-06-05
At least these kids are having fun learning it.. have you ever been to an Apple store on a Sunday?

Hooker - 2014-06-05
I've never been to an Apple Store in my life, thank God.

oddeye - 2014-06-06
I'd go to an Apple store because I'm approaching 30 and I am not ready to give up on being cool but fuck if I'm going to queue to get into a chain store during regular business hours.

boner - 2014-06-06
I've bought stuff at the Apple store, by scanning the barcode with my phone, paying with one click and walking out with it. No human contact is required. I have no idea how they handle loss prevention.

oddeye - 2014-06-06
Loss prevention?? Apple users are a master race of honourable super smart demi-gods. They would never steal something from Valhala.

Raggamuffin - 2014-06-05
I hate this "Haha kids are so stupid because they aren't familiar with the crappy technology I grew up with!" thing that comes up from time to time. If I was confronted with whatever passed for a computer 30 years before I was born, with no instruction or documentation, I'm sure I'd do worse.
Raggamuffin - 2014-06-05
I five-starred the video mindlessly and entirely out of habit.

Anaxagoras - 2014-06-05
The kids aren't the object of derision in this piece.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2014-06-05
I don't know how much better I'd do with that machine..

I got through college with a C64 which I used for word processing and 1 game, and irt was great. As a Linux user, I'm not used to paying money for software, but I think I'd pay real money for a version of "Speedscript" that I could run on my current laptop,.

infinite zest - 2014-06-05
I was about 6 when my dad brought home a IIE from work when they upgraded to 386s.. one of my greatest accomplishments in life was getting Karateka and Montezuma's revenge to work in all their green glory.
oddeye - 2014-06-05
I have a collection of early computer stuff too like Windowd 98 machines with CD-ROM drives and even once without a graphics card.

Computers were so crappy back in the early days.

animegurl1000 - 2014-06-05
My family's first computer was given to us by my uncle when he bought a Pentium. It was some 486-era Gateway with Windows 3.1 and of course DOS.

One of my proudest moments with that computer was figuring out how to upgrade the Windows 3.1 video drivers to display 256 glorious colors rather than the default 16. Pictures and game graphics didn't look so gray and dithered after that.

memedumpster - 2014-06-05
Having to flip DIP switches on the motherboard.

I like computers better now. Now we only bitch about software. By the time robots are self-aware there wont be any ethical problems about building a living machine that could have a single glitch which kills it suddenly at any time. Those machines will still be us.

EvilHomer - 2014-06-05
My first was a C64 that my mom bought. The first one I really remember was an Apple LCII; my dad got it as part of a faculty grant, and he kept it loooong after he should have upgraded.

Cube - 2014-06-05
Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing "Hallelujah."
That guy - 2014-06-05
But you try and tell the young people today that... and they won't believe ya

oddeye - 2014-06-06

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2014-06-05
What the fuck? After all the shit I've taken for being a Iinux fanboy, am I detecting a perverse nostalgia for the command line?

I don't think things have changed all that much. In the late 70s-early 80s most adults would have reacted exactly like these kids did. And the same is true today. One of my three computers runs Slackware, which is the only Linux to run from the terminal by default, but if you gave me a 1979 Apple Watthefuck, I'd be just as baffled as these children. Steve Jobs said that in the future, computers will be like trucks, and tablets will be like cars. Most people will have tablets, but computers will still be in evidence.

And hey, Linux will always be here. Linux would have gone out of business years ago, except that it's not a business. It's always going to be made by tinkerers expressly to be tinkered with, so I hope that's some comfort to you. It is to me.
BorrowedSolution - 2014-06-06
Linux is alright. Not great, but alright.

EvilHomer - 2014-06-06
You use Linux? NERD.

BorrowedSolution - 2014-06-06
I use Puppy as a data-recovery tool. Haven't used a distro as my primary OS for a couple of years, now. I don't have the free time and patience that I once did, so now I'm running Windows 8.1 with a few programs to bring the interface back to 7 standards.

boner - 2014-06-06
Linux is the kernel of all those goddamn Android phones, like it or not.

memedumpster - 2014-06-06
I have found Fedora to almost be a real operating system. The goddamned flaming hoops I had to jump through to play an mp3, or get VLC, or anything else that violates their completely stuck up philosophy did not make switching worth it, but since I did switch, switching away is now less worth it.

Linux : For when switching to another OS is less worth it.

I don't mind command line stuff, I have to do it just as often in Windows or MacOS when I use them. It's always something. Windows Update thinks you're a terrorist, command line. MacOS thinks it's God, command line. Linux needs to do something not third party related, command line.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2014-06-06
I've never used Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8, and the last time Windows was my primary OS it was 98, so what do I know about Windows? For me to have an opinion would be like those people who bitch about Linux and seem to be talking about Slackware from ten years ago. For most distros, you don't have to compile everything, and dependency problems are rare.

I like the way Linux runs on old hardware. Right now I'm using an old laptop that cost me less than a hundred bucks, the screen got broken, and so I pugged in a monitor. I'm told there's a problem with running new Windows on old computers, but I don't have enough first hand experience for that to be anything more than hearsay.

I also love the command line, not in it's original form as an ugly uninterrupted wall of white text on a black background, but as a powerful supplement to the desktop GUI, which is a completely different experience. When you use the command line in Linux, the GUI doesn't disappear. People still seem to think in 1985 terms of COMMAND LINE VS GUI, but it's not about one tool being better than another tool. It's about two tools being better than one tool. When you use the CLI from the Desktop, you don't have to learn to use it for everything, which would suck. You use it when it will save you time.

Windows has a command line, but Linux has a command line culture, which means there are programs and readily available knowledge, and that makes the command line a lot more useful. A real Linux evangelist would never say this, but if you don't want to use the command line, you may want to stay away from Linux, not because you can't run Linux without the command line, but because the power and creativity of the command line are one of the primary compensations for everything about Linux that's a pain in the ass, eg the headaches with vendors and ISPs (fuck you Verizon) Linux will never be as good as Windows at being Windows, so if you try to run it like you'd run Windows, it's just going to be a cheap substitute.

I struggled along with Linux for a couple of years on sheer stubbornness, and it was incredibly frustrating, until one day i finally forced myself to use the CLI for basic file organization tasks (move, copy, rename. make directories, and delete) It took me one afternoon, and I was immediately saving a lot of time on what had been the most odious drudge-work of computing. The clouds parted, the sun shined forth, and Linux became my friend.

The problem with Linux catching on is not only that one of its best advantages (the command line culture) is something that's unpopular and misunderstood, but also that the evangelists don't want to tell you that up front. They lead people to believe that they can just run Linux as if it were Windows and everything will be peachy and rosy. Everybody I know who succeeds in Linux uses the command line. If you're going to be using a computer for the rest of your life, taking the time to become a power user is the easier route for the long haul, There's the work of click click click click clicking through everything, which is ongoing, and there's the work of learning how to do things powerfully, and that's something that you only have to do once. Once you've learned something, it's learned.
Bort - 2014-06-06
"The problem with Linux catching on is not only that one of its best advantages (the command line culture) is something that's unpopular and misunderstood, but also that the evangelists don't want to tell you that up front. They lead people to believe that they can just run Linux as if it were Windows and everything will be peachy and rosy."

This. If you try to run Linux just like Windows you will be disappointed, because Linux simply can't out-Windows Windows.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2014-06-06
I said almost the exact same thing, using almost the exact same words, further up. You may have a chance at beating Bill Gates at arm wresting, or a foot race, or chess, but one thing you will never beat Bill Gates at is a Bill Gates look-alike contest.

memedumpster - 2014-06-06
A surprising amount of Linux distros give you no visual feedback when you click something, so if you're on a slow computer, you might overclick causing multiple instances to launch, taking more time, without realizing it. I know it isn't windows, but come on.

That alone has broken the deal for quite a few distros. No wireless out of the box is usually the other, which I admit is me being petty and lazy and not exactly the fault of the OS.

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2014-06-06
I didn't grow up with a computer and I remember having to take a computer course for just a quarter in grade 7 and being just as confused. I was always wishing I could just be reading a book instead. I didn't see the point of what we were learning.

We didn't have games in class, though.
John Holmes Motherfucker - 2014-06-09
>>A surprising amount of Linux distros give you no visual feedback when you click something, so if you're on a slow computer, you might overclick causing multiple instances to launch, taking more time, without realizing it. I know it isn't windows, but come on.

If I understand you, I believe that what you're describing depends more on the Desktop GUI than on the distro. Linux gives you a choice of GUI interfaces. The most full featured is perhaps KDE, followed by Enlightenment, Gnome, XFCE, LDE, Unity, ending with the lighter window managers like awesome, fluxbox, fvwm, and the almost archaic TWM.

A more full-featured Desktop will give you visual feedback when you click something, but if you're on a slow computer, it will also run a little slower, but if you really need visual feedback when you click I suggest KDE, but if your computer is slow, you will play a price. Or you could just try not to overclick. Not trying to be flip here, I still do it myself sometimes.

Of all the Linux distros that I'm familiar with, almost any of them will give you less hoops to jump through to play media files than Fedora. Are you familiar with something called "the unofficial Fedora FAQ"? If not, that might be helpful. I wouldn't want to run Fedora without it. A search for "fedora FAQ" should do it.

There's a ton of media players for Linux, but considerably fewer RELIABLE media players. VLC is good, but mplayer from the command line will take just about anything I try to throw at it, and the gnome gui version is almost as solid.

VLC is pretty good, but
Jet Bin Fever - 2014-06-10
God look at all these nerds commenting above. What a bunch of fucking nerds.
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