I was recently asked to explain Open Source software. I’ve always been a big fan of Open Source because it has been an invaluable helper on a number of occasions. In fact, the interior of The Ultimate PC Primer was produced entirely with Open Source products — OpenOffice for composing the manuscript and final page layout and Inkscape for all the illustrations. As an explainer, however, I can understand why software newcomers might be a little confused by the concept of Open Source.
I often find misconceptions of how much children need technology explained. In fact, I recently had lunch with my colleague, Ryan, who formerly taught computing skills to young children in a school. He confirmed that kids are often initially just as confused or uncomfortable as older adopters of a new technology. Yet, there are two myths I hear repeated again and again by older colleagues… Read the rest of this entry »
Over on Borris’ Blog, there’s a fresh story of Joe, a 60-year old who experiences a PC for the first time. It’s an incredible blow-by-blow report of what a PC looks like to a total newcomer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t surprise me. If I had a way to contact Joe, I’d mail him a copy of The Ultimate PC Primer. Speaking of the book…
I’m actually looking for people just like Joe to be a part of some case studies to document the effectiveness of The Ultimate PC Primer, a little like usability studies but much less focused on specific tasks. Here’s the premise: While in front of a PC, ask a simple set of questions of the newcomer. (I expect the initial responses to be much like Joe’s: “I don’t know what anything means.”) Give them a few weeks to read the book, and then ask the same set of questions again. Ideally, I’d like to capture the responses in video form. If you know anyone who is willing to participate and fits a “Joe” type of profile, drop me a line.