What's a computer?

Nobu

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How is the downloads and user folder not obvious? How is it "hidden"? Do you have something to back this up? The folders are not hidden and they are more logical than ever in Windows 10 and beyond.

C:\users\your_name\

There are the folders you seek. To top this off, if I open ANY folder, from the desktop, a specific drive or the Win + E for the explorer (which has been the same since I can remember), you get all of the folders you mentioned RIGHT THERE. How can they be hidden when they are there, visible in every windows, all the time?

It isn't a cause of MS at all, but without you Linux boys here to disrupt, we might have a coherent discussion without dragging it into "XYZ company is at fault".

Personally, I think technology has caused it. The need for more information NOW without the need to know which folder it came from. I want pictures? I open pictures, for example. It is really a productivity help, while at the same time a drain on IT when things have become so dumbed down that people can no longer solve their very basic issues.
Dunno about hiding, but I do know some folders are not visible if you use certain shortcuts in explorer. I forget which shortcut (to where), but I think it's the My Documents one. Iirc, all the documents folders (videos, documents, podcast, etc.) are visible, but folders you created (and the Desktop folder) are not, even though it's otherwise just your home folder.
 

auntjemima

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Dunno about hiding, but I do know some folders are not visible if you use certain shortcuts in explorer. I forget which shortcut (to where), but I think it's the My Documents one. Iirc, all the documents folders (videos, documents, podcast, etc.) are visible, but folders you created (and the Desktop folder) are not, even though it's otherwise just your home folder.
I am not sure which version of Windows you are using, but I just checked and all pertinent folders are visible in my users folder.
 

Nobu

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I am not sure which version of Windows you are using, but I just checked and all pertinent folders are visible in my users folder.
11 now, but last time I noticed this was a while back. It may have been fixed since then.
 

Armenius

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Dunno about hiding, but I do know some folders are not visible if you use certain shortcuts in explorer. I forget which shortcut (to where), but I think it's the My Documents one. Iirc, all the documents folders (videos, documents, podcast, etc.) are visible, but folders you created (and the Desktop folder) are not, even though it's otherwise just your home folder.
My Documents was deprecated a long time ago. I honestly do not know why Microsoft keeps the link in there. Maybe it's one of those pieces of code that will break everything if it's removed...

Also:
1632497643746.png
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sleepeeg3

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Students have had these computers in my lab; they’ll have a thousand files on their desktop completely unorganized
Probably looks just like their dorm room.

Sounds like most post 2K kids have regressed to the same file saving habits as my parents - everything on the desktop.

Dan_D said:
I think the issue is that the people who grew up with smartphones and tablets don't know how to use traditional computers because those devices can do the vast majority of what you'd need aside from playing AAA computer games. These kids are supposed to be comfortable with technology and all that, but they are as close to knowing how to use a computer as kids in my day were.
It's because many parents hand a kid a tablet when they are 3 and let Apple raise them. They're used to only interacting with icons. Pros and cons to that.
 
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staknhalo

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I think another way to look at this also is it's just a mutation/evolution of the server/client model, just in regard to actual 'usage case' of a device. Also an amalgamation of device/network.

These kids start school with a Chromebook in their hands, which as a device is just a window with icons into Google's servers and the internet.

I actually agree with the article, the only sensible thing is the tools are gonna have to be developed by these new users for these new users as they replace the previous generation.

You're just gonna have 2 classes of users/usage/UI - frontend and backend. It's not really new at all just an unforseen evolution/application of it that came about in the real world through practical usage like I said.

It's not like everyone only has the option of staring at a command line/terminal screen to use a computer for anything at all anymore either or we all are still stuck with punch cards to log into Steam.

These things change, not always what or how we think they will.
 

1_rick

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My Documents was deprecated a long time ago. I honestly do not know why Microsoft keeps the link in there.
Backwards compatibility for badly-written applications that hard code the path. It has just enough functionality to let them keep working, with the rest disabled so users don't try to use it instead of the newer location.
 

cybereality

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For some random consumer, I would agree staknhalo . They don't need to know. But if you are going to school to design jet engines, you best know how to use a computer.
 

Axman

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I remember having this exact conversation with friends about 15 years ago, predicting this. The truth is, some of us are very, very lucky. We were born in a pre-digital world, and we understood how different systems worked then, how the digital world first imitated them, and how an emerging digital world would replace it.

And that there was now a generation of people that were born in a post-digital world, who have no understanding of the systems that the digital world was founded on, and that they would face struggles without any references.

Think about it, just in terms of phones: why do we have phone numbers and why do we have to make contacts to those numbers? Why do phone numbers have area codes? Why is the icon for phones a handset?

Likewise, what the Hell does this thing mean?

external-content.duckduckgo.png
 

LukeTbk

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How is the downloads and user folder not obvious? How is it "hidden"? Do you have something to back this up? The folders are not hidden and they are more logical than ever in Windows 10 and beyond.

C:\users\your_name\
If you click on the downloads quick access it send you to This Pc > Downloads, even with display the full path in the title bar and I think it get a bit more complicated if you setup them to be onedrive type folder ( I remember seeing a little where are my files link on a machine that did setup the Desktop-documents type of folder to be on OneDrive when trying to access it like you describe, but I could be misremembering). The Steam example of the article is a very good one, it is certainly in the evolution of removing from the users point of view having to worry in anyway about folder (specially if your steam drive is big enough).

I would argue that it is much more people forcing than the other way around or at least it goes both ways, that the system that sells.

but without you Linux boys here to disrupt,

I feel my Linux tend to be even much better (so worst here) at hidding "physical directories" and presenting logical one to the user, you can end up on message board of quite technical heavy people asking where can I find folder X.

- I think this is about the clash between people who genuinely want to know how to fish and people who act as lake gatekeepers not letting you use lures.
Maybe there is a bit of that, but also there is always a choice in a finite world, virtually everyone use day to day stuff without inquiring much how it work, would it be the car they drive for some, the microwave for others, the toilet and 3 phase AC current system in their house for the other group and how their municipal government work for the last one. I am sure we can all relate and sometime use a reading tablet or a gaming console without wondering how any of this work or in a different realm, for the younger generation computer were a mature (specially the apple phone-tablet level) easy to use for people affair, a close to real finish product. Like cars, oven and fridge were in the 90s that people used without for the most part wondering too much how do they work (there was very little to gain doing that).

Back in the 80s early 90s, there was a lot to gain even for a simple computer user to know about computers, would it be in ways to go around the 640k of ram ms-dos limit, way much less so now, knowing how to use the tools that run on them seem to be worth more by hour spent.

And I am sure then when were young and used all the facility of having DOS instead of cards people thought the same. I remember reading an old book and which Gates or an other big name talk about the future and say that in the future compiler would be so good people would not have to know or code anything, they would just describe it to a compiler by writing it in C (and for the stuff they did back then it is true that it can be done now ridiculous fast and easy), it was not considered coding for them.
 
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staknhalo

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For some random consumer, I would agree staknhalo . They don't need to know. But if you are going to school to design jet engines, you best know how to use a computer.

But the person who used computers to do 'x' important thing in the 60s did so in a very different way and interacted with computers in a very different way than that person who did so in the late 90s/early 2000, as they did so now in a very different way versus the people in the 2020s. There's basically just more abstraction layers now between 2020 user than 90s user. Just as there were between 90s user and 60s user.

Same shit, different window dressing.
 

LukeTbk

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For some random consumer, I would agree staknhalo . They don't need to know. But if you are going to school to design jet engines, you best know how to use a computer.
Always best, but you do not necessarily need to know that much, often employer do not know much and do not mind (for good reason) and have an IT department.

At work I make a specialized cad program, many user have extreme basic knowledge (some goes into folder-file issue) and we have to either remote control or go through the IT department people, eh some of the people (math and other specialist) that work on the said CAD barely, very barely know how to use a computer, we take them by the hand everytime there is something to be done computer wise and even after a decade+ of working on computers it does not progress, it is like said above a personally type and interest in large part. That remind me when the Linus Tip channel editors tried to build a computer and some people were baffled by how most of them did not knew the first thing about any of this, and it is not just that they work all day long on them but that it is for a tech channel. But then again many people drive cars all day long, live in buildings, watch TV and do not know anything about them.
 
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M76

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How is the downloads and user folder not obvious? How is it "hidden"? Do you have something to back this up? The folders are not hidden and they are more logical than ever in Windows 10 and beyond.
By hidden I mean it's true location in the filesystem not shown. Not that it is an actual hidden folder. You can figure out its location, but that is not the point, the point is that the average user doesn't even see that it is a folder in a big directory tree, and how they are related to each other. When they click on documents, the location bar only shows This PC ->Documents, same for downloads and videos, images, etc.
It isn't a cause of MS at all, but without you Linux boys here to disrupt, we might have a coherent discussion without dragging it into "XYZ company is at fault".
LOL, so now I'm a linux boy for suggesting MS Shouldn't make the directory structure invisible to users by default? Please don't take out your unresolved anger issues towards linux users on me.
And yeah it is MS's fault. 99% of all desktop PCs are running windows, so who elses fault it is, that they are so dumbed down that regular users don't even learn what's a file now?
You trying to make this into a windows vs linux thing is hilarious. Linux is much worse with its ways with folders, I hate how it organizes things in the file system. And the average linux gui is no better at making the user aware of the physical location of their files than windows. But linux was like that since forever. But I don't blame linux because it is unpopular, so who cares. Blaming linux for this would be like blaming the worst selling car for traffic jams.
Personally, I think technology has caused it. The need for more information NOW without the need to know which folder it came from. I want pictures? I open pictures, for example. It is really a productivity help, while at the same time a drain on IT when things have become so dumbed down that people can no longer solve their very basic issues.
This actually hurts my productivity, because i don't just save everything to the documents folder, all my work is on a dedicated drive, in a dedicated folder based on project / date / etc. So the fact that each time I'm trying to save a new document instead of showing the browse dialog it shows a panel with "Locations" and onedrive, and it takes 3 more clicks to bring up the actual dialog that really hurts my productivity. If there wasn't compatibility issues I'd rather use libreoffice or openoffice just to avoid this. MS really made me hate office with this single move since it was introduced in office 2013 or was it 2016? Either way it's bad.
 

LukeTbk

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staknhalo

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Always best, but you do not necessarily need to know that much, often employer do not know much and do not mind (for good reason) and have an IT department.

At work I make a specialized cad program, many user have extreme basic knowledge (some goes into folder-file issue) and we have to either remote control or go through the IT department people, eh some of the people (math and other specialist) that work on the said CAD barely, very barely know how to use a computer, we take them by the hand everytime there is something to be done computer wise and even after a decade+ of working on computers it does not progress, it is like said above a personally type and interest in large part. That remind me when the Linus Tip channel editors tried to build a computer and some people were baffled by how most of them did not knew the first thing about any of this, and it is not just that they work all they long on them but that it is for a tech channel. But then again many people drive cars all day long, live in buildings, watch TV and do not know anything about them.

Exactly - just like people in your family think if you can build a computer you're the technology whisperer and anything to do with electronics or electricity - you know it, I used to think "oh if you're a programmer or something you obviously know computers cause you're using it to write programs on a computer run by programs!" - this was back in the mid 2000s. I learned I was assuming too much, quickly (out of my own ignorance). People know how to do the thing they know how to do (hopefully), anything else is a plus.

Edit: And I couldn't program my way out of a paper bag yet I use tons of programs on my computer every day. I think that's just another example of what we're seeing here in a different form.
 
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cybereality

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And yeah it is MS's fault. 99% of all desktop PCs are running windows, so who elses fault it is, that they are so dumbed down that regular users don't even learn what's a file now?
Actually Windows is at 76%, the lowest it has been in a long time.

https://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share/desktop/worldwide/

But it is still the dominant force, even with only 3/4th of the market. The real issue is phones and tablets, so you could better direct your anger at Google and Apple.
 

equinox654

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My wife is 9 years younger than me, so she is infected with the smart phone mind worm as well. She has an upcoming oncology presentation.
Part of it has to do with gene sequencing and they wanted her to use some linux tools to understand how it works. That was a fun two days for me.
The girl is smart as hell but has no interest in learning anything about the computer. Texts me all day asking questions that can be googled. Panics when chrome closes because she may lose her 80 tabs.

My sons though know how to use the computer pretty well other than os installations.
I got my 16 year old a 5600x and mobo to replace his 1700 for his birthday a few weeks ago. I also gave him my big ass old Cosmos C700m. I supervised him rebuilding the computer in the new case.

It's not the same though, like someone above posted about taking a top down approach. I remembering being there age and I would go through every program and folder on the computer to see what was in it and what it could do. Back then we used to have reinstall windows 98 pretty regularly. For fun I would try out linux and beos... Just out of curiosity. Hell pirating mp3s back then gave you enough skill and experience to be a search engine wizard.

They just want their games to work.
 

cybereality

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So I am taking a Computer Science degree online right now (I'm old, but decided to go back to school). I'm learning a ton of great stuff. Even building and using computers since the 80's, there is a lot of stuff I didn't understand.

For example, in one class I studied Turing Machines, and they would give me a tape of instructions and I would have to calculate (in my head) what the program would produce as a result when running through a Turing Machine.

This was amazing for me, and I think everyone should have to learn this. While modern computers are not exactly Turing Machines, the basic ideas are the same (providing instructions to a CPU, logical processes, operating on data, etc.).

If you can't understand the concept of a file, you will get nowhere in your career or your life. You will merely be a tool, using other people's software (with scant knowledge of how it works), and won't be capable of anything even remotely complex.

There is a book by Douglas Rushkoff called Program or be Programmed and it is very relevant to this conversation: https://www.amazon.com/Program-Be-Programmed-Douglas-Rushkoff-ebook/dp/B004ELAPME/

Basically, he talks about how with new technology, there are always the programmers and the people that are programmed. Even going back to say the printing press. The people that controlled the printing press (at first mostly to produce the Bible) where the ones that controlled the thoughts of the population.

And now with digital media and software, if you don't know how it works, how to program a computer, then you are probably being programmed by someone else.

It's scary to think what will happen to society when these kids that don't know what a file is grow old, and all us neck beards die, who will be left that knows how any of this works?
 
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staknhalo

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It's scary to think what will happen to society when these kids that don't know what a file is grow old, and all us neck beards die, who will be left that knows how any of this works?

There will always be people who engineer/design/concept these things - some who want to do it only in math/paper and not in practice and vice versa and both - always has been, it's how we got here all the way back from the wheel - it will all just look very very different than as we knew it, as it always has/does eventually to those who came before
 

Tobit

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I'm kind of curious if a desktop is even a normal thing for people to have anymore. Seems like its all mobile and tablets now?
I'm one of those guys who doesn't like having anything on the desktop. I usually have one or two explorers open and launch things through a customized start menu.
 

Axman

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I'm kind of curious if a desktop is even a normal thing for people to have anymore. Seems like its all mobile and tablets now?

I'll switch to Linux if Windows drops the desktop for productivity. I actually use it to organize my workflow, then clear it off when I'm done. You know, like an actual desktop.
 

staknhalo

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Desktop is like a temp folder/sticky note to me

Put stuff there to get back to later, seeing it there reminds me about it

It never get's 'grandma infinity pool of icons' messy - more like 'random Tetris shapes of folder groups all over' when it's at it's worst

Clean desktop means I'm all caught up
 

cybereality

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I'm kind of curious if a desktop is even a normal thing for people to have anymore. Seems like its all mobile and tablets now?
1632510735086.png


So from 2011 to 2017 there was a HUGE drop in desktop usage (which fits with the timeline of this thread) but it's kind of leveled off around 50/50.

I expect most of those on desktop are high-end users (PC gamers, software developers, businesses, etc.) and that if you looked at more average users (that just check email and social media) that the phone/tablet percentage would be much higher.
 

Westwood

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View attachment 397629

So from 2011 to 2017 there was a HUGE drop in desktop usage (which fits with the timeline of this thread) but it's kind of leveled off around 50/50.

I expect most of those on desktop are high-end users (PC gamers, software developers, businesses, etc.) and that if you looked at more average users (that just check email and social media) that the phone/tablet percentage would be much higher.
Huh. I almost thought PC would be a bit lower. My customer base will call up with login issues, and every single one of them is mobile or tablet. Interesting.
 

1_rick

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Smoblikat

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I wish I could disagree with this thread, but ive worked in public schools since 2015........

Ive also had the same flip phone since 09, no intention of downgrading to those useless bricks everyone seems to love so much. Its almost like this outcome was easily predictable!
 

Nafensoriel

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The example in the article was on from an engineering class on how to design jet engines...

The important question is this:

Would you want to take a flight in a plane equipped with a jet engine designed by someone who doesn't even know how to navigate a computers file/folder system?
To be fair some of the very first jet engines were designed by hand and built by eye. They were actually incredibly good all things considered.
So yes... I would fly in a plane built without computers.

We also went to the moon without file folders. Computers are tools. They enhance what is possible but by no means are they required to do many modern things.
The SKILL to not need computers is dying with the people who created them though.


HAL_404
Unfortunately, since it is now estimated that the human mind is an exaflop+ grade processing environment(and the estimation is only trending higher with time) it is getting less and less likely for the technology to transfer significant information directly to the brain. Enhancing learning seems very possible... direct information download less so. So basically if you suck at something like playing a guitar you'll always suck.
 

Nenu

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I'm one of those guys who doesn't like having anything on the desktop. I usually have one or two explorers open and launch things through a customized start menu.
My desktop serves as a reminder for a whole stack of things I have installed or need to pay attention to.
It makes sense to gain advantage from the tools at your disposal.
If I could open a folder and have groups of icons remain in place, that would serve the same purpose, but they dont.
The desktop is a pretty cool tool.
I dont give a blind f'k how tidy it is.
 

cybereality

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Google exposes a file system--and comes with a (primitive) file manager. Don't iPhones and iPads not have a user-visible filesystem?
They do now. Originally they did not. I had an earlier Android phone and you needed to download a 3rd party app for it.

Also, even with the Files app, you can't access everything. It gives you a limited view of the file system (probably for security reasons) and also so you don't delete a core OS file or something.
 

cybereality

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Interesting story, back when I was a young teen, my family got our first real computer. With Windows 3.11.

One weekend, I opened the file explorer and went from top to bottom and double-clicked every single file to see what would happen.

Eventually I found something called QBASIC.exe and discovered it looked just like the Commodore64 I grew up with as a kid.

So I just decided to start making games with it. Made some corny text adventures that same weekend. That is how I became a programmer.
 

Wat

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View attachment 397629

So from 2011 to 2017 there was a HUGE drop in desktop usage (which fits with the timeline of this thread) but it's kind of leveled off around 50/50.

I expect most of those on desktop are high-end users (PC gamers, software developers, businesses, etc.) and that if you looked at more average users (that just check email and social media) that the phone/tablet percentage would be much higher.
People who just use computers to CONSUME content use phones and tablets. People who use computers to CREATE (and also consume) use pc's.

Not trying to make a moral or a superiority comment, just showing who uses what.
 
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