What's a computer?

cybereality

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People who just use computers to CONSUME content use phones and tablets. People who use computers to CREATE (and also consume) use pc's.
Yes. That is an easier way to put it. Consumers use mobile because it does what they need easier and more conveniently. Creators use computers because they need the power and control.

I guess it's easy to get locked in a bubble. I spend a lot of time here on the forum, or other ones for game developers, Linux programmers, I follow artists on Twitter. Pretty much everyone I interact online with is either a PC gamer or a creator of some sort. But probably the vast majority of people don't need what a PC offers to go through their day. Maybe they have a computer at work (depends what kind of job), but a tablet can do quite a lot if you just want to watch Netflix, or scroll on Twitter, check your email. It's fine. And I'm okay with that. Not everyone is going to be an amazing artist, or a great programmer, or whatever. Sure. But they should be taught the skills to at least have that opportunity. And if you don't know what a file is, your chances of accomplishing that are zero.
 

OutOfPhase

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Yes. That is an easier way to put it. Consumers use mobile because it does what they need easier and more conveniently. Creators use computers because they need the power and control.

I guess it's easy to get locked in a bubble. I spend a lot of time here on the forum, or other ones for game developers, Linux programmers, I follow artists on Twitter. Pretty much everyone I interact online with is either a PC gamer or a creator of some sort. But probably the vast majority of people don't need what a PC offers to go through their day. Maybe they have a computer at work (depends what kind of job), but a tablet can do quite a lot if you just want to watch Netflix, or scroll on Twitter, check your email. It's fine. And I'm okay with that. Not everyone is going to be an amazing artist, or a great programmer, or whatever. Sure. But they should be taught the skills to at least have that opportunity. And if you don't know what a file is, your chances of accomplishing that are zero
I have made a mint in the last decade hiring/providing people in my little company who can work from transistors to GUI, solve any problem. I often cite the "One Riot, One Ranger" mantra in client pitch meeting. Won't need a squad, just this one person to handle your issues. Seriously, they'll handle it.
Yes, I have to pay them a lot, and charge a lot. Still works out well for all of us if you really want a whole problem solved.

I rub my greedy little hands together reading that fewer people actually know how to compete with me. Yess. YESSSSSS.
 
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Zarathustra[H]

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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.

I'm not suggesting you can't make these things without computers, but what I AM suggesting is that if a kid isn't bright enough to just about instantly figure out a file/folder structure, even if they have never seen one before, I certainly don't trust them to design something my life might depend on.
 

auntjemima

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How many on here have the skills to raise enough food to feed themselves and thier family?

Isn't that a more important skill to have? Nobody can know everything.
Why not both?

Secondly, I don't think the people mentioned in this article are finding files OR able to grow crops, so good luck on that ledge.
 

Nafensoriel

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Why not both?

Secondly, I don't think the people mentioned in this article are finding files OR able to grow crops, so good luck on that ledge.
Don't touch crops... You do NOT want to go down that rabbit hole with the younger generations.
If I had a buck for every time I've had a city student legitimately believe that we don't need farms because we can all grow food in the back of the grocery store or some community garden...
Seriously my blood pressure just spiked remembering this crap.

Disclaimer: I am not saying city-living people are stupid. What I am saying is they are becoming increasingly disconnected from anything beyond things that city boundaries may or may not contain.
 

auntjemima

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Don't touch crops... You do NOT want to go down that rabbit hole with the younger generations.
If I had a buck for every time I've had a city student legitimately believe that we don't need farms because we can all grow food in the back of the grocery store or some community garden...
Seriously my blood pressure just spiked remembering this crap.

Disclaimer: I am not saying city-living people are stupid. What I am saying is they are becoming increasingly disconnected from anything beyond things that city boundaries may or may not contain.
Without derailing this into the soapbox, watching the gardens in CHAZ/CHOP really showed it well.
 

cybereality

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I'm not suggesting you can't make these things without computers, but what I AM suggesting is that if a kid isn't bright enough to just about instantly figure out a file/folder structure, even if they have never seen one before, I certainly don't trust them to design something my life might depend on.
Absolutely agree. Also, maybe the original engines were made without computers, but now pretty much any modern vehicle (cars, airplanes, rockets, etc.) are heavily computerized. Many commercial air flights are fully auto-piloted when in the air (the pilot is needed only for take off and landing, and to keep watch in case something happens).

If these students are expecting to go into aerospace engineering or something crazy like that without knowing what a file is... well, we are all doomed.
 
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1_rick

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I'm not suggesting you can't make these things without computers, but what I AM suggesting is that if a kid isn't bright enough to just about instantly figure out a file/folder structure, even if they have never seen one before, I certainly don't trust them to design something my life might depend on.
You kids get off Z's storage abstraction!
 
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M76

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You can put the documents folder anywhere (specially if the dedicated drive is always on), but if that too much of an hassle or if you still use the default MS documents for other stuff, you can also change Office default save folder to have it on that drive instead:

https://www.howtogeek.com/698873/ho...-offices-default-save-location-on-windows-10/
Moving the documents folder is not relevant to regular users, I have a documents folder on a drive, but the default documents folder is littered by dozens of games and other save data that can't be moved. I use another folder for work related documents.
As for setting the default save location is even more useless. Should I set it every day? No, even that wouldn't work, as I work on more than 1 project on each day. So the only way to get things done is to get to the regular browse dialog, until they take it away completely.
 

TordanGow

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Not surprising. This is what you get when your computing devices are "magic" and "just work". Kids get tablets and they use a touch interface to Launch colorful apps (not executable programs). They never interact with or even see the folder structure so why is it a surprise they don't know what it is?

My kids are 5 and 2 and they'll be using a proper computer to build some high level basic foundational knowledge of what is going on under the pretty veneer that they interact with. I was editing .txt game files when I was 7 or 8, I see no reason they can't do that too.
 

cybereality

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I remember when Apple unveiled "The Cloud" and some dude in my elevator was telling me how it was some magic new technology and I told him it's just a server computer and he looked at me with a blank confused stare.
 
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Camberwell

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Not surprising. This is what you get when your computing devices are "magic" and "just work". Kids get tablets and they use a touch interface to Launch colorful apps (not executable programs). They never interact with or even see the folder structure so why is it a surprise they don't know what it is?

My kids are 5 and 2 and they'll be using a proper computer to build some high level basic foundational knowledge of what is going on under the pretty veneer that they interact with. I was editing .txt game files when I was 7 or 8, I see no reason they can't do that too.
.txt game files weren't around when I was 7 or 8 :(
 

LukeTbk

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Moving the documents folder is not relevant to regular users, I have a documents folder on a drive, but the default documents folder is littered by dozens of games and other save data that can't be moved.
Probably too late, but a different account for work can make that much cleaner.
 

cybereality

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Actually, I think it would be good. In college we had a UNIX class and we had to learn basic stuff on the command line, how to use Emacs, etc. It's important.
 

M76

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Probably too late, but a different account for work can make that much cleaner.
Since I've been working home office the lines between work and play are not so clear as they used to be.

Still its funny to see so many people offer "solutions" to a problem caused by microsoft taking something away.
Imagine going to a store and asking for A, and the attendants try to sell you anything but A. Even try to shame you for wanting A. That's how this looks to me.
 

M76

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"before I teach you what a file is, have you heard of compiling?"
Well, I still to this day have no idea why is that such a big deal on linux? I've never needed to compile a kernel from source.
 

LukeTbk

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Since I've been working home office the lines between work and play are not so clear as they used to be.

Still its funny to see so many people offer "solutions" to a problem caused by microsoft taking something away.
Imagine going to a store and asking for A, and the attendants try to sell you anything but A. Even try to shame you for wanting A. That's how this looks to me.
If you feel some shaming by those tips that sound quite sensitive.

Maybe you can go back to the legacy local only saving with the cloud option removed, have you tried:

File > Options > Save, you can check “Save to Computer by default
File > Options > Save, check “Don’t show the Backstage when opening or saving files with keyboard shortcuts”.
 

idiomatic

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I mean... I can code, I have been managing low level files since my Amiga days... I used to love Directory Opus.

But my desktop... I use FAS file system. First Available Surface. My computer desktop and the physical one are large spreads. Anything that isn't visible doesn't exist to my brain any more. Its an ADHD thing. So I have to keep everything in kind of ... areas. Works pretty well but horrifies normal brained people.

I host my own personal cloud with deep file structures, but God DAMN do I like the magic buckets that show everything context relevant regardless of where I parked it.


Honestly if I ever actually browse my folders its like Christmas, every folder is full of cool shit I didn't know was there.
 
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cybereality

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So back when I was a teenager fixing random people's computers, I went to this older lady's house to clean up her machine.

Can't remember what it was, just ran some virus scanner and cleaned out temp files, but after that was done, I noticed all her files were in a folder on the desktop called "asdhghsksksk192939477772727" or something like that.

So I copied the files to "My Documents" and got rid of that folder. But then she said she would have no way of finding her files, and I tried to explain that is what "My Documents" was. But she insisted and I had to recreate the "asdhghsksksk192939477772727" desktop folder and move all the files back.

People are dumb.
 

Smoblikat

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So back when I was a teenager fixing random people's computers, I went to this older lady's house to clean up her machine.

Can't remember what it was, just ran some virus scanner and cleaned out temp files, but after that was done, I noticed all her files were in a folder on the desktop called "asdhghsksksk192939477772727" or something like that.

So I copied the files to "My Documents" and got rid of that folder. But then she said she would have no way of finding her files, and I tried to explain that is what "My Documents" was. But she insisted and I had to recreate the "asdhghsksksk192939477772727" desktop folder and move all the files back.

People are dumb.

Yes, but....

I had it explained to me once and I can sort of see where she was coming from. Some people dont understand the concept of a "system", where you need to follow a series of "logical" steps in order to achieve a result. This concept isnt limited to just computers either, its why IT guys are also asked to look into all sorts of problems unrelated to IT (broken chairs, coffee machines, that desk that wobbles etc..), they would typically have a much better understanding that everything is just a bunch of other things working together to produce a result, so you just start from the beginning and find out where the process breaks down.

For a lot of people, a computer is literally a black box that is designed to be as complicated as possible. They dont know how it works, they arent interested in knowing how it works apart from making it do 'the thing". To them, getting a computer to do "the thing" means they need to follow a completely arbitrary series of convoluted steps, and ANY deviation from these steps could lead to a total failure of their process, which to them is already about as complicated as they are willing to tolerate. I have personally seen people write down separate (handwritten) notes for saving files in word and excel, with the only difference between their notes essentially being "open word" vs "open excel" as one of the first steps.

Now with modern UI/UX design, we "solved" the problem, everything is really simple and "intuitive", people no longer need to think about using their device in order to use it. Apparently the side effect of people not needing to think, is that people actually stop thinking.

Also, in your example, assuming she relied on her programs defaulting to a known save spot, or using links from recent item lists, your "efficiency gain" would have completely broken her process.
 

Armenius

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So back when I was a teenager fixing random people's computers, I went to this older lady's house to clean up her machine.

Can't remember what it was, just ran some virus scanner and cleaned out temp files, but after that was done, I noticed all her files were in a folder on the desktop called "asdhghsksksk192939477772727" or something like that.

So I copied the files to "My Documents" and got rid of that folder. But then she said she would have no way of finding her files, and I tried to explain that is what "My Documents" was. But she insisted and I had to recreate the "asdhghsksksk192939477772727" desktop folder and move all the files back.

People are dumb.
Should have just put a shortcut to My Documents on her desktop and renamed it asdhghsksksk192939477772727.
 

Nobu

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Should have just put a shortcut to My Documents on her desktop and renamed it asdhghsksksk192939477772727.
Will programs follow the shortcut? I thought they didn't behave like Linux softlinks...

Better than nothing, though, certainly. And at least the name matches expectations.
 

Lakados

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There is probably two things going on here, first, the university probably maps student drives for them to use an S or a T drive something like that, they very likely do not have roaming profiles enabled as that is more network-intensive and a pain in the ass to manage (yes I have it enabled and we are using it for our windows workstations). Second they probably have the computers locked down with something like DeepFreeze, which for those who don't know essentially locks the computer to an image so on reboot the system just boots back to that frozen image, and any changes made to the machine after are lost.

Most software is going to default their saves to a location in MyDocuments that is just how it goes 90% of the time, so if the students don't know or haven't been given clear instructions that they need to click Save As, then choose a location in their S drive it's going to be lost.

This constantly happening to students here is what prompted me to set up roaming profiles, and automatically configure OneDrive and their Google drives as an SSO service. But if you don't have the network profiles up to snuff it will easily add some 30-45s to the sign in time, which makes people think things are broken so they move to another machine and try again which just slows things down even more and blah blah blah blah. But yeah there are probably more factors here than just "Kids today don't know how to use file folders... DURRRR"
 

RPGWiZaRD

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Well this article suddenly made me feel old....

I partially blame the Apple philosophy, they want their software to do everything for the customer (ideally even do the thinking too) and hiding the technical stuff as it's just "noise" no user "cares about", even Microsoft is trying to slowly adapt a similar thinking with the cloud based computing. Google is obviously been wanting to do this for long time already, made us rethink of the structure of computer networking n stuff is thought of their google product environment is doing everything in the background when all products are tied to each other.

I still think it would be very healthy to let students learn basic stuff around computing in what the software do in the background. It's dangerous to let a new generation grow up and use all the software and trusting it so much without knowing actually how it works or what it does.
 

cybereality

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I still think it would be very healthy to let students learn basic stuff around computing in what the software do in the background. It's dangerous to let a new generation grow up and use all the software and trusting it so much without knowing actually how it works or what it does.
Totally agree. They should teach basic computer skills in middle school, how to work with files and folders, maybe even some terminal stuff. And high school should include programming. Maybe they do, I haven't really kept up, but this article seems to indicate they are failing.
 

LukeTbk

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Totally agree. They should teach basic computer skills in middle school, how to work with files and folders, maybe even some terminal stuff. And high school should include programming. Maybe they do, I haven't really kept up, but this article seems to indicate they are failing.

Surprisingly not all of them do, not even half of them... which is strange, in my Canadian very rural schools of the 90s we had many of them, including C programming at the high school level), but even where it is available student does not pick them:

https://cacm.acm.org/blogs/blog-cac...the-united-states-access-isnt-enough/fulltext

Which is even strangers. It create quite a different world, because I imagine that there is many school outhere in which motivate teachers create nice program that start very young with students making website and controlling robots.
 

Ur_Mom

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"Where is it saved?"

Look it up. Find the answer yourself. What research have you already done to find them? If none, I'll be back in 30 minutes. If you still haven't found the answer, I'll help. Help yourself first.

That's what I told my kids when they were little. They started modding games. Found a lot of the hidden folders, unhid the extensions, found the settings, etc.. The answer is out there. Go find it. If you still can't find it, I'll help. But, you try first.
 

cybereality

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Surprisingly not all of them do, not even half of them... which is strange, in my Canadian very rural schools of the 90s we had many of them, including C programming at the high school level), but even where it is available student does not pick them:

https://cacm.acm.org/blogs/blog-cac...the-united-states-access-isnt-enough/fulltext

Which is even strangers. It create quite a different world, because I imagine that there is many school outhere in which motivate teachers create nice program that start very young with students making website and controlling robots.
Maybe the problem is calling it "computer science". If they had a class on "how to create a robot" maybe more kids would sign up.

I know even in my middle school back in the early 90's, we had to take computer classes (and it was pretty new technology then). One of the classes was LOGO, where we would have to type commands and make art on the screen.

Other times we would just play educational games like Carmen San Diego or Oregon Trail. And me and some friends would go to the lab after school and "hack" the computers so we could play SpectreVR.

And in high school there was a C++ programming class, but I believe it was an elective. We would make text based games and for the final project I wrote a flat shaded 3D renderer (well, stole most of the code from online but I cobbled it together).

This is super important. It should be required. Though not as high on the list as reading and writing, I would say it should be #3. Way more important than learning geography or history or other boring stuff you might never use in life.
 

uberjon

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its a general issue as we try to hide technical details to make things look more nice, people are unaware of how things work.

Hidding file extension in windows. People cant rename a file extion now og see the different a document and a executable file that just have the icon of a document.
Email client are hiding email address and just showing display names . People are no unable to verify if the email address is legit.

One of the first things Ive done when installing windows is unhide file extensions.
 

Wat

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Kids dont always make good decisions. My daughter was a very good student in high school and invited to do participate in some "exclusive" STEM related activities. Most of the time she was the only girl or one of few at these things.

One of the main takeaways for her was that anyone going into engineering or computer science was an arrogant, obnoxious, weenie. As such, she wanted nothing to do with engineering or computer science. I tried to explain, over and over again, that arrogant, obnoxious weenies were everywhere - not just in engineering and cs. But we are a product of our own experiences and I never could convince her otherwise.

Now she's in college and using a "supercomputer" to run modeling and simulations of protein and drug interactions. Now she starting to see that the world is not like she thought it was.

Im glad for that. Too many people never have the chance to see the world differently than thier initial opinions.
 

Endgame

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Not surprising. This is what you get when your computing devices are "magic" and "just work". Kids get tablets and they use a touch interface to Launch colorful apps (not executable programs). They never interact with or even see the folder structure so why is it a surprise they don't know what it is?

My kids are 5 and 2 and they'll be using a proper computer to build some high level basic foundational knowledge of what is going on under the pretty veneer that they interact with. I was editing .txt game files when I was 7 or 8, I see no reason they can't do that too.
My parents insisted I learn cursive and how to write longhand letters (the kind you put in the mail) with it because it was “basic foundational knowledge”. Yeah, it was a waste of time, so I won’t even hazard to guess what my kids will need to know
 
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Armenius

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My parents insisted I learn cursive and how to write longhand letters (the kind you put in the mail) with it because it was “basic foundational knowledge”. Yeah, it was a waste of time, so I won’t even hazard to guess what my kids will need to know
Minus the handwriting, knowing how to write letters is still important. You wouldn't believe the amount of younger people that have gone through my department who don't even know how to write a basic five paragraph essay, let alone a professional sounding e-mail. To be fair, though, e-mail composition seems to be a universal problem among all age groups. I often feel like I am the only person in a system of thousands who can compose a comprehensible e-mail or even spell correctly.
 
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TordanGow

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My parents insisted I learn cursive and how to write longhand letters (the kind you put in the mail) with it because it was “basic foundational knowledge”. Yeah, it was a waste of time, so I won’t even hazard to guess what my kids will need to know
Yeah, screw that literacy and writing nonsense. Who needs that anyways?!

:whistle:
 

Endgame

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Yeah, screw that literacy and writing nonsense. Who needs that anyways?!

:whistle:
When was the last time you took out pen and paper and composed a 3 page letter in cursive?

I realize the value of writing, and decided to minor in English in college because so few of my peers in Comp Sci had any kind of writing Expertise… or even basic competence. I figured it was an easy way to get a leg up on the competition.

But actually writing something with pen and paper when I could type up something in word and print it? I doubt I’ve done that in 15 years.
 

Aurelius

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Minus the handwriting, knowing how to write letters is still important. You wouldn't believe the amount of younger people that have gone through my department who don't even know how to write a basic five paragraph essay, let alone a professional sounding e-mail. To be fair, though, e-mail composition seems to be a universal problem among all age groups. I often feel like I am the only person in a system of thousands who can compose a comprehensible e-mail or even spell correctly.
I was a teaching assistant at university in an essay writing course for people outside of English Lit degrees. People outside of writing-focused disciplines have had trouble writing five-paragraph essays for ages!
 

cybereality

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I was a teaching assistant at university in an essay writing course for people outside of English Lit degrees. People outside of writing-focused disciplines have had trouble writing five-paragraph essays for ages!
Yeah, definitely. I went to a pretty rigorous high school, but in the first week of college we had a basic essay writing class and we had to write a short paper on something random and then pass them around and read each other's.

I was baffled at the low quality of writing coming from my peers. It was horrible, like middle school level if even that. But I understand that most people probably don't have an opportunity to go to specialized schools, and just end up in whatever the closest public school is in their neighborhood. Still sad.
 
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