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Thursday, October 20, 2011

TechTalk: Getting the Feel for Technology
Thursdays are "TechTalk" Thursdays. I'll write about something in the world of technology that interests or inspires me.

I went to a training this week on personal organization and productivity. The trainer stressed how affect—our emotions and feelings—deeply influences our productivity. One of the tricks to being more productive is learning how to manage your feelings about getting work done. I think that our relationship to technology is the same way.

When I was in library school, I took a class on computer programming (well, it was computer programming for librarians). We learned how to write useful programs with a language called Python (here are some books at the library about Python). The course was a great introduction programming, but more important was something that the instructor said the very first week of class:
Learning to program is all about learning how to deal with frustration.
I carried that lesson with me throughout the course (it was, in fact, really useful advice) and beyond. When I am trying to solve a problem with a computer—a webpage that doesn't look right or a printer that isn't working properly—I mentally prepare myself for the sucker punch of frustration that is about to come my way.

The idea that there are digital natives and digital immigrants (see Mark Prensky, or this book) has always bothered me (in fact, it may not be true at all). No one is born being "good" with technology. Being "good" with technology is all about getting the feel for it. Most of time, unfortunately, that feeling is an itchy, annoying feeling. What makes someone "good" with technology is the ability to scratch and scratch at that itch and not throw up his or her hands until the problem is resolved.

How do you deal with your frustrations with technology?


  1. My usual response is to go outside, focus on the horizon (not on the keyboard), re-orient myself on nature, even if it's just the movement of clouds. And crack my knuckles!

  2. @Anonymous: I like your strategy! Fortunately, I have a pretty nice view out of my office window of the sky.

  3. Screaming and banging my head against the wall works pretty well for me...

  4. This seems like a fitting addendum to this post:

    -Brodie, Web Services Librarian


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