Learning about computers is long, arduous and, often, not very rewarding. There was an old saying ‘RTFM’ – which was a polite way of suggesting one reads the instructions before asking questions. I cannot code – and have little wish to learn – but I did not want to be wholly ruled by machines other people had designed. It was as if I were being forced to think along someone else’s rules. The double hash in internet addresses for example, was just something the original writer thought up, it has no other value.
So I read and learned how to install an OS, how to modify it to better suit my character, how to plug the holes in Windows and secure what I could. I even learned a little about web design and all-in-all found out after ten years I didn’t know anything.
But many of my friends know even less so they ask me to sort out their problems. Let me tell you, in our civilised world, nothing is more daunting or boring than sitting in front of someone else’s computer and sorting out a problem they could sort out but for the fact they won’t RTFM. You forget everything you know. You worry about destroying their data. And quietly you wish the computer would just die and leave you alone.