Robert (gurdonark) wrote,


Everyone in science fiction novels these days discusses the vaguely cyberpunk notion of the "techno-mage". The idea is that science is so cool that it's like magic. This is not a particularly new idea in sci-fi, as it predates even the John Campbell pulp era of that genre. But the idea of calling a science magician a "techno-mage" is of more recent lineage.

Lately I notice that I am anything but a techno-mage. I don't write any software, at least not since the days when I could speak enough basic or Fortran to write the most primitive programs one could ever imagine. Yet the problem now extends to software usage. I use tons of programs and applications, as so many do. But sometimes I become the proverbial "old dog" incapable of learning "new tricks". A sampling of things I should know but do not include:
a. how to scan a document to create a PDF, as opposed to converting a word-processing document into a PDF;
b. how to use even the most basic recording studio software;
c. how to use a softsynth;
d. how to make an MP3;
e. how to burn a CD;
f. how to upload pictures from my digital camera into my computer;
g. how to cut and paste from Adobe to conventional documents with ease;
h. how to effectively take content from the web and edit it at home, although the lack of this skill probably has advantages; and
i. how to use basic publishing software.

I find that I have little patience for poorly-written directions in software manuals, and little inclination to seek out people who can teach me how to use them. I hate the embarrassment factor of asking people for help, and yet I lack the smarts to figure things out on my own. My mind runs to the theoretical better than to the mechanical.

I suppose, then, that I am not a techno-mage. Perhaps the antithesis is a techno-serf.

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