This is called pointing. There's also click.
August 19, 2013 11:50 AM   Subscribe

It's not tough to use a computer! Especially if you've got... Komputer Kindergarten!
posted by showbiz_liz (26 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Does it blow up?"
posted by sammyo at 12:01 PM on August 19, 2013


This is Kim Komando, right? I remember her radio show back in the 90s when I was doing lots of driving around on Sunday afternoons.
posted by jason6 at 12:03 PM on August 19, 2013


Today must be retro-computing day online. Here's a cool family talking about the internet.
posted by antonymous at 12:04 PM on August 19, 2013


Doh, the answer is in the video (Yup, Kim Komando). What's that rule about the first X seconds of a youtube clip are worthless? I guess there's a flaw in the Wadsworth Constant.
posted by jason6 at 12:12 PM on August 19, 2013


I kouldn't watch that for very long. It seemed to me to be about komputing for the kognitively khallenged.
posted by Samizdata at 12:13 PM on August 19, 2013


Does it seriously take her over an hour to get to the point where she's showing the computer on-screen?

If I hadn't already known about them by then, this video would have made me give up in boredom.
posted by DU at 12:14 PM on August 19, 2013


It looks like a TV, but it's not a TV, just like a TV!
posted by xedrik at 12:18 PM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


"This is a mouse, it looks like a regular mouse."
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:21 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Actually, I thought it was fascinating because of the analogies that were used to try and explain computers to a new audience. "Its like a typewriter!" "Its like a VCR!" This is cool for two reasons:

1) Analogies are actually pretty critical in the adoption of new technologies, as explained in this nice piece in the Sloan Management Review. There was actually large, institutional fights over how to think about computers - where they "electronic brains" operated by specialists and expected to answer hard problems? Or were they "calculating machines" that could be used by anyone?

One way in which Edison was a genius (and Tesla was not) is that he understood this. When designing the electric light, he made the system easy to use for the common gas light user. For example, the meters were similar, the size of the bulbs accommodated existing fixtures, and were similar in brightness to gas lights. He used the analogies to build his business.

2) Analogies explain why skeuomorphism is so common in computers. This era of baffling new technology was easier to understand thanks to the little pictures and icons of disks, and typewriters, and so on. You can see a real struggle to put this all in context.

So yes, it is funny, but I also saw it as a powerful lesson about how new technology actually gets adopted.
posted by blahblahblah at 12:22 PM on August 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


"Hey... I'm workin' here!"
posted by odinsdream at 12:41 PM on August 19, 2013


It feels like everything is terrible.
posted by orme at 12:48 PM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Everything is terrible.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 12:57 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Now it's asking me if I want to save. You should always save. I'm not going to save."
posted by Brocktoon at 1:15 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was thinking about analogies, as informed by years of observing people with MS Office at work. Most of the Office apps give the user a familiar analogy. Word is a blank sheet of paper - type on it. Excel is graph paper, put things in the boxes (actually accountants used to use paper spreadsheets; I have never seen one). Powerpoint is a deck of slides. But Access really has no analogy. The closest thing to a database that most office workers have experienced is maybe a file cabinet, or maybe a notebook with tabs where certain things go. But these methods of saving information usually depend on making multiple copies of things, and putting them in different places, which is the opposite of what you should do with data in a database. And sure enough, most people never learn to use it (that may be for the best!).
posted by thelonius at 1:16 PM on August 19, 2013


This is Kim Komando, right? I remember her radio show back in the 90s when I was doing lots of driving around on Sunday afternoons.

I used to listen to her in the car too until one day I heard her say something so incorrect it almost caused me to drive my car off the road. It was something at the level of "delete System32" incorrect and she wasn't making a joke. Good on her though for managing to carve out a highly profitable niche for herself.

I kouldn't watch that for very long. It seemed to me to be about komputing for the kognitively khallenged.

Sorta makes you wonder why a certain family of famewhores haven't jumped on that bandwagon.
posted by fuse theorem at 1:26 PM on August 19, 2013


Some of you might find this amusing in a point and laugh kind of way but I know people who would find an updated for the modern era version of this extremely useful.
posted by coolxcool=rad at 1:31 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some of you might find this amusing in a point and laugh kind of way but I know people who would find an updated for the modern era version of this extremely useful.

I'm not so much pointing and laughing, just... well, I've had computers in my house since I was 5 or 6. It's hard to imagine how magical they must have seemed in the beginning. I mean now I carry a little computer with me everywhere I go, and I barely think about it anymore... but within living memory, these things were brand new and totally incomprehensible. It's just fun to think about.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:35 PM on August 19, 2013


I guess by the editing that we're supposed to mock how silly and funny this is. But seriously, have you ever tried to explain this stuff to someone with no experience with computers? None of this is obvious, and even direct manipulation interfaces like Windows or iOS are completely mysterious if you have no previous exposure.

I set my mother up with her first mouse and AOL in, oh, 1996. I sat her down at the computer to let her do it hands on, like a good teacher. I told her to "use the mouse to click on AOL". So she picked up the mouse, pointed it at the AOL icon on the screen as if it were a remote control, and clicked. I'm relieved to say I didn't laugh. In retrospect what she did made a lot of sense, a lot more sense than moving some silly shape-changing cursor around the screen.
posted by Nelson at 1:35 PM on August 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


and even direct manipulation interfaces like Windows or iOS are completely mysterious if you have no previous exposure.

I've found the opposite to be true. They're easiest if you have no previous exposure. My daughter, who turns two on wednesday, can power on my iPad, swipe to unlock it, press the home button to get out of whatever app I left open, swipe the screens of app icons back and forth to find whichever one she's looking for (usually photos, a coloring book app, or a little kids game), then click and open and use them. To her it seems simple "slide things to move them, touch them to make them do things". Sure, she can't read the buttons, but if she knows what a button will do, she can find it and press it. Think about that, though, she doesn't even need to know the alphabet to use it.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 1:41 PM on August 19, 2013


Something about the cadence of her voice is very soothing. I would happily watch more of this.
posted by Gordafarin at 1:50 PM on August 19, 2013


kim commando is still around.
I had never heard of her, but a few weeks ago I was driving through pennsylvania and listening to some right radio when this program about computers came on. It was kim. Her voice has dropped half an octave since the videos, and it took quite a while until some pronoun indicated her gender--I assumed it was
a man because that's the kind of knee-jerk sexist I am.

The program format was:
1. Rube calls in with some computery problem.
2. Kim vaguely explains how to fix the problem, and for more information go to her website. The solution often involves dropping a few bucks.
3. Ads for more stuff on her website (url left as a reader exercise)
posted by hexatron at 2:24 PM on August 19, 2013


Kind of a shame they just kalled it Komputer Kindergarten instead of the Komputer Kindergarten Klub.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:05 PM on August 19, 2013


Something about the cadence of her voice is very soothing.

Kwaaludes, I assumed.
posted by ShutterBun at 4:50 PM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Fortunately we grew past Kim Kimmando... to the next letter in the alphabet, Leo Laporte...
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:00 PM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is there any chance that Kim Kommando would hook up withKim Dotcom?
posted by hwestiii at 5:28 PM on August 19, 2013


And why does Kim Kommando have timecode burn-in without frames? Are those darn frame numbers confusing to her editor? Someone should draw the analogy for them to the little bitty holes on the sides of film and point out that yes, the numbers only feel good when they all get to be included.
posted by Dean358 at 8:25 PM on August 19, 2013


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