""Whichever direction she moved it, the cursor would move opposite.""
Once I read this, I knew what was happening. It is actually pretty easy to have a mouse the wrong way.
Less with cabled ones, but still
For those gradually losing track of days, today is Friday. The weekend is upon us, and rather than the communal trip to the pub we might have enjoyed in months past, instead enjoy another refreshing On Call yarn from those poor devils on the frontline. Today's tale comes from "Ian" and takes us back to when he was a mere seven …
It's easy to forget how we were introduced to mice - they just appeared on our desks one day without much in the way of explanation of how to use them. I once encountered a student using a lab machine with the mouse turned upside down - it worked in a way (mice still had balls back then); he'd never encountered a mouse before.
Mind you, as someone whose spacial awareness isn't so bad, you do have to wonder why they didn't try the mouse the other way up as one of the first things to try.
Male mice actually have rather large balls in terms of body size. Lots of sperm competition if you're a mouse. Big balls go with levels of sperm competition.
Penis size is inversely proportionate to number of partners impregnated. So mice and chimps have big balls and small dicks. Supposedly monogamous humans who have to pleasure a partner to keep her are relative well endowed in the dick department but deficient in the ball size. Having mouse or chimp sized balls swinging between your thighs would lead to lots of OUCH. Male chimps swagger more bandy legged than we do so can accommodate large balls comfortably.
I once had a team lead (now retired) who used her mouse upside down. When I asked her why, she told me that back when the company had introduced the first computers, the contractor had just dumped one in every branch office with a stack of software manuals and just assumed that people would take to them. Since she had been the only one at her office to take an interest and the others had been glad that "the young lass" was taking care of that infernal machine so they wouldn't have to, she had had to teach herself. It wasn't until years later when she was given the opportunity to join the new IT department that she realised how a mouse was supposed to be used. She gave it a try but after all those years her brain had already gotten so used the inverted controls that she found it too annoying to use the mouse like everybody else because "the bloody cursor kept moving in the wrong direction". Her using a mouse looked hilarious but she was still a damn fine admin.
As an owner of a proper computer during the very same era I never fell for such foolishness. There was a big picture of a (happily smiling) guy with a correctly connected mouse on the box of the AMIGA 500. AFAIK the user's manual was also quite clear about that.
Thanks for not mentioning ways to screw around with these brand new 3.5" drives and the corresponding media, by the way...
Anything less than three buttons is just plain wrong!
I mean, how else are you supposed to middle-click paste from the auto-copy-on-highlight buffer as has been present in all incarnations of X-Windows on various OSes since as far back as I can remember...
Okay, okay so it's possible to emulate a middle click by clicking left and right simultaneously but it's just not the same.
It's one of the reasons I'm still devoted to Lenovo ThinkPads is that they continue to have a middle button. Fortunately most two-button mice allow the scroll wheel to be the middle button but I do wish both Windows and macOS would at least at the option of auto copy and middle-click paste!
Up until a couple of years ago I still had a Sun keyboard too. PCs should totally ditch the propriety Microsoft buttons and reintroduce the awesome 'compose' key which makes foreign character input so easy and logical. Want a Euro currency symbol? It looks like a letter E with and equals sign through the middle: Compose, E, = gets you a €. Want to spell café correctly? Compose, e, apostrophe. I still get excited demonstrating the compose key to people (yeah, bit sad. Should get out more but I still love it).
I've digressed from mice but I do think Sun's human input devices were exceptional
Hah! 3 button mice are for wimps!
My new Logitech MX Master 3 has left, right and centre (by pressing the scroll wheel) buttons plus a thumb wheel for scrolling sideways, 2 buttons below that and another on the thumb rest, On top of that, it has a button behind the scroll wheel (where you'd normally find the DPI button on a less whizz bangy mouse) which you can press to turn the scroll lock from a relatively sedate soft click control device into a maniacally spinning flywheel able to scan pages up and down in the manner of a slightly nauseous speed reader.
And the buttons are all individually programmable - for what purpose I shudder to imagine.
Mine's the one with the Do It Yourself RSI kit in the pocket.
At Xerox we had Dorado computers (an ECL machine about the speed of a 68030). One of my colleagues reprogrammed the microcode for the mouse to reverse the X direction (just to see if he could). The only way to get the mouse to work intuitively was to run it on the underside of a table.
Actually some of the earliest mice for the BBC Micro (long before the PC), had the lead at the bottom like a real mouse's tail. Such as the DigiMouse. The lead did move to the top for the more conventional AMX mouse, after people got fed up of trapping the cable under their arm.
Years ago, I had a "My First Mouse" from Logitech. It was shaped like a mouse (tear drop shaped). The large ears were the mouse buttons and the cable emerged from the rear of the mouse. It was a great mouse. I would have kept using it, but it has an old-style PS2 connector and it predated the popularity of mouse wheels.
Going back about 15 years we got a laptop for my aged mother. We set it up for her, draped the phone lead from the phone socket in the hall, across the room to the table, connected the power from the kitchen to the eating area and got it working.
I didnt see her for a month, but when I phoned she said she had problems getting started, the lid would not open.
Next time I came to visit,I got her to show me the problem. The lid would not open, because she was trying to open the hinges. She had put the laptop down so the logo faced here (obviously). (The logo is to show everyone else - not for the user) .She knew she had to release the catches to open the lid, and the hinges had a sticky out bit.
Putting a label on the front "open here" was a big help for a while.
Remember - "Things are only obvious once you have seen it".
Shall I tell you how often I place a laptop the wrong way round on a table? I doesn't happen with the wedge-shaped ones. But with the bricks it happens nearly more often than not, exactly because of the logo.
anon because of shamewhatever, no one knows me here
As legend has it, laptops logos used to face the user when the lud was closed. This changed when Sony gave a laptop to Judge Ito during the OJ Simpson trial. His laptop has the logo rotated to be right side up for the TV cameras.
No clue as to the veracity of this story. I did read it on the Internet (possibly on usenet, for god's sake!)
"The logo is to show everyone else - not for the user"
I've had at least one laptop where the logo faced the user when the lid was closed. In fact I still find it mildly annoying that things changed. After all, it was me who paid for it, not someody across the room.
Ah but just like visibly branded clothes, that logo is not to remind you which laptop you bought, it's to tell other people what they should be buying.
I've always felt there should be a discount applied to branded clothing based on the size of the advert that has been slapped on it. The bigger the branding, the bigger the discount... At least laptop branding tends to be fairly small...
> .. but these days, at least one manufacturer has made the logo light up, thus wasting battery life.
Well, no. That's the backlight for the screen, lit up when the screen is in use . All you have to do is to make the lid transparent where you want the light to shine through.
Brands in large letters all round the waistband elastic of men's underwear are questionable. Possibly it is assumed anyone who buys them will also follow the fashion of letting their trouser waistband sag almost to their knees.
My tanga briefs come with the manufacturer's brand centred on the elastic to identify which of the two triangles of material is the accommodating front.
My mum was constantly complaining that after the grandchildren had been to visit her the TV never worked. They had an annoying habit of pulling out the cables at the back for some reason. So I would duly give advice over the phone and most times normal service would be resumed quite quickly. On one visit I brought some stickers and colour coded every cable and labelled every remote in a prominent place. Then it was just a case of matching the colours to the holes much as you'd see on a PC. Therefore if something isn't working obviously just look for an unplugged cable and connect the colours up. I took pictures of everything so that I could see exactly what she was looking at if there was a problem. That should have made it foolproof and the only calls I got were when she wanted to watch a DVD/"Blue Ray" etc. That required switching sources using the remote control and I eventually wrote a guide for doing that. All fine after that until I'm coming up by train one Friday night and I get a call.
The Tv turns on the satellite box turns on but it's saying there isn't a signal. I asked her to check and all the cables are connected and the are all except one. The pink cable is adrift and obviously the culprit so I ask her to put that back in. The pinky coloured cable however "Doesn't fit into the pinky coloured hole" and Gardeners World therefore isn't viewable. I checked the picture I had on my phone and said it's a screw on (F type) connector and it needs screwing back in to the pinky coloured connector on the satellite box. She's telling me that the cable doesn't screw in and yes she's trying pink to pink. After talking her through getting to BBC 2 via the somewhat unreliable DVB-T signal (hence the use of satellite) on the tv, I can thus relax until I get there.
When I arrived she picked me up in a much better better mood thanks to half an hour of Monty Don etc. I checked and the pink cable has come away from the crimped on connector which was still screwed into the back of the sat box. Puzzled I looked closer and found it was corroded both the cable and connector were corroded. They had therefore separated and weren't going to connect back up. I couldn't do anything about it that night but next day I looked at the LNB and everything there was fine. Self amalgamating tape was wound round everything and the connections were as watertight as possible. I followed the cable round the outside of the house to the TV room. I noticed that it now went round the newish conservatory but wasn't clipped to the wall as it had been. The builder who'd installed the conservatory had obviously been a bit cavalier with it. They'd accidentally made a small hole in the cable and had then routed it round through the guttering. This obviously had filled with water when it rained along with the cable, hole and all. The cable had slowly filled with moisture and thiis had made it down to the satellite box in the end. The drip loop was there but wouldn't protect against internal moisture.
I said a few small swear words and asked who the hell had built the conservatory. Subsequent investigations proved that the building firm had gone out of business and the bloke who ran it had moved to goodness knows where. All I can say is lucky for him.
Ha, back in the day when monitors were CRTs, I had a temporary job in a Monitor repair shop, where a learned TV/Monitor fixer would tell of the old tricks of the trade which included putting a drawing pin through the coax aerial cable on the outside of a house -> loss of picture, prompting a call and a repair visit. Tinker with the "set", pop out to the van to get "a tool", remove pin, return inside for a little more "tinkering" and voila all fixed and here is the bill......
A remote job entry station was connected to the computer room on the floor below. It used a pair of modems interconnected by two flat cables - like bell wire. The customer complained that it had stopped working. The RJE end lights looked ok - indicating it was getting polls and replying.
The cables came through the computer room ceiling - then snaked across the top of the false floor to the comms cabinet. It took a little while to spot the point where they went under a tile and then reappeared on the other side of it. The false floor support was a steel lattice - not corner "mushrooms" - and the tiles had a reinforcing sheet of steel on their under-side. Someone had had to jump on the tile to make it fit with the cable trapped underneath it - shearing one of the pairs.
I well recall my dad telling me how he taught his mother to use a cellphone, about 5 years ago. He knew it would be a significant shift for her, as she had only ever had landlines previously, so wisely got her a very simple flip phone.
G: "When it rings, how do I answer?"
D: "You just take it off the hook." [opens the flip]
G: "How do I hang up when done?"
D: "You put it back on the hook." [closes the flip]
G: "How do I call someone?"
D: "You take it off the hook [opens the flip] dial, and then press SEND."
Simple as that. Know your audience, and teach so they will understand. Choosing the tech for them helps too.
"Like my first experience with a naked lady ..."
Do those videos show you the essential prior steps?
1) deftly unhook her back bra clasp when face to face.
2) unzip the front of her jeans before releasing the top clip/button
(Otherwise the zip may jam - especially on tight jeans)
3) remove her tights
Failure to do any of these smoothly is the hallmark of a novice - but will test her sense of humour about sex.
While at uni I worked for Time computers, please feel free to flame me for my murky past. One old lady rang needing help with changing the display properties, for the life of me I can't remember why. So simple right click on empty part of desktop and select properties from menu was recommended. Lady says no menu is popping up. Knowing how these things go and after a few attempts I ask her exactly what she was doing. It turns out she was writing click with the mouse. Not the worst but the one that made me smile the most
You worked at Tiny??
Brother bought a laptop from Lidl in about 2001....Targa, what a pice of junk, it never worked right and I think it got returned for repair several times,,,,, problem was he'd asked if it was ok, looked at the specs and seemed ok (IIRC processor was an AMD Athlon 1900 or something, which was the model down from the 2000+ in my Compaq - which had JBL speakers in it, weighed more than a breeze block though)
Oh Time computers, now there's a company I DO NOT miss.... I had a fairly expensive laptop from them - always grieved me that they wouldn't give you a proper windows CD - had to pay for the "recovery" CD, because they'd put some borked version of windows on (that I think prevented you from using non-approved drivers or something, which of course they never updated) and they'd messed with the disk partitions in such a way as to add a hidden recovery partition.
When I had to went to reinstall windows from a separately sourced windows CD - that'd corrupt the Master Boot Record somehow, and the only way to sort that was to use the recovery CD to "fix" the MBR. (but after that was able to at run my clean copy of windows). Of course I had to do several windows installs followed by MBR fixes with the recovery CD over the lifetime of that machine, cursing Time every time... glad they went bust!
Not that long ago doing some impromptu phone troubleshooting in my organisation I asked the user to type IPCONFIG and then press enter.
"Nothing's happened" came the reply.
"Eh?, What exactly does it say"
"Just what I typed and nothing else"
"Okay, press enter again"
Cue lots of laughter.
"Oh I thought I had to type IPCONFIG PRESENTER"
I once saw a customer, a particularly elderly gentleman, who needed a new computer, and as part of the hardware I provided, he wanted a new mouse and keyboard. The big day came, I installed the new computer for him, along with its new keyboard and mouse. I noticed that he was using the mouse in an odd way, sort of prodding it and being rather amateur about the whole thing. Oh well, I thought, he's just getting used to it all.
The following week, I went round to check he was OK, and he said he loved the new computer, and that he'd got more or less got used to the mouse. I didn't quite know what he meant by 'getting used to it' - it was just a mouse after all. Then I realised. He still had his old computer there, and I pulled out the mouse. I asked him to show me how he used to use it. And he showed me. Mouse lead towards elbow, not towards computer. He's spent his whole computing life using a mouse the wrong way up, and had got so used to it, that it was second nature.
He told me he'd always wondered why he had trouble using his friend's computer. Now he knew.
I recall reading somewhere that Solitaire came with the package to acquaint the newbie with click and double click even click-and-drag.
I recall the manual even offered ergonomic tips to prevent RSI. It had illustrations, so this comicbook fan had no problem reading the guide from cover to cover
You've just given me flashbacks to my first proper CAD system (Daisy) that I bought in the 1980's which also had those optical mice. We had two seats, both running on 386's fitted with full length ISA memory cards and Matrox graphics. The worst thing was the network cable that was coiled up under the desk, vampire taps and all.
As I had more engineers than systems, people rotating the mouse mat was a constant source of japery. Good days. (Apart from Dave - he was a tosser!)
After many years they decide they won't trouble you any longer when they buy a new PC. Which is a precursor for them eventually really digging themselves into a hole. Then getting upset with you - because they feel inadequate and guilty when you have to spend days fixing it without any backups.
My father-in-law had problems with his browser running very slowly. He never closed off or went back to any browser windows already opened, he always opened new ones... Maybe if he had closed a few (hundred) of his old ones, and didn't keep visiting sites where each page opened multiple new windows in the background, it might not have been so bad...
Let's just say I saw my father-in-law in a new light after closing off all that... :-( :-( :-(
Sat with a religious woman (The family kept the PC in the parents bedroom for "Safety" against inappropriate use), investigating a Adult Pass charge to their phone bill, found a cookie with the timestamp of the charge.....& found ourselves gazing at meat n two vegs.
Thus the deeply religious parents found out their son was into men (Although at the time not knowing the family (Friends of a friend), my money was on the hubby).
A friend of mine once asked me to take a look at her phone because the browser had stopped working. Apparently she had neither rebooted the phone in months nor ever closed a tab and now Chrome had reached the maximum number of tabs. She asked me to "just close the oldest tabs" and show her so she could weed out old tabs later.
Turns out her oldest tabs documented her in-depth research (pun intended) into and order confirmations for a collection of anal toys.
After a while I finally managed to wipe that grin off my face. It took a lot longer for her face to return to it's original colour.
Mice, the bane of techies lives! When we still had mice with balls the calls were never ending. Pulling hair, crumbs and general crud off of the rollers was routine. Cos the poor dears couldn't do it themselves. Some of these people replaced hips and heart valves, but cleaning mice balls, nah too hard. And when optical mice came along hundred of older mice got lost, fell off desks and exploded, lost their balls and, even had buttons pulled off.
Then there were the real oddballs. My mouse doesn't work...well if you hadn't cut the cable with a hole punch it probably would.
'I want a mouse with fish in it like Brenda's got'. And the promo mouse really did have fish in it, floating in a liquid inside a plastic bag on the back of the mouse. When it was pointed out the IT bods didn't keep them, she complained to our manager who then asked if we could find one! (variations included flashing LEDs, mice shaped like pills and, small mice for cluttered desks)
A request for a new mouse cos a medico took the orginal mouse from the office computer away with him to prevent cross infection. (Same lunatic who disassembled a live laser printer with forceps!)
The lady who brought her wireless mouse from home and complained it didn't work. Forgot the receiver dongle!
The neighbours son had two dogs and liked to drink sugary soft drinks. He used the mouse mat as a drinks mat. Every so often his mouse would only travel forwards and backwards - not sideways. Short dog hairs bound together with sugar solution make a neat band of felt round a mouse ball.
I didn't enquire why his occasional keyboard jams were due to curly hairs.
One of my early sins involved moving a local newspaper group's archive from a room filled with boxes and boxes of physical newspaper clippings to a web based digitzed library - and the journalists having to switch from shouting at the library staff to find them something to jumping on a shared PC and searching for things themselves.
Now most of these people were reasonably intelligent and had been using 'computers' for years...but those were dedicated publishing terminals with crazy keyboards covered in buttons to do anything and everything, not IBM PCs with their simple keyboards and new-fangled mice. Things started well, with most of the staff picking it up quickly and not reporting any issues, and then I get the call...
Them: "The mouse isn't working properly"
Me: "What's happening?"
Them: "I do my search but when I click on the link with the mouse thing sometimes it works, but usually it doesn't, and sometimes it opens a different link"
Now you don't have to support users for very long before you know that 90% of "That just doesn't make sense" issues aren't in either the hardware of software but in the pinkware. One quick trip downstairs and a "Can you show me the issue?" and I see them at work...
1. Gingerly move mouse, holding it between the tips of thumb and first finger, like you think it's a ive hand grenade till it's over the link.
2. Withdraw hand from mouse.
3. Index finger out.
4. Hammer down on the left mouse button from a height of 2ft, possibly with eyes closed.
Yes it did click the mouse button. It also tended to move it a random distance in a random direction on the desk and so the pointer on the screen.
Many years ago, my uncle explained his friend was having some issues with his brand new Atari ST and could we go around and take a look.
I got there and my uncle's friend was very proud to show off his new purchase, but explained that whatever he did, the mouse pointer just did not move... I flipped over the mouse, removed the piece of packing tape over the ball, and all was fine.
... I flipped over the mouse, removed the piece of packing tape over the ball, and all was fine.
Similar issue with Mother's new potato peeler.
"Why aren't you using the new peeler?"
"I bought the same type you have, but it doesn't work..."
..peeled clear plastic strip from blade and.....
I often wonder if the same issue exists for some people who purchase battery powered equipment (particularly remote controls) where the batteries are pre-installed but isolated with a clear plastic strip (and they don't read the instructions).
Customer complaint for a very fancy piece of medical imaging kit - touch screen doesn't work.
Service tech sent out - to remove the plastic protective film from the screen
You could barely see the logo image and and couldn't read the login box text but the customer didn't mention that
Some years back, having gone down to a department at the school where I worked to sort out some issue or other, I suffered a rare attack of generosity (maybe there was something odd in the food that day...) and offered to take the box of empty toner cartridges, which I'd noticed was overflowing, up to the recycling box for them as it was on my way back to the IT office.
As luck would have it, one of them fell out of its black bag as I transferred them to the recycling box and I noticed that the pull-tab seal was still hanging out of the side. This prompted me to check the rest of them - about 80% still had the seal in! (I also emptied the recycling box and retrieved a few more.)
Cue a trip back down to the department and some inquiries about who normally replaced the toners... Goodness knows how long they'd been doing it! (To be fair, the pull-tab didn't actually say, "Remove before use.")
Cue a trip back down to the department and some inquiries about who normally replaced the toners... Goodness knows how long they'd been doing it! (To be fair, the pull-tab didn't actually say, "Remove before use.")"
As a field engineer, I once got sent to a customer in the middle of nowhere about 140 miles away to pull the tab on a toner cart. Sadly, it wasn't my job to tech support on the phone. I just got a basic fault description and told to go fix it. Still, it was a beautiful sunny day and I got to visit the North Yorkshire seaside instead of some busy industrial city.
A wander round our office gives (gave? who knows whether the office is still there these days) a fascinating insight into the variety of pointer controllers. Many 'standard' mice, mostly now optical, some wired, some wireless. Some that are shaped like upright shells, some shaped like joysticks but still pushed around the desk surface, some that are joysticks and look almost identical to the previous ones, some trackpads, some 'nipple' controllers, and a couple of roller-bar mice beneath the keyboard. I've probably missed some other variants. I'd guess that around 40% of our office users have some sort of adaptation to their pointer controller over a standard mouse, though not in the dev team. I fully accept that there are a number of folks with RSI and restricted mobility issues that need some kind of help, but it definitely feels like there are a lot of folks who also need to be 'special'.
I suspect we have recently spent quite a bit on duplicating many of these devices so that folks can have one at home and one in the office for however the future work environment develops.
You forgot the trackball. My elderly mother couldn't get to grips with a mouse (literally) nor could she use the touchpad on her laptop. At the time I used an MEDC trackball on a CAD system, so borrowed that for a weekend and she took to it immediately. I seem to remember forking out loads of cash for a Microsoft version which she used for the rest of her days.
I purchased my own rodent and keyboard for use in the office, whereas most others are content with the cheap shite supplied with the base units. If I'm using something 7+ hours a day, I want to make sure I'm comfortable with it. 16 year old MS IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0A, still going strong. Keyboard is one using Cherry MX Red switches, as I'm not allowed to use my Model M in the office. Something about Health & Safety and exceeding dB limits...
While I feel sorry for people that have mobility and RSI, it doesn't make it easy for us support types that have to use their PC.
For example, I have so much trouble getting used to the upright mouse, that I have to get my laptop out and remote control to their PC next to me just so I can sort out their problem!!!
Just for ah, research purposes, you don't happen to have have any images of those 'nipple controllers' you mention do you ?
While the mice were all the same, back in the '90s I used to support a large office of admin staff processing complaints and refunds etc for a big credit card company. Close to 100 staff on a massive open plan floor with the French section here, German team there, Dutch round the corner etc. etc. - all with their own national keyboard layouts. Trying to sort out local issues, especially typing into the command prompt and the like to rejig lan connections and printers etc. was a bleedin' nightmare !!
The printer setup in particular was horrific, each team connected to different printers that had different languaged headed paper loaded, with different sub-flavours of headers in each tray depending on what level of customer the letter was for; gold card, platinum etc all had differently embossed paper.
Some folk handled customers in multiple languages, not just their native ones, each PC having a little set of paper badges at the top with the flags of the languages the staff member could be useful in, so they needed mapping to multiple sets of printers and have multiple keyboard setups in Windows, all configured manually on a machine by machine basis.
With a big staff turnover requiring a lot of reassigning of machines to new staff, general user tinkering, machine replacements etc - keeping that lot going even vaguely smoothly was akin to painting a suspension bridge with water-soluble paint - the social life was great though !
Many moons ago in tech support I incurred the wrath of my colleagues for some unremembered reason, probably leaving my pager on my desk and going out on site. I returned to my desk to find my mouse nonfunctional, ball still there, check, plugged in to the PS/2 socket, check, scratch my head, well it's Win 95, reboot it. Still nothing, trot off to the store room to get a new mouse to test, bingo, it works perfectly!
Whilst pulling the cable for the old mouse out of the cable management on the back of my desk, the PS/2 plug is not moving, then, pop, the plug appears, but there's still a PS/2 mouse plug waving about near my PC? Bastards had hidden my mouse in the cable management, and simply dropped the cable of another mouse into the management tray. Cheers fellas.
Could have been one of the Apple hockey Puck mice that came with early iMacs. I still have no idea what possessed them to think it was a practical or comfortable design to use.
That said I recently re-acquired my iMac g3 (it was claimed parts along with others from a job where pay was not forthcoming at one point, got left in storage, given to a friend to convert to a cat carrier and now found its way back though without the original keyboard and mouse).
Lots of retro gaming to be had including a nice Marathon session and Doom on a proper CRT.
Gimp icon because you had to be one to use that sodding mouse.
We had a terrible IT manager, and amongst his general incompetencies, lack of interpersonal skills and chronic but poorly concealed alcoholism was the fact that he used his mouse the wrong way round, and always had.. buttons under the heel of his palm and everything. When asked, he gave the reason that he'd become used to trackballs in the past and this felt closer to the way they worked. So we offered to buy him a trackball of his choice, which he declined. I've long suspected that he didn't know how to use a mouse anyway. No great loss when he didn't come back into work one day.
There's so much we can learn from kids. Years back, when the Mac Classic came out, we had one. One evening, we were enjoying a visit from some friends, who had a 6 year old lad. "Can I play on the computer?" Sure. He toddled off to the box room where the Mac was kept. After some time, I realised he'd have difficulty, from switching the thing on (the switch at the back, remember?) to generally working his way around, as this was his first experience of a Mac, and generally his parents didn't let him loose on their machine. Yet there he was, happily playing a game, or whatever he was doing. He simply needed nothing explained. OK, he was a bright kid, as the subsequent directions of his life shows, but still.
As the saying goes "The best is yet to come."
My father sent off for a portable transistor radio kit advertised in a Sunday newspaper circa 1961. No circuit board, no soldering - just a rat's nest of component wire ends joined together with 8ba nuts and bolts. It boldly claimed "so simple a child can do it". Indeed - he eventually gave up trying to make it work and gave it to 13 year old me. It was my bedside radio for many years. The foundation of my 60 years of electronics and IT.
I had the task of putting together a procurement request for our very first office PC as one of our suppliers was now setting up an online ordering system. Our boss wanted to be in the forefront of this brave new world so muggins was summoned to the enclave and greeted with the comment "you've got one of these things at home we need one here, get it costed out" List duly drawn up I wondered back in to the enclave and the list was perused prior to approval. "what's this mouse thing?" (From memory the total cost was £2,000 and the mouse £15) You try and explain the function of a mouse to someone who has never seen one or seen anything other than a dumb terminal. I must have been convincing because the purchase was approved :-)
(The shenanigans of connecting the dial up modem using the internal phone system and shared lines etc. are a whole new story)
About a gazillion years back, I was on a Photoshop course and the instructor was telling a tale how a lady who had been on the same training was hoping they would be using a pen, rather than a mouse as she always found using one so difficult as "it blocked the view"... intrigued, he asked her to show him and she carefully lifted the mouse, placed it on the monitor screen itself and started moving it around. It had never occurred to her to use it any other way. Apparently after this revelation, she was a very able student.
I remember back in the mid 90s where a then newfangled "experience lab" was hired by a PC manufacturer to improve their installation instructions. Obviously a spread of demographics were invited as part of the instruction assessment. One lovely old lady managed to get all the kit out, put it all together perfectly, turned it on, and then got to the instruction "move mouse on screen" [to confirm it is working]. High fives all round for the team watching through the one way mirror, until she then proceeded to pick up the mouse and push it against the screen as if wiping the screen.
First honest-to-god, gen-u-ine computer fix I ever did was to declag a mouse ball.
As it was an Apple machine, this converted it from the world's most expensive paperweight into a computer. The training company were quite grateful, pushed me upstairs onto a real course and...
You could set the mouse step to negative values on the Archimedes machines from BASIC, which reversed the pointer direction, and it was remembered when you returned to desktop. Great for confusing teachers or the next student. If you really wanted to upset the next user, the setting was per axis - so you could reverse one and make the other insanely sensitive without reversal.
Fixed with a reset - but 'turn it off and on again' wasn't a thing in a secondary school classroom back in 1990.
After installing a networked computer system in my daughters' small primary school I sat down with the head to show her how to login and use the computer.
Me: Ok first use the mouse to move the pointer to the password box and click the left button.
Head: picks up the mouse, points it at the screen and clicks.
This was the late 90s and yes, this was a youngish head of my kids school.
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