You work with files every day. Whether you're typing a document on Microsoft Word, or copying a large folder of files onto another computer, there is always a chance of screwing up, in a humorous way.
I once asked a friend to save me a copy of a web page and e-mail it as an attachment. She e-mailed me the local path on her machine, namely
C:\Documents And Settings\Owner\Desktop\Webpage.htm.
I was pretty quick to e-mail back, asking her to kindly include the file next time.
Once, my teacher wanted to print a document off of a floppy disk but couldn't. So she asked a student who was slightly computer-literate, and he couldn't either. When they tried to open the document, a message popped up, saying that something was "unavailable".
That's about when I came into the classroom. I took one look at the document's icon and couldn't help but chuckle – the teacher had copied the shortcut to the disk instead of the document.
I was calmly sitting in class doing my homework. A student (A) came to the computer and started to type a document, but could not figure out how to save it.
- Student A: "How do I save my document?"
- Student B: "Click File.
- Student A: "Okay. Now what?"
- Student B: "Click 'Save'."
The File Save dialog popped up.
- Student A: "What do I do now?"
- Student B: "Type a title."
- Student A: (Types title) "What do I do now?"
- Student B: "Click the 'Save' button."
A student was trying to save a paper named
Item A / Item B Comparison.doc
and would get an "Access Denied" error. He couldn't figure out why he couldn't put
slashes in a file name.
To be quite fair, this is a shortcoming of Windows user interface design; an average user can't be expected to know this.
Once a student in my class wanted to head a paper in such a way that her name was in the upper left hand corner and the date was in the right. Now, the proper way to do this is to set tabs (in Word) or to use a table with invisible borders. But before I had a chance to explain to her how to do this, another student from my class came up to her computer and, after typing the name, put a bunch of spaces after it followed by the date. It looked somewhat OK on screen, but when it printed, it broke the line.
Now the next thing that other student did was, you guessed it, put a bunch of spaces in front of the title to make it look centered.
- Student A: "The teacher said that I need to double-space. How do I do that?"
- Student B: (After looking through the menus of Works and failing THREE TIMES to find the 'Paragraph Formatting' button) "You just press enter after every line."
A student was trying to print a document, but it kept failing, and Word kept popping up a message stating that the document was already printing.
Another student tried to help and couldn't figure anything out. He hit the print button about 10 times, and when the warning appeared, he clicked "Print Anyway".
Now the print queue was getting pretty full, with about 14 documents pending. (The first student had printed several times before the other one came up.) I myself would have flushed it first and tried printing again.
Then the second student finally noticed that the printer was in fact turned off. He asked the first student about it.
- Student A: "Well, I was printing the document, but then I saw some mistakes. It was printing the second copy of it, and I shut off the printer to make it stop. Did I do something bad?"
A classmate's idea of double-spacing: hit the spacebar once between each letter, and three times for each space. Naturally, the words didn't wrap correctly. Here's an example:
T h i s t e x t i s a n e x a m p l e o f s o m e b o d y ' s f e e b l e a t t e m p t a t d o u b l e – s p a c i n g .
Once I saw a classmate attempt to create a long, narrow column of text in Word by pressing ENTER after every few words. Imagine his frustration when the first word of each line was automatically capitalized.
This in the
Not get a very
Or would not
Have gotten a
Good grade if
I were the
One of my friends had an iPod with some music on it. I asked him if I could have some of it and put it on my Sansa.
- Him: "Yah, you can have it, but you'll need to delete all of the music you have on your Sansa."
- Me: (confused) "Why?"
- Him: "Because the computer does it."
- Me: (even more confused) "What do you mean?"
- Him: (exasperated) "The computer will just delete all of the music on your Sansa."
- Me: "Look, I can just copy the files I need off of your iPod. I know how to do that"
- Him: "No you can't."
- Me: "Well, what do you mean by 'the computer'? What program are you referring to?"
- Him: "Just shut up already, it's just THE COMPUTER that's doing it. Okay?"
Now THIS is one of the reasons why I have a strong dislike for iTunes.