User Memory Effect

In Information Is Not Knowledge comes the post So true it hurts… which describes a story of a blind dog that will, years after running into some object, always moves around that spot when running. He’s memorized the landscape in his mind and always moves around objects, even if they are long gone. The story is drawn into a parallel with users working with computers and echoes everything I have experienced in all of my years in technical support.

I often find myself getting frustrated with my wife when I am showing her how to do things on her computer. She never uses keyboard shortcuts, if I ask her to go look at a particular menu, she has to read left-to-right across the menu bar to find it (even though “Window[s],” say, is always right near the far right end), she has a million sticky notes on her desktop when we have a perfectly good shared calendar/to-do list in iCal and shared address book in Address Book, and so forth. Of course, she’s learned how to do things and she gets things done. It’s perfectly fine. My problem is that I am never satisfied with learning one and only one way to do things. Once I know how to accomplish something on the computer, I immediately ask how I can do it faster. Is there a keyboard shortcut? Can I create a macro? Can I write an AppleScript? I realize that I am the exception, not the rule.

That, and I’m a big pain in the ass. Ask my wife.

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