Education | How the West was lost
I remember my first computer in the 1980’s it was a Commodore. I could program it, it had a book that told me how to do it! Can I program my new Samsung? Can I hell as like! They are now made for using programs and playing silly games; keeping in touch with friends using social media and tweeting what you get up to on a night out. Could all this trivial behaviour have something to do with why the Western world is experiencing it’s worst depression for 80 years and countries are going bankrupt?
I bought my first PC in the 1990’s and I could program that too! I can’t even turn the damn magnifier off on this and the instructions from Microsoft are bloody useless. It all changed when they brought out Windows and we got ‘help’ and no books. Microsoft got too big and people lost their enthusiasm for computing. Maybe, ordinary people were seen to get too smart and they were afraid of hackers; the only hackers I know are the university educated ones. All the programmers’ need to have a university education since Windows was introduced. Enthusiasts who really like to play around with computers and programming have largely disappeared. I did get a little book with this computer in a number of languages that told me not to take the thing apart in case I electrocute myself. There is no mains power inside anyway and the PSU is sealed and double insulated. It’s all too complicated.
Remember Microsoft FrontPage, it wasn’t that easy to learn but you could do a website with it. That was discontinued after 2003 by Microsoft and now you have to learn ASP.NET web programming; you would go to college to learn that, I assume. That means fewer people doing websites.
It’s not all bad news, there is open source and that brought us WordPress that I use for this website but it’s not been easy and it’s not exactly socially inclusive. I know a few people on the internet who use WordPress. But in the community I live in; people that I talk to? What’s WordPress?
It’s not that they are all stupid around here. Well some of them are, quite a few actually. It’s education, no one learns to program or even how to set up a WordPress site. Community groups now are rugby clubs, soccer clubs, social clubs and for the better educated middle classes there is a big choice of golf clubs. The oiks are offered little in the way of community facilities or education. They are the minimum wage fodder for the big retail stores, that coincidentally rely on them for sales; that’s why many are closing down. Minimum wages equates to minimum sales for many stores.
Most young people struggle to update their status on Facebook now, let alone program or start a website. Bill Gates set the example, take all you can from the suckers and build an empire and he was followed by the search engine giants and now social networking. Will Facebook save Western economies? Not a hope! They might help Chinese companies to sell more cheap products to a gullible Western audience. Can someone produce an easy to learn BASIC programming language that I can learn from a book in a month to run on my Windows 7 laptop; it would be more use to me than Windows 8! Microsoft is still greedy though and hoping to con businesses across the Western World into adopting 64 bit Windows; please pay extra if you want a bug resistant professional version.
I would really like to see an initiative that involves the industry, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook and the rest to sponsor and encourage community education. Even the elitists at Apple might join in. It would help if the television companies joined in too, they could show some interesting stuff on UK television that didn’t involve a blonde in false eyelashes saying ‘innit’.
In the meantime, I understand News International is bringing out a version of the Sun newspaper on a Sunday; complete with sensationalist headlines and topless ‘page three girls’. That will solve our educational problems, no need to learn to read son, just look at the pictures…
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