Friday, January 26, 2007

The Knack



Seeing as how I just spent ten minutes this evening figuring out how to access the auxiluary input on my uncle's tv (to which his DVD player is connected) using only the buttons on the front (since he lost the remote, thus eliminating the simplest method) and then writing a one page procedure for him to follow when I'm not around to help, I think I have "the knack".

My uncle asked me how I remember how to do this stuff. But he's asking the wrong question. It's not about memory, it's about problem solving. I can't remember how to use a DVD player or TV I've never used before. I have to figure it out. But I must figure it out so quickly, that it looks to him like I already know how to do it. The only things I "remember" are what I know of interfaces for similar devices - TVs, VCRs, DVD players, and cable boxes all have overlapping functions and features. It's just a matter of figuring out which buttons do the things you know it should be capable of. There's some exploring that needs to happen, too: navigating the menus to see what options are available and get familiar with the mindset of the people who set up the interface (i.e., let's force people to buy a new TV once they lose their remote by giving them only one or two buttons that do everything, poorly, on the front of the TV). Now hopefully he won't lose the procedure the same way he lost the remote.

3 Comments:

Anonymous bobrip said...

I always figured you have the knack. Some people you have to tell twice, you usually only have to be told 1/2 time.

Dad

1/27/2007 8:41 PM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

Hehe. There's a reason I don't play online chess.

1/27/2007 10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What, no reference to "My Sharona"?
-Jason

1/29/2007 8:04 AM  

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