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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With a Fear of Technological Change? 429

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the xterm-is-all-you-need dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Despite the fact that I am fairly young at twenty-four years old, people see me as rather 'old school.' I regularly use Lynx, IRC, Pine, have many consoles open, and am currently typing this on an older plain black laptop that has a matte 4:3 display and no chiclet keys. As the days progress, I am coming to the realization that the 'old school' computing world that I grew up in is slowly fading away and a new world of Windows 8, Web 3.0, tablets, smart televisions, and social networking is starting to become fairly common. If there is anything I have learned, it is that most humans have a desire to throw out the old and accept the new without any sort of hesitation. Like many Slashdot users (I am sure you know who you are), I do not accept the new as easily as I probably should. How have you learned to adapt and accept things that are new and different in the world of technology and computers? If not, what are some effective strategies to utilize to keep these kids off my lawn?"
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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With a Fear of Technological Change?

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  • by neye_eve (212185) * on Thursday May 16, 2013 @06:41PM (#43746037)

    Having gone through some of the same things, the best advice I can say is to ignore those feelings publicly. At work I'm riding the wave with the rest of them. At home I'm back on my happy train. The last thing I want is to be marginalized at work because I'm "that guy" who is a roadblock instead of a guy that moves things forward.

    In the tech industry, you do NOT want to be the enemy of the executives.

    Definitely point out real problems when they're there, and nix projects that are bad, but try not to let your bias lead you to make irrationally bad arguments. And who knows, you might learn to like some of the stuff, which will help you in the future as well both because you know more, and also because your attitude will be more open. It's worked for me so far at least - I just bought an iPad and a Surface Pro today for testing, will be getting a Nexus to validate very soon as well. It's actually pretty fun.

    In any case, good luck, and long live lynx!

  • 24 yo? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cornwallis (1188489) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @06:43PM (#43746061)

    I've got socks older than you. What are you gonna do when you really get old?

  • Umm, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, 2013 @06:43PM (#43746073)

    If there is anything I have learned, it is that most humans have a desire to throw out the old and accept the new without any sort of hesitation.

    Umm, no. That is the exact opposite of what most humans have a desire to do. We hang on to things that we know. Why do you think Windows 8.1 will have a "Start" button? By and large, people hate change.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @06:45PM (#43746099) Homepage Journal

    You're actively regressing when you stick with a text mode browser in the modern world. You aren't "old school" -- you're stubborn. Old school would be sticking with what you learned to start with, not specifically choosing something from the late '70s or early '80s to work with.

    Your big problem is you need to grow up.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @06:50PM (#43746171) Homepage Journal

    Let me rephrase that:

    Using the command line tools does not make you "L33t". It does not make you "cool".

    Using archaic tools for modern jobs is just flat out asinine. You didn't grow up with those tools -- those tools are from my university days. And I'm 49, not 24.

    Stop fooling yourself that you're special and use the right tool for the job instead of being stubborn.

  • by Wee (17189) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @06:51PM (#43746179)
    I use pine (well, alpine) daily. I'm typing this with an IBM Model M keyboard made in 1988, hooked up to an old, re-purposed Dell with parts from all sorts of sources. I don't keep a lot of xterms open, but I do love xfce's tabbed Terminal Emulator app. I still use things like job control and screen, even though I could have 100 ssh sessions going if I wanted to. When I need to make some quick-and-dirty HTML, I probably use tables more often than not. I still look at usenet. I write (gasp!) perl scripts from time to time.

    So why use all those "old" things? Because they work. Why not switch to something new, or stop using screen when I can hit shift+ctrl+t and get a new session? Because there's no compelling reason not to use screen. It still works. Sure, you don't see things like rlogin, rsh and (maybe) ftp anymore, because those things no longer work sufficiently well. Why don't I bother with things like a "semantic desktop" that can sync all manner of social media and such right there in my WM? There's no compelling reason to do so. I just don't have a need for any of that. Why not carry a tablet around? Because a laptop is far mroe flexible for my needs. It still works for me, and that's my primary concern.

    But the bottom line is this: If it's ugly and it works, it's not ugly. Keep your eyes out for new stuff, but just keep using what both appeals to and works for you.

    -B
  • Re:24 yo? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ModernGeek (601932) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @06:53PM (#43746223) Homepage
    Don't listen to him. Stick to your ways and keep contributing to F/OSS. If the "old school" tools are used and maintained, then they are still alive. Keep coding, and keep using your computer.

    One day when all those iDevices are obsolete, and can't be upgraded or used because of their proprietary lock in mechanisms, you'll be laughing from your throne as you did not allow yourself or your utilities to become useless.

    The best advise I can give to you is to not give into proprietary hardware just because it is shiny and new. You'll find yourself replacing everything every two years, and pouring money into the coughers of corporations. You'll become more dependent on the grace of other companies, and at the mercy of others.

    Don't try to be hip, and don't run with the crowd just because it's there.
  • by melchoir55 (218842) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @06:57PM (#43746269)

    " If there is anything I have learned, it is that most humans have a desire to throw out the old and accept the new without any sort of hesitation"

    The above quote is in stark contrast to my own experience in life. I'm not much older than you (29) and I have found that people often require extremely powerful motivators in order to accept "the new" otherwise known as "change". There are different personalities of course, but the personality "I want to learn it once and be an expert forever" is pretty common in my own workplace. A lot of people don't push themselves to learn. I don't mean outside the workplace, either. I just mean learning the proprietary in-house tech we have. Folks learn it as much as they absolutely need to then kind of check out when it comes to the more in depth stuff. Not all people of course, but not an insignificant part of the population either.

    Other examples abound. How many 60 year olds were texting a decade ago? It certainly isn't that they are too stupid, because a lot of them do it now. Old people are just as smart (smarter?) as young people with the unfortunate disadvantage of poor reaction time. It's that they had methods of approaching the world which were well worn and change is scary.

    The tech crowd is not plagued with the "change is scary" mantra to the same degree as other crowds. I've found that it accepts change faster than most other demographics I've been a part of.

  • by Garion911 (10618) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @06:57PM (#43746281) Homepage

    If you're into programming, think about moving into the embedded. I work for an embedded company, and I recently got the company to realize that remote gdb works pretty well.

    When your connection is only over ssh, telnet, or *gasp* serial, your old school will be very handy.

  • by TWX (665546) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @06:57PM (#43746287)
    I've found that very little is actually new. There have been tablet computers for some time. There have been wearable computers. There has been "social media" since the days of Fidonet. We had "SMS" fifteen years ago with bidirectional alphanumeric pagers and TAP.

    Very little is new, it's just reinvented again and again and again. And again, and again. Accept this and just do what you need to do. Eventually you'll come to understand it and won't be stuck with some weird, antiquated version of Firefox running on your Debian 2.4 box because you refuse to change. It doesn't friggin' matter.
  • OP is a hipster (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, 2013 @07:03PM (#43746345)

    He uses a laptop brand you've probably never heard of.

    The whole "article" smells of trolling.

  • by plover (150551) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @07:06PM (#43746365) Homepage Journal

    And what, in your expert opinion, is the right tool for the job? Back in the day I never bothered moving to pine, because I figured elm was good enough for me. (And it was.) Now I seem to spend half my workday in Outlook, and it makes me exactly every bit as productive as elm did. It's worse, actually, because these days everyone has email and it's now far too easy for the unwashed masses to cc: a status report to a hundred people who simply don't care.

    If a newer tool doesn't provide a demonstrable or measurable improvement, what makes that new tool "right"? What makes the old tool "wrong"?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, 2013 @07:06PM (#43746383)

    That's a bit unfair... some of the older tools are actually better for the job. The Linux CLI is usually faster than a GUI filemanager (because of globbing and tab-completion). Pine may not be pretty, but again, it's faster than Thunderbird. And 16:12 is definitely better than 16:8 for a laptop, even if the movie-tail is wagging the productivity-dog. Use the best tool there is, for you.

  • Re:Old School B-) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jhoegl (638955) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @07:13PM (#43746443)
    As utterly useless as this saying is, because it is so general I would say at least keep your wits. Because a moron reacts to changes moronically.
    Such as buying a gadget without anyone fully understanding its usage or potential (tablet), or perhaps buying something because others have it (rasberry pi).
    The Tablet is a niche market that exploded, because the niche is pretty large (all sales people and children under 12). it will settle down, and will not take away the desktop or laptop. It wont take away servers or networking, and it wont do anything to programming.
    Evaluate items based on what they are and what they bring. Fearing technology? no... fearing things that lock you down or keep you walled in some sort of garden preventing you from reaching your potential or the devices potential... yes, very much yes.
  • by Aguazul2 (2591049) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @07:14PM (#43746459)

    Who says the console isn't the right tool for the job? Even Windows has PowerShell, and Windows 2012 can be installed without any GUI at all, relying on remote shell access for maintenance. If you do this all day long, the shell is often the best tool for the job. Point and click and GUIs are for getting things done when you have little previous experience with that task (or for things that obviously require graphics).

  • Re:24 yo? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, 2013 @07:15PM (#43746471)

    People are mostly awed when they enter my office, get behind the "wall o-monitors" and see just how many xterm windows I'm running. More disturbing for them, since several are running tails, they move. My visitors are intimidated, though that is never my intent. I imagine them thinking, "How does he manage so much information at one time!!!"

    What a tool.

  • Re:Old School B-) (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hendrikboom (1001110) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @07:16PM (#43746485)

    Tablets won't take away servers or networking -- tablets need the servers and the network.

  • I'm 33 years old (Score:5, Insightful)

    by twistofsin (718250) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @07:28PM (#43746617)
    And everything you claim to have learned on was outdated when I was a fucking teenager. I have a really hard time believing that this "old school" computing world is what you grew up with.

    You just sound like a computer "hipster" to me. Come crack open a PBR with me and relax .. you don't have to try this hard to be different. As someone who has done production in many industries, please let me reassure you that we wouldn't have adopted today's tools if they weren't better than yesterdays.

    Your mashup of what would also be considered old (social networking) and new (Win 8) .. oh fuck I just convinced myself this was a troll submission, fuck off.
  • Re:Old School B-) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @07:33PM (#43746675)

    "Because a moron reacts to changes moronically."

    This.

    In recent years I have seen so much change for the sake of change, it sometimes disgusts me.

    Let's get something straight, folks: Change is only good if it's an improvement. Otherwise, change is BAD, even if it's just as good as the old thing. There are a number of reasons for this.

    First among those reasons is that change has definite costs involved. Whenever you change something, people have to learn new ways, use something differently, etc., etc. If anybody can find some kind of major change that doesn't have a cost associated with it, I'd be delighted to hear about it.

    Second, things are usually the way they are for good reasons. There are generations of people who came before who tried different things and arrived at their ways via hard-won trial and error. Changing something "just because" probably means you don't know your history and, as they say, will likely be doomed to repeat it.

    When I think a change is GOOD, on its own merit, I am happy to jump on the bandwagon. But I don't drool over things just because they are new or in fashion.

  • by Darinbob (1142669) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @08:18PM (#43747107)

    The problem with the OP is the attitude that there's something wrong. There isn't. It isn't "fear" of new stuff, but the logical realization that new stuff is not necessarily better, and in many cases is worse. In other words, do not be worried that you're not embracing all the stuff that the masses embrace.

    Most humans don't embrace the new and throw out the old, it only appears that way because marketing has control of what you see and hear. Very often there is a fad that dies out because the masses realize that the new wasn't actually worth switching to. New ideas that do take hold are often old ideas that are scaled up or made more practical.

  • by DigitalSorceress (156609) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @09:01PM (#43747413)

    In my (old phart) opinion, change for the sake of change is what sucks.

    For instance, I really hate the MS ribbon, it actually gets in my way... There was nothing wrong with classic menus. They're efficient - especially for "I don't know what I want, but I'll know it when I see it"... the Ribbon makes me have to hunt for everything. That was change for the sake of change. It was MS trying to make Office seem like it was somehow new and exciting... because, let's face it, their flagship product has been feature complete since Office 97 - sure, there have been a few improvements here and there, but Office XP wasn't that big of an improvement worth shelling out big bucks for the upgrade from 97... and 2003 - well, in retrospect, it was MS Office's finest hour, but it was an incremental improvement...... 2007 added the ribbon to some stuff, and 2010 completely replaced the menus. Yeah, it works just as good and has a few nice features, but I fight with the UI so much that my general perception is that it stinks. I use it cuz I have to (at work).

    Be careful not to get labeled as a stick in the mud. Work with the stuff that you get stuck with, but always keep an eye out for actual good change - accept those good changes wholeheartedly, and laugh as others spin their wheels on the thing of the moment... but only to yourself - when nobody's looking. :p

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @09:19PM (#43747521) Homepage

    If there is anything I have learned, it is that most humans have a desire to throw out the old and accept the new without any sort of hesitation.

    Then you have not learned anything, padawan. It may be commonly true of your peers, but it is not true of most humans in middle age or later, especially those of less tech-friendly varieties.

  • Re:Old School B-) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KGIII (973947) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @09:56PM (#43747735) Journal

    We're just returning to dumb terminals and renting compute time. The terminals aren't so dumb and we pay with ads or personal information usually but, really, for everything that has changed we've really stayed the same.

  • Re:24 yo? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PCM2 (4486) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @10:30PM (#43747967) Homepage

    I've got socks older than you. What are you gonna do when you really get old?

    I'm going to guess he's going to look back on his life and realize that he was dumb to think he'd seen it all at age 24. He talks as though the Third Age of Middle Earth is ending -- and you wanna know why? Think about it. When the original iPhone came out, he was 18 years old. For his entire adult life, there have been iPhones, and the iPhone was the first real major technology shift he'd ever seen. For those of us who have been through all sorts of booms and busts and cycles and trends in the computing industry, things look a lot different -- as they will for him, when he really gets old.

    His whole submission reminds me of those things that pop up on Buzzfeed every now and again -- "Twenty things that will make you feel old" -- and half of them are photos of the all-grown-up-now former child actor from some kids' show on Nickelodeon that you've never heard of because the first episode aired in 1994.

  • by ZeroPly (881915) on Friday May 17, 2013 @12:10AM (#43748465)
    There is nothing wrong with choosing an older tool because it does the better job. But claiming to have an emotional attachment to it is attention mongering. This guy is just a technological hipster - he's using Lynx to be different. He probably can' t bear to be separated from his straight razor or manual typewriter either.

    It is insane to think that a 24 year old somehow grew up with Lynx and just doesn't want to change, unless this narrative involves a village in Somalia or something. We're supposed to be in awe of how special he is, but as someone who actually used Lynx when it was the only game in town, all I have to say is "get a fucking life".
  • Re:Old School B-) (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Friday May 17, 2013 @01:03AM (#43748751) Journal

    Change is only good if it's an improvement. Otherwise, change is BAD, even if it's just as good as the old thing.

    What is missing on the above is the willingness to try out the new stuffs

    Giving the new stuffs a try out does not mean throwing out the old things altogether - but we need to have the willingness to try out the new stuffs, get a taste of it, and only after that, we can make up our own mind whether or not we need to change

    If we do not even try out the new stuffs, how are we to know if the new stuff is better, or worse ?

  • Re:Old School B-) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Friday May 17, 2013 @01:11AM (#43748783) Journal

    I enjoy change -- sometimes even for its own sake.

    You and I have come a long way, buddy

    I do not change, for change sake

    But I do enjoy trying out new things, and only then, I get to decide whether or not there is a need for me to change

    For example, when Facebook first came out, I gave it a try, and decided that it wasn't for me

    No matter how much stuffs FB has added since then, I won't force myself to change, just for the sake of changing

  • Re:Old School B-) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by plover (150551) on Friday May 17, 2013 @09:45AM (#43751521) Homepage Journal

    Office365 was created for exactly one reason. It was created to convert customers from a pay-once model to a pay-as-you-go subscription model.

    Who do you think Office2013's biggest competitor is? Open Office? Hardly. They're competing against the installed base of Office2010 users. They are competing against themselves. Long ago they ran out of truly useful features to add - how many users were clamoring for the ribbon bar, or Clippy? Once they improved their software engineering skills and drove out most of the bugs and security flaws, they removed all compelling reasons to upgrade. And that is cutting into their revenue stream. Subscription based software rental will keep the money taps open, but only if they can connive people into "upgrading" to it.

    This change improves one thing only: Microsoft's cash flow. It was not changed out of a desire to improve upon a working product.

    And you're helping sell it.

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928

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