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How Do You Stay Upbeat Amidst the Idiocy?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the keep-fighting-the-good-fight dept.

News 442

Techdirt has a wonderful summary of how hard it is sometimes to stay upbeat when faced with some of the complete idiocy that intelligent, tech-savvy readers often have to deal with in their day-to-day lives. While the frustration will probably never go away, nor will the news calling attention to it, it does seem that opening people's eyes to problems helps things move in the right direction, so keep it up. "Yes, we're in the midst of a brutal financial mess — but that won't stop innovation. Yes, incumbent forces, with short-sighted plans and a desire to hold back the tides are annoying and disruptive (not in a good way) in the short run. But even they are finding they can't hold back progress. Robert Friedel has a wonderful book called A Culture of Improvement that details how we, as a society, are constantly looking to improve on what we already have. We add ideas and ingenuity to old concepts and build something better — not because of the desire to grab some "intellectual property," but because of the desire to improve our own lot, to build a better tool that we want to use. Incumbent short-sighted players have been able to hinder and harm progress, but they can't keep it down completely. That culture of improvement can't be stopped entirely."

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That's easy... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306041)

Liquor.

Re:That's easy... (4, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306625)

You should try Brawndo. It's got what plants crave.

ahem. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307177)

Brawndo's got electrolytes. It's what plants crave.

Re:That's easy... (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306733)

Lead paint does the job more thoroughly.

Re:That's easy... (4, Funny)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306985)

But I don't even know her!

Stay humble (5, Interesting)

jvalenzu (96614) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306063)

Instead of focusing on all the tech details that other folks get wrong, think of all the economic dogma and confused legal interpretations that otherwise intelligent people allow themselves to parrot.

Re:Stay humble (2, Insightful)

ImOnlySleeping (1135393) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307055)

I don't see how thinking about one kind of stupid rather than another would make me feel any better. That's just twice as depressing.

How do you stay upbeat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306085)

The same way you have for <insert your age here> years.

Focus on the positive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306115)

In the long run, Everybody Dies [introversion.co.uk] .

Re:Focus on the positive (3, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306401)

In the long run, Everybody Dies [introversion.co.uk] .

Haha, true. This is a very fortunate thing. Reading the first paragraph of TFA, I realized that they were describing the same exact thing I felt reading Conservapedia. It's like, funny for 5 minutes, but then it starts getting you depressed, and you start wanting to kill someone, usually the idiot doing it... then you start wanting to kill yourself because you realize that they're all around you.

The thing I keep telling myself is that these are concentrated stories of idiocy, and that the real world isn't composed of nearly the amount of them that I think there is by reading those stories. However, true. That they're going to die someday certainly helps. Here's to Schlafly's eventual death!

Yeh damn tech idiocy (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306149)

I was going to blog about this very subject today, but I couldn't get onto my Journalspace for some reason.

Re:Yeh damn tech idiocy (1)

lenester (625236) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307167)

You bastard, I just laughed very loudly at work.

Good thing we're closed in one minute.

Hmm (5, Insightful)

Highrollr (625006) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306161)

I remember in online games, if everyone else looks like they're lagged, it's really you that has the problem. Perhaps, when everyone else looks like an idiot... well, you know.

Re:Hmm (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306321)

I remember in online games, if everyone else looks like they're lagged, it's really you that has the problem. Perhaps, when everyone else looks like an idiot... well, you know.

There's more wisdom in what you say than the original poster will understand.

One of the best and most lasting ways of becoming happy is to surround oneself with people that makes you feel happy. If the people around you do not make you happy, it's not their fault. You're responsible for your own happiness. You choose them. Choose people that makes you feel happy.

Re:Hmm (5, Funny)

Fortran IV (737299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306499)

One of the best and most lasting ways of becoming happy is to surround oneself with people that makes you feel happy.

And so you come to Slashdot?

Re:Hmm (4, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306575)

And so you come to Slashdot?

That's what I love about Slashdot--everyone here is smarter than me!

Thank you for admiting it (4, Funny)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306819)

Everybody on Slashdot has far less brain power then me. I'm sure if you ask anybody else, they would agree that they too are smarter then the rest of Slashdot. Why do you think we all post here? We are all smarter then everybody else here. We merely exist to point out how much of an idiot people not like us are.

If you point out that *I'm* and idiot, you are wrong because remember I'm the smartest Slashdot poster here. The point of contention then becomes the fact that you cannot have two "Smartest Slashdot Posters" and so we debate.

However, since everybody but me is an idiot, they lack the mental ability to understand how smart I truly am. This thought, that I alone am the only Smart Person On Earth, makes me depressed. However, I'm no idiot like the author of this "Ask Slashdot". Smart people dont "Ask" questions--they already know the answers. Questions are for clueless sheep.

Obviously I do have the answer to the "question", but only an idiot would give it--it would reward asking questions and thus reward not knowing things. Never answer questions, people should learn on their own. Any Smart Slashdot Poster knows this.

Re:Hmm (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306855)

People have a tendency to classify people into group vs. realizing each person is human and has their personality and strengths and weaknesses. If you decide to group a person as an idiot you tend to make the mistake of classifying a person and categorize all his ideas even once within his strengths as useless.
Different situations strike people on different level. Usually the "Idiot"s happens when you strike them at an emotional level. As with most people there are some things that people feel strongly about when you start to contradict the things the feel strongly about their reaction is to defend it, no rational will get them to change their mind. Also as the parent stated sometimes a bunch of people seem like an idiot just because you are the one who is wrong. The human mind naturally fills gaps (predicts the near future, Fills in patterns, etc...) for the most part it works well but sometimes we fill it in with the wrong information which may lead to the same conclusion, but going a wrong path.
As we get more complex in our lives and as a culture the more gaps we need to fill thus the more mistakes we make. The business man may be an idiot when trying to manage a programmer, as he may be missing vital knowledge about the work, he over simplifies what needs to be done. But the same happens with a skilled programmer tries to make business decisions, he over simplifies the complexity of business and the fact that things are more expensive then it seems. So the businessman is seen as an idiot to the programmer, and the programmer is seemed as an idiot to the businessman. Because both sides use different measurements and wights to measure their abilities.

Re:Hmm (2, Interesting)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307073)

I remember reading about a survey where they asked people how good a driver they thought they were. The majority of people considered themselves above average drivers. Now by definition the majority of people can't be above average so it seems the average person has an inflated opinion of their capabilities.

Idiots are everywhere (5, Insightful)

sincewhen (640526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306167)

Here's a clue... You encounter idiots everywhere in life. Sometimes they are just caught off guard, sometimes they are having a bad day, sometimes they are outside their domain of expertise, and sometimes they are simply a waste of space.

You have to find the patience within yourself to get on with your life, accepting that there are some things you can't change.

But getting angry or depressed about it certainly won't help.

I might be one of them. (5, Insightful)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306233)

But getting angry or depressed about it certainly won't help.

I prefer pathological apathy - I'm working towards just not giving a shit anymore. There's nothing I can do about much of anything: I'm just an average and sometimes below average peon with no power. I might even be one of those idiots, so I guess it's a good thing that I can't do much.

Totally pulling an AOL on this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306343)

Me too!

Re:I might be one of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307089)

Yes - the "Wally" approach. I think I'm there too. The problems only begin once you start caring.

When it's really bad I retreat at nights into GTA where my darkest authority fantasies can be safely entertained.

Re:Idiots are everywhere (5, Insightful)

GiovanniZero (1006365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306383)

I think the hardest thing about being "The Computer Guy" is that people stop taking the time to think through problems themselves and just ask you. That ends up making their questions stupid because they no longer need to think about problems.

Re:Idiots are everywhere (5, Insightful)

popmaker (570147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306833)

Or maybe they're out of their expertise. Really, should everyone be thinking computer-related problems through when they can ask the experts? There are a lot of problems related, for example, to finance, that I'd rather have my bank doing. I don't see them frowning on me for not knowing something I asked them.

We each have a finite amount of time for solving problems, and a finite number of abilities, each of which is at least somewhat specialised.

No one can be good at everything. And calling somebody an idiot for not being good at what YOU do is simply not fair.

Beat up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306203)

Beat up the idiots [goatse.fr] .

With brown rope.

How to be happy... (1, Insightful)

skelly33 (891182) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306239)

Well I'll post this even though Slashdot is rife with hyper-critical, negative and cynical readers who would enjoy shredding something they are not open to because it can be helpful to someone who reads it with an open mind: How to be Happy [howtobehappy.org] , a free e-book (PDF).

Aside from absorbing that and a handful of other books on managing stress, anxiety and grounding oneself, the other two tricks I've adopted are:

* Stop reading/watching the "news"; as much as I share the concerns of most with respect to world affairs, I have found that following it too closely only makes me depressed about things I have no control over nor influence on.

* Stop watching T.V.; I actually canceled my cable and gave away my TV and game system to a local family for xmas. Not only did I have the satisfaction of giving, but I have more free time now to pursue things that actually do make me happy.

You may not be able to control your work environment, however you can control the other aspects of your life and how you choose to spend your time. Perhaps one day you will find that your life is so fulfilling outside of work that your tolerance and acceptance of imperfect circumstances at work improves to the point where it just doesn't matter to you any more.

Re:How to be happy... (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306333)

Yeah I hear a lot of people do that when they move into the retirement home. Helps pay for the funeral down the track.

Re:How to be happy... (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306355)

When I saw it was written by Michael Anthony, I thought it was the ex-bassist for Van Halen. I thought, "Of course he's happy! He's a rock star, he drinks Jack Daniel's, hangs with Sammy Hagar, he's a rock star with hot and cold running chicks, he's a millionaire, did I think 'hot and cold running chicks'?, and I'm an average no nothing that can only control myself - mostly - with no money and wondering how the hell I'm going to make it."

I have to go, I'm looking at flights to National Parks on AirTran. I'll wear a fake beard and tell everyone that they're 'Da Bomb!'

Re:How to be happy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306373)

Also, become a Scientologist. I hear they can't help being happy all the time from the sheer absence of a reactive mind. They are immune to all things negative. Gotta watch out for those evil killer bathtubs though.

Too soon?

Re:How to be happy... (2, Insightful)

CaptCovert (868609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306451)

I think you're on to the right idea here (if a bit over-the-top on implementation), in that we do need to shut down some of the 'news' we have to deal with. Find the things that interest you, and learn about them; don't let others tell you what is and is not important for you to know (I know that technically I'm doing the same thing. Semantics are awesome.).

Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that you get rid of your TV, it's just a tool, after all, and what you do with it is up to you. Of course, if that is what it takes for you to finally shut out all of the unnecessary garbage... do so with my blessing :)

Re:How to be happy... (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306903)

I don't know why you were modded troll but you're right about the TV and thanks for the link.

Frustration? (5, Insightful)

geek (5680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306287)

I used to get frustrated a lot. That was before I grew up and realized not everyone follows the same life path I do.

Dumb questions do exist. I laugh when people say "there are no dumb questions" and I laugh even harder when people say "the only dumb question is the one not asked." In all honesty, both are wrong but I have learned that the only dumb question is the one asked repeatedly. If I have to explain something to someone twice, i figure "ok they just forgot, happens to me too." But if I have to tell someone, or explain something to someone over and over and over, then it's a dumb question asked by a dumb person. However, with that said, feeling frustrated doesn't help. Just walk away, don't help them, don't explain. Tell them to figure it out and stop wasting your time. If this is on the job, tell their manager and get them replaced for incompetence.

It isn't worth getting frustrated and angry. Your emotions are your responsibility. A wise man once told me, "10% of life is what happens to you, the other 90% is how you deal with it."

Re:Frustration? (1)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306381)

I disagree with you on walking away and not helping someone who keeps asking over and over and over the same questions. I put the answers to those questions in writing with a copy to the person's manager to ensure the message gets across.

I work in medical transcription now, managing a large group of people handling 11 hospital accounts. I get the same questions over and over and over. For them, I use http://www.letmegooglethatforyou.com./ [www.letmeg...foryou.com] It helps get the message across really, really well, too.

Re:Frustration? (1)

geek (5680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306449)

I tried that approach and had it backfire. Getting snarky on the job ruins your credibility, especially when dealing with inter-department stuff. They can just as easily come to your boss and then the entire mess is on you. It's truly best to walk away and take it up with their immediate supervisor, that is what the supervisor is for. Let them deal with it, it's why they make more money than you do.

Re:Frustration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307019)

Unless that person happens to have a cognitive dysfunction. You insensitive clod!

What were we talking about again?

Re:Frustration? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306613)

But if I have to tell someone, or explain something to someone over and over and over, then it's a dumb question asked by a dumb person.

How do you know you aren't just giving out stupid answers?

Re:Frustration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306691)

My philosophy is that you should never turn away someone who isn't acting out of malice, no matter how many headaches it causes. By not helping them you're just compounding misery with more misery.

Re:Frustration? (3, Funny)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306753)

I have learned that the only dumb question is the one asked repeatedly.

So this question isn't dumb?

Re:Frustration? (0, Redundant)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306987)

No. It's not.

You, however, are a *dumb*ass. ;)

Re:Frustration? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307155)

But this one is?

Re:Frustration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306843)

But if I have to tell someone, or explain something to someone over and over and over, then it's a dumb question asked by a dumb person.

So you're one of those dumb people that can't properly explain things?

Charitable contributions (5, Insightful)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306341)

I find that it's easier to avoid taking other peoples' idiocy to heart when I can pay various non-profit organizations to deal with it on my behalf. Some recent favorites include:

The ever-present EFF [eff.org]
The Freedom from Religion Foundation [ffrf.org]
The American Library Association [ala.org]
The Wikimedia Foundation [wikimedia.org]
The Nevada chapter of the ACLU [aclunv.org] (which is explicitly pro-Second Amendment, unlike the national body)

There are plenty of other worthy causes; those are just the ones on my list this year. Think about it this way: the God-botherers contribute a full 10% of their income, pre-tax, to try to drag civilization back into the Middle Ages. What's the best you can do?

Re:Charitable contributions (5, Informative)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306521)

There are plenty of other worthy causes; those are just the ones on my list this year. Think about it this way: the God-botherers contribute a full 10% of their income, pre-tax, to try to drag civilization back into the Middle Ages. What's the best you can do?

Those same God botherers have been shown in study after study to be far quicker to give a large percentage of their income to charities that directly reach out to the poor and down-trodden than their secular counterparts. Even some atheists have admitted [timesonline.co.uk] that Christianity is doing wonders in Africa at changing the hearts of millions and bringing them to a point where they can build peaceful, stable societies.

Re:Charitable contributions (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306785)

That's because many atheists believe that helping the downtrodden is everybody's responsibility and so should be done by society, paid for by taxes, as opposed to private charitable contributions. If there's no god, why do so personally when you don't score brownie points and won't solve the problem when you can rally everyone to solve the problem compulsorily instead? Good works through social programs solves the free rider problem with regard to charitable contribution.

Re:Charitable contributions (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306915)

"Christianity is doing wonders in Africa at changing the hearts of millions and bringing them to a point where they can build peaceful, stable societies."

Christianity is doing wonders in Africa at changing the hearts of millions and bringing them to a point where they can contribute 10% of their income.

Fixed it for you

Re:Charitable contributions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307041)

Nice try but one person isn't "some atheists", it's "one atheist". One atheist who doesn't represent anyone but himself.

Besides some think-tank in USA called Center for Global Development recently ranked rich countries in their "commitment to fostering prosperity in the developing world".http://www.economist.com/markets/indicators/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12777735&fsrc=rss [economist.com] The top 5 are Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Ireland. If you take a look at this picture http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3e/Europe_belief_in_god.png [wikimedia.org] you'll see that these have a very low number of people who believe in god. Compare this with USA which is ranked at 17 of 22 of the most commited countries. USA has a very high number (according to the statistics on the wikipedia article where I found that picture ~15% state they have no religion.

God-botherer here. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306641)

There are plenty of other worthy causes; those are just the ones on my list this year. Think about it this way: the God-botherers (sic) contribute a full 10% of their income, pre-tax, to try to drag civilization back into the Middle Ages. What's the best you can do?

That's a rather large net in which you have trapped us religious folks. As someone who likes to support organizations both financially and physically, I don't know your beef with my support.

The Middle Ages were a long time off and thankfully the world has come a long way. How exactly does someone like me, who wants to do good in the world want to drag the world back to the Middle Ages?

The tax breaks exist, to which I'm indifferent but take advantage of, because the idea of contributing to a charity allows the world to be a little better and is often more efficient than the State's arm.

Re:God-botherer here. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306883)

What's your stance on evolution? Still damning scientists to hell?

PEBKAC (1)

yerktoader (413167) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306351)

When I used to do tech support, I would point people to Webopedia.com, and other sites with step-by-step walk-throughs and often I would find that they didn't want to know how to fix the simple problems they experienced. They preferred to have to wait on the phone and have us hold their hands, all the while getting angry at us and their PCs/Macs. I've heard people say on plenty of occasions that they don't know and don't want to know. They want their head in the sand, just like with music, movies, television, and politics.

More than a few friends of mine and I have felt that we should slow down and make what we have work correctly, if not better, rather than move on to the next idea.

Re:PEBKAC (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306619)

I've heard people say on plenty of occasions that they don't know and don't want to know. They want their head in the sand, just like with music, movies, television, and politics.

Well, keep in mind that most people consider computers a means to an end, not entertainment in and of themselves. To use a car metaphor, if I go to get my oil changed and the guy at Jiffy Lube refers me to a manual as to how to change my oil myself, I would be annoyed and would go to someplace that did their job rather than trying to get me to do it.

I'm aware that tech support is tech SUPPORT, not maintenece, and I'm also aware that it's much more efficient for all involved if people learned how to not screw up their computers, but the people who you were talking about obviously didn't.

My point is that it's not anything so deep as "wanting their head in the sand," it really just comes down to "I don't want to fucking learn how to fix my computer, I want it FIXED and for some reason I think that's your job."

Frankly, it sounds like it may have also been a little bit of your customers got angry at your condescending tone, which they were already probably expecting.

Re:PEBKAC (2, Interesting)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307105)

I'm sure that things are brutal with tech support. Though as a techie that sometimes is forced to call tech support for various reasons, I have definitely found the idiocy is definitely not a one sided thing. The problem is, the tech support people get bullied around so much, you some times have to baby them to make sure they don't close up and become unhelpful. They are definitely not all 100% qualified for their current jobs either.
  • Case in point number 1: I forgot my password. The company tech person gives me a password. It's wrong. It just isn't the style I would make a password in, and I know. I try to tell them it is wrong in a polite way. They get defensive until I try it. They later realize they can't distinguish a 1 and an l which may be a font problem on their computer. I never got mean, but I was a bit too thankful when she finally gave me the right password though. The kind of thankfulness that when you receive it, you feel like a jerk for having been acting like an ass.

  • Case in point number 2: I call TDS tech support about TDS webmail for my grandmother. It overall works well, but she needs to be able to make the text larger to read. Because the lines have the break positions hard set as so many characters, she ends up having to scroll ridiculous left/right distances at the font size she needs. The setting is editable in the TDS webmail preferences, but the numbers in the drop down aren't nearly flexible enough.

    On the phone I recommend she try to perhaps drop a line with the developers. She says that webmail is an extra feature and is not meant to be used for general usage. I would more inclined believe her, but recently TDS has made it mandatory for the users to go to their main portal page to get to webmail.

    In any case, she kept going back to how I should be using outlook express instead. This is a lovely program that doesn't quite work how my grandmother can adjust, and on top of that the interface can't be enlarged. Yet she kept repeating that is what I should do. I'm 90% that was written on a queue card or something.

    I eventually switched my grandmother over to linux with Thunderbird as the mail client. In the end was the best option at the time because I could make the text for everything huge and get rid of any interface elements that would confuse her.

    One of the more disappointing things about the conversation was how she didn't try recommending any other software. It was only Outlook Express. She didn't even say anything about screen reading software that may have helped get around the problems that Outlook Express would impose on the situation.

  • Case in point number 3: Tech support tells be about the wonders of emptying the IE cache and resetting the history. It can speed things up and fix bugs. I didn't want to say I was using linux, and so never did. She was too damn nice and I didn't want to end the conversation saying something that would destroy happy the mood, especially with how rare they are with tech support. I couldn't help bug get the feeling that she was really happy to have learned it herself and wanted to pass the information to the world.

Damn that was a long post. Nit pick it as you want, guys.

Re:PEBKAC (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307181)

If you went in to jiffy lube and asked how to turn a computer on, you would be laughed at. Because A: the car's not broken and B: It's not their fucking job. Car metaphors don't work until we allow un-licensed drivers on the road.

listen to David Foster Wallace (2, Interesting)

crayz (1056) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306371)

Pretty good combat the horror of life advice [marginalia.org] . OTOH, DFW killed himself this year, so maybe that's not a ringing endorsement

Keep it in perspective (4, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306385)

The easiest way to stay upbeat is to remember that you, too, are an idiot. Everyone is an idiot from time to time. When you see idiocy in others that is the time to take an even closer look at yourself to see what lacunae reside in your own thinking.

Re:Keep it in perspective (2, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306527)

BINGO...

I always say that a democracy and freedom of speech is the right to be an idiot! And I do mean it quite literally, I have the right to say something that can make me the biggest ARSE on the planet, and it would depress the heck out anyone around me.

So BE HAPPY that we have those rights. Because many countries you don't have the right to be an idiot! And that is when life gets really depressing...

You typed the same thing I was about it (3, Interesting)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306617)

You are an idiot, I'm an idiot, we are all an idiot. A month ago, I called the cable company to complain about how the History Channel never seemed to come in clearly. The lady on the phone walked me through basic trouble shooting. She had me re-seat the coax connector on the back of the tuner. Well gee I thought, I had the wire tightened down to the back of the tuner with a cresent wrench, what will this solve? Guess what, after re-seating the damn thing, the History Channel worked like a charm.

Did I feel like an idiot for having to call for tech support only to have my problem resolved after walking through the "is the computer plugged in" level of troubleshooting? Yeah. But if I didn't call, the History Channel would still come in pretty shitty.

We are all idiots. All you can do is laugh at yourself and enjoy your life. When I did tech support, I enjoyed it simply because I enjoyed chatting with the people whose computer I was fixing, and I enjoyed how thankful most of them were that I was able to fix their black box.

I dont do tech support anymore, but it was a lot of fun when I did.

Re:Keep it in perspective (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306817)

I think this is the most important thing I've learned in my life.

All people do what seems best from their perspective. They have trouble evaluating things that they are emotionally invested in (particularly things that affect them directly), but they do try on some level. Everyone essentially makes the same mistakes, to varying degrees. Of course, there are some truly pathological cases, but the underlying causes are the same.

And I can't escape these underlying causes. Try as I might to fight error, I remain human, just like everyone else. The key to enduring the world is to keep fighting your own errors and forgiving those of the people around you.

Or slightly rephrased (2, Insightful)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306873)

They have trouble evaluating things that they are emotionally invested in (particularly things that affect them directly), but they do try on some level

Simply replace the word "They" with "I".

The dumbest, most miserable people on earth are those who cannot find fault in themselves.

Re:Keep it in perspective (2, Funny)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307033)

From my perspective, everyone's right to be an idiot ENDS when I've told them not to do XYZ 7 times and they decide to do XYZ at 4:30pm on a Friday, knowing full well that every time they do that I have to work until 3am to freakin fix it while they get to take the rest of the day off.

This is the point where being an idiot becomes justifiable homocide.

Simple (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306435)

You accept the fact that the world has always been dominated by idiots and malcontents and yet, somehow, it has managed to survive.

Everybody is stupid in some areas. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306437)

Education, education, education. Pay our teachers like the cultural CEO's that they are.

Everyone should adapt the 21st cent business model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306445)

- all content should be posted freely on line

- leverage other people's content, which also should be freely on line. Information wants to be free, etc.

- add blogging commentary and allow talkbacks to create a community

- sell non-intrusive ads, and maybe some consulting

- don't spend much, if any, money developing original content, other than commentary and link selection

Kind of like... let's see... techdirt.com! Thanks, guys.

Mediocre Blog Rubbish (2, Insightful)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306455)

As of today, we shall call this sort of stuff MBR - Mediocre Blog Rubbish.

Newsflash: Businesses care squat about technology. They're in it for the money. I'm currently employed in a gig with a 300 percent growth rate (and rising!) and we build our stuff by standards that are close to outdated in some parts. So what? Who cares if the application model is a mess and half the team barely know how to use versioning? ... Well, I do, actually, and I tell my teammates to *use* versioning and f*cking comment their commits, but I try not to be to pesky about it, it leads no where. A few weeks ago I showed one programmer on my team that you could mark a line by pressing shift and the down key. He didn't know that. No joke. He didn't know Keyboard Computer Interface 101, first lesson and has been programming in this company for 1.5 years and has quite some IT experience prior to this. Is he stupid? No. Ignorant? Maybe. But I trust he just didn't know and nobody had shown him yet. And from his reaction - he was glad I showed him and wanted to hear some more 'tricks' :-) - I judge he is an open minded fellow in this respect.

And as long as we are able to push out the code faster than our competitors do and are able to deliver products our customers like, we'll all keep our jobs. And if the company shrinks some time in the future, wether I know how to correctly normalise an app-model, what the LAMP stack actually looks like from the inside and why the MS Windows line of OSes actually really *does* suck in ways beyond most regular IT peoples imagination and my teammates don't, doesn't matter squat when we all are scheduled for layoff. The only difference is that I take more interest in certain details of my field and have more experience than some of them and that I am thus more suitable for research or foundation work. Such as building better tools, training or optimising the pipeline. Which I intend to (continue) to do in the future, for my projects, my department and my team.

Bottom line: If you're oh-so-much smarter than the rest around you, get in to management, team-lead, FOSS project maintenance or an academic gig in computer science. Otherwise shut the fuck up.

My 2 Euros.

Re:Mediocre Blog Rubbish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306701)

Really? Has it been your experience that being smarter than other people is a prerequisite for or helps in getting a job in management?

Re:Mediocre Blog Rubbish (1)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307009)

Being smarter than other people actually seems to be a disadvantage in management. Thinking you are smarter seems to be a prerequisite, however.

Re:Mediocre Blog Rubbish (0, Offtopic)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306743)

why the MS Windows line of OSes actually really *does* suck in ways beyond most regular IT peoples imagination

Possibly off-topic, but I'd really be interested in hearing why this is. I mean, I've long had that feeling, but wouldn't be able to pin down specific reasons (except the obvious lack of freedom to do with it whatever you find interesting).

Frank Herbert explains it (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306459)

Yes, incumbent forces, with short-sighted plans and a desire to hold back the tides are annoying and disruptive (not in a good way) in the short run. But even they are finding they can't hold back progress.

And Frank Herbert, in Heretics of Dune noted that:

"Bureaucracy destroys initiative. There is little that bureaucrats hate more than innovation, especially innovation that produces better results than the old routines. Improvements always make those at the top of the heap look inept. Who enjoys appearing inept?"

Knowing why people sometimes block good ideas helps me cope with it. Thank you for that, Frank.

Meaningless (1)

show me altoids (1183399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306467)

"A wonderful summary?" To me it just looks like a bunch of psychobabble that is totally meaningless. It was said in a more comprehensible and concise manner by the song "Don't Worry; Be Happy." It reminds me of my boss's favorite saying (and the favorite of many, I gather): "It is what it is." WTF is that supposed to mean?

You mean it's possible...? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306479)

I don't stay upbeat. I have a few brief orgasmic moments of optimism every so often, but it never lasts: inevitably I'll encounter some idiot(s) who remind me just how bad reality really is, in the absence of blissful ignorance.

Frankly, though, I'd rather remain this way than take some pill that bestows bliss. I have a sneaking suspicion the shit will seriously hit the fan while I yet live, and all that pessimism may come in handy when it does.

Acts of Gord (1)

Chief_Wiggum (1341031) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306489)

I suggest everyone reads this. It especially helps if you've done or are currently doing tech support. This chronicles the Almighty Gord, and details how to deal with stupid customers. http://www.actsofgord.com/ [actsofgord.com]

Re:Acts of Gord (2, Informative)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306799)

Having interacted with Gord in the wild, I can safely state that these 'acts' are pure fantasy. Revenge fantasy. Tell-your-boss-to-fuck-off-because-you-won-the-lottery fantasy. Because really, while he fantasizes about being a big man... those stupid customers are ultimately his employers.

Incumbent forces (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306491)

Could the article or summary be a little more vague? I think the "Short-sighted incumbent forces association" might be a little offended by this.

Who exactly is reffered to by "incumbent forces." Is it a specific term in some field I'm not aware of, or is the author intentionally being cryptic because he can't think up any specific examples to support his argument? I think it's far from general to, uh, "innovation." I don't think there's any "incumbent forces" trying to stop innovation in the field of, say, cancer research.

Using that term makes it sound like there's a specific organization out there, whose mission statement is "to hold back the tides are annoying and disruptive (not in a good way) in the short run and oppose 'innovation.'" No? Would that include other things, like not being able to find your shoes as in "This morning, I wanted to go out and innovate, but I couldn't find my shoes, so I didn't."

Guy sounds like he's trying to sell inspirational tapes to paranoid technophiles.

the answer is simple (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306505)

alcohol. plenty of it

Think outside the box. (3, Insightful)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306545)

I'm beginning to realize too many engineers and computer nerds fall into a trap where they can only see how things will fail. This makes sense, because that is what a good engineer should do. However, the brightest engineers I know often have a hard time thinking outside the box. When given an idea that doesn't mesh with their existing view of the world, they are often quick to shoot it down.

I think many engineers would do very well to learn things and associate with people who are very far from their occuptaions. Hang out with somebody who does Feng Shui for a living--it really is just a different language for expressing good design and architecture. Read up on Taoism. Hang out with people who deal with the public--a nurse or something. Hang out with a couple artists. Learn Jazz, where the idea is to *not* have a rigid musical structure. Force yourself to enjoy sports... hockey has a lot of skill! Force yourself into doing things that don't require stringent rules like programming. And for god sake, stop trying to fucking correct your girlfriend/wife/whatever on minor technical details (even though it is hard sometimes, trust me)!!

The more you force yourself to *stop* thinking like an engineer, the better you'll be at engineering and the happier your life will be overall.

You cannot change the tide by throwing a rock in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306567)

The best thing is to realize that throughout history about 2/3 of all the population were idiots. It made no difference how much someone tried to influence it. There is a strange natural genetic equilibrium that we cannot change. If we try, we just wear ourselves out, while opportunistic gits get richer and live good lives. So, do what you enjoy, make sure you profit from it (in all meanings of the word), and smile.

How Do You Stay Upbeat Amidst the Idiocy? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306571)

I simply try to laugh at most of what I see here on Slashdot. After all, it's even worse elsewhere.

Science is the answer! (1)

jdb2 (800046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306615)

We're pretty close ( ~20-30 years ) to making Human Suspended Animation a reality. Assuming Humanity doesn't destroy itself in the next 50 years, and assuming free thought, genius, and scientific progress continues in some part of the world during that time, there's a good chance that within my lifetime I could be put into suspended animation, for, say, 500 years. After waking up, and taking into account current trends in IQ decline and general stupidity, I'd be welcomed as a God on Earth because the entire Human population would have (de)-evolved into a bunch of borderline retarded idiots [youtube.com] .

jdb2

By updating my Quips file (1)

Fortran IV (737299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306635)

I just collect quips — running feet and funny sigs off Slashdot, weird comments from wherever, twisted quotations (O dear User! I am ill at these numbers! I have not art to reckon my groans! Hamlet) — into one massive file. I have a tiny program that does nothing but pick a random quip from the file and display it (or send it to someone else on the network). Someday I'll make a screensaver out of it...

Re:By updating my Quips file (1)

Terrasque (796014) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306947)

That's similar to what I've done. 99% of then are grabbed from fortune tho.

Link to texty : http://thelazy.net/~terra/quotes.txt [thelazy.net] - hope you find some you like there.

My Frustration is with the pace of progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306685)

Take Microsoft for instance. No matter what anyone says, they did help to move progress forward in the early years. Their methods were not always ideal but at least at the start, Microsoft contributed a significant amount to computing and tech progress in general. As the years have gone by, Microsoft have become more entrenched and less innovative. Today they spend a lot of effort trying to stop the clock of progress. I feel that the time has come to break the shackles of patents and move forward at an accelerated pace. IP should be based on a system of use it, or lose it. If a company patents a idea, that company has a responsibility to get the idea implemented and on the shelves quickly. The world moves at an ever accelerating pace. should the patent system not reflect this?

Stop focusing on "idiocy" (3, Interesting)

AdamHaun (43173) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306697)

Recognize that intelligent, tech-savvy people are just as much a font of ignorance, error, and groupthink as anyone else. Study the psychology of learning and decision making and discover that most of what you call "idiocy" is actually the same set of heuristics and biases that make us intelligent in the first place applied in situations where they don't work. Now, for the real mind-binder -- start looking at what you think you know and how you came to know it. How much of it is based on your own direct research and controlled experimentation? How much of it is based on incomplete information or a biased investigation? How much of it is just stuff your friends happen to believe?

The answer is "almost all of it". Turns out it's really hard to actually *know* anything at all, even from a practical standpoint. We get away with being wrong most of the time because there are few direct consequences for most of our beliefs (when was the last time your political opinions really mattered?). And once you understand how easy you are to fool, it becomes a lot easier to see how other people can make the same mistakes, and how often they're the ones who are right, not you.

But before you do any of that, drop the Slashdot Superiority Complex. There are few things in this story more ridiculous than the implicit idea that the world should be run by the same people who write comments on tech news sites.

Re:Stop focusing on "idiocy" (0, Redundant)

thealsir (927362) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306931)

Mod parent up. Slashdotters (and the technology world in general) need to be less pretentious about everything.

Re:Stop focusing on "idiocy" (0, Redundant)

ATKeiper (141486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307097)

Exactly right.

I couldn't keep upbeat. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306765)

So I killed myself.

Maybe you could answer my question then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306983)

Heaven: FreeBSD, Linux or Vista? Wii or XBox360? Does god use emacs, vim?

Maybe you could help us here on earth by answering these questions for once and for all.

Thanks,

guys on earth...

Just make fun of them (2, Insightful)

desinc (788828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306791)

Part of my job is working as help desk. The only way to survive is to make fun of the noobies. When someone sends you an email reading "Please help, my internet doesn't work." you can't help but laugh...

Re:Just make fun of them (1)

Terrasque (796014) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307027)

of course, they sent you that email from work. Or a friend. The proper response would be to call the luser and get more details.

The common response is to laugh and reply "Yes it does".

I never understood this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307101)

Despite it sometimes being oh-so-tempting, It seems to me that mocking people only increases the negativity around you. I can't stand when people I work around call paying customers "sucktomers" for example... talk about negative energy.

If you seek true, long term peace with yourself, I advise you avoid people who mock others.

upbeat amidst idiocy? (1)

BigGerman (541312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306793)

Honey, I work as a professional programmer. Idiocy is SOP whether coming from top (management) or down (young ones). Learn, tolerate and milk idiocy just like everything else.

Stupid blog though.

Well personally.... (4, Informative)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306811)

I've found a combination of liquor followed by swift and blinding violence generally works for me.

Stay smarmy, slashdot (3, Insightful)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306825)

FTS:

the complete idiocy that intelligent, tech-savvy readers often have to deal with in their day-to-day lives

It's these self-proclaimed intelligent, tech-savvy readers I find to be the biggest idiots of all. Clearly a smarmy, self-righteous bunch too.

Helps to not have had a journalspace.com account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306865)

or a Berrnie Madoff account for that matter

And a 1, and a 2... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26306869)

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...

        And...always look on the bright side of life...
        Always look on the light side of life...

If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle - that's the thing.

        And...always look on the bright side of life...
        Always look on the light side of life...

For life is quite absurd
And death's the final word
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin - give the audience a grin
Enjoy it - it's your last chance anyhow.

        So always look on the bright side of death
        Just before you draw your terminal breath

Life's a piece of shit
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.

        And always look on the bright side of life...
        Always look on the right side of life...
        (Come on guys, cheer up!)
        Always look on the bright side of life...
        Always look on the bright side of life...
        (Worse things happen at sea, you know.)
        Always look on the bright side of life...
        (I mean - what have you got to lose?)
        (You know, you come from nothing - you're going back to nothing.
        What have you lost? Nothing!)
        Always look on the right side of life...

'Progress' is in the eye of the beholder (1)

ATKeiper (141486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306973)

Mr. Masnick's techdirt post [techdirt.com] is a welcome call for calm and even optimism. It is a reminder of the importance of perspective, the sort of wisdom encapsulated in the expression "This, too, shall pass" -- that is, just as most joy and glory is transient, so will the troubles and woes of today eventually vanish.

That said, his post is revealingly presumptuous. He writes about people trying to "hold back progress" and describes his frustration at not being able to convince them "of just what opportunities moving forward provides." But perhaps the reason he is so frustrated is that he misses a basic truth: that the people he describes aren't actually seeking to "hold back progress" -- they just have a different understanding of what is progress and what isn't, of what counts as "moving forward" and what doesn't. People do not agree on what is in the public interest; they do not agree about what is best for society, for the state, for the family.

Persuading those who disagree with you is not always a matter of marshalling facts or, as Mr. Masnick puts it, "clearly paint[ing] a picture." Often the people who disagree with you already understand the facts full well and already see the picture clearly -- they just disagree about whether what you call progress is indeed progress. This disagreement might well be rooted in a vision of the future that is fundamentally in conflict with your own. (See, for example, Thomas Sowell's A Conflict of Visions [amazon.com] and Yuval Levin's Imagining the Future [thenewatlantis.com] .)

This, incidentally, is why the book that Mr. Masnick approvingly cites, Robert Friedel's excellent A Culture of Improvement, deliberately eschews the term "progress" [wsj.com] . You might think human cloning or nuclear weapons or Windows Vista are all examples of unambiguous progress; your neighbor might well disagree.

The madboy approach. (1)

John Pfeiffer (454131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306991)

I simply vow constantly and loudly to one day rule this planet and wipe out a not-insignificant chunk of the population. (Namely, the stupid people.) Hey, a chaotic-neutral genius has to have goals.

hah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307003)

Yea... i used to work in groups on bullshit IT projects... we discussed and stuff...

today i live from social wellfare and can finally program the stuff i like.. took me 40 years to find my life..

Easy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307061)

Read less Slashdot. Works for me.

Smile and take their money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307099)

You may be surrounded by idiot team leads, managers, directors, VPs, Presidents, etc. There are not enough hours in the day to deal with all of them, plus it's not good for your health.
State the facts in writing, do not argue, do not blame. Forecast possible outcome of whatever it is
your idiot is trying to (or not) to change. Archive your analysis in case you need it to CYA later w/ management or HR.
If you are a consultant, you should only worry about your next assignment.
If you are an employee, concentrate on advancing within the company, possibly in another group or division. If that idiot of yours was able to become a manager, why can't you?

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