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Geek Eye for the Average Guy

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the tech-support-on-speed-dial dept.

Technology 507

Yxes writes "Fortune designed an experiment: give three geeks US$15,000 and three days to bring a family of four up to date with technology. The average family doesn't know which DVD player to buy or how to setup a wireless network. What happens when even the geeks can't get it to work?"

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not the Frist Pist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7036358)

unlike you cum guzzling cock gobblers i do not fail not getting the frost psit

now for some nekkid bytches for you in celebration as i do not fail it
Dirty little slut [supereva.it]
Dirty little slut [supereva.it]
Dirty little slut [supereva.it]
Dirty little slut [supereva.it]
Dirty little slut [supereva.it]

Re:not the Frist Pist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7036489)

HEY! Your links were a rip-off! They weren't all nekkid!

Re:not the Frist Pist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7036616)

Ok, I'm moving to Italy. Been wanting to do it anyway. This will do it for me...

Thanks!

No Fair (4, Funny)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036365)

3 days?! What a blatant anti-Gentoo bias!

Re:No Fair (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7036523)

If you can't do it in 3 days, it's not suitable for the average user anyway.

Re:No Fair (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036627)

You just have to have your priorities right. Spend $5k of it on a bitchin' dual opteron and you can have gentoo, kde, and gnome built in three days, easy. Hell, maybe even two days. This is assuming the broadband is installed on day one...

frist psot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7036370)

cowboytaco
commanderneal :-)~~~~~

Some things for most people: (5, Funny)

DeadSea (69598) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036374)

For the Audio Visual setup:
  1. Get them down to one remote - Nice receiver, learning remote - properly programmed, buttons all labeled
  2. DVR - TiVo or Replay TV, its a must have. Enable the 30 second skip button on the TiVo remote.
  3. Adjust the TV properly - turn the sharpness the whole way down, go through all the test patterns and balance the colors.
For the computer:
  1. Open source software - Install software from the Open CD [theopencd.org] , Linux if they are up for it..
  2. Decruft the mouse and keyboard (although even most geeks could use this)
  3. A decent home network, add more computers as needed.
  4. A nice office chair and good ergonomics - switch them over to the dvorak keybord and make them practice.
For the kitchen:
  1. Print out list of all pizza delivery options
  2. Stock fridge with Mt. Dew and Guinness.
Personal grooming:
  1. Pocket Protector ;-)

Re:Some things for most people: (1)

hornrimsylvia (696514) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036415)

you forgot culture! -lord of the rings dvd's -anime dvd's -dr. who dvd's -some spoon cd's for that nerdy indie rock intellegencia -hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy -some sort of rpg computer game

Re:Some things for most people: (4, Funny)

andyrut (300890) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036440)

switch them over to the dvorak keybord and make them practice.

In three days? They'd have to have quite a bit of motivation to accomplish this - I'd suggest breaking one of the family members' hands and forcing them to learn right- or left-handed Dvorak.

Re:Some things for most people: (2, Insightful)

Throtex (708974) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036469)

They're supposedly technologically illiterate. I somehow doubt it'd be 'switching over' so much as 'learning to type from scratch'. Might as well give them the typing skills that will confuse the heck out of them when they sit down in front of good ol' QWERTY at any other computer. ;)

Re:Some things for most people: (1)

bubkus_jones (561139) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036461)

How many geeks themselves use a DVORAK keyboard? Myself, I've never seen one in person, let alone used one.

If I wanted one, where (preferably in Canada) could I get one, how much should I expect to spend, and how long should it take me to get used to it, considering I've been using a QWERTY for close to 9 years?

Re:Some things for most people: (1)

DeadSea (69598) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036478)

The change is almost always done in software. I myself use the dvorak layout with a regular qwerty keyboard. You really have to know how to touch type as looking at the keys only confuses you. ;-) I am a real geek because I do this and I dare you to say otherwise.

Re:Some things for most people: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7036583)

OTHERWISE

Re:Some things for most people: (1)

mechugena (311767) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036591)

Well, if you like the Dvorak layout but get confused, then why not switch the keycaps around?

Re:Some things for most people: (3, Funny)

ibpooks (127372) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036581)

One of my co-workers uses a DVORAK keyboard. We, of course, ridicule him to no end.

Re:Some things for most people: (1)

sahala (105682) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036594)

I grew up learning querty (learned to touch type when I was 9 I believe). When I started college I switched over to Dvorak in about 2 weeks. It's not that hard to jump back and forth, and most Dvorak-typers I know say the same thing.

Re:Some things for most people: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7036656)

It's not that hard to jump back and forth, and most Dvorak-typers I know say the same thing.

hmmmm....

DvorakTypers == Liars;

Thanks, that's useful to know!

Re:Some things for most people: (5, Informative)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036600)

Why would you buy a new keyboard? Just rearrange the keys on a QWERTY [mwbrooks.com] and choose a new keymap file (or change your Control Panel settings). Should handle most of the differences. I haven't tried this myself, but now I'm tempted. :)

Re:Some things for most people: (3, Insightful)

Throtex (708974) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036496)

FORTUNE's requirements: The products needed to be practical, easy to use, fully installed, basically idiot-proof, and very, very cool. I'm sorry, but did you recommend Linux? I don't think that meets any of the above requirements for the typical home user. ;)

Re:Some things for most people: (0, Offtopic)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036536)

Enable the 30 second skip button on the TiVo remote

Ick. Fastforwarding is faster, easier, and more accurate. I hate the 30 second skip.

Re:Some things for most people: (1, Interesting)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036654)

Ick. Fastforwarding is faster, easier, and more accurate. I hate the 30 second skip.

Agreed. I think most of the fans of the 30 sec skip feature haven't really used Tivo, or somehow think even seeing flashes of commercials will corrupt them. Heck, FF twice, count to 8, and hit play works shockingly well, but often I spot a comercial I WANT to see and go watch it. Often times, its more entertaining than the show I'm watching. (Say, last nights Monday Night Football)

But make sure you get them DirecTiVo with a 120GB drive upgrade. Ah, the joy! (and cheaper, too :)

Re:Some things for most people: (1)

PD (9577) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036548)

You need a supply of T-shirts that were acquired by begging them at computer shows.

Re:Some things for most people: (1)

el-spectre (668104) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036560)

About the one remote... it's handy, but sometimes turning stuff on is like playing a damned instrument. I have a 8 way programmable RCA job (low end, maybe $60), and to watch a DVD I have to push.

1.TV mode
2. TV power
3. DVD mode
4. DVD power
5. Tuner mode
6. Tuner power
7. Tuner, select DVD input
8. DVD play
9. Tuner, adjust volume as needed

That said, I still keep my DVD remote handy, as it has a buncha speeds of ffW/rew that I never programmed.

One really cool thing my remote has is macros. I hit one button and (for example) it powers on the tuner and switches it to CD input, powers on the CD player and hits play. 1 click tunes...

Re:Some things for most people: (1)

olim (103999) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036589)

The only definition of decruft I could find had to do with pulling unnecessary characters out of text strings. Why would you do this to a keyboard, or, moreover, a mouse?

Re:Some things for most people: (5, Funny)

Schwartzboy (653985) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036595)

For some reason, I'm reminded of "Query Eye for the Database Guy" (anyone read Foxtrot? Bueller? Bueller?). Remember, a null pointer doesn't have to be a dull pointer!
But really....
"and stacks random CDs behind the TV and on top of the dryer."? *shudder*
Pearls before swine, says I.

Re:Some things for most people: (1)

Jetson (176002) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036680)

Get them down to one remote - Nice receiver, learning remote - properly programmed, buttons all labeled

These things rarely work for me. Even after finding all the codes to add the DVD, VCR, stereo, etc., the "mode" orientation of the remote drives me crazy. When I press the buttons I often don't know what box is going to react -- I want to change the channel on my digital cable box but since I last used the remote in "TV" mode (for the on/off button) the TV switches away from video-in to RF-in and changes channel. After I switch the TV to video2-in and turn on the VCR and hit "play" I have to reselect the "TV" mode or "Stereo" mode to change volume levels. Most of the time I just leave the "all-in-one" remote in a single mode and keep the other three or four remotes next to the sofa.

What I need, I guess, is a Palm-type remote with the ability to add/remove buttons according to need and to arrange them in pages according to the way *I* think instead of forcing me to work in "modes". Hmm. Maybe I should just buy a Palm and use the IR port.

Dear Fortune, (5, Funny)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036376)

I enjoyed your article immensely, especially when the Geek starts calling everyone 'bitch'. However, I can't quite get the gist of it.

Please repeat your experiment of 4 guys installing 15,000 dollars of equipment at my house, so that I may understand *exactly* the trials of learning to use technology.

Many Thanks,
Teamhasnoi

Average Eye for the Geek Guy (5, Funny)

blchrist (695764) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036391)

It should be the other way around. A group of average people can tell a geek how to shower. They can teach him that long greasy hair in a ponytail is not a fashion statement. They could even take him shopping to buy clothes that aren't just t-shirts with nerdy slogans or anime characters on them.

Re:Average Eye for the Geek Guy (2, Insightful)

Angram (517383) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036535)

Sounds like the same concept as "Queer Eye" - getting some slob laid.

Re:Average Eye for the Geek Guy (1)

KillerHamster (645942) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036570)

Never! I'll die before I give up my nerdy slogans!

Re:Average Eye for the Geek Guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7036628)

They can teach him that long greasy hair in a ponytail is not a fashion statement.

It's not??? Aw crap, thanks for ruining my dream of being fashionable.

I knew it! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7036394)

So wait, Michael really is gay? I thought all that Nazi leather stuff was just him trying to act tough...

A grim outlook... (5, Funny)

Gefiltefish11 (611646) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036397)


"Ok, the first thing you need on your PC is Linux. And forget a GUI, you need to do everything in text. Windowed interfaces are so not cool. Once you're set up with this, we'll go to the de-tanning booth to get your skin a nice white pasty color..."

"But why..." (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7036398)

"But why is my homepage www.slashdot.org? What is this site? What's it good for? Are there games? Oh wait, I see the games section!"

Re:"But why..." (4, Funny)

KillerHamster (645942) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036618)

"And what's with all this Goatse stuff? What is that, anyway?"

*Click*

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH"

Re:"But why..." (3, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036619)

What are "these" and why should I be imagining a beowulf cluster of them?

Re:"But why..." (3, Funny)

Patrick Lewis (30844) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036632)

You forgot the "AAAAH! MY EYES! MAKE THE BURNING STOP!"

foogely foogley stupid lameness filter...

Alright, but only if... (5, Funny)

Neuracnu Coyote (11764) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036403)

...the last few paragraphs of the forthcoming Fortune article are dedicated to the team of geeks sitting around a monitor on the other side of town, packet-sniffing the new network for leaks and shreeking at what horrible things the new users are doing to the whole system.

Re:Alright, but only if... (2, Insightful)

LinuxMan (3590) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036580)

No kidding. Not only that, but ever tried to suggest to a non-technical person that they get something high-tech? I made that mistake. I told my grandfather to get my grandmother a TiVo. All I can say is: let me just die in peace. Giving an "average" person all the high tech toys is not always the best thing to do, they can't understand them usually it seems! I suppose if I were a paid technical consultant it might not be quite as bad, but when it comes to recommending new technology to non tech people, I recommend the SIMPLEST, least-featured items, because it is guaranteed they will have me over for a half an hour for each feature, trying to teach them. And my patience is not that good, sorry to say. I love technology, I hate teaching technology when I keep hearing, "You are going to have to slow down, you keep going too fast" when I am trying to lay things out as sllllloooowwwwllllyyy as possible.

40g iPod [amazon.com]

cool! (2, Insightful)

dustmote (572761) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036404)

Where do I sign up to (pretend to be) technically illiterate, so I can get this kind of electronics budget? The sad thing is that these days I probably wouldn't be pretending, I've been so broke lately. I have no idea what is cutting edge on anything.

What's new? I'm always doing this for friends. (5, Insightful)

MurrayTodd (92102) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036408)

The $15K money would be a nice change, but I'm always spending my free time setting up WiFi home networks, etc.

The same problem would exist for both the "Geek Eye" and it's original "Queer Eye"... given a few months without supervision and the recipient will revert back into low-tech chaos. Maintenance is much harder than configuration.

Re:What's new? I'm always doing this for friends. (4, Insightful)

Lawbeefaroni (246892) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036541)

It's a lot easier to revert back to old jeans and picking your nose than it is to ignore a 42" plasma screen and a 7.1 surround system.

Maybe they'll go back to doing grocery lists on paper instead of Grocer XP 2.0 but they won't give up Tivo.

Re:What's new? I'm always doing this for friends. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7036544)

Maintenance is much harder than configuration.

Yes and no. If it is configured to maintain as much of itself as possible, then this experiment may work. That is to say, when configuring the PC, have the geeks harden the OS, leave certain features disabled like showing system files, etc. Also,set up automatic/install updates without notification for the OS, AntiVirus, OfficeSuite, Router firmware, software-based firewall, etc. Furthermore, schedule routine maintenance jobs like defrag, etc. And for goodness sake, install and schedule a backup mechanism for their data and throw in a few extra backup tapes. This is by no means an end-all fix to maintenance problems, but it will help.

Re:What's new? I'm always doing this for friends. (1)

CGP314 (672613) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036607)

I like the implication that without a cluster of Linux boxen, these people will just be hitting each other with clubs. : )

next month, in Fortune (2, Insightful)

Schwartzboy (653985) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036660)

This is why, in my ideal world, in a few months we'd see some restrospective "Queer Eye" shows and a follow-up article doing a sort of "where are they now" that details all of the stuff that's fallen by the wayside and/or been destroyed by small children as compared to the geek-toys that are still in use. I have to agree with other posters here, once you've got your plasma TV and Tivo, I seriously doubt you're going to revert on purpose.

Look ma! (0, Offtopic)

soren42 (700305) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036409)

Woo hoo! Nerd chic!

I'm popular! People love me!

Can I leverage a TV show from this?

Re:Look ma! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7036551)

Dear Sir,
we at our organization wish that you would consult a dictionary next time you post on this forum. "Leverage" does not have the meaning that you intended to use.
Sincerely,
Mr Blinky

Requirements? (4, Funny)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036425)

No wonder the project failed. Where was the Requirements Document? The simple statement: "bring a family of four up to date with technology" is not a proper requirement. Did they want to make home movies? Send email to Grandma? Walk in the house and have the lights turn on automatically? What were they trying to do with that $15k?

Re:Requirements? (1)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036514)

Ahem. From page 1 of the article...

Heistad grilled them on their tech needs--really, all they wanted to do was send digital pictures of the kids to Grandma.

Short, succinct...ah, if only all requirements documents were so sweet.

Re:Requirements? (1)

windex82 (696915) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036537)

RTA:

"Heistad grilled them on their tech needs--really, all they wanted to do was send digital pictures of the kids to Grandma."

Re:Requirements? (5, Funny)

Wakkow (52585) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036559)

Here's the requirements from the article:

"really, all they wanted to do was send digital pictures of the kids to Grandma."

Of course, it continues on with:

"Heistad came back with a shopping list that would get them that, plus a home theater, a wireless network, new computing, a tricked-out music system, and GPS positioning capabilities"

HA! You think a group of geeks would only buy a camera and maybe a new PC? HA! GPS is definitely needed to send photos to grandma.

What about shipping time? (1)

Gortbusters.org (637314) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036426)

Never had anything delivered in less than 3 days, and I don't shop at circuit city for computers (perhaps DVD players, TV, etc)

Re:What about shipping time? (1)

Lawbeefaroni (246892) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036674)

Then you've never used newegg.

programmed my vcr (2, Funny)

avandesande (143899) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036432)

I was pretty proud of myself, i set the clock on my vcr. Too bad a blown lightbulb tripped the circuit breaker. Now its flashing 12:00 again.

Daylight savings time (2, Funny)

MountainLogic (92466) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036485)

Mine blinks 11:00 now

Re:programmed my vcr (4, Funny)

The Mayor (6048) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036621)

I've got my TiVo, VCR, & TV on a UPS. That solves the flashing 12:00 problem most of the time.

Hmm. (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036444)


Does the $15,000 include the $699 for SCO?

a large... (-1, Troll)

foobar31337 (702156) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036449)

what about a large tv, so that that woman sans clothing actually looks lifesize (good thing she doesn't tell you what to do, like a real woman does).

ya, I can just see it... (1)

Sonnenschein (701061) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036454)

"no no no, these shades of white have gotta go, we're gonna glue up a thousand natalie pr0tman so you can gizzzzz all over the walls... How about that ? Ohhh it'll be so delectable, now for that chartreuse tinted wardrobe !"

"**SIGH** ... Still brushed your teeth, I'll show you how to do it the geek away... Here, throw the tooth paste into the garbage and wait a few weeks. Teeth are actually self cleaning."

Keeping it in the family (1)

pgrote (68235) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036455)

Most people can avoid issues with compatibility and getting things working if they buy their equipment from one vendor. As long as you're not trying to buy the best of everything you can do this very effectively.

Also, most people have never considered this, but don't care about connecitivty at home [usabilitynews.com] .

Is it a education problem or is it that things haven't reached critical mass?

A waste of $15,000 (5, Insightful)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036467)

From the article, "really, all they wanted to do was send digital pictures of the kids to Grandma. Heistad came back with a shopping list that would get them that, plus a home theater, a wireless network, new computing, a tricked-out music system, and GPS positioning capabilities."

Pathetic. How about a 6 month followup (honestly reported)? After all, what are the odds that most of this equipment will just be gathering dust by then?

Alright, probably not the Tivo... but still...

Re:A waste of $15,000 (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036685)

Gathering dust?

If it were me I would have put what I didn't use up on E-bay.

$15,000 (2, Funny)

BlackBolt (595616) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036484)

$15,000 = ONE REALLY FAST POWERMAC G5.

Buy it and you're done. Everything else is uncivilized.

Screamin Deal! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7036539)

Where'd you order that? What a DEAL!!!!!

I'll take three, please (1)

Slur (61510) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036599)

With XCode running distributed compiles I can get my work done yesterday.

Easy universal answer (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036488)

What happens when even the geeks can't get it work?

Blame it on Windows : it always works with budget overruns as well as questions about technical problems. Tell the family you told them about Linux but they wouldn't hear. Make sure you use a patronizing tone.

Simple! (5, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036499)

If the avarage family doesn't anything about the stuff or how to install it, they won't miss it if they don't have it.

1. Install cardboard box with "Really Neat Box!" written on it.
2. Pocket $15,000.
3. ???
4. Profit!

(I think ??? involves running away very fast, but doesn't it always?)

Typical problems (4, Insightful)

moehoward (668736) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036501)

The main problems here are compatability and demand. First, demand... The people don't need it. So, they won't use it. That's easy. The people in this article were all wrong for this stuff. They will NEVER use 20% of it.

Second, compatability. We all know and it is obvious to most people that this stuff all becomes 10 times cooler when it works with other stuff. When I buy a new X, it would be totally awesome if it will integrate with my Q, R, S, and V. Well, open standards certainly won't make much money for the manufacturers, so they don't work very well together. Heck, even all my Sony stuff has problems playing nice together. And especially the really cool features will never integrate.

Last, but not least, they kids are gonna ruin it all anyway. So to hell with it. Read a book. Take the $15,000 and put it in the kids' college funds.

If that's geeky, then you can have it. (4, Insightful)

waxmop (195319) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036505)

Now that being geeky is seen a cool trait, marketers are now buslily redefining the label to describe people that spend lots of money on high-fashion electronics.

Why are we letting this happen? Which is more impressive: owning a lot of expensive hardware, or turning outdated junk into useful tools?

Re:If that's geeky, then you can have it. (4, Funny)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036572)

Which is more impressive: owning a lot of expensive hardware, or turning outdated junk into useful tools?

Translation: Having a bigger dick, or knowing how to use it?

It's a sham (5, Insightful)

Eponymous Cowboy (706996) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036509)

From the article [fortune.com] :
On the way out they pick up a MAG Innovision 17-inch CRT monitor for a hundred bucks, hop in the Chevy Malibu rental, and floor it back to the Burkes'.
I, too, had a 17" MAG CRT monitor--in 1990. These so called "geeks" should be able to do a heck of a lot better than a 17" CRT if their goal is to bring the family "up to date." I lost all faith in them after reading that. As far as I can tell, they did nothing more than buy whatever was on page two of the Best Buy circular that week.

The idea as a whole is intriguing, but with posers instead of real geeks, it's pretty pointless.

Re:It's a sham (1)

Hank Reardon (534417) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036567)

Remember, they only had $15000 to spend... That Plasma TV probably ate up about ten grand of the budget.

Re:It's a sham (1)

SoVeryWrong (576783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036679)

If they settled for a 17" MAG CRT, the Plasma was probably less than stellar also. Think $3200 Sampo "brand".

Well, see, here's the thing (-1, Flamebait)

Gay Nigger (676904) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036515)

You used the title as wordplay to allude to the popular show "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy". Which I guess is funny, as a play on words, but first, let's examine why this is a relevant comparison:

Queer Eye's basic premise is to have gay men give straight men fashion tips. You know, ostensibly so that they will look better. But this is ignoring a fundamental concept: straight men are not gay. Would you let a woman pick out your clothes for you? For most of us, the answer is "no", because that would offend your manliness. The concern with appearence is a trait that is traditionally associated with femininity (see any woman-oriented magazine such as Cosmopolitan or Seventeen for examples). This concern for appearance (and attendent insecurity) makes them ridiculously easy prey for marketers. What the TV show is really trying to do is make it socially acceptable for men to be feminine (that is, overly concerned with their appearance), so that Madison Avenue can sell them boatloads of cosmetics and fashionable clothing.

Where I draw the parallel here is that this seems to also be attempting to sell people crap that they just don't need. Why is it that they feel the need to, say, make a family figure out how to use instant messaging software? Isn't that a step backwards? I've found it much easier to just pick up the goddamn phone and call someone rather than

  1. Buy a computer
  2. Buy the attendent equipment
  3. Pay for monthly internet service
It's a total waste of time! And so is the rest of this technology crap. When did writing letters become so broken? This show really seems to show the forward march of technology in a bad light, i.e. it seems to be really more of an excuse to impel people out to Best Buy or where ever to pick up the latest expensive, useless tech toys than it is to actually benefit anybody.

uhm, I'm a luddite, geek me up! (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036519)

So i'm behind the times and they'll come in and replace all my old 386 class and 2x CDR crap with SOTA gear??

Yes, that will work. Fab 3, please email me, I'm stuck in 386 hell...

Please hurry!

The common user (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7036527)

I find it remarable how the average technophobe fails to comprehend that they're basically out of their element when it comes to technological gadgets. I don't profess to be an expert so I won't install my own dishwasher, but instead contract someone to do it.

Why should computing be any different?

Which is nice.

All they need to know: (1)

CmdrWiggle (697247) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036533)

"Don't blame me, it's a software problem." Hope I didn't just put too many people out of work...

What happens when even the geeks can't get it work (1)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036558)

..he isn't a very good geek?

Linux for the Average Guy (5, Funny)

barryfandango (627554) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036578)

[Geek] Okay, now you're running Linux! Your computer will run faster and be more stable. Also it's politically and morally superior, and the software is all free!

[AverageGuy] Awesome, thanks! So what games are on here?

[Geek] I have to go now.

i call shenanigans! (1)

aceh0 (646013) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036582)

they like HPs and Dells. what kind of geeks are these?

Nerds verses Geeks? (1)

frankmu (68782) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036584)

"These geeks--as different from nerds as orcs are from trolls"

huh? I didn't know there was a difference.

Re:Nerds verses Geeks? (1)

barryfandango (627554) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036648)

"Nerd" tends to refer to the socially inept, hygenically challenged stereotype, while a "Geek" is somebody who's good at geeky stuff.

Example: A Geek might have a high-paying job, while a Nerd would passionately explain to you the difference between an orc and a troll.

I can just see it now (2, Funny)

Risto (666860) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036588)

>There isn't time to order a new PC from Dell
>--the geeks' PC maker of choice--
>so they head to Best Buy and pick up
>a $679 HP Pavilion Home PC.

Now what kind of geek would do something like that
It should have read:

There isn't time to order 100 RM1-4U cases from Koolance --the geeks' waatercooling provider of choice--
so they head to the industrial compound and get an industrial fan to cool down the Beowulf cluster of
the bleeding edge AMD Athlon 64 systems that they plan to blow the $15,000 on.

Ha! (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036592)

Most Geeks dont know what DVD player to buy.

Pioneer Elete series? Or do we go for the Carver Studio series? or do we go for even better? or are we happy with the sub $400.00 junk at best buy?

Most of the decisions are made based on preference as is you went for the "best" based on research and actual reviews $15,000.00 is not anywhere near enough money.

I can spend $15,000.00 on the PC,home netowrking and home server alone.

for the average Joe, the best DVD player to buy is the $59.00 APEX cheapie.. they will be happy with the picture on their 29 inch tv. and it's the one I reccomend to all my relatives as it's dirt cheap / throw away type appliance if the kids break it. plus it does a better job than the playstation2 or Xbox.

unless you have a HD tv or projector that can handle the progressive output buying a "good" player is a waste of money.. and most "geeks" wont admit that buying the cheapest is the best for the average joe.

Imposters!!!!!! (3, Insightful)

Kruid (646582) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036603)

"Day Two The now fully assembled geek team pulls up to the Burkes' house at 9 a.m. " No real geek, given $15K to play with for 3 days, is going home/hotel to sleep!! Who are they trying to kid??? -k

Geek Eye for the Average Guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7036610)

Just getting a few tech toys and setting them up
with few geeks is fun for the geeks, but not for
those who need to use them everyday. What happens
when one of the stuff gets hungup, or something that
needs reprogramming because the power went out, or
because there was a glitch in the power supply.
What is lacking in today's tech toys is not the
innovation, but the intution(to continue to use it
and fix it as it happens, without having a geeky
attitude). If such a project is ever attempted,
a custom programmed consoles at various places
(using a single board linux computer), that would
control all the devices on the network would do
a better job, even if someone has to learn how
to use it. Hooking up different stuff is not
simple(just as a harmony central remote!).

Damn, it's time for lunch when... (5, Funny)

justMichael (606509) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036611)

You read the end of the article as

They pause. Ross fingers his goatse...

instead of

They pause. Ross fingers his goatee...

Damn you /.

why it doesn't work (3, Interesting)

spoonyfork (23307) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036612)

Heistad grilled them on their tech needs--really, all they wanted to do was send digital pictures of the kids to Grandma. Heistad came back with a shopping list that would get them that, plus a home theater, a wireless network, new computing, a tricked-out music system, and GPS positioning capabilities.

Not only did the family not want the technology but had what they didn't want "forced" on them. This is the problem with mass consumerism of entertainment technology. You don't need it. It isn't even cool if you think about it.

  • Crappy pop music doesn't sound any better on outrageously huge speakers and expensive audio system.
  • The TV show "Friends" certainly isn't any funnier on a 90" plasma HDTV.
  • GPS is only helpful if you don't know where you and you know where you want to go. Besides, who needs to know the lat/lon of the dry cleaners?
  • Computer and console games like Grand Theft Auto X, Everquest, Star Wars Galaxies, and Sims still suck and disconnect you from society whether on a slow computer or fast one.
The parents should do their kids a favor and sell all that crap. Keep a decent notebook and digital camera around for the pictures to grandma and email. Buy the kids some books, take them to the parks, get them involved in their community.

All of that useless tech is going to kill your culture.

The more things change... (1)

geekwench (644364) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036613)

My dad -- a geek's geek, to be sure -- pulled a stunt like this on our family, once upon a time. It all started innocently enough, with him taking an updated home electronics course. This was all a clever ruse to cover his ulterior motive -- building the big-screen TV for which he had been lusting. Add the 2 VCRs, one BetaMax (to copy protected VHS tapes), the cable box, the Atari, and the switch box to run them all; you finally has a conglomeration which required an E.E. to operate, four remotes, and rarely worked according to plan.

Heh. I'll never forget the look on his face when Mom walked over to me and said "Here! You fix it!!"

Not real geeks (2, Insightful)

gdarklighter (666840) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036614)

No self-respecting geek watches Enterprise.

It'd certainly explain... (2, Insightful)

go3 (570471) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036622)

What happens when even the geeks can't get it work?

It'd certainly explain why four out of every ten IT guys are unemployeed.

I'm not sure those guys qualify as geeks... (1)

AEton (654737) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036645)

Kids need their own PC if possible, Larson explains, "because kids' software has, like, this uncanny knack for wrecking a PC. They introduce all kinds of weird fonts, and the thing just crashes all the time."

Like, yeah. All those kids installing those nasty, like, fonts are just a pain in the neck, aren't they? Like, yeah, the big purple gorilla thing is cool and the green lizard thing that saves their passwords, but those custom fonts will crash a pee-see for sure.

sigh

LAME (1)

HazMathew (207212) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036653)

That was one lame article. The goof balls couldn't even do the job. Give me a break.

Queer Eye + Geek Eye = ???? (4, Funny)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036666)

"Helloooo...1997 called, they want their Moo Cow Gateway back!"

"You call this a wireless mouse? More like a wireless HOUSE!"

"Hmm. I like what you've done with this cabling - it's very Feng-Schwing!"

"I hope you're going for a grainy, 'Kiss me Deadly' sort of thing with this greyscale monitor!"

"Nice X-Box! Can we move in? And the controllers...I haven't seen anything that big since we did Kevin Mitnik..ss house... ahem.."

Geeks like Dell? (1)

naarok (102579) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036667)

Maybe it's just me, but it seems wrong for a geek's preferred computer vendor to be Dell (or to even consider walking into a Best Buy).

Being a geek myself, I'd never consider getting a name brand computer (unless the name is Alien Ware [alienware.com] (shamelessly copied from a previous article).

Having said that, some of the choices for tech are cool (like the Yamaha musicast [yamaha.com] ).

Short-sighted approach (4, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036668)

Do it as fast as possible.

Throw money at the problem.

Don't think long term. Remain fixated on the short-term.

I've taught basic Internet and computer skills classes to a wide variety of people, all over the US. In doing so I've found that the only way to really make something stick is to actually sit them in front of the computer and have them learn by doing. The "three geeks and $15k" method is like a Microsoft Windows wizard. It may help you with the problem at hand, but it's not revealing anything about the hows and whys behind the problem.

In short, the end user isn't learning. They're still beholden to the geeks, because as soon as the carefully orchestrated setup hits a snafu, Abbie Normal won't know how to fix that problem.

Immersive, hands-on teaching works. It takes time and patience. Unfortunately neither are in ample supply these days, so everyone keeps on looking for silver bullet "solutions". This attitude is everywhere, even in large corporations, where managers want the latest shiny packaged product, because they actually believe that they can get results without having to learn anything first.

The computer industry is a victim of its own hype. Or rather, society is a victim of the industry hype. If we actually acknowledged the value of learning, we might collectively be able to harness the power of computers instead of spending huge chunks of time dealing with trivial annoyances.

It took them 3 days? (2, Informative)

Trauma_Hound1 (336247) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036670)

Why didn't they just stick with all Macs? I mean we are talking about non-techies, that are going to be using them, and the Mac is one of the easiest systems to use for a newbie. Not to mention stable. Also why did it take them so long? I've setup simular set-ups (everytime I move) in under a day.

Sounds like fun but ... (2, Funny)

JSkills (69686) | more than 10 years ago | (#7036683)

I'd end up being one of the geeks of course - and that has some inherent problems. I've ended up performing a service like this for many of my family and friends (helping to choose and set up computers, stereos, and home theatre systems, etc.) The problem is the fact that you now become the defacto tech support person for a group of people you basically like (friends and family). But being a tech support person makes you dread the ring of the phone and basically not want to talk to any of them any more.

Hopefully, the geek-eye guys have unlisted phone numbers ...

I would need to spend $15k.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7036691)

I would take a year vacation in some exotic country.

These toys are cool, but spending $15k on these is IMO ridiculous.
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