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Tech Geezers vs. Young Bloods

CmdrTaco posted about 9 years ago | from the culture-clash-and-the-kids-these-days dept.

IT 768

Lam1969 writes "Robert Mitchell talks about how technology is dividing him from younger generations: "The technologies I've watched grow have shaped an entire culture of which I am not a part." Adds Dinosaur: "Ask them [members of the younger generation] HOW the things work, and they have no idea. They are really riding on the backs of the 'old folks' like us that built the goodies they enjoy.""

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Grumpy Old Man (4, Funny)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | about 9 years ago | (#13677977)

Jeez...this whole story reads like one of Dana Carvey's Grumpy Old Man segments on Dennis Miller's 'Weekend Update' on SNL.
"I'm oooooold! And I'm not happy! And I don't like things now compared to the way they used to be. All this progress -- phooey!"
Dana Carvey, Grumpy Old Man

Re:Grumpy Old Man (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678023)


TripMasterMonkeyfucker is trying to be funny!


TripMasterMonkeyfucker is a known karma whore. Look at his history.


Re:Grumpy Old Man (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | about 9 years ago | (#13678060)

I see Anonymous Coward is aptly named.

Re:Grumpy Old Man (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678135)

Funny mods don't count towards Karma, you stupid fuck.

Disconnect from the internet, please. You're wasting bandwidth that intelligent people could be using.

Re:Grumpy Old Man (5, Insightful)

biryokumaru (822262) | about 9 years ago | (#13678028)

You always get this kind of attitude when a technology reaches a divergent point. I would hazard that many people know how to build CPUs and how the internal workings of a system function as ever, it's just that the hardware and the software have slowly diverged over the past twenty years. No longer do you need to know the particulars of a video card to communicate with it, etc. It isn't necessary for software people to know hardware, and visa versa. Both fields have become complex enough to function independently.

Thanks to standardization of system design and function, this isn't really a problem. And I'm certain that AMD and Intel take very careful consideration of the software demands their hardware will face (as do Crucial, ASUS, et al).

There may be a few remaining niches where the software and the hardware remain inextricably intertwined, such as small consumer devices, (iPod Nano, palmtop computers, etc).

It's the modern dilemma: there is too much to know. Two or three hundred years ago, you could read every book ever written. Now you can't even read every book ever written about computing.

It's the old joke: How many software engineers does it take to change a light bulb?

That's a hardware problem.

Re:Grumpy Old Man (5, Funny)

j_kenpo (571930) | about 9 years ago | (#13678046)

"Back in my day, all we had was 640KB, and it was enough. And thats the way we liked it!!!"

Re:Grumpy Old Man (2, Informative)

James_Aguilar (890772) | about 9 years ago | (#13678065)

On top of that, I don't get the sense from reading the article that the author knows how any of this stuff works either. How is he any different from us except that he was around when some current techs didn't exist?

Re:Grumpy Old Man (1)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13678098)

How old are you, TripMaster?

Actually, the above quote... (4, Funny)

StressGuy (472374) | about 9 years ago | (#13678113)

"I'm oooooold! And I'm not happy! And I don't like things now compared to the way they used to be. All this progress -- phooey!"

                Dana Carvey, Grumpy Old Man

Sounds more like my wife...and you have no idea how much trouble I'm in for saying that (not to mention how depressing it is to discover that your wife is a grumpy old man) :(

Re:Grumpy Old Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678114)

He's right though.

What do you know about IP fragmentation? What do you know about the HTTP protocol or ASM? Do you even know what CHS means?

Most people these days know how to set up a web server or a MySQL or install an operating system, or make a simple web portal with PHP, but when the other shoe falls and some complicated problem arises they have no ability to fix it because they know how to set things in the configuration, but they don't know WHAT they're actually setting.

One common question I see in tech forums that really drives this point home:

How, exactly, does my typing code on my computer result in the CPU actually doing things?

Re:Grumpy Old Man (1)

dextroz (808012) | about 9 years ago | (#13678167)

The next thing they'll say, "that's why we need immigrants like Page and Sergey to make up for the growing white trash here..." No...wait...bleh

In other news, water found to be wet, fire hot. (4, Insightful)

Skyshadow (508) | about 9 years ago | (#13677983)

The average 15 year old doesn't know how his IM works behind the scenes? Well no fucking shit -- point to me at some point in the last 100 years where your average person knew to any degree of certainty how their tech worked.

Aside from that, anyone who is actually surprised that people who grew up using a given piece of tech will have different attitudes towards it than the people who've had to adapt to it needs to be locked up someplace where they won't pose a threat to their own well-being. It should be obvious to anyone who hasn't spent their entire life in a coma that this is just how it works.

I'm not trying to post flamebait here, but honestly I can't even concieve of another reaction to this...

Re:In other news, water found to be wet, fire hot. (5, Insightful)

dlefavor (725930) | about 9 years ago | (#13678049)

point to me at some point in the last 100 years where your average person knew to any degree of certainty how their tech worked

I don't think it's the average user, the author is bothered by, it's the average technology person.

I'm often unpleasantly surprised with some of my supposedly technical colleagues' ignorance as to how computers work.

Re:In other news, water found to be wet, fire hot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678130)

I'm going to hazard a guess that you did not even read the article. Or, if you did, I think it's worth pointing out that not everyone who uses text messaging is a "technology person".

Re:In other news, water found to be wet, fire hot. (1)

temojen (678985) | about 9 years ago | (#13678153)

point to me at some point in the last 100 years where your average person knew to any degree of certainty how their tech worked.

1905? Horse & buggy... yup, know how that works... Coal fired boiler... yup, know how that works... Gas stove, yup... Kerosene Lamp, yup... Pen & inkwell, yup... Water pump, yup... ...

Re:In other news, water found to be wet, fire hot. (3, Insightful)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | about 9 years ago | (#13678165)

Regardless, I think there's value in knowing *how* technology works independent of why you use it. The more convenient things become for you, the more is going on behind the scenes that can potentially screw you.

The way to keep from getting screwed is to know what's going on. The author of TFA is in danger of not knowing how the next-gen tech is going to screw him. The next-gen users are in danger of not knowing how their tech works so that they can fix it or live without if it breaks. Or even recognise a better alternative when they see it. (I guess that last one depends on your definition of "better", which is part of that generation gap thing. . .)

Maybe it's old-fashioned or apocalyptic of me, but I still see a burgeoning Morlocks vs. Eloi dystopia in the making here, especially when insubstantials are involved such as data access and communication methodology.

Re:In other news, water found to be wet, fire hot. (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 9 years ago | (#13678207)

Well no fucking shit -- point to me at some point in the last 100 years where your average person knew to any degree of certainty how their tech worked.

Also, (and oh, I know people aren't going to like this) engineering isn't the same as "science". Science asks why things work the way they do, but engineers often just need to know whether things work and how things work. Engineering is more trial-and-error, as well as dealing with unknowns, than most people realize. Did we need to understand everything about electricity before we made a light-bulb? We still don't understand everything about electricity. We don't really know what electricity is, we just know enough about how it works to use it for things. Did we need to understand physics before we could build a wheel?

I'm not claiming there's no such thing as "best practices", or that it's not important to understand why past engineers chose to build things the way that they did. But even that doesn't mean you have to understand everything. And that's for the engineers building the tech.

Once you get to techs (mr. fix-it), they just need to know how to fix it. Users just need to know how to use it. Are you seriously going to tell me that most people, 50 years ago, understood everything about telephones? Sufficiently to design a telephone network?

You hooligans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13677988)

Back in my day we had the Apple ][+. And it was good.
Then the IBM came out. It was gay.
Then we started getting complex components we couldn't just buy at Radio Shack when one died. That was really gay.

and now I have to listen to punks on their cell phones saying "like" every 4 seconds. They like talk like like this like.

The knowledge will be passed along. (4, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13677994)

Eventually the knowledge will be passed along to the younger generations. They'll pick up where us oldies have left off. Indeed, it is often said that it is more difficult for them. We have left them with systems that are far more complex than were left to us when we all started. I trust in our younger generations. They'll be able to advance our technological knowledge. And the best thing is that we're now drawing from the most creative and brilliant minds of India, China, Korea and many other nations. We're bound to make tremendous discoveries just because we now have so many talented people working in the technology field.

Re:The knowledge will be passed along. (1)

foobsr (693224) | about 9 years ago | (#13678126)

And the best thing is that we're now drawing from the most creative and brilliant minds of India, China, Korea and many other nations

... who will supposedly pass the (attained) knowledge within their area and will sell ready-made products to the (then) imbecile (e.g. cooked up by cell phones) population of former technology leaders.


Re:The knowledge will be passed along. (3, Interesting)

Catamaran (106796) | about 9 years ago | (#13678177)

I recently read "Guns, Germs, Steel" by Jarad Diamond, in which he explores the different levels and rates of technological development in ancient peoples. One of the many interesting points that he makes is that there needs to be a certain population size and density before invention can take place. The society must be stable enough to support a leisure class to do the inventing.

Conversely, and this relates to the parent post, when population numbers decline inventions are sometimes lost. He sites examples of societies that had acquired and then subsequently lost, writing, the wheel, and other technologies.

as a value added (i.e. billable) service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678179)

See article [] . It probably didn't help things that companies stopped hiring and training younger workers in the "legacy" systems as a cost savings measure. They think they can just hire experienced workers when they need them. HR probably can't figure out why they can't find experienced younger workers now.

Obligatory Simpson Quote... (4, Interesting)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | about 9 years ago | (#13677999)

Abe: I used to be with it, but then they changed what "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't it, and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me. (Episode: 3F21 Homerpalooza)

It's only going to get worse as the pace of change continues to accelerate. In ten years a few engineers will be designing new classes of electronics based on quantum principles. Or totally new types of devices based on photons or magnetic spin vs. electron charge. Ten years later, that will be passé and maybe we'll be doing something with neutrinos. Who knows how things will work 30 years from now. It will all be magic by then.

Re:Obligatory Simpson Quote... (2, Funny)

Daverd (641119) | about 9 years ago | (#13678043)

Quantum computers to be obselete by 2025. You heard it here first.

Re:Obligatory Simpson Quote... (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | about 9 years ago | (#13678235)

"Quantum computers to be obselete by 2025. You heard it here first"

Let's hope that Netcraft will still be around in 2025 to confirm it

Re:Obligatory Simpson Quote... (1)

PickyH3D (680158) | about 9 years ago | (#13678082)

I don't think it will advance at nearly that pace. Maybe if you double each of those estimates I might agree more.

Re:Obligatory Simpson Quote... (0, Offtopic)

filtur (724994) | about 9 years ago | (#13678097)

A few more simpsons quotes...

"Old people don't need companionship. They need to be isolated and studied so that it can be determined what nutrients they have that might be extracted for our personal use."

Old People are no good at everything


Re:Obligatory Simpson Quote... (1)

JhohannaVH (790228) | about 9 years ago | (#13678147)

Aren't they already doing this with Cryptography? [] I agree with your point totally, and see alot of potential there!


Re:Obligatory Simpson Quote... (1, Flamebait)

dano84065 (832106) | about 9 years ago | (#13678190)

In ten years a few engineers will be designing new classes of electronics based on quantum principles.

Wow! Like the silicon transistor that has been around for 45 years? Its operation is certainly based on "quantum principles".

Thanks for reaffirming that the younger generation really doesn't know HOW things work.

Props for the Simpson's quote though.

Old people are just as stupid. (5, Insightful)

CyberBill (526285) | about 9 years ago | (#13678001)

"Ask them [members of the younger generation] HOW the things work, and they have no idea. They are really riding on the backs of the 'old folks' like us that built the goodies they enjoy.""

Do the same thing to the old folks. They dont know either. Of course some punk ass kid on a skateboard doesnt know how stuff works, hes retarded. A generation does not invent, select individuals do. Remember, people are stupid.

Posters are just as stupid. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678069)

" Remember, people are stupid. "

Excluding CyberBill of course. He's smart. So all you stupid people should agree with him.

Re:Old people are just as stupid. (4, Informative)

MPHellwig (847067) | about 9 years ago | (#13678102)

Remember, statistically, half of the people you meet are below average.

Stupidity? (5, Insightful)

Skyshadow (508) | about 9 years ago | (#13678111)

Why should the average person understand how their cell phone works?

Seriously, how is it stupidity to simply be ignorant of things that you don't need to know? I don't know how my digital camera works beyond a few of the basics (light shines on CCD, then... er... picture ends up on my flash card), that doesn't stop me from being a reasonably good photographer. I know how to use my camera, how to manipulate the aperture and the shutter time and the ISO to get the picture that I want. Isn't that what counts?

No person can be an expert on everything, and in my experience the people who try tend to be the real useless ones...

Re:Old people are just as stupid. (3, Interesting)

M00NIE (605235) | about 9 years ago | (#13678123)

Do the same thing to the old folks. They dont know either. Of course some punk ass kid on a skateboard doesnt know how stuff works, hes retarded. A generation does not invent, select individuals do. Remember, people are stupid.
I disagree. Even if you select for distinct people within the generation, you DO see an increased number of people who don't understand.

Take for example a small group - technical support folks. Since I started doing technical support, things have changed. Back when I first started, most people DID understand the underlying mechanics of what was going on. They COULD do things command-line and know precisely what to expect to receive back. They also often had knowledge of a wide range of systems and levels of technology from the front end, to the server, to everything in an entire corporate network. Today, technical support folks know how to click mouse buttons and change graphical settings without having any clue as to what exactly is happening to the system or why. Furthermore, they're specialized down to the point of knowing only a few systems, instead of the broader range.

I agree technology has changed how people use it. I agree that the masses have technology in ways they never could have back then. I agree that most people who use it don't and shouldn't need to know how the underlying systems work. I also agree that there are people who SHOULD understand more about the systems they work with and don't. I sum it up to DOT-COM frankly when floods of people came into the tech world and lingered too long knowing too little.

Re:Old people are just as stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678136)

umm. I skate. and I'm not retarded. and I know how things work. I know that isn't your point but you're kind of making yourself sound like just another of those grumpy old men we're talking about here. "damn kids with their ... skateboards and ... rock and roll"

People getting bored in 2 secs of doing nothing (1)

eebra82 (907996) | about 9 years ago | (#13678005)

"You are the only one in the Wall Mart checkout line not talking on a cell phone to pass the time while waiting for your turn to pay"

Yeah whatever, I've seen people talk on the phone when it's suddenly calling THEM. So many are obviously bullshitting the "I'm popular" thingie.

It is somewhat true (5, Interesting)

suitepotato (863945) | about 9 years ago | (#13678007)

I feel kind of odd watching flamewars about who is tougher and more hardcore, C++ or some other language group, and I think to myself, "maybe they should have to actually deal with assembly, logic, and bits for real before they start talking hardcore. I remember when we were putting together kits out of catalogs with hex pads and light up bulbs and calling it computing.

Oh well. I think all this excitement has gotten to me. I'm going to go take a nap now. Where's my cane?

But what's truly more complex? (5, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13678062)

Let's take your example of assembly versus C++ versus some other language. Consider the software that was written in assembly back in the 1950s and 1960s. Sure, there were some pretty impressive pieces of work. Various compilers, OS/360, and whatnot. But compared to software today, such items are of a level of complexity often expected from first or second year undergraduate Comp. Sci. students.

Sure, we're not using assembly today, but even some of the more minor systems implemented in C++ are far more complex than anything that was written in pure assembly several decade ago. I mean, look at something like an optimizing JIT Java virtual machine or a .NET runtime. Those are fairly complex motherfuckers. Far more complex than anything that was even conceived a few decades back.

Re:It is somewhat true (1)

JhohannaVH (790228) | about 9 years ago | (#13678227)

No *doubt*!!!! I can't even program in 'real' languages, because I learned Assembler first! I remember writing mods back in the day (I actually still have WOWII on my computer, I just can't get it to run)! Or having to write special OS instructions in a specific way and reboot off of floppy to get Doom to run! Or even even even...... copying Fortran code out of the back of Byte Magazine and compiling it into a computer game. 14 days of code for one AWESOME asteroid knock off!!! (it was a family Vic-20, I couldn't be on it all the time) Only to be saved to a CASSETTE tape that was connected to the computer. Remember our parents bitching about the burnin on the family TV???

For the record, I'm only 32!!!! I'm not old by any stretch. An no, I can't text message real well, I can barely use my cell phone, and I don't IM but 3 people. Heh. So what, I'm squarely in the middle of GenX, what are they calling the new one? Heheheh. Gen Hilton?


I'm almost 30... (1)

Shads (4567) | about 9 years ago | (#13678013)

... and I understand alot more than the younger generation does for the most part, but I still wish I had been born 30-50 years later or 10 years earlier.

Re:I'm almost 30... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678085)

Too bad you still can't spell the words "a lot"

Re:I'm almost 30... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678186)

Your grasp of the English language reflects your overall level of useful knowledge. In your case, ignorantly using "alot" speaks volumes to your intelligence, and that leads us to believe you probably understand little of anything, without even considering age brackets. One old tradition that seems to help with problems like yours is reading. You should try it. You will notice that any respectable literature separates the words "a" and "lot," much like it separates the words "a" and "little." That you haven't noticed in your unknown number of years in our English-speaking country, and your general inability to notice repeating patterns, tells me that you are way overqualified to be a /. editor. I have to agree with you on one point, though, and that is that anyone under about age 30 is probably woefully undereducated, and they don't even realize how fscking stupid they are.

That's how it's supposed to work (5, Insightful)

gamer4Life (803857) | about 9 years ago | (#13678014)

How many people can produce a fire out of just sticks?

Fact is, our society is becoming increasingly specialized, and it's no surprise that some people won't understand the technology behind it even though they use it frequently. They're just specialized in other things, that's all.

As long as *somebody* knows how the technology works (engineers and scientists), there isn't a need to worry.

Re:That's how it's supposed to work (5, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | about 9 years ago | (#13678195)

How many people can produce a fire out of just sticks?

Depends... are the sticks USB-enabled?

It works both ways (1)

Monoman (8745) | about 9 years ago | (#13678025)

Ask some of the geezers how things communicate/interoperate with other systems. I have found that the problem is that people that historically worked on isolated systems have no clue how modern interconnected systems work. They may know how the old systems work but they sure don't know how the new systems work.

This issue really transcends age. Curious people tend to find out how things work and some people don't care how things work.

I think... (1)

eno2001 (527078) | about 9 years ago | (#13678036)

My comment [] in a friend's JE a few days ago explains exactly what this guy is grumping about. Unfrotunately, I don't know if this trend will change. We're breeding Eloi at a faster rate every decade. Wells' fears may well come true in shorter time than he predicted in The Time Machine.

Re:I think... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Meoward (665631) | about 9 years ago | (#13678168)

I just modded up your original comment, because it is so very true. It's not that kids these days are not as smart or as educated as their forebears. They're simply not as curious. Few if any bother to ask how things work, or why. Instead, they've been trained to be Good Little Consumers(tm).

I'm only 37 myself, and I didn't see much of this in my generation either. There were certainly fewer geeks in my day than in the previous generation. Soon I'm afraid "geek" will refer to someone who only prefers non-mainstream culture, and shows no inclination to explore.

The young will build new technologies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678048)

This should be no surprise. It's always been this way. The AVERAGE teenager uses IM and doesn't know how it works. Then again, the average teenager isn't going to be growing up to learn to build an IM client.

We will always need new inventors to create new things. These people will be young, and they will know how things work. They, however, won't know how to market their product. Here's where that teenager that used IM but doesn't know how it works comes it.

Specialization is the key to our efficient progress. The teenager using IM to communicate more efficiently is great. However, not using tools just because you don't know how they work is just ignorant.

Trust me, there are plenty of young people who know how things work. They may not know how alot of older technology works, but they will create new ones to replace them.

I do not have a cell phone! I'm a geezer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678050)

Yes, I am a geezer (I'm 43). I have a bunch of VAXen in my basement, I run OpenBSD on them, and I still don't understand why I need more than 32MB of memory to run Windows (or any OS for that matter)

I don't have a cell phone because the quality just sucks, and I've never Instant-Messaged anyone.

However, I also have a Mac Mini, an MP3 player, I don't listen to traditional "broadcast" radio anymore...streaming radio all the way, baby! I've been testing out the latest Ubuntu release this week ...and I'm on Slashdot, so I must be 733t.

So? What am I? A Geezer or a Young blood.


Re:I do not have a cell phone! I'm a geezer. (1)

Kurrurrin (790594) | about 9 years ago | (#13678180)

Apparently, you are a teet.

Re:I do not have a cell phone! I'm a geezer. (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 9 years ago | (#13678200)

> ...I have a bunch of VAXen in my basement...


I hate to break it to you, but you've been dead for some time now.

Author unable to define states (0, Troll)

Lumpy (12016) | about 9 years ago | (#13678051)

Being "with-it" and on the phone all the time and available online al lthe time and being CONTROLLED by others is not much different. I do not answer my cellphone or not talk on it because I choose not to, i do not want to be bothered by you. Same goes for when I turn off my crackberry on a regualr basis.

If the younger crowd likes being slaves to their peers and friend then they can enjoy their slavery. I choose to be in full control of contact. and fortunately by 13 year old daughter does the same. she always has her cellphone off when she does not want to ttalk to anyone because it keeps her friends from controlling her time.

same as IM.. she get's on talks and then shut's down. she finds her friends that broadcast what they are doing with their away settings "creepy-needy". her words for it.

it sounds like the out of control "hip and younger crowd" tries to act that way. but then I find lots of the 15-20 somethings faking that they are on the phone at stores and in their cars... trying to look hip.

Of course they don't know anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678052)

they have MTV, Jackass, and reality TV.

I resent the comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678056)

As 25 year old computer science graduate, I resent the comment "HOW the things work, and they have no idea" The fact of the matter is, the geezers barely understand how the internet works or the potential there.

Geezer speak: iPod, iWuh?
Youngling: dumb ass.

How things work... (1, Funny)

rabid_sith (918777) | about 9 years ago | (#13678058)

Ask them [members of the younger generation] HOW the things work, and they have no idea.

That's what repair shops and 1-800 numbers are for.

Cry me a river. (3, Insightful)

doubleyewdee (633486) | about 9 years ago | (#13678059)

Adds Dinosaur: "Ask them [members of the younger generation] HOW the things work, and they have no idea. They are really riding on the backs of the 'old folks' like us that built the goodies they enjoy.""

Okay, go explain how the Cotton Gin, steam locomotion, automobiles, electricity, the telephone system, the over-the-air broadcasting system you use to watch Wheel of Fortune, etc work. Oh, you can't? Then shut up and stop whining.

Re:Cry me a river. (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | about 9 years ago | (#13678231)

Okay, go explain how the Cotton Gin, steam locomotion, automobiles, electricity, the telephone system, the over-the-air broadcasting system you use to watch Wheel of Fortune, etc work.

I learned that while reading "how things work" books. Of course, that was while my friends were playing football, and their sisters were talking about their boyfriends...
:( I feel pathetic now.

ComputerWorld - Will Post For Food (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678063)

ComputerWorld's hits are down, so they post on SlashDot to get a boost.

What's the world coming to?

What a load of crap... (1)

PhatboySlim (862704) | about 9 years ago | (#13678066)

Despite the popular belief from the "tech old-folks home", us "young guns" studied archaic languages like assembly, fortran, cobol, and the like. While almost all students at my university scoffed at the notion we would not be entirely devoting our learning to oop languages, we soon learned that oop languages came very naturally, quickly, and were easily understood having already had the knowledge of how a computer architecture works.

Please don't stereotype a younger generation of software developers into a class of lower intelligence and we won't yell at you for driving too slowly in the left hand lane during the morning commute.

Do you know how fire works? (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | about 9 years ago | (#13678067)

Many people use things they can't explain. I can't explain the chemical reactions to cooking for example. All I know is when I boil an egg it goes white and hardens so I can eat it.

We live in an era of ignorance, "It just works" as MS put it. Us geeks are the exception and want to see how things work. Let them become more ignorant and we'll become smarter, make more money off them and maybe we can change the world in 20 years or so because of it.

Humanity has always revolved around what it knew. The more we know the better chance we have of making the next generation with power. Knowledge is power for a reason..

Wishful thinking, meet bitterness (0, Flamebait)

Nijika (525558) | about 9 years ago | (#13678073)

Sad to say, but this is how many in the older baby-boom generation would like to see us. Not because it's true, but because it allows the insecure within their generation to grasp at straws of relevancy.

We do know "how things work", and worse, we're building new things that they don't understand.

It would be gracious of baby-boomers to hand over the keys to our generation, as I plan to do to the next generation when they completely usurp my power, but we won't see that from them. Remember, they got the additional name me generation for a damn good reason.

They'll hold on with as much grip as their tired aging hands, covered in some "revitalizing cream", can muster. Prepare to be belittled and insulted by them again and again until they disappear.

Re:Wishful thinking, meet bitterness (1)

Pichu0102 (916292) | about 9 years ago | (#13678203)

And the sad thing is this generation will do the same thing when it gets old. It's a neverending cycle of bitterness.

Re:Wishful thinking, meet bitterness (1)

MissP (728641) | about 9 years ago | (#13678233)

wow! dissed an entire generation. pretty amazing.

New Tech Devices (1)

timtwobuck (833954) | about 9 years ago | (#13678076)

New technology gizmos and gadgets are exceedingly easy to use...after a break in period.

Its very analogous to the Windows vs. Linux arguments. Yes, Linux does stuff great, it can even play windows games via various routes, but learning how to use these new tools is prohibitive to most because there is not a succinct base of knowledge expressed in windows-esque terms. So people don't switch (self-included! *ducks*)

If you want to be 'hip' to the new technology, buy it, goof around with it. When you get sick of it, goof around for another week, if it still sucks, [] If not, enjoy.

Yes, but ultimately (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678077)

Aren't we /all/ riding on the backs of those who came before us?

Let's see your notes on how to lay down paths on silicon, or construct logic gates on silicon, or see your first homemade tube transistor, or the source code you have for harddrive firmware.

I'm an expert in my field. Yet I am a very long way from understanding all the fundamental intricacies of that which constructs the framework upon which I earn my living. I can write a TSR, yes, but know little about what all the paths are for inside of a CPU, and how they all interact to form a functioning whole.

The knowledge base the we each posess is reliant upon the discoveries and developments of those who came before us, and has been built-up through years of learning and discovery.

To mock the next generation for their lack of understanding is akin to mocking a child for not understanding the full complexities of the world. To ridicule that child for knowing that daddy's car can get him to school, yet not knowing that steam is required to force the crude from the shale, into a pipeline, off to a refinery, ad neaseum.

Other way around actually (2, Informative)

doombob (717921) | about 9 years ago | (#13678086)

To tell you the truth, I've actually seen the knowledge difference the other way around. Many of the older "technology experts" I have known and met, had to learn their computer knowledge as the technology came out. They were true power users, able to maintain and upgrade emerging equipment when Moore's Law actually meant something. But because of my Computer Engineering Education, I've had training in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and everything in between. The people I work for don't know about pipelining and load management, etc. Ask THEM how things work and you get a very accurate generalization, but ask some of my peers how things work and you could get a very boring two hour lecture on modern computing from processor to compiler and beyond.

Not so bad...indicative of progress! (2, Insightful)

Kaellenn (540133) | about 9 years ago | (#13678089)

To Dinosaur's quote:

Of course we're riding on the backs of the older generation; just as the older generation rode on the backs of their elders who designed the technology that made computers possible in the first place. Older generations tend to like to trivialize the accomplishments of the younger generation because "it wouldn't be possible if we hadn't done X" first.

Of course, nothing you did would be possible unless someone decided to create before you. Thus is the cycle of progress and the older generation trying to trivialize the work of the "new generation" is really self-deprecating; they are basically saying that they would have preferred that their work not spur further innovation.

Embrace the innovation cycle; recognize that one day, a new generation of people will come along and build further upon your ideas and enjoy the fact that you helped lay the foundation!

Utility. (1)

Limburgher (523006) | about 9 years ago | (#13678091)

People, generally, will tend to learn as much about a given tech as they need to know to operate. I know C++, PHP, etc. I Have no need to ASM, so I never bothered. If I someday need to accomplish something that's either best done with or only possible through ASM, I'll learn.

This is typical for most people. The knowledge will be preserved by those who need it, until it is no longer relevant. An example would be how hard it is to find AmigaBASIC hackers.

It isn't like this is unexpected (4, Insightful)

PReDiToR (687141) | about 9 years ago | (#13678095)

After all, SciFi writers have been predicting this for many years, haven't they?

I have read many stories where there are generations of knowledge passed down to an elite class of society that are revered by the rest as demigods for their knowledge of how to keep machines running that provide the world with food, air, heating and all the comforts of life.

As for me... (1)

Otter (3800) | about 9 years ago | (#13678121)

I have headphones on pretty much all the time at work. But I still marvel at these youngsters who simply can not deal with 60 seconds of silence without having to reach for their iPod.

I _am_, however, still cool enough that I walk around wearing a new-school ski jacket with an MP3 player pocket. I just need to remember to put the iPod into it...

i agree... (1)

icepick101 (901550) | about 9 years ago | (#13678128)

I'm only 23 years old and I can see the difference. When i first got my feet wet with technology, it was in the days of the 386. I've grown with the times for the most part. The kids today are going right to their pc and playing world of warcraft, not knowing the kind of technology that backs something like that up. It's pretty incredible how far we've come. ---- don't tell mom she's a palindrome

Re:i agree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678228)

And the 386 didn't grow upon other things? How much do you actually know about the 386? Do you know the instruction set? Of course a kid today isn't going to go play with a 386, he's got a pentium 4 or 5 or whatever is out now. I bet you weren't trying to find an 8088 when you had your 386.

Not all generational (1)

TheAdventurer (779556) | about 9 years ago | (#13678138)

Many of those comments have little to do with generation. They are more lifestyle choices. I am a younger person (23) for whom the rush of technology wasn't something I had to adapt to as much as it was simply there by the time I matured. When I was 12 years old I was playing DOOM and sending e-mails with no idea how it worked. (although I was very curious)

But I do not talk on my cell phone all the time (or hardly at all), I am rarely logged into instant messenger, I don't have very many MP3's and I don't own an iPod. I don't use a vast majority of the shiny technology gadgets available to us. I just recently got my first PDA, which gets only light use. And yet, I do consider myself tech savvy. I used to work as a computer programmer (MSSQL, C#.NET, ASP.NET), I program simple NES level video games for fun in my spare time (C++, SDL), and I am a physics undergrad at Baylor University.

I just like a simple, straight forward life and I don't have the time or the interest to surround myself with a multitude of gadgets. Thus, I know very little about how many of them work. I think that what you attain, you maintain, and right now I'm content to own a guitar and a computer. The only thing I have to do is change my strings, polish the guitar, and learn shell commands. It's nice and comfortable.

Jeez (1)

fenrisjlk (841357) | about 9 years ago | (#13678139)

Talk about ignorant... You do know there are kid geeks as well? Most of us probably know more than most regular adults (average), or well atleast I know I do.

Riiight... (5, Insightful)

Rallion (711805) | about 9 years ago | (#13678140)

And this older generation, they did everything themselves, from scratch! They started out by learning how to mine and refine metals, to create copper wire. Then they discovered electricity. They invented the resistor and the capacitor. They learned how to machine parts....

Standing on the shoulders of those who came before is the definition of progress. So, please, unless you make your own wiring and screws and capacitors and what have you, shut up and stop whining.

Maaaaaan (1)

smileyy (11535) | about 9 years ago | (#13678142)

Lameness filter won't let me post the "O RLY" bird, which is really needed here.

A young man wants to live a long time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678144)

An old man has.

Why complain? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 9 years ago | (#13678145)

"Ask them [members of the younger generation] HOW the things work, and they have no idea. They are really riding on the backs of the 'old folks' like us that built the goodies they enjoy.""

1. Invent useful, "it just works" tech using specialized knowledge.
2. Get useful, "it just works" tech adopted by tons of people who lack the specialized knowledge.
3. Profit.
4. Complain that the users to whom you marketed the useful "it just works" tech don't know how it works.
5. ???
6. ???
7. ???
8. What was I talking about, sonny?

Screw new technology... (5, Insightful)

Morgalyn (605015) | about 9 years ago | (#13678146)

.. most people still don't know how a flushing toilet works. It's something most everyone uses every single day. It's a very simple machine. But apparently I was some sort of female plumber superhero in college because I knew how to fix it.

Some people will just never become curious about the things they use from day to day. Others will. That's the difference.

You don't *have* to know... (1)

dacarr (562277) | about 9 years ago | (#13678149)

While it doesn't hurt to know the inner workings, you don't need to know the principles of internal combustion to know how to drive a car, either.

Communication in general (1)

sedyn (880034) | about 9 years ago | (#13678150)

The channels that a person uses to communicate depend on who they want to communicate with. For example, if most of my friends use IM to communicate, then I'll use IM to talk to them. If they used email, I'd use email (I said email was outdated for anything but formal communication since the 90s, and as I've learned, others were saying it long before me).

I'd like to ask one question though, assuming that VoIP is the next big thing in communications, how many teenagers do you know that use it? Compare that to how many adults in business.

"How things work" books (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 9 years ago | (#13678158)

Early-childhood "How things work" books are great for mechanical devices but it's hard for an 8 year old to grasp the intracacies of what goes on in a computer chip.

Heck, even a 38 year old has a hard time understanding how a modern cell phone works. I mean, to really understand it you have to understand operating systems, digital radio, and a host of other things. Compare that to a rotary phone on a crossbar switch.

It's not just the users who don't know. (3, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 9 years ago | (#13678160)

Back when I was doing Tier II support for an ISP, I was almost the only senior there who actually knew what an IRQ was, and what the significance was. I once had another Tier II tech tell me he had no idea what they were, or why they were important. Maybe that's part of the reason he was no good with modem issues and I was the team's resident specialist in them. Today, even people who think they're techs have no understanding of things like IRQs, Base Addresses, FIFOs and so on. If they even know to check them, all they do is set them according to the cheat sheet, and assume the sheet's right. (I almost wrote "hope it's right," then realzied that most of them haven't a clue that the sheet might be wrong.) Not only don't they know anything about the inside workings, they don't want to know either. That's the scary part; they want to be ignorant, but consider themselves techs.

creators vs. unprecedented evile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678174)

no contest really. it's just a matter of time.

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some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the corepirate nazi life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

I do find it a little bit alarming ... (1)

smcdow (114828) | about 9 years ago | (#13678185)

... when SW people who are are supposedly coding applications that interface directly to hardware (eg samplers, data acquistion modules, GPS modules, etc) know so little about what's going on at the operating system level. More alarming is that they don't seem to care much.

Back in my day... (1)

kwiqsilver (585008) | about 9 years ago | (#13678192)

We had to program in the snow, up hill both ways!

Why Post to Slashdot? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 9 years ago | (#13678194)

I'm old enough that I like to concentrate on the person I'm with, whether in person, on the phone, or in email. Such a geezer that I enjoy time alone and use it well, in production or reflection. So boring that I'm perfectly secure when I'm not communicating with other people, though I do make and confirm appointments, then followup. People know where they stand with me, and expect quality communications, even when lower in quantity. I must be over the hill, but who wants to chatter endlessly with kids who've got nothing better to do?

Why do we need to know how things work in the US?! (3, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | about 9 years ago | (#13678199)

It's not like we actually PRODUCE anything over here. Let the Chinese figure out how things work while we enjoy all the benefits of US society and culture. Like reading a magazine about celebrities while we wait in the unemployment line.

And I'm a damn good Java programmer too... (1)

scanrate (470160) | about 9 years ago | (#13678201)

I think the more important point is that old farts like me (45 yrs old, 20 yrs since my B.S.C.S.) are still useful, but since I'm not fluent in the 100 different web technologies (I don't recall all the acronyms), I'm not employable. My salary is too high and I'm not a JBoss guru (and I have a real dislike for Windows). My options are to find a new profession or become a PHB. Yeah, that's it. Get stupid and become a manager.

That new career in woodworking is looking real promising.

I see it often with Linux (1)

totallygeek (263191) | about 9 years ago | (#13678202)

There is a big difference in the people that have using Linux for ten years and people just starting. It is depth of knowledge. Sometimes it is best to have worked with a system with millions of problems and be forced to get under the hood and figure out how it works. People today run into a problem and don't know what to do, where some old-timers go, "Oh yeah, problem #3506 with that software."

I see it often in networking too. Anyone knows how to hook up machines to a switch, but not many people know how machines communicate via switches, or how switches speak with each other. The same with anything computer-related really.

It is just like I think kids should be forced to learn to drive a stick shift car. Not only will they learn about what the tachometer is for, but they will be more conscious drivers. Who knows when an emergency might pop up and they have to move a tractor truck out of the way? Well, likewise, computer programmers need to learn assembly, to understand how the software interacts with hardware. If more programmers today had an understanding of software profiling, addressing, and tightening code, maybe we wouldn't have such bloatware out there.

We're all getting behind in tech knowledge (1)

John Jorsett (171560) | about 9 years ago | (#13678206)

Ask them [members of the younger generation] HOW the things work, and they have no idea. They are really riding on the backs of the 'old folks' like us that built the goodies they enjoy.

We're all getting overwhelmed by increasing complexity in the devices we use. Back in the days before electronic ignitions and the like, I was able to maintain my own car. Tuned it, changed plugs, cleaned out the carb, even changed the water pump on it. Now, I'd no more attempt to work on my car's engine than do my own brain surgery. Come to think of it, brain surgery looks easier.

Obviously.. (1)

red990033 (847260) | about 9 years ago | (#13678210)

"Ask them [members of the younger generation] HOW the things work, and they have no idea."

Duh.. obviously they've never heard of This Site [] !!

Wasn't that the idea? (1)

acvh (120205) | about 9 years ago | (#13678211)

"They are really riding on the backs of the 'old folks' like us that built the goodies they enjoy."

If we built it right, then the next generation doesn't have to concern themselves with the details. I guess we did good.

blog? (1)

Xtravar (725372) | about 9 years ago | (#13678214)

For being so technologically behind, he sure knows how to use a blog and pollute the internet with his opinions.

Ok, so he's complaining about new tech fads... on his blog. Does anyone else find this inconsistent?

c'mon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13678215)

Come on, I expect better reading from you SlashDot!! This is one of the most lame articles I have read yet on /.

Puhleease Gramps! (1)

wiscater (918925) | about 9 years ago | (#13678216)

I dont care how your AS400 works or your Tandy 64k or ... Of course all this 'old technology' is/was important for the younger guys to build off of but we are moving forward, period. Its very hard to uniquely creative in a high tech world thats moving at such a fast clip. Its about running lean and traveling light...I need brain power to focus on new development, not use my brain power to try and figure out why you coded something in FORTRAN one way or the other. --Tell you what come over and help me getter better data transfer speeds out of my gaming router and I'll sit on your lap and listen to stories of the IBM punch card good ol'

I sometimes envy the young. (5, Funny)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13678219)

Indeed, I'm nearing 70, and have worked in the computer industry for a very long time. There have been a number of times that I have envied the young.

One such time was at work, probably around 1995 or 1996. In order to increase the productivity at our firm we installed several Internet-enabled workstations for various managers, secretaries and workers.

After a while we noticed some rather work-unrelated web sites showing up as being accessed from a particular workstation, which happened to be in the office of one of the young guys in finance. They were rather peculiar fetish sites. In any case, some of us in IT thought that we should alert this worker's higher-up to what was happening.

It was decided that several of us would discuss the matter with him. So we headed up to his office, and knocked on his door, and opened it. Much to our surprise, he was there with a massive boner, ejaculate all over. He must have been in the middle of it when we knocked, because he was quickly trying to clean the mess off of the keyboard and his pants.

It didn't bother me that he was whacking his cock in the office, or that he got his semen on the computer's keyboard. What bothered me was that he was able to get an erection, and I wasn't. So even though I knew far more about technology than he did, he was able to get a boner and I couldn't. I was trumped.

This is new?? (2, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 9 years ago | (#13678234)

As a "tech guy" for over 20 years, I'm amazed at how out of touch this "tech savy" generation really is. I realize that things may be better in some ways, but I have to agree with Techni-Veteran. Ask them HOW the things work, and they have no idea. They are really riding on the backs of the "old folks" like us that built the goodies they enjoy.

As a "geezer" of 40 years old, most people have NEVER cared about "how" things work, they just want them to work. And thought I'm someone who loves to know how things work, it drives me crazy that technoids thing it's a problem that not everyone is passionate about how things are done. You know, not everyone's brain is wired the same way, and it's OKAY that not everyone is the same.

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