Technology – Old versus New Don Butler 6-26-10
It was a strange experience, finding myself in what I used to think of as the Older Generation. In my childhood and youth I was taught to respect older people. These days, it’s getting harder and harder to find them.
My point, though, has to do with my surprise at finding myself defending and promoting new technology to younger people. I thought the Younger Generation would be ‘up’ on new ways to do things. Much to my surprise, I’m finding that resistance to new technology isn’t the sole property of the Older Generation.
I appear to be guilty of faulty judgement.
Contest Between Old and New Technology
I was employed in a technology firm where I had my work station next to an electrical engineer. We were working on a joint project in which he was Team Leader. He proposed the project and I worked on details like hardware layout and wiring.
The details were hashed over in a meeting and then I went to work on my computer to produce drawings for his approval. After a while he looked over and saw the CAD drawing on my monitor and snorted.
“Huh? What’s wrong?”
“You’re wasting a lot of time on that computer. I can do that job with paper and drafting tools in half the time!”
Of course, I was tempted to defend my work by pointing out the great detail and precision in the drawing, but I decided to challenge him to a race, instead. “OK, lets test that theory! Get out your board and Tsquare. I’ll clear the screen and start a new page. When you’re ready we’ll start to draw a simple box of given dimensions and a few holes in certain places. You set the sizes and start the clock. Are you up to the test?” He readily agreed to the race and gave the particulars which I noted on scratch paper. When he had his pencil, triangle, compass and whatever on the desk and taped the paper to the board and said, “I’m ready when you are”. After about four or five minutes I asked, “How are you doing?” “Good! How are you doing?” “Done.” “What?! Lemee see!” I was done. All the dimensions were there, all the necessary views and the bores where he specified. Moreover I had the full border and title box drawn and filled in with details. He had barely blocked in the three views on his drawing. “Now,” I said, “Let’s go to revisions. Finish your drawing and I’ll wait for you. Then change some dimensions and we’ll see who gets done first.” My point was made without going further. The next day he asked me to set his computer up with a CAD program.
Not Everybody Can Be Convinced
In the past months I’ve been learning how to use a new three dimensional drawing program. It’s a completely new experience, but unbelievably capable of drawing 3D objects, rotating around, in, out, over and above. The most minute details are easily modeled and dimensioned. In short, for me, it almost entirely replaces 2D CAD unless we’re talking about flat objects like maps.
I use it for my woodworking projects almost every time. It’s like building a model first and then doing the real thing. Going out to the shop without doing this first just doesn’t happen anymore.
On a woodworker’s Internet forum I frequent, whenever the subject of this program comes up there’s an obvious wide split between those who like it and those who hate it. I think the ones who hate it haven’t given it enough practice and time. One doesn’t learn to drive a car in one day, so why would they think that learning a highly technical 3D drawing program would be a snap? Every one of those who love it have given it much time, realizing that the learning curve is steep and long. They use it often and keep learning. It’s how you learn new things, isn’t it?
Rarely is anyone in the ‘nay’ camp swung over to the other side. I think some are intimidated by the difficulties and are disappointed when the program fails to produce the expected results the first time. I don’t think there are very many who did well on their first technical drawing on paper!
I’m finding people my age who don’t like computers, cell phones, GPSs and anything technical. But I’m also finding lots of young people who have the same dislike for new things. They may be good at texting their friends and playing video games, but seem strangely unable to learn a serious technology like building a website or using 3D drawing programs.
Where do you fall in this divided subject? I’d be very interested to hear more from you about whether new technologies help you or not. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you could PM me if you’re not into doing email.
I wonder if I’ll get a fair sampling, though. The very act of blogging is part of a technicality and those who are on the other side won’t even see this.
But it would be good to expand my thinking. If you know a “techniphobe”, would you read this to him or her and send me a note on what happened? lolfotf
-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.