The “what is a browser?” thing doesn’t s…

The “what is a browser?” thing doesn’t surprise me. We computer geeks tend to forget that ordinary people don’t care about computers or applications; they only care about content, or about what it is they’re trying to do. Modern operating systems are designed to accommodate that view: you just open a document or a Web site, and the OS figures out what program to launch in order to do that.

I saw this disconnect in action earlier this week, when one of Lynn’s coworkers sent out an Excel spreadsheet via e-mail. Somehow the file name had lost its extension, so the sender added “.doc” to the end. Telling people it was an Excel document, not a Word document, was no help: these people have no idea what Excel or Word are.

I’m deliberately not commenting on the fact that these people are professional educators.

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