Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Wireless Cows

When I traveled to Tiffin just the other day I kept thinking to myself "what a barren wasteland". When I tell people I live in Ohio, they automatically thing I live amongst cows and cornfields. Traveling around I see why. After you travel about 30 miles outside of a city. There's nothing but cows and corn for miles.

Throughout my 2 hour+ journey to "Mohican" today I had Audrey trucking along looking for access points. I puposely waited until I was long outside of city limits before starting up the scan. Just to see what's active out here. What did I find? Nothing. No surprise really. In fact, I found so little that I decided to chart my trip for you all. I pointed my cantenna towards all sorts of things, yet none of them registered on my stumbler tool.

It wasn't until I hit the town of "Buttler" that I found anything. And that was only one or two access points. Before I knew it I had left the town. I saw one sign welcoming me, and another sign about two miles down the road that thanked me for my visit. The next little town I came to is what I think is "Perrysville". They registered a few access points on my list. But still only a small handfull. In the photo below you will see the entire list. Sad isn't it?

Unfortunately I had to drive about 7 or 8 miles past of these access points to get to my current location. A juvenile youth correction facility in the middle of a forest. And I do mean "a forest". Behind me I havd a giant ugly fenced in compound full of bad kids. In front of me a beautiful forrest loaded with old pines. The trees out here are so thick here it's amazing. Looking into the woods there is no sign of civilization. In fact. I was standing outside of my car on the cell phone and I couldn't believe how quiet it is out here. Creepy really.

Now I am in my car avoiding the wildlife (like a spoiled city dweller) and playing on my laptop. Unfortunately we are holding two classes a day out here. The first runs from 9:30AM to 1:30PM. Then I have a second class from 4:00 to 8:00PM. This sucks because although I am here all day long, I am only teaching 8 hours of it. Therefore I don't see a lick of bonus for it. It's a rip off. I guess the good news is that I don't have any classes tomorrow (Wednesday) or Friday.

So here I sit between classes with 2 hours to waste. At least I have my lappy! *hugging Audrey* And of course, I have YOU the reader. At least I think I have readers. People sometimes tell me that they enjoyed my journal. Please do leave comments. I read those (even if my counter doesn't really work).

Teaching Monkies To Fly

Last night I went home feeling rather stressed out. I downed several white russians. Not a bad drink. It's a nice way to get good and loaded without the bad taste of hard liquor. Before I knew it, I had drank about four. I slammed two (and I mean slammed) before even starting dinner. After eating and having a couple more I headed down to check my e-mail etc.

I saw that Kevin Rose was online and had messaged me. I gave a hollar back and let him know I was around (even though my away message said otherwise). I also explained to him that I had quite a long day. So I was going to remain in hiding with my messenger. He said he knew the feeling. Then I went on to tell him that my day consisted of teaching Word 2000 to computer illiterate state workers.

There is a certain sadness to my job that I know other instructors pick up on. For that matter, many IT people have to understand my pain. Sometimes I feel that I am not making a difference. Not that I should go home and cry. I get my paycheck. Who cares right? But what is the reason for all this? What do people take away from one of my classes? Often I figure the skills they do learn will not do them any good.

I'm not training doctors to find a cure for cancer. I'm not educating geologists who will later develop energy saving methods. I'm not training soldiers to murder our enemies. I am teaching Word to someone who will never use it.

I could only compare myself to Mathew Broderick and the monkies. When I laid down my analogy to Kevin and told him it was like that movie (with Mathew and the monkies) to which he replied "which one?". Now that I think about it ... there have been multiple titles with Mathew and a monkey But I was referring to that movie where these evil people are teaching monkies how to fly.

Why teach monkies how to fly? What the hell was the point of flying monkies? It's not as if we will ever put monkies into 747's and have them piloting commercial airliners. If you remember the film, there is a dark secret plot. The monkeys are being used as guinea pigs to see the effects on a pilot whos been exposed to radiation.

So what's with the monkies? I am teaching monkies how to fly. I give people skills they won't ever use. Why? Because I'm paid for it. They walk away feeling they have gained something. And sometimes they have. But not in these classes. Perhaps if I felt that I reached just one person. More often though, I feel that people really don't care. They see that they can get some classes and learn some computer related things. But once they are in the class they realize "I don't care about this stuff!".

Remember in the Matrix when Morpheus found Neo? Neo had actually been looking for him. That was important. Neo wanted to know things. He had been seeking answers. Imagine if Morpheus tracked Neo down, and Neo wasn't at all interested in learning the truth. Would he still train so well? Would he aquire the same skills if he knew in the end all of his work was pointless? It is my belief that the average person has the desire to become an IT-ish person, until they find that it's an unrewarding career. Sure, you can make good money. But you devote your life to a machine that will never thank you for it.

Like anything else, you have to be interested in something to learn about it. To work with it day in and day out. I can teach those who care. Yet, I can't teach someone to care. And sometimes, I feel that's what I'm really teaching. I teach people why they should care about IT.

Thats enough rambling. I had to get that off my chest.

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