Ignorance Can Be Good

I work with computers. I am currently and I.S. Manager and System Administrator. I used to be a programmer and web-developer. I have done this type of thing since the very, very old DOS days and have used machines running DOS, Windows, OS2, Mac OS, Linux, Unix, and more. I even taught this stuff at the college level at one point. In other words, I am comfortable around computers. The problem is that often times I am too comfortable and have forgotten how other people feel.

I am now remembering how it feels. I recently bought a nice new camera. I finally treated myself to a digital SLR and got a Nikon D40x. Michael as a raccoon Then for Christmas my wife bought me a telephoto lens and some filters. All very cool, except I haven’t got the faintest clue what I am doing. I don’t even think I know enough to be able to figure out what it is I don’t know. I used to play with photography when I was young. Had my own little darkroom and a few neat cameras, but that was a long time ago. For the past 25 years I have been using point-and-shoot cameras moving from film to digital. So having a nice camera with all the controls is a real education. You cannot treat a good digital SLR like a point-and-shoot any more than you can treat a computer like a typewriter.

But, I have some good books, and I have a good friend who knows his stuff. (You can check out Pat’s photography here.) And next week while I take a short vacation I am going to take the camera, the books, and some time to shoot lots of pictures and experiment. Hopefully I will make some progress in learning this new device. But happily, I have already learned one thing, or more appropriately remembered it, and that is there is no shame in not knowing. And that we all have our areas of ignorance and expertise. You know, little humility can go a long way.

And speaking of feeling ignorant and having things explained to you, I was recently pointed to a great site that has video lessons explaining a lot of the technology that some of us take for granted. Common Craft has short three to five minute videos explaining things such as RSS feeds, blogs, and social networking. You may find it far easier to point some of your co-workers, friends, or family to this site for introduction instead of trying to explain these things yourself.