Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Is the millenial generation really tech savvy

Our email filter traps all emails with zip attachments. I asked a recent college grad who was trying to send me a zip file to rename the extension to txt which generally fools the filter. I could then rename it to zip. However, I received an email from the server saying that the email could not be delivered and its attachment was named ‘’.

For those of us who grew up in the days of DOS and command lines, renaming a file was a no-brainer. Today, slick GUIs that try to hide the mechanics from the user can wreak havoc. Windows explorer defaults to hiding file extensions so that when a user renames a file, the extension is unchanged.

Is the user or the GUI the problem?

Consider also the following:

Not long ago I was using a research database to try to get a PDF of an article published in a journal to which my college's library has a digital subscription. I knew the title of the article, the author's name, the title of the journal, and the issue date. I plugged all those in to the appropriate text boxes, clicked "search" . . . and got hundreds of results. But the one that I wanted wasn't on the first several pages.
I sent an email to a reference librarian describing this event, and he wrote back saying, "Oh, see, you should have entered the journal's ISSN." Really? Exact title of article and journal, exact name of author, exact date of publication -- that's not enough?

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