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Naughty History And Handsome Men = Microsoft Outlook

, , , , , | Learning | October 18, 2018

(It is the dawn of computer usage in the service industry, before 2000. Personal computers are not brand new, but new enough for the European Community to grant budgets for teaching “new technology” to workless young adults. With ten years experience in a technology nobody is taking seriously at the time, I become an IT teacher for evening courses and job-oriented trainings. I am currently in a training center for jobless women. Everybody but me is female, so I sometimes have problems with credibility. During an “IT communication” — Outlook and Internet — lecture, it takes me ten minutes flat to determine that they will not listen to a word from a course about configuration and parameters in a browser. Overhearing their babbling, an idea crosses my mind.)

Me: “Now, class, the part you have been waiting for!”

Class: *inattentive* “Huh, whatever.”

Me: “I have named it, ‘How to know that your boyfriend is watching p*rn on the Internet.’”

(Suddenly, the whole class looks at me as if I am a rockstar, drinking in every word, asking really smart technical questions. Two hours later, they know all about cookies, temp files, the erasing of bookmarks, and confronting timestamps. I have to take up the Client-Server architecture and DNS protocol to answer to some savvy questions. I can’t do the same trick twice, obviously, so the Outlook course promises to go sour. Once again, their babbling gives me the key to teach about Message Rules Strategy.)

Me: “Now that you have all the cards in hand, here is a little exercise.”

Class: “Sir, we don’t understand anything. Why do we have to bother at all?”

Me: “I am sure that you are brighter than you think. Let’s say you have met a handsome guy…”

(The class pays attention.)

Me: “You don’t want to show him that you are interested in him. So, when you are receiving an email from him, your Outlook will send an auto-reply stating to not bother you and kick his message to the garbage. You don’t wish someone to find his message on your PC, do you? But you want the advice of your best friend, so you transfer all his messages automatically to her. I’ll let you try until the break.”

(Most of them jumped on their mouses and clicked frantically. Some ran from screen to screen to see who had a good solution, screaming clues and advice at each other. One even ran to the library to borrow a Microsoft book. They didn’t stop at the break, and hushed me when I tried to give hints. All the solutions that they found by themselves were far more sophisticated than anything I could have hoped to show them. Years after, I met some of them. They had been hired as secretaries but became IT specialists, webmasters, or network technicians.)

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