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Getting Schooled By A Group Of Teenagers

August 26, 2014

Hey guys, put them away.


You’re phones. Give me your attention for a few minutes.

But, that’s what we were doing.

Come on. I was 17 once too. Let me see what’s on your phones.

Every year I tell my family I want a Dilbert desk calendar. Every year my kids fail to get me one for Christmas. Every year, I go and buy a Dilbert desk calendar for myself in January.

I like Dilbert because he talks about my world. I’ve been in the IT world for a long time. I consider myself one of the “in” crowd. I’ve built my own computer. I can analyze network traces just using a copy of notepad.exe. I can tell the baud rate of a modem just by listening to its handshake protocol.

And that is when I realized I wasn’t as hip as I thought. Most people entering the workforce today don’t care about building a computer. In fact, they don’t much care about the computer at all. If they need to look at network traces, products like Wireshark do all the heavy lifting. And no one uses modems. No one cares.

A Dilbert cartoon last week showed the young intern Asok asking the title character about the “Grandpa box.” Tablets and smartphones are much more the tools of the younger generation.

But, I have a smartphone. Nearly every blog post I’ve ever written, close to 400 of them, have been written on my iPad. Scott Adams wasn’t talking about me as one of those “granpa box” users. . .was he? Sure, I am a grandpa, but I’m a technology guy. I understand this stuff. I’m still relevant!

The teenage boys in my Sunday School class all turned their phones around. Each phone had a scripture app loaded and they were all following along with the lesson I was teaching.

At least they didn’t complain I was using a grandpa box.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild.

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