Apology (re: What do techwriters do?)

Subject: Apology (re: What do techwriters do?)
From: "Rollings, Gill" <WGILLR -at- WOK-MSMAIL-GW -dot- ISL -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 9 Sep 1994 10:37:00 PDT

I have offended at least two fellow subscribers, Marilynne Smith and
Virginia Krenn, with my remark about "women of a certain age". I apologise
to them and anyone else who was offended but hasn't said so. It was meant
light-heartedly but was obviously not taken in that spirit.

If I may offer some defence: in the U.K., it seems to be generally accepted
in newspaper articles and radio features I come across, that many members of
the "older generation" (and don't ask me what age you have to be to qualify
for inclusion - as an aunt, I probably qualify by now) are in awe of
technology and require a (usually a six-year-old is mentioned) relative or
friend to help out. It's pretty much a standard jokey response to a new
gadget on the market - parents will have to spend the money to buy it and
then ask little Johnny to make it work. Some newspaper columnists make a
living from celebrating their complete ineptness when faced with a handset
for a TV, VCR or whatever and my mother quite cheerfully identifies with
that attitude. Whether they're male or female, 16 or 60, we surely all know
some people who are not stupid but just don't get on with machines, don't
we? No malice is intended, o.k.?

To elucidate our situation a little more: my mother has a wheeled stand for
her TV and VCR, which is designed so that the TV stands on the top shelf and
the VCR underneath. (Pre-empting further questions/suggestions: A
permanent home on a shelf is not on the agenda, for various reasons which I
won't go into here.) It wouldn't be a problem if the VCR had been designed
with a remote control handset from which you could set the timer. It
wasn't. It's quite old and must hark from the days before someone realised
that you could do more with the handset than press a [RECORD] button. Hence
my twice-yearly scrabbling with the control panel. It's a fair swap for a
lunch :-). And, yes, I know that it would be easier if the VCR was
somewhere Mum could reach it and she could change the timer herself.
However, there's nowhere else to put the machine, she's getting arthritis
in her fingers, and it's only two Sundays a year.

I hope that the apology is accepted and the subject closed. I'll be more
circumspect in what I write in future.

Gill Rollings, Technical Writer, Internet Systems Ltd
gill -dot- rollings -at- isl -dot- com

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