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Subtitle: Ignorant is different from a lack of intelligence.

Many moons ago, in one in one of my occasional escapes from city living, I took a job as a ranch hand at a relative’s. It was a nice enough job, plenty of hard physical work and fresh air. Didn’t pay worth a damn, but it came with free room and board so the money thing wasn’t that important.

I worked with a fellow we’ll call “Old Bill.” Now, Old Bill never finished elementary school, because, to be frank, it was beyond his intellectual ability. You see, Old Bill was a little (actually, a LOT) slow. But Bill was anything but ignorant. He knew every fence post and blade of grass on that ranch. Knew all the cows. Knew more about the ways and means of cows than most of us ever will. You couldn’t have a conversation about the news or politics with Old Bill, but if you wanted to talk about cows, how to build a good barb wire fence, the weather, or ice cream, then Old Bill was your man.

I really liked Old Bill. Spending days and weeks on end working with him, I found him to be a fount of knowledge on just about everything about that ranch. He’d been working there for almost thirty years. Old Bill may not have been the sharpest tack in the box, but he was anything but ignorant. He really knew his job.

Ignorance, as I define it, is a lack of knowledge. More specifically, it’s a lack of knowledge about a subject matter which you really have no excuse for not knowing. Not knowing how to program C# or Fortran, for most people, isn’t really ignorance. They don’t need to know it, so they don’t know it.

But when it comes to the Web, there are a lot of hugely ignorant people out there.

The web has become an integral part of our everyday modern lives. And the vast bulk of people out there have chosen to be ignorant about some of the most basic aspects of it. And there’s really no excuse. Because if they chose to learn just a few things, then their lives, in the long run, would be ever so much simpler.

Case in point: 80% of people surfing the Web use Internet Exploder. That’s just ignorance. People complain endlessly about viruses, and spyware, but they refuse to change the one thing that would eliminate the vast bulk of their problems. If they simply downloaded some free software, like Firefox or Opera, then they would be able to avoid the bulk of their problems.

And really, given the amount of press over the past couple of years, most of these people have no excuse not to change. Most people know that there are other browsers out there, and they know, at least on some level, that these other browsers don’t have the security problems of Internet Exploder. And yet, they refuse to change.

For these people, I have little sympathy. I especially have little sympathy for those people who use me as their tech support. Why? Because I’ve told all of them, repeatedly, to dump IE in favor of a more secure browser. But they don’t. Then they come to me once a month to get me to clear out the spyware and crap that’s a direct result of them continuing to use IE.

This site itself is an example of how little sympathy I have left for IE users. I went to pains to make this site look the way it does. You might no agree with my sense of aesthetic, but the site renders in a clean, organized, well laid out fashion. So long as you’re not using IE, that is. Through some minor trickery, the site renders differently for IE than it does for any other browser. I set up two style sheets, one for good browsers, and one for IE. The sheet for IE will display a different font, the layout will be slightly different, and the overall effect is slightly less “clean.” And I could care less. If you’re still using IE, then the web you see should look slightly crappy.

Also, this site has Google ads. A small string of them between the banner and the main text area. Well, that’s where it will show for most people. Personally, I don’t see them. In fact, I don’t see any ads when I surf the web. There’s a nifty little extension for Firefox that blocks out all the advertising.

When I hear people complain about all the advertising on the web, how much sympathy do you think I have for them? Not much. If it’s someone I’ve told to download Firefox and AdBlock, I have absolutely no sympathy for them whatsoever.

They have the intelligence to do something about it, they even have all the access to the knowledge they need to do something about it, heck, they’ve even had that information handed to them on a silver platter. But they choose not to do anything about it.

And that, my friend, is ignorance.

And I have no sympathy for it.

4 Responses to “I have no sympathy for the ignorant.”

    Bravo! You said it much better than I could have….

    And in the interests of sharing with the “NOT ignorant”:

    http://code.google.com/p/habari/ – and lists here: http://groups.google.com/group/habari-users/topics?lnk=li

    I expect this to be far better than wordpress eventually.

    Bookmarked that to take a look when I come off shift in a few days.

    To be honest, I haven’t heard of it until now. How mature is it? When you say “Far better than WordPress eventually,” do you mean it still needs to mature a bit?

    If it looks promising, I might just dedicate a backwater of this domain to testing it out. I hate to say it, but movement on WP has somewhat slowed lately. I’m really not seeing the project grow right now in the way it was a year ago.

    It’s alpha. Only geeks like me play with stuff like this. When I say far better than wp eventually, I mean it. But that “eventually” may be months down the road.

    The single biggest problem with wp is “automattic”. Period. The individual, not the name.

    Oh, and you can see my install of the VERY alpha habari script here:

    http://dilletantesedge.com/

Something to say?


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