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Still Not Computer Literate After 27 Years of Software Development

I just finished reading the new book Bit Literacy by Mark Hurst. It is refreshingly brief and provides a nice collection of best practices for efficiently handling the increasing torrent of digital information - i.e., "bits" - like email, files, online media, etc. I highly recommend this short book to all folks who regularly interact with computers (which I guess would be pretty much everyone at this point).

One "bit" of warning though: Mark is very "definitive" in his opinions and may rub some folks the wrong way with his "one right way" 'tude. The most amusing one for me was his proclamation in Chapter 12:

This is a non-negotiable point worth restating. To become bit-literate, you must know how to touch type. So learn to type.

Sadly, I dropped out of my touch-typing course in highschool when I feared (probably irrationally) that it was going to crater my GPA and hurt my college prospects. So, I have to confess that I type with about half my fingers and live somewhere short of the right pole of the hunt-peck to touch-type spectrum. Oh well, at least I don't play computer games which Mark (self-servingly?) defends in Chapter 12, so maybe I'm making up some productivity lost ground there. We all have our vices and shortcomings...

Nonetheless, if you are willing to listen to the opinions of a bit-illiterate like myself, I think you'll find several passages in the book that will help you become significantly more productive on the computer - even if you are a wily old veteran. Personally, I found the passages on managing incoming email, managing ToDos, managing digital photos, tips for writing emails that don't waste the time of recipients, using keyboard accelerators/macros, and comments about creating "bit literate" software very helpful and actionable. At minimum, the book will force you to reexamine how you engage with the computer. Introspection is a good thing.

1 comment:

Anonymous aka The Blog Post Author

Thanks, Bill! -mh

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