This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Why you shouldn't comment and correct people, but teach instead

If the amount of stuff that people do wrong is drives you crazy, I suggest that you do something about it. No, I don't suggest starting a "flame war" on Facebook, or giving someone a punch in the nose, although that seems to be the most popular ways of sharing to someone that they may have done something wrong.

Be a teacher. Now, waitaminute, I don't mean that you have to sit at a desk, with an apple on it, with those little "half-moon" glasses slipping down your nose. I mean being a teacher conceptually. Please let me explain.

If you've ever wished that you could "teach someone a lesson" or maybe tell the manager how they should be running their business, you have tasted what it feels like to begin a lesson plan. Yes, it starts with that feeling, as if you can hardly believe that people don't know this stuff. I started teaching computer software in my late 30s, and believe me, there was no lack of misinformation out there. But I didn't stop people in the street and yell at them, instead, I taught classes, and got paid.

And let's face it, some people will never learn. I've known these people. They have skulls as thick as ivory, and they have all of the convictions of the uninformed. I'm sure you've met people like that. But the important thing to remember is that most people aren't like that. Most people don't want to be ignorant, or stupid. They don't want to be making mistakes, and doing stuff wrong. Of course, they don't want someone standing next to them shouting, "Wrong!", but they want to know. I'd say close to 99% of the people I've met have been like that. The 1%, whose brains wouldn't accept correct information if you drilled it in physically, don't really interest me. I let them go. There's an old saying in teaching that "You should never try to teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time, and annoys the pig". So if someone is a pig, save your breath. But the important thing is that most people aren't pigs.

When I started teaching, I had no idea how much wrong stuff people thought they knew. And little by little I learned. So with each class, I would add "common misconceptions", or "common mistakes". People love that kinda stuff! When I started a lesson by saying, "Most people don't know..." I knew that I had an audience that was listening.

So keep your eyes open. Look for stuff in the world that's wrong. Look for the type of ignorance, or false logic, that makes you want to say, "Huh?". Then distance yourself, and share the correct information. I suggest blogging (I've been doing it for many years) or you can volunteer to teach. If you get really good at it, people will pay you to teach. And when you look back, you will find that not only have you made yourself feel better, by getting stuff off of your chest, you have actually helped people.

How to use Uber for the first time

Today I will be using Uber for the first time. I've been hearing about it for a long time, and it's one of those things that seems as if everyone else knows, and understands. But there has to be a first time for everyone.

Doing something like this is as frustrating as beginning to learn a new software program. There's no lack of information, in fact there's a ton of it, and just getting to the beginning stuff is almost impossible to find.

I've been learning new software for decades now. And the first thing that you have to realize is that it's all pretty new, and that they're kinda making it up as they go along. No software is going to be perfect, it always has bugs, and things that go wrong, or are confusing, based on the fact that the software designers can't possibly foresee everything, and every way that people will use it. The fact that they do as good as they do has always been astonishing to me.

I set up my Uber account on my desktop. It's much easier to do it there, in the quiet and comfort of my home office. I set up the username, password, the usual stuff. I did as much as possible on my desktop, then I downloaded the app to my phone. An app, by the way, is just the shortened word for "application", which is what software is.

I always recommend going with the defaults on software. That is, answer yes and OK to everything at first. Yes, you agree, yes, it can send you notices, that sort of thing. Yes, yes, yes. They give you a bunch of options to make some people feel better, but really, you need them all for it to work. If you're afraid of the technology, I understand. But I'm not afraid. I know that it works for me.

I'm a big believer in "dress rehearsals". That is, go through the whole thing as if it were totally real. I'll be taking my first trip today, and I expect it to be fine. If not, well, I'll try again. The biggest mistake you can make with any software is to use it for the first time when you really, really need it. I know this sounds cynical, but it's just being realistic. Sometimes things go wrong, and there are bugs you need to work out.

Oddly enough, one of the strangest things is finding it on your phone. In a perfect world, there would the words "Uber", but there isn't. There's just a strange-looking logo which I had never seen before. Sure, you'll learn to recognize it in time, but at first that will be your challenge. Which app is it? So look at the logo, learn to recognize it. In defense of the designers, the space allowed on the screen for an app is tiny, and you learn to recognize logos quickly, like the faces of friends. They start out as strangers, of course, but they become friends. I've been staring at the logo for a couple of days and I see nothing in it, certainly not a "U" or the words Uber, or anything. Not sure what it is, just an abstract shape. I'm sure they meant well. Of course the name "Uber" means nothing to me, either. It's all abstraction.

So there you go. It's just a new piece of software. Install it, use it, and before you know it you'll be an old pro!