Date of this Version
When F. Robert Henderson, the Extension State Leader of Kansas' Wildlife Damage Control Program, asked me for assistance in setting up a microcomputer system that would enable him to organize and analyze wildlife damage reports, I was surprised. "Certainly," I thought, "it's not because I am a social anthropologist and in my travels around the world I deal with some pretty wild life" No, Bob knew about my work with microcomputers in Anthropology and since we have been friends for some years he also knew that I would talk with him about the problems in using microcomputers. He also knew that I could work with him to try to solve those problems that would arise in setting up a system and learning how to properly use it. There are well-known difficulties that arise in setting ~,p microcomputer systems. People with little or no training in computers have great difficulty communicating with those who have computer expertise but whose experience has been only with large systems. The computer experts seem to be talking a foreign language. Other difficulties arise when the person buying a microcomputer tries to get some help or information from the computer salesperson who, it turns out, has a background, not in computers or electronics or anything else that might be useful, but in the selling of shoes. Those who try to figure out for themselves how to set up a system and learn to operate it by reading the literature accompanying the microcomputer and its programs (seemingly written by people with knowledge of computers for people who already have familiarity with computers) have been known to end up throwing the books at the computer. I'm sure some of you are already familiar with these difficulties and recognize the advantage of knowing someone with microcomputer experience who will be able to communicate with you on a person-to-person basis.