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Getting Started: Advanced Techniques

 
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RacerX



Joined: 03 Jan 2006
Posts: 333
Location: Twin Cities, MN

PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:36 am    Post subject: Getting Started: Advanced Techniques Reply with quote

Getting Started: Advanced Techniques
(Warning: This is not for beginners!)

In this day and age most of the people interested in these operating systems are computer hobbyists... by definition, people who are rather experienced with computers (usually of the Windows persuasion). And contrary to what they usually believe, this previous experience is not only non-helpful, it can actually be the biggest hindrance in their endeavors with other operating systems. Thus, the following are tips/advice for these people.
    (1) Assume you know nothing at all. This is quite hard for people who are used to being "the expert" when dealing with computer related issues, and when working on a foreign platform often lead to mistakes that would otherwise be easily avoided.
    (2) Do not skip steps. Often times experts can streamline tasks by skipping steps, usually saving large amounts of time. When those same experts attempt this on a platform they know nothing about, they usually encounter problems and can double or triple the amount of time needed to complete a task... or in some cases never complete the task as they just give up completely.
    (3) Do not attempt to mix complex procedures when you are unfamiliar with any of them to begin with. On foreign platforms even the most basic of procedures are unfamiliar territory and can have their own special issues. Attempting a combination of a basic procedure with special hacks or work-arounds introduces a number of variables above and beyond the issues of the unmodified procedure. If you haven't even seen the standard procedure before, then when issues arise you are going to find yourself unable to figure out where the heart of the problem may be. If you at least know how one or two of the procedures are supposed to work before mixing them, then you have a better chance of figuring out what went wrong.
    (4) Do not attempt to modify the environment. One of the biggest mistakes I see is people attempting to change a platform that they are new to into the platform they are familiar with. This is very much like the ugly American problem (American tourist who believe everyplace should be just like their home). The reason for using a new platform is to learn new things. Usually what ends up happening is that the computer rebels and starts functioning quite badly.
    (5) Take the time to learn how (and why) things work the way they do. Basically a continuation from above, "experts" are often like bulls in a china shop when first working on a foreign platform... braking things left and right because they not only are doing things incorrectly, but are pushing ahead past clear warnings because they assume they know what they are doing.
    (6) Resist the urge to play "computer expert". Far more than basic users, experts from other platforms need to take special care to act like complete and utter "newbies" on a foreign platform. I strongly suggest keeping the "newbie" hat on for quite a few weeks for experts, staying in the most basic areas of the new environment and avoiding anything even slightly advanced during this time.
After you have moved back and forth to a number of other platforms, you will learn to avoid dangerous assumptions, but generally most "experts" tend to approach other platforms as something to conquer rather than learn. And sadly they usually return to their original platform (generally Windows) with little or no insight into why other platforms exist in the first place.

The best example of an "expert" conquering rather than learning would be the author of this page. He got his hands on a foreign OS, installed it, looked around, made misguided assumptions, and never again returned to find out what he missed. The OS was another notch on his belt of what are little more than one night stands with other platforms.
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neozeed



Joined: 15 Apr 2006
Posts: 691
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:56 am    Post subject: ha! Reply with quote

it reminds me of the first time playing with hercules(http://www.conmicro.cx/hercules/). What a world of difference from being a CICS user to being a MVS admin!

Although I still do screw around with MUSIC/SP

(tn3270://www.vaxenrule.com) lol assuming that works... But wow Mainframes are so not unix!
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Nightengale



Joined: 04 Jan 2006
Posts: 152
Location: SD CA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dude! I really really need to get permission to quote those tips for my workplace and call them the Canonical Cardinal Rules!!!

Humbly,
N
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helf



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Posts: 1097
Location: Alabama, USA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome post! :)

I really don't understand that tourist mindset... I've met people like that...
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RacerX



Joined: 03 Jan 2006
Posts: 333
Location: Twin Cities, MN

PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nightengale wrote:
Dude! I really really need to get permission to quote those tips for my workplace and call them the Canonical Cardinal Rules!!!

As with anything I post, everyone has my full permission to use it.

But yeah, it is pretty amazing how often being an expert in one area can handicap people in another. The best solution is to stay open to new ideas, which is always hardest for those who have invested so much time and energy in learning a particular system.
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