Setting up a second monitor

Daniel Carrera daniel.carrera at
Fri Apr 21 12:31:03 UTC 2006

Karl Auer wrote:
> I HATE that example. Someone who doesn't know how an internal combustion
> motor works puts him/herself at risk, and the car too. Why not drive in
> everywhere in second gear? Who cares how the brakes feel? What do those
> odd sounds mean?

You can answer all of those questions, and get a decent knowledge of how 
a car works, without understanding the internal combustion engine. You 
don't need to understand the Otto cycle to understand gears (heck, 
anyone who has riden a bicycle understands gears). You also don't need 
that to maintain your car (the Otto cycle has nothing to do with why you 
should check your oil, or what a radiator does).

> As to the microwave - why not put metal in it? Why not dry the cat in
> it?

You don't need to understand about the molecular frequency of water to 
answer those questions. You know you shouldn't put the cat in it because 
it will cook it. As for metal, could you please explain to us why 
putting metal in the microwave is dangerous?

> The more complex the machine, the more
> true this is, because only with a knowledge of the basics can you have
> any chance of figuring anything out for yourself.

How much do you know about semi-conductor electronics? Do you feel that 
this knowledge is necessary to operate a phone and a computer or do you 
feel it's enough to read the manual?

> It's a bit like the old chestnut "give someone a fish and you feed them
> for a day, teach someone to fish and you feed them for life".

You don't need to know the molecular structure of scales to learn how to 

> None of this should be taken to mean that documentation should not be
> aimed at the current level of understanding and capability of the person
> who will be using it. I just take exception to the idea that "press this
> button" is sufficient with complicated systems like computers.

I agree with the sentiment of the last paragraph, but I think that your 
examples were poor. You don't need to know the Otto cycle to maintain 
your car and you don't need to know what a molecular dipole is to know 
not to microwave your cat.

    /\/_/   A life? Sounds great!
    \/_/    Do you know where I could download one?

More information about the ubuntu-users mailing list