Technical Arcana

Put me in front of a computer, and I can make it sing. It’s what I do for a living. people pay me to create web sites, develop software, and do web site hosting. When I talk about Cascading Style Sheets, dynamic IP adddresses, or the ADO.NET object model, I can watch the eyes of my non-technical clients actually glaze over while I watch.

For instance, I’ll say something like, “The first file is the blogroll.ascx control. This control implements the code from the Dotblog.Controls.Blogroll.vb file, which, in the case of this example, pulls some text out of a database and formats it. The vb file is then compiled into a DLL named Dotblog.Controls.Blogroll.dll. This DLL is then placed in the bin folder of the web site. Finally there is the default.aspx page, which displays the control.”

They look at me with great interest as I start saying that, but by the time I reach the end, I can tell that they’re thinking, “You know, maybe I should buy the kids a puppy…”

Well, as it happens, that’s how I am with mechanical stuff. The last time I personally changed the oil in a car, for example, was, I believe, in 1984.

So, when I go to the Harley Davidson Forums and read stuff like, “I just got a big performance boost by doing a stage 1, rejet, and throwing on some Screaming Eagle II’s on my sporty!” my thoughts are usually something like, “I wonder if Fry’s has a good price on an external hard drive for my laptop…”

Don’t get me wrong. I desperately want to do do a Stage 1, rejet, and install Screaming Eagle II’s. It sounds wonderful. It’s just that I don’t have a clue what any of that stuff is.

Author: Dale Franks

Dale Franks is the former host of The Business Day, ”a daily, four-hour business and financial news program on KMNY Radio in Los Angeles. From 2002-2004, he was a contributor on military and international affairs for Currently, he a publisher and editor of the monthly political journal The New Libertarian, as well as an editor of the popular web log, Q and O. Dale served as a military police officer in the United States Air Force from 1984 to 1993, in variety of assignments both in the United States and Europe, where he also was assigned to the staff of the Headquarters of Allied Forces Central Europe. In addition to broadcasting, writing, and speaking on various topics, Dale has also been a long-time technical training instructor on a variety of computer software and technology subjects. Dale has also long been involved with information technology as an accomplished web designer, programmer, and technologist, serving as the corporate knowledge specialist for Microsoft Outlook at SAIC, the nation's largest employee-owned corporation. Additionally, he is the author of a number of software user guides used for classroom training by one of Southern California’'s premier computer training and consulting firms. His book, SLACKERNOMICS: Basic Economics for People Who Find Economics Boring, is available from Barnes & Noble.