Beating the System

Beating the System

The truth is that I’m not much of a handyman. I suppose it’s because my father wasn’t around to teach me those things. The other two male figures in my life were my grandfather and my uncle (married to my aunt). My grandfather is not really a communicator (unless he drinks) and basically never leaves his room. I’m not exaggerating. Yes, he eats, showers and such, but sometimes he does all those things in the master bedroom. And my uncle is a wonderful guy, but he’s a poet and a musician, which translates to no handyman skills whatsoever. Growing up I had no chance to learn any of those skills that some other guys have their fathers teach them.

I have learned a few of those handyman skills over the years, some self-taught and others through friends and recently my father-in-law, but overall, I’m not that kind of guy. But I am a creative guy and thanks to today’s technology, I’ve become proficient at a number of things. I can do basic web site coding (HTML5 & CSS), I have vast experience with InDesign (brochures, newspapers, etc.), I know Photoshop pretty well and the list goes on. Basically, I can handle myself in the world of computers. If a friend needs information on an obscure topic that no one else can find, I will find it. Seriously, I wish I had a job as some sort of researcher because I can find almost anything online. I’m also pretty good at deconstructing websites and programs and I can definitely find any software in the world for free.

Now, I’m not bragging or posting a resume, these are just things that I’ve been doing for years. I still have so much to learn and sometimes I feel that there’s no time to do so. Anyway, if you need help with finding something let me know! But the point of this blog post and this intro is this: don’t give up and there’s always a way.

Beating the System

When you take an online class, I think it’s understood that you will use the Internet as a resource. That’s just a given. Of course, you can’t and shouldn’t plagiarise, because not only is it dishonest, but it can cost you your career. But that issue aside, an online class means just that, that you will use online resources. What irks me is that some professors try to make using this resource as difficult as possible. What’s the point of that?

The perfect example is the art history class that I took this semester. In many of the exams, this particular professor would include paintings and images that were NOT in the book, nor on the assigned online readings. And the ones that could be found in the book were not in any kind of chapter order. This is a 700+ pages book, by the way. So, the only other solution was to look online to find these famous images.

Here’s why I love technology. Google has this feature called Google Image Search where you can literally drag and drop any picture and google will try to find a match for it. It is surprisingly accurate and extremely helpful.

Google Image Search

You would think, problem solved, right? Well, not really. There’s another way the professor made things difficult; she disabled right click. Usually there are some ways around this, but not in this particular case. With no right click, I wasn’t able to click on the picture and save it on my computer. Without this function, I couldn’t drag the picture onto Google Images Search. And here’s where I want to encourage all of you reading this, there’s always another way. It seemed like I was doomed, but then an idea occurred to me. I used my iPhone and took a picture of the image on the class website. Then I uploaded that image to my computer. There’s an example below:

photo

Then I used that image and dragged it onto Google Image Search and this is what I got:

photo3

The Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial! If it wasn’t for Google Images Search, I would have never found the answer. These exams are timed and one has to move fast. But my point is this, thanks to technology, there are always ways to get answers. Just don’t give up. Think outside the box, even if your professor is being unreasonable.

One Final Note

I think the reason why I was able to think quickly and find a solution is because I’ve been using computers since I was 15 or 16. Being exposed to that technology early on helped me find ways I can use it to help myself and others.

That’s why I think it’s important for children today to be taught how to code websites, applications and programs. The jobs of the future, at least the well-paying ones, will be in such fields. As parents, we want to expose our children to what will bring them better opportunities in life. Whether they choose a career in a technology and creative field does not matter, but we have done our jobs to make sure they acquired the knowledge.

And I’ll leave you with a funny quote from Modern Family, one of my favorite sitcoms. Alex Dunphy, who is considered the nerd on the show, impressed her older (and not so smart) sister by asking a group of nerdy boys to return a toy to her little brother Luke. When, Haley, her older sister saw this, she was dumbfounded. Alex said to her, “You have your fans, I have mine. One day, your fans will be working for my fans.”

Think of the most popular and profitable companies today and you’ll see that Alex Dunphy is right.

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