Table of contents

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**List of Illustrations


Introduction:** Do You Compute?

1 “We Like to Be Smart”: The Mythology of Computer Use

2 The Ultimate Hack: A Sociology and History of the Computer User

3 “Problem Exists between Chair and Keyboard”: Producing the User

4 Caveat Emptor: The Emergence of the User-Consumer

5 User Documentation: Telling Stories about the User

6 Anxiety Attacks: Pathologizing the Technophobic User

7 Songs of Innocence and Experience: The Youthful User

Conclusion: The Future User






User Error explodes the myth of computer technology as juggernaut. Multimedia educator Ellen Rose shows that there is no bandwagon, no out-of-control dynamo, no titanic conspiracy to overwhelm us. Instead, there is our own desire to join the fraternity of users, a fraternity that confers legitimacy and power on those who enter the brave new world.
Rose exposes how we surrender decision-making power in personal and workplace computing situations. As users we willingly grant authority to the creators of software, support materials, and the seductive infrastructure of technocracy.
"Smart" users are rewarded; reluctant users are pathologized. User identity is deliberately constructed at the crossroads of industry, consumer demand, and complicity. User Error sounds a timely alarm, calling on all of us who use the new technologies to recognize how we are being co-opted. With awareness we can reassert our own responsibility and power in this increasingly important interaction.
Savvy, accessible, and up-to-date, User Error offers insight, inspiration, and strategies of resistance to general readers, technology professionals, students, and scholars alike.