As most geeks know quite well, being a person who is good at computers means endless requests from family and friends to help fix their computer.

While walking home from work one day, however, it suddenly occured to me that perhaps this is not a good thing to do at all.

The basic reason for this is that when I myself first started using a computer, there was nobody for me to ask for help. Even if there were, I was a bit too shy to ask, and anyway I liked to get things done alone. Interestingly these personality traits are quite common among most geeky people, I think.

So, not being one to go looking to others for assistance, I spent most of my time tinkering with the system instead, and gradually amassing the knowledge and skill at using computers which the unenlightened regard as wizardry.

Thus I suppose it can be postulated that the best way to teach a person to use a computer would be to not help them with the machine at all; they'll learn more if they work on their own and figure out solutions to their problems independently, as opposed to having somebody else present an arcane yet functional solution that they have no idea how to reapply in different situations.

Of course, some people just have such high bogosity levels that there is no way they will be able to fix their computers by themselves, in which case it is up to us to stop them from firing the entire IT department in fustration. But for the slightly clueful, just giving them pointers to resources where they can read up and discover the answers to their problems is perhaps the best way to help them make the transition from wannabe to geek.