When it comes to technology, it can be like watching an episode of Star Trek, technobabble and all, trying to comprehend the ins and outs of our gadgets. And, that makes sense. After all, Americans are generally pretty terrible at math, and numbers are a major part of tech specs. So, you may need a bit of a translator from time to time when it comes to tech and tech accessories (or tech-sessories). That’s okay, as Google is great at answering your questions and can make a great resource for queries like this one. However, this problem is bigger than you or me. In an increasingly tech focused moder world, tech literacy is severely lacking, and that’s kind of a problem. Especially when you consider the rise of tech jobs and the decline of manual labor jobs. The former requires training and education, fhe latter doesn’t, and we don’t have the infrastructure in place to prepare students for this type of economy at the earliest levels. College will get you where you need to be, but only if you have the interest and the drive to help teach yourself about math to start with. That’s a sad state of affairs, regardless of the economy, but even more so now when our least prevalent skill as a nation is one of the most in demand skills.

Beyond employment concerns, however, this problem still manages to manifest in some problematic ways. A prevailing ignorance regarding  tech specs creates a lot of consumer confusion for corporations to cash in on. First of all, a customer might be swindled into thinking that what they’re getting is what there needs demand. Then, of course, there’s the issue of making it that much harder to repair your own tech, requiring you to pay for repairs you could otherwise do yourself. Then, there’s even the issue of communicating with customer service or repair professionals regarding your problem and potentially leaving holes in the repair job as a result of that error in communication. Tech illiteracy can create even more fundamental errors when making purchasing decisions. For example, if you’re looking for a camera, do you want digital or analogue? What’s the difference between the two? What does DSLR mean? Is Canon better than Polaroid? Do you want optical zoom, digital zoom, or both? Then, once you have your camera, the settings can be baffling, and perhaps that’s the price you pay for trying to weild this marvelous tech to your own advantage, but I would posit that this learning curve would be much less severe with a better basic understanding of technology, which, again, starts with math.

At the end of the day, there are ways you can arm yourself with the knowledge you need to understand your tech, and I highly recommend doing some independent research. However, it’s truly disappointing and tragic that there’s little to no foundation in place for this to be taught more effectively in schools.