[lug] Excellent Rant

D. Stimits stimits at idcomm.com
Mon Mar 19 19:38:05 MST 2001

Justin Simoni wrote:
> I have a major problem with this rant and its main example.
> Computers *are* tools, and no one builds a house with just a hammer. Using
> a tool, (and if I'm not a carpenter) I shouldn't *have* to know how the tool
> is created, how  the tool is used, its history, revision, etc. It should be
> obvious how to use it and to get work done with it. Using a hammer correctly
> is common sense, or you look at someone else use a hammer. Its interface to
> a human being is natural. The first tools were nothing but hammers, they
> broke off shards of rock to make the second tool, a cutting surface. people
> get hammers, its ingrained into us.
>  Why should people care what kind of Operating system they have? People use
> computers to do work. It makes sense to create software (you carpenters out
> there) which is easy to work with. Posts like this just show the bullshit 'i
> am nerdier than though' rants of someone that can't communicate with other
> people. If you can't communicate with other people, why the hell are you
> trying to help them, or even create software other people need to interface
> with?

I don't know of many cars that have the ability to morph into trucks,
airplanes, ships, and even hammers and nails. If you were to buy a
computer that does only one thing, that has all programs in it that it
will ever use...one that isn't expected to alter itself short of by
means of a welding torch...then the computer could become just a tool,
and it wouldn't matter what operating system it had. Or maybe when the
operating system becomes so powerful that it can alter itself to fit the
needs of a human that themself does not know what is needed, it won't
matter. Ok, some people only want to use spreadsheets and word
processors...they dont' have a problem, assuming nothing comes along and
disturbs the balance...no virus, hard drive does not run out of space,
they don't change from regular modem to cable, so on. Are we going to
first classify between users that want the same thing withing change, or
users that want their computer to change to fit what is needed at the
moment? I don't see myself buying a new computer for each program I run.
Obviously not everyone is required to know the same thing, I think it
depends on how much you want the computer to grow as a tool, since that
requires human interaction.

> As for the car metaphor, this shows another problem with people. You hear
> all the time "I can go 0-60 in 8 seconds" - obviously talking about their
> car, but wording it as if they themself do such a task. This is a high form
> of  materialism and as far as I'm concerned, so is saying  how amazing you
> are at [insert your favorite program here]
> js
> on 3/19/01 5:38 PM, Michael J. Pedersen at marvin at keepthetouch.org wrote:
> > Guys, I just came across this guy's rant on /. and HAD to distribute it. I
> > think it might deserve a medal for the clearest explanation of computer
> > illiteracy in the world (or something close to it). Anyway, here it is:
> >
> > Begin rant - This not meant as any kind of flamebait - it's a real problem
> > that I struggle with every day and I make only infinitesimal progress.
> > The difference between the average car and the average PC is that your average
> > AOL'er can tell you they drive a 94 Chevy Camaro, it's a 5 speed, takes
> > unleaded gas, and needs the oil changed every 3000 or so miles. There's a good
> > chance they know what kind of tires they bought, where the dipstick is, and
> > how to fill the radiator with antifreeze. They might even have a good idea
> > what the bluebook value is.
> >
> > Now ask the same folks what operating system they're using, what version of MS
> > Office is on their PC, what browser they use, how to run a disk defrag., or if
> > they know the difference between memory and storage. They will shrug and reply
> > that they're not very technically inclined. Because they DON'T CARE. They
> > expect computers to be magical. Hence the millions of chainmails that people
> > send hoping to get a check from Intel or Disney. Hence a senior manager often
> > saying "put it in the computer" and having no idea what he means.
> >
> > It doesn't matter that they use their computers for 8+ hours a day and their
> > car for only 2. Their expectations of computer specific technology are way too
> > high. How did this happen? Software is a TOOL. They don't expect a hammer to
> > know carpentry, or that a car knows how to drive itself.
> >
> > Granted bugs make the problem worse, but if people were interested in becoming
> > skilled users they'd learn to demand better software. -sorry this is rant it's
> > the end of a monday.
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