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Re: What they're up to

  Mitch Stone (mstone@vc.net) quoted and responded --
  >> ...a "desktop" above, and a "briefcase" on the same level with, hard
  >> disks in the hierarchy of storage spaces... is a gross misrepresentation
  >> of the system, and one that seems designed to confuse people.
  > I found myself saying "yes, yes, yes" until I reached this part of your
  > argument.
  There might be a misunderstanding here. The desktop metaphor itself is not
  overly objectionable; what I object to -- other than having to touch a W95
  machine to check this -- is what I see when I choose Save and pull out the
  list of storage devices:
        My Computer
           3-1/2 Floppy (A:)
           5-1/4 Floppy (B:)
           Ms-dos_6 (C:)
              My Documents
        Network Neighborhood
        My Briefcase
  Let's say I save a file to "Desktop." It has to be on a disk -- but which
  one? I saw someone do this and later have trouble opening the file. That's
  the person who got fired for being unable to make sense of W95 and Word.
  > Applying this logic, a car would be more "intuitive" if we had to throw a
  > saddle directly onto an engine and steer with reins. That would certainly
  > "represent" the functions of the vehicle more accurately.
  That describes my feeling about *current*, *commercial* GUIs very well,
  but as you said, we digress....
  > I'd submit that the problem is not that the computing analogies (be it a
  > desktop, briefcase or whatever) are inherently confusing, but that they
  > are a negative factor only when an inadequate levels of human engineering
  > are applied to their design. Maybe we've been looking at Microsoft
  > products too long, and can only dimly realize how badly they have botched
  > the human engineering aspects of their mission.
  Geez, most people say I've *avoided* Microsoft products too long!
  Microsoft products make people look stupid, feel stupid and work stupidly.
  Since the firm has the resources to create products that do otherwise, we
  must consider the possibility that it has assigned itself a mission quite
  different from what we assume or the company claims its mission to be.
  Long before Windows, long before the Mac, many people who lacked any trace
  of technical knowledge were going great guns on computers. When I hear BG3
  say on Larry King Live, "I used to tell my relatives to stay away from
  computers because computers were too hard," and I see software and
  documentation obviously designed to flummox people, I get real suspicious
  about what Microsoft considers its mission.
  > ....They plainly have the resources to do it right, but insist on
  > developing software that only techophiles could really love.
  Well, there are technophiles and there are technophiles. Those easily
  dazzled by commercial gimmickry might love Microsoft products. Those
  interested in real progress definitely do not.
  Dan Strychalski