Boston Linux & Unix (BLU) Home | Calendar | Mail Lists | List Archives | Desktop SIG | Hardware Hacking SIG
Wiki | Flickr | PicasaWeb | Video | Maps & Directions | Installfests | Keysignings
Linux Cafe | Meeting Notes | Blog | Linux Links | Bling | About BLU

BLU Discuss list archive

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Discuss] Its not possible to make things easier for users

I think the issue with computers is the large number of choices as well
as interoperability. For instance,m I asked the question on ripping CDs
just to get some opinions, which I did. I didn't think in terms of
lossless. In my new car, they no longer have the 6-CD changer, but you
can use your phone through either BT or via the data cable. Ripping CDs
is easy, but the choice of which format requires some knowledge. Linux
and FOSS present the user with a multitude of choices where Windows
tends to provide fewer.

On 01/12/2013 02:55 PM, Mark Woodward wrote:
> I have always been the tech guru. Running the film projector in the
> early 1970s in school because the teachers never understood how. Many
> of us have an innate ability to understand mechanisms. We see things
> and they make sense to us.
> So, I have used Windows, Macintosh, Linux, FreeBSD, SunOS, CP/M, and
> so on. I have come to the conclusion that there is NOTHING that can
> make a user's life easier or a computer more "usable" in any
> significant way. Sure, you can help with some incremental aids, icons,
> menus, and such, but not much more than that.
> Here's the problem....
> (q) How do I get my pictures on my computer.
> (a) Run a program to download them to your computer.
>     (q) Why can't I just use them on the camera?
>     (a) You might be able to, but it depends on the application or the
> camera
>         (q) what?
>         (a) Some cameras look like disks to the computer and some don't
>             (q) What?
>             (a) The people that make the cameras decide how the
> cameras work
>             And this goes on for a while
> (q) "I want to upload some pictures to the internet." or "I want to
> email some pictures" but it always stops
> (a) The pictures are too big, you need to reduce their size
>     (q) Why are they too big/
>     (a) The camera creates really big pictures in case you want to
> print them like a photo
>         (q) what do you mean, pictures are small
>         (a) sigh
>         and this can go on for a while
> (q) How do I get music on my computer/music player
> (a) rip a CD or download music you can convert to something your music
> player can use
>       This too will go on and on
> I don't believe the problem is that people can't use the computer,
> because computers, especially today, are fairly trivially easy to use.
> In fact, I think we are more or less at the limit of the current
> paradigms and anything done to improve them will actually make them
> harder to use.
> No the real problem isn't the computer, the real problem is the user's
> understanding of the task they wish to accomplish. Copying music from
> a CD to an [MP3,OGG,FLAAC] is an operation with choices. These choices
> have pros and cons, benefits and drawbacks. There often times is no
> "best" choice. The same goes for pictures, email, word processing,
> printing, etc.
> User's don't want to know how to do what they want to do and blame the
> computer for not being easy enough. If we stepped back to the 1970s,
> we'd have the same problem with recording music off the radio. You'd
> use a cassette or a reel to reel tape recorder.  Most people wouldn't
> understand how to do that either. It wasn't because of a computer, it
> was because you had a process that had a few steps and to perform the
> operation you had to have some background knowledge on how things
> worked so you would know what to do.
> Problems with computers are mostly over at this point. It isn't about
> computers at all. It is about the tasks the users want to accomplish.
> You can't make them easier without changing the nature of the task.

Jerry Feldman <gaf at>
Boston Linux and Unix
PGP key id:3BC1EB90 
PGP Key fingerprint: 49E2 C52A FC5A A31F 8D66  C0AF 7CEA 30FC 3BC1 EB90

BLU is a member of BostonUserGroups
BLU is a member of BostonUserGroups
We also thank MIT for the use of their facilities.

Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS!

Boston Linux & Unix /