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gnat (29)

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Journal of gnat (29)

Friday April 05, 2002
04:17 AM


[ #3984 ]
Also from aevil, thoughts of users. The line "deep in the heart of much technology is an antipathy and contempt for people." Kinda. If I had the author of those words in front of me, I'd correct him: "an antipathy and contempt for people ... like you."

The quote from B.F. Skinner is a beautiful non sequitur. "I don't know what this means, but I know that Skinner's bad. Skinner's still bad, right? Or is he cool again? Damnit, I can't keep up with these trendy psychologists!"

The fact is, mate, that people do use our software. They use our software to do a billion different things. Even slightly-less-general terms like "reader" fall down (the blind have the web read to them), and terms like "consumer" and "student" only reflect a small segment of the users.

Everybody I know who designs web sites knows the types of users they have in mind. They use words like "student" and "investor" to identify those segments. God forbid we should have a general collective term, eh Mr McGovern?

I guess what really bugs me is this pseudo-linguistic righteousness about language. It reeks of paranoia (mind control through the VERY WORDS WE SPEAK!). It smacks of postmodernism (the idea that nothing is as it seems and subtext is everywhere). And, of course, it's self-serving (I'm on the Common Man's side, unlike those nasty technologimical elitists! Only I know the secret to success!).

Another snake oil salesman. *spit*

Teaching William about answering questions, I just realized that the old line about "it's okay to say you don't know" is truer than I had thought. I am very distrustful of people who claim to be authoritative on anything to do with software or life, two subjects that there are thousands of books about but still no guaranteed road to success. I've a lot more time for people who can admit they don't have the answers.


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  • Well I'd call them something different if we had a decent word for it. Driving has Drivers, Cycling has Cyclists. But we don't call it "Computering" and thus we don't call them "Computists" or "Computerers".

    Computers Compute. People just use Computers, and we don't have a word for that.

    Give me a name and I'll use it.
  • I'm still not entirely convinced the author wasn't joking :)