Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 2nd Feb 2010 23:25 UTC, submitted by Chicken Blood
Apple The beauty of the internet is such that every opinion has become worthless; this goes doubly so for those with publish buttons on (relatively, we're humble) major websites. For every opinion, there's a matching counter-opinion, and that's great. Yesterday, we linked to an article by Mark Pilgrim about tinkerers and the iPad, and of course, someone was bound to disagree with that one.
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RE[5]: Now that's Sniveling!
by boldingd on Wed 3rd Feb 2010 17:06 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Now that's Sniveling! "
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Completely open consumer devices only lead to piracy. Most users in fact support locking down consumer devices since most of them are against pirates and freeloaders. Most game developers support them as well.

Have you lost all connection with reality? "Most users support locking down consumer devices?" So, if I asked Random Joe Computer User if he'd like to control his own computer, he'd say, "Oh, God, no! If I controlled my computer, I'd just pirate things! Please, take away my ability to load software on it, or change any of its settings."

Most people I know very much want to control their own devices, at least in the abstract. The problem is, they also don't want to worry about administering their devices, which they view as a onerous cost to using the device, which should be minimized; they don't realize that, in opting for a clean, simplified, configuration-free environment, with minimal or no control nobs and administration levers, they've also sacrificed their control of their hardware. They don't realize they're making a trade-off there.

Hell, Classic Mac OS, and I think OS X, had a "simple interface mode", which basically aggressively dumbed down the user interface even more, on the theory that non-power-users would probably prefer a simpler interface. The Mac Classic one, if I recall, completely did away with the Desktop or access to the file system, and just displayed multiple tabs, one listing all the applications in some PATH, and another tab all the documents in some other PATH, each displayed as a big-ass button. My father doesn't understand the concept of drag-and-drop: I said, logically enough, "let's try simple mode, maybe you can use that." He hated it. The reason? Because he was obviously trading off his ability to control the computer -- or even just use the computer's facilities to their fullest -- for ease-of-use. (Well, OK, it might have been insulting to him to be using an interface that was both so hideous and so obviously cabbagized, that was probably also a factor.) Ditto for OS X: I think Simple Interface Mode lasted a few minutes, because it hid controls on the menu bar, and he wanted access to all the controls on his computer, which he definitely felt he should own and control completely, given that he'd paid the rather exorbitant price for the thing (it was a Mac Cube).

When the offer to trade off ownership for convenience is made up-front, almost nobody will go for it. People most certainly actively wish to avoid losing control of their machines, and they definitely don't value locking down an environment for its own sake. The problem comes when the trade-off is hidden: if it's pitched first as making the environment much easier to use, and people don't see or realize how much control they're really giving up, they'll accept the same deal much more eagerly.

Edited 2010-02-03 17:08 UTC

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