Linked by Scott Cabana on Thu 2nd Dec 2004 20:18 UTC
Editorial A couple of days ago, I read an interesting article by Kevin Kostis about how complex computer systems are and how they have a long way to go. I have to partly agree with his assessment, however a lot of folks don't take the time to learn about there own investment.
Permalink for comment
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Re: Two separate points
by Alwin Henseler on Fri 3rd Dec 2004 11:53 UTC

One of the posters (Yamin) was dead on. There's 2 things: the user interface, and "what's under the hood".

It's only reasonable to ask that users should learn how to operate a TV, VCR, toaster, PC or specific app. But the required amount of time for that should be kept to a minimum. As I often say: the best designed equipment doesn't need a manual. If a user interface would be 'perfect', the learning curve would be 0. Ofcourse no user interface is, and because of that, for every apparatus more complex than a can opener, some time is needed to learn how to use it.

But: the "under the hood" part should NOT need that. Sure, many computer users know how to clean spyware, defrag harddrive or re-install their OS, but they shouldn't HAVE to. I myself can do these things, but would rather not waste time on such maintenance tasks. That people regard this as common requirement to operate a computer, only shows how long OS development (and deployment scenario's) still have to go.

Besides, if your job only involves editing .doc files all day, why should you be bothered about virus removal, file systems, or updating video drivers? It's that with computers we're used to it, but not how it should be. Let the machine check its own oil and fuel levels, for gods sake. That's what machines are for: to automate dull tasks, right? It's powerful enough to do so.

"People feel that they can expect more simplicity in the PC usage and they are right. For a programmer point of view, to answer that request for more simplicity, he has to build a more complex programm that's able to take decisions on behalf of the user in oeder to serve him better."

Agreed. Just one point: A better user interface often means one that is more complex as well (bloated, if you will). Often, but not necessarily. Sometimes a user interface can be improved by taking "behind user's back" stuff out of it. A good programmer should take advantage of every such opportunity.