On Mon, Apr 7, 2008 at 12:29 AM, Da Rock <rock_on_the_web(a)comcen.com.au> wrote:
On Mon, 2008-04-07 at 13:23 +0930, Tim wrote:
> On Mon, 2008-04-07 at 09:36 +1000, Da Rock wrote:
> > As for computers; what really gets on my goat is that they're not put to
> > full use. We originally put men on the moon with them, we have games
> > that are semi intelligent that we compete against, and YET we still use
> > them simply as a typewriter or communication device. Yes, they can be
> > used as this, but they have so much grunt these days they could be doing
> > the mundane of our tasks in life. Stupid M$ has made our machines dumb,
> > and our computers still run as slow as they did under 3.1 with all the
> > shit they put in the software.
> > Thats why SETI and other boinc projects can use our collective wasted
> > computing power as a supercomputer more powerful than one put to
> > dedicated use. Really seems silly doesn't it? We dreamed of geek houses
> > in the seventies and eighties, and still we haven't got there- and not
> > due to the lack of technology...
> I tend to sway the other direction. We're all too quick at throwing
> computing into areas where it doesn't really belong. e.g. Schools seem
> to think that putting a computer somewhere is the answer, never mind
> that personal teaching would be more appropriate. School's as much an
> exercise in learning social skills and doing what you're supposed to be
> doing, as it is in learning how to do math, etc. And what do we do with
> the students sorely lacking in social skills? Put them on a computer,
> often flying solo...
> Then there's the home situation. In days gone past, the most difficult
> technical thing anyone had to do at home was get the television to show
> a decent picture. Now we do have computers in media centres that make
> you jump through hoops to try and connect two devices together in a way
> that works. Digital video that doesn't work across different things
> because of imcompatible techniques (I hesitate to refer to them as
> "standards"). Recorders that forever blink 12:00 at you. Digital
> receivers that stutter and repeat where analogue receivers give near
> perfect results. Computerised washing machines that aren't any better
> than the old ones, even worse if you want to do something simple like
> repeat one cycle because something went wrong. And that Pile of Crap
> running Windows that spews viruses and spam around the world.
> Our leisure time has gone from enjoying the company of friends, reading
> a book, listening to music, watching a film, to spending lots of time
> and money maintaining a plethora of technology at home, or just putting
> up with it not working right.
So you'd throw the baby out with the bathwater here?
The concept is right, and would yield a plethora of opportunities- but
it MUST BE DONE RIGHT. You're damned right about the M$ shitbox spewing
out crap. This thread and punch cards thread, plus the majority of the
audience on this list (it seems) come from an era where the job was done
right and it Just Works (TM) (I hope I haven't offended the coiner). M$
comes along and cheapifies it all, but it does the job in opening the
public to computing. What should have happened was that the training
wheels should have come off- but instead users have hung on to them and
think they're clever getting them to do things like video conferencing.
They should have moved on to something that truely is customizable such
any *nix variation. I'd even allow them Ubuntu if it got them off the
damn drug produced by M$.
And there is addiction through and through.
Computers could be put to use as they were intended to- to make life
easier- but the majority of corporations are unwilling to throw money at
something to do the whole job when they could get away with doing a half
assed job instead. Plus they make money because the unit craps out and
the consumer has to buy another one.
I had an old man come into my shop one day with the ccd piece of a
scanner (at which point I'm almost physically slapping my head!) and
requesting a spare part for it. I then sympathetically explained that
he'd need a special jig to replace it anyway so there's no spare part,
and of course that got him started on corporate wastefulness and so on
for over half an hour in a lecture to me. I agreed totally, but I
couldn't help him then. This is the half assed job we're talking about-
maybe not with scanners, but the majority of products (especially the
ones you mentioned- washers and dryers, HiFi equipment, etc).
The fact of the matter is: any job worth doing is worth doing properly.
Make it work. For those of you who think the majority of work has been
done and now its only tweaking: its not over. There's miles to be done,
to get that slogan back into gear, make it Just Work (TM).
As for the social aspect, consider this: we're arguing this point across
several continents! If it weren't for computers, we couldn't be doing
this. There are dangers, but this is as much of a social skill as
learning not to talk to strangers. So everyone can learn something. More
social activities can occur than ever before across a wide area. Forget
just the local dance hall social scene- try a GLOBAL dance hall.
And the choice is there to do what you want- or you can put it all aside
and get outdoors or whatever.
In this point Tim, I agree with your view of the crap, but I'd ask that
you consider the wider ramifications of what life would be like IF
computers were put to good use, and done so properly. In former
civilizations we had slaves (I'm not saying this is a good thing either-
I abhor the way they were treated) to make life easier, now we need to
use technology to achieve the same lifestyle- FOR ALL PEOPLE, not an
elite few. We can achieve something never achievable before...
It comes down to education. People put up with crap because they don't
know any better. The majority of the school system uses M$ Office and
pays for the privilege. They could easily use Open Office which is
free and the equal of M$ Office in everyway that counts. They could
save a ton of money, donate to help improve the project, and still
come out ahead. All the money saved could be invested where it
matters, like a working terminal on every student's desk.