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Re: SIL Toolbox and IPA Unicode 1.0

From:Philippe Caquant <herodote92@...>
Date:Thursday, September 2, 2004, 7:31
Ha, you got me wrong. Sure, knowledge like "I know how
to handle with a Unix system", "I know how to tune an
Oracle database", "I know the differences between Java
and Javascript", "I know what is a class, a datatype,
a literal value, an array, and whatever", "I
understand what is n-tier" may be qualified by the
name of science.

Now think for a moment. Computers and programs are
supposed to be used by, you know what ? Not computer
specialists, but PEOPLE. Ordinary people with two
hands, each one's property being having fingers, usual
cardinality of them being (0,6), but rather five. And
a limited brain. And their own goals, and their own
purposes, and their own preoccupations, having
absolutely nothing to do with specialists'
preoccupations. And limited time. And a boss urging
them to get the work done. What those people want when
they are in front of a screen is, among others :
- what does the program want me to do ?
- how can I do it ?
- how can I get the help I need, quickly and
effectively ?
- how can I use this program to get my own goals
realized ?

This is the topic of a (supposed) science called
"ergonomy". This is exactly the thing that a real,
pure, smart, clever, computer specialist doesn't want
to hear about. "If I can understand and master it, why
should the vulgum pecus not understand it, except
because they are stupid" is the motto. But I, as a
user, don't give a damn about what the smart
specialist thinks. I got a fucking tool, and I want to
be able to use it a quick and efficient way, and soon
be able to realize what I want to realize, dot. What
is inside the box is not at all my problem. By "user",
I mean as well final users (using applications) as
intermediate users (designing applications for final
users). I am both a final user and an intermediate
user. In both cases, I want effective, smart and
pleasant tools. I don't want to hear about things
like: "type Ctrl+? to interrupt a sub-command, Ctrl-E
to go one line forward, z^ to go one page backward, ZZ
to write the file and quit editor, :q! to quit editor
without writing the file". When I see things like
this, and even understanding the possible historical
reasons for it, I just want to bite, or at least to
hit severely the conceptor of the tool (vi, in this
case, which is certainly the most caricatural example
in the world; but many final-user tools are hardly
better from that standpoint).

The computer specialists are, as a rule, unbearably
satisfied of themselves and their tools. Never in
their life, of course, they would imagine for one
secund that they could be inside the skin of the poor
sucker trying to use them.  How many times I heard,
when complaining to the conceptor about something
illogical or ununderstandable in an application, for
ex: "yes, but that's the way it was supposed to work,
there is no bug". - But you can see by yourself that
it doesn't fulfill the user's needs ? - Ah, but from
my standpoint, it just works. Not my problem."

May they roast in hell for a very, very long time,
I'll bring the spices.

--- Ray Brown <ray.brown@...> wrote:

> On Wednesday, September 1, 2004, at 11:33 , Philippe > Caquant wrote: > > [snip] > > ........ it's the general situation about the > > so-called "computer science". > > {Groan} - first we are informed that linguistics is > not a science and now, > apparently, computer science has to quoted and we > are told it is only a > 'so-called science' - which presumably means it is a > pseudo-science, that > is, not a science. >
===== Philippe Caquant "High thoughts must have high language." (Aristophanes, Frogs) _______________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Win 1 of 4,000 free domain names from Yahoo! Enter now.


Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>
Keith Gaughan <kmgaughan@...>
Mark P. Line <mark@...>software quality (was: SIL Toolbox and IPA Unicode 1.0)
Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>