The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Friday, May 15, 2009

An explaination for a frightening minor epiphany on computer user interfaces

Two years ago I had an epiphany about computer user interfaces and at the time, I said I was still poindering the implications of that.

Then, a few days ago, Dan Lyke had related epiphany to the one I had a two years ago. One of the comments to Dan struck a chord with me:

But most users don't want to develop a language with their computer.

I think I may expand on this somewhere else, but the short version: To develop a useful and efficient linguistic shorthand takes a long-term relationship. My wife and I can communicate vast things in few words, but we've been together a long time. Emacs and I have been together even longer than that. I don't think most users care to enter that kind of commitment.

Flutterby™! : Point and grunt 2009-05-13 16:54:17.759918+00

And then there's today (let us not talk about today, okay?)

But the events of today, plus Dan's observation (and the comment on it) plus my earlier observation lead to yet another epiphany: While I may be willing to develop a language to use my computer, I do not want to develop a separate language for each damn computer I use!

It seems that every year or two, how we “talk” to our computers radically changes and everything you know you pretty much have to toss out the metaphorical window and start over from square one, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.00.

I also have to wonder, if it does indeed take 10,000 hours to become an expert (or five years at 40 hours a week), how anyone in the computer industry can become an expert, when the technology changes faster than that. How?

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