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.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The map is not the territory

“What I cannot build, I cannot understand.”

Richard Feynman

I've ranted against control panels. I've ranted against scripting langauges. I've ranted against GPS units. I've even ranted about user groups.

I certainly come across as a curmudgeon, odd as I enjoy and generally believe in technology. But recently I've been asking myself, “Myself, why am I such a curmudgeon?”

That question is proving hard to answer.

Another question that is proving hard to answer is, “when does technology pass from being a tool to being a crutch?”

I've been trying to answer this since 6:00 pm today (and even though it's dated the 2nd, it's now 2:15 am on the 3rd and I'm still trying to answer it). I've lost count to the number of drafts I've done, and I've rejected them all as either too rambly, too incoherent or both.

Even Bunny mentioned that all the GPS horror stories I've presented so far ignore the hundreds of thousands of successful uses of the invention. For every plane crash you hear about, you don't hear about the 100,000 plane landings where nothing happened.

I have found, though that my Don Quixhotesque rants can be classified as:

  1. it renders my knowledge useless (control panels)
  2. people who don't understand the technology abuse it (dynamic languages)
  3. common sense is ignored in favor of the computer (GPS)
  4. the culture is totally alien to my way of thinking (user groups)

On second thought, it can be condensed down to:

And while I may have answered why I'm such a curmudgeon, I'm still no closer to answering the other question.

When does technology pass from being a tool to being a crutch?

Update on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

I got some answers to my last question

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