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Version Fatigue

2002-06-21 15:51:12+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

[ related topics: User Interface ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-06-21 17:21:34+00 by: Arnold Kling

I am not disparaging the cognitive abilities of secretaries. On the contrary, I am disparaging the cognitive abilities of Unix geeks. Secretaries have the sense to realize that the work they do can be done more efficiently using word processors than using Emacs.--Arnold Kling

#Comment made: 2002-06-21 17:55:34+00 by: Dan Lyke

Okay, here's a response that's not meant to be as inflammatory:

You are pretending that there's a "right" way. Different people think different ways, and have different working styles. What's right for the attorney is not right for the secretary, just as what's right for the manager is not right for the programmer. They have different skill sets and different needs from their tools.

The secretaries I've talked with, not the high school chick receptionists, and not office assistants, but the real professional secretaries who make a career of what they do, all think on an abstract level and are willing to learn complex interfaces to do their work more efficiently.

Unfortunately they are often hampered by people who would impose specific tools on them. Usually people who are more concerned with the social games involved in interfacing with other people, rather than people who are interested in how to most efficiently accomplish a job.

When someone is banging out the gazillionth boiler plate contract, they don't give a damn what it looks like, they've already seen it a thousand times. They care how quickly they can insert the party of the first part and the party of the second part.

Attorneys and secretaries have two completely different jobs, just as plumbers and carpenters do. It's unnatural and belies a distinct lack of horizon that you'd ask to impose the same tool set on both.

#Comment made: 2002-06-21 23:57:06+00 by: whump

Kling went to MIT, got a PhD in econ, and never used LaTeX?

And I think ESR was implying:

Keystrokes(MS Office) > Keystrokes(emacs)

And Dan noted that:

Keystrokes(emacs) >= Keystrokes(WordPerfect)

Another advantage of command lines is that almost all speak POSIX, whereas you need to trial and error for which magic key/mouse-button combination copies files in a GUI (KDE/Gnome/Win32/MacOS).

There's a virtue in cp.