[Wolves] Why do you hate/dislike Micro$oft?

Aquarius wolves at mailman.lug.org.uk
Fri Jan 10 16:41:00 2003

steve parkes spoo'd forth:
> Lets not forget that the only intuitive interface known the humankind is the 
> nipple.  Developers should refrain from inserting human face like interfaces 
> to software and should have more nipples.

Ah, you see, I'm going to disagree here, despite the fact that you're being
facetious <grin>, by quoting from Neal Stephenson's 'Snow Crash'. Juanita
(the woman speaking) is explaining how she missed a period and was worried
that she was pregnant, but didn't tell her family.

   "Anyway, my grandmother came to visit," she continued, glancing back over
   her shoulder at the painting. "I avoided her until we all sat down for 
   dinner. And then she figured out the whole situation in, maybe, ten 
   minutes, just by watching my face across the dinner table. I didn't say 
   more than ten words-'Pass the tortillas.' I don't know how my face 
   conveyed that information, or what kind of internal wiring in my 
   grandmother's mind enabled her to accomplish this incredible feat. To 
   condense fact from the vapor of nuance."
   Condense fact from the vapor of nuance. Hiro has never forgotten the sound
   of her speaking those words, the feeling that came over him as he realized 
   for the first time how smart Juanita was.
   She continued. "I didn't even really appreciate all of this until about ten
   years later, as a grad student, trying to build a user interface that would
   convey a lot of data very quickly, for one of these baby-killer grants." 
   This was her term for anything related to the Defense Department. "I was 
   coming up with all kinds of elaborate technical fixes like trying to 
   implant electrodes directly into the brain. Then I remembered my
   grandmother and realised, my God, the human mind can absorb and process 
   an incredible amount of information-if it comes in the right format. The 
   right interface. If you put the right face on it. Want some coffee?"

Human-face-like interfaces can be great, if they're done well. The key point
here is unobtrusiveness; the perfect UI would work exactly as the user
expects it to. If you ask them, "how would you perform task X on a
computer?", that should be the way the UI does it.

This is perhaps not an achieveable goal.


Abusus non tollit usum
(The threat of potential abuse shouldn't be an argument against any use)