Going mental: the day it all made sense

October 22, 2010

There have been a number of defining moments in my career, but for the purposes of this blog two stand out above the rest. The first was the day I, a computer novice, looked around at my colleagues and realized they considered me a computer expert. I remember thinking, “What in the world happened? Just a few years ago I was a complete newcomer. Why do I suddenly find myself being referenced as the expert?”  That realization started a chain reaction of self-analysis and tracking back through time to figure out why I had such a good grasp of computing technology while others still seemed to be “hunting and pecking.” And that led me the second big realization — the answer to my search: Read the rest of this entry »

You’re cutting out, do you copy?

October 11, 2010

I overheard two people working at a computer, one an apparently skilled user and the other a less-skilled observer. I believe the user was highlighting and either cutting or copying text, pasting it somewhere else in the document they were both working on.

Observer: “How are you making it highlight that?”

User: “I’m clicking it like this.”

Observer: “Oh! Really?”

User: “Uh huh.”

Observer: “But how do you keep doing that without going up to the top?” (I assume the observer was referring to the menu bar, probably the Cut option.)

User: “I’m using the keyboard.”

Observer: “Oh! I wondered how you were making it disappear without going up to the top.” Read the rest of this entry »

My inner Ted Nelson

October 4, 2010

I’ve recently been reading quotes by Theodor Nelson, the early computer technology thinker, and finding some of his thoughts remarkably similar to (and yet others at odds with) my ideas on core concepts, interfaces, and the rationale behind The Ultimate PC Primer. Some people read Ted’s statements and dismiss him as a curmudgeon in modern times. I don’t subscribe wholesale to all of his ideas, but I definitely think he has a great number of insightful perspectives on technology and the state of computing that we can learn from.

Ted’s motto is allegedly:

A user interface should be so simple that a beginner in an emergency can understand it within ten seconds.

I largely agree with the intention behind the motto, and I think there are two ways to approach that issue. Read the rest of this entry »

A casual sports fan’s request of Google, Microsoft, or Apple

October 4, 2010

Just briefly, I’m going to go off-topic with a challengeI have for Google, Microsoft, or Apple to solve… because I have an admittedly selfish dream. Read the rest of this entry »