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What we don't understand
By Dave Winer on Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 7:47 AM.

It would be easy to read this and feel superior, but don't.  permalink

Imagine you knew nothing about computers and somehone handed you a Macintosh and told you to figure it out. permalink

How long would it take you to figure out what each of the applications did, or even what an application is, and how they differ and how they're similar. permalink

Suppose you found your way all the way to WordPress, think about how many layers of menus and user interfaces you had to master just to get there. permalink

There's the menubar at the top of the screen. The dock at the bottom of the screen. Then, when you launch the web browser, there's a new menu at the top of the screen (and did you notice or did you just think it was the same menu). Then when you get to WordPress, it has its own menu at the top of its screen. But above that menu there are things you click that kind of act like menus that take you away (toolbar icons). WordPress has several kinds of menus. The one running across the top of its screen and the one running down the left. permalink

Okay, someone told you to click OK when the machine asks you to install new software. You have to enter your special password to get it to do that. But don't click OK when you're at a web site or in an email. How do you know which you're in? permalink

And icons. Sometimes you click them once and sometimes you click them twice.  permalink

You don't see all of these layers of complexity either because you were around when each one came online (I was) or you just forgot what it was like to be presented with it for the first time. I have no idea what it was like to be a child who had these things since before they can remember, but I know a few undergrads at NYU who I'm going to ask about this. permalink

My mother, on the other hand, has been using computers since before they were born, she started with the Mac in 1985 or so, but like someone who learned to speak another language as a child, she sees the bewildering complexity of our language whenever she does things that we take for granted. permalink

You might say don't worry, her generation won't be here much longer, but that's my mom you're talking about. And further, how much effort are we wasting pushing around all these unnecessary concepts? Too much. permalink

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