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Re: What's an even easier explanation how to setup gnus ...


From: W. Greenhouse
Subject: Re: What's an even easier explanation how to setup gnus ...
Date: Tue, 03 Sep 2013 16:44:40 +0000
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3 (gnu/linux)

Richard Riley <address@hidden> writes:

> Rustom Mody <address@hidden> writes:

[...]

>> The situation is reversed today -- the modern kid expects everything
>> to run without study.  This need not be a good thing -- the
>> 'intuitive' interface may in fact be the stupid interface; does not
>> change the fact that its the universal expectation.

> And for a good reason. The majority of people want to *use* SW not
> learn how it works or figure out its internals. Of course most of us
> here are emacs users so we're not normal - but I'm always a little
> surprised when a dinosaur then thinks everyone should be that way as
> if its somehow "better" - its not. Most people *use* the SW to be
> productive in something else.

The problem is that the expectation that they can use computers without
study is, simply, a wrong expectation.  The fact of the matter is that
those kids just can't use computers.[1]  Or they can, but only within
very limited parameters.  The notion that they are "digital natives"
thanks to touchscreens and GUIs is simply false.  They are digital
troglodytes, digital Neanderthals, because our countries have failed to
teach them to be anything better.

As for workers in various fields who use computers as part of their
work, they don't think of themselves as technical workers, but
nonetheless, they are expected to be highly competent with certain
software, and even hired on the basis of experience with certain
software.  So, it turns out that as far as doing real work, you need to
put in years of practice with the technology anyway.  Dealing with
customer support tickets in a phone bank or running optimization
problems in a spreadsheet are not even jobs that we think of as computer
programming jobs, but nonetheless they are, and the people doing them
either received training, or they blundered their way through years of
learning the best practices for that job.  Either way, some GUI did not
teach them how to do it in a Blinding Flash of the Obvious.

Gnus may be a very poor choice of mailclient for someone whose needs are
really met by the increasingly limited interfaces of popular webmail or
mobile applications (want not to top-post in Gmail?  Sorry, you can't
anymore!).  But for users like the ones I describe in the second
paragraph, who are in jobs that make high demands of their computer
skills but don't call themselves computing jobs, an Emacs-based
mailclient was and remains an excellent choice.  Discussing Amazon's old
Emacs-based interface for customer service employees, Steve Yegge wrote:

> People still love it. To this very day, I still have to listen to long
> stories from our non-technical folks about how much they miss
> Mailman. I'm not shitting you. Last Christmas I was at an Amazon party,
> some party I have no idea how I got invited to, filled with business
> people, all of them much prettier and more charming than me and the
> folks I work with here in the Furnace, the Boiler Room of Amazon. Four
> young women found out I was in Customer Service, cornered me, and talked
> for fifteen minutes about how much they missed Mailman and Emacs, and
> how Arizona (the JSP replacement we'd spent years developing) still just
> wasn't doing it for them. [2]

And again, these were not people whose job is to write software, or who
necessarily know anything about writing software.  These were precisely
people whose job it was to be productive in something else: dealing with
upset customers.

Go back to your iPad, Richard.

Footnotes: 
[1]  http://coding2learn.org/blog/2013/07/29/kids-cant-use-computers/

[2]  https://sites.google.com/site/steveyegge2/tour-de-babel

--
Best,
WGG




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