“Never underestimate the disparity between developer excitement and user apathy.” -Ted Dziuba
I was reading this article this morning and came across that line. It’s a good one-liner that encompasses a lot of what I feel sometimes.
I read the tech magazines and have my cool 2600 shirts, but no one can relate. Nearly everyone I know has better things to think about, and they don’t give a shit about what it is I do. That is, until they have a problem with some electronic device. But even then, they just want it fixed. They don’t really care what the problem was. They ask, but they don’t listen to the answer or really care for my explanation.
I like to think I know what I’m doing most of the time, and so far it’s working. It’s just that I’m lonely in my enthusiasm about computing. There is no one here like me.
I’ve read Dvorak on and off for years now. I’m still not sure if I like him, but I read an article today about the media dumbing stuff down for its readers. I get his point, and I readily agree, but there is something missing: reader interest.
John fusses about a New York Times article dumbing down the term “hexadecimal” and continues to talk about how people might should be bombarded with computer related terms and acronyms. He says that if they want to know, they’ll summon a dictionary or Google for a bit of learning. He asks
I just wonder when exactly The Times stopped calling automobiles horseless carriages. And when did it stop using velocipede for bicycle? The Times story reflects a much larger issue: Exactly how much jargon should be incorporated into the general lexicon? We’re not in 1850 anymore.
I must submit my own two cents: Sure, we now call the horseless carriage an automobile, but the average driver does not know what the EGR valve is or does. I doubt they care. My father just had his EGR valve replaced for around $400, and still has no idea what it is. All he knows is that his truck runs smoother now. Stay with me – there is a point.
In the same light, everybody knows, generally, what a computer is. They just don’t know everything about it. Or how it works. Nor do they care, just as long as it keeps working. My mother doesn’t care one bit about the fact that I run Fedora Core 5 in runlevel 3 and with that machine I am able to keep up with my home IP address via a Google Gadget. It also runs home automation tasks with some open soure software called Heyu. As long as my mother can play solitare just as she has for the past ten years, she can’t give a hoot about how much RAM she has, or that it’s DDR. I might note that she is not mechanically enclined, either.
There is nothing wrong with that. I can understand operating systems and set up networks, but I can’t read music or sell insurance. I don’t know what an F-stop is or how to use it (adjust it?). I can change my own oil and manage my finances, but I don’t know that I could provide in-home care for the elderly or disabled. We all have our specialties and don’t have the time or interest to learn others, John C. Dvorak included.
John Mayer recently posted about the DualDisc and its failure. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a disc with two capabilities. On one side it’s a CD just like any other, but on the other side is DVD content. Just like a dual-layer DVD, but with one layer of CD content, readable from the other side of the disc. Marvelous idea in my opinion, but apparently not for a musician who is pressured to find crap to put on the DVD side. This video is an illustration of the small production John Mayer created to put on the DVD side of his DualDisc. He also says “the DualDisc was so aptly named as only two of them were sold, I thought you might like to see.”
I admit that I own one of those DualDiscs.
This probably helped engineers get started on the dual-mode HD-DVD/Blu-Ray discs (not a bad idea if companies can’t agree, though there really should be just one friggin’ format) so we can ignore the hype of either company.