[FoRK] It saddens and disturbs me.

Luis Villa <luis at tieguy.org> on Fri Nov 2 09:46:22 PDT 2007

(applause)

On 11/2/07, Damien Morton <dmorton at bitfurnace.com> wrote:
> http://dougfinke.com/blog/?p=165#comment-879
>
> As we sit here in <large financial district>, at one of the centers of
> western civilisation, working for <large financial institution>, a
> pinnacle of western civilisation in and of itself, it is sometimes
> important to reflect on the fact that we got here by nature of us being
> a tool using species. Over thousands of years, starting with flaky stone
> and fire-hardened pointed sticks, we have developed tools that have
> enabled us to build tools, which in turn have enabled us to build ever
> more precise and powerful tools, culminating in tools which allow us to
> control and shape atoms and mountains, bits and terabytes; gigawatts.
>
> It saddens and disturbs me when my tool using and tool making nature is
> constrained.
>
> It saddens and disturbs me because my clients, the traders, who have
> pointy heads from being pushed up so high in the pyramid that is this
> organisation, drive to work in their BMWs and Mercedes, in which every
> detail and every surface has loving attention paid to it, only to sit
> down at work and use software whose functionality may have loving detail
> devoted to it, but whos surface is composed of scraps scrounged from …
> wherever.
>
> In another organisation, this problem would be solved by someone
> whipping out their credit card and buying a set of clip art and icons;
> tools made by specialists for just this exact purpose; tools freely and
> widely used around the world; tools that have been available for a
> decade or more; tools that make the users experience better, clearer,
> more pleasant, less error-prone; tools that cost less than a few hundred
> dollars.
>
> And yet, time and again, I see emails pleading for such tools.
> Developers wanting no more than to provide a better experience for their
> clients, pleading for the tools they need to do so. And yet no such
> tools are forthcoming.
>
> We hear about mysterious legal issues; but such things just confuse us.
> Why do we need lawyers and administrators in multiple separate and
> disinterested departments to purchase $99 clip-art and icons? We
> understand many things; we understand computers, which are amongst the
> most complex things ever created by mankind; we further understand how
> to meld those computers into vast societies of machines through which
> the knowledge of mankind flows daily, but we do not understand why, oh
> why, we cant have some bloody icons.
>
> Icons are only the most visible failure, but I know there are other
> tools we could be using; tools that would enhance productivity, reduce
> errors, and enable delivery of better products. Its dysfunctional that
> there isnt a simple and effective path to acquiring those tools. Ive
> watched my colleagues beat their heads raw and bloody trying to
> introduce new tools, and Ive watched colleagues give up all hope,
> curling into foetal positions and blubbering the same phrase over and
> over again, why, why why?
>
> It saddens and disturbs me.


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