[thelist] long, but gentle, rant about the non-ubiquity of technological knowledge (was RE:Newsletter as HTML Email)

Steven Streight steven.streight at gmail.com
Thu Feb 1 10:26:44 CST 2007

The feeling is mutual I assure you. I like all the fiery debates that go on
here, relatively free from trolling and baiting and flaming.

I cannot verify the veracity of my opinions and conclusions without vigorous
challenges from my peers. I want to be told that I'm full of it and crazy.
That's how I test my thoughts.


To betray my own position, which I still maintain, and to score a point on
your side, have you seen that new HP machine that is I guess like CompuServe
or AOL, a subscription service that lets people get "emails" and photos,
without having an email client? I have to Google to get the name of it. Here
in Peoria, they are advertising it on TV a lot.

On 2/1/07, Joel D Canfield <joel at streamliine.com> wrote:
> > With all due respect Joel, your thesis contradicts all the
> > reports I get
> > from Nielsen Net Ratings and other internet usage trackers on
> > how ecommerce,
> > for one example, is skyrocketing.
> >
> > Anecdotal evidence is good, but not conclusive in the face of well
> > researched statistics.
> that research simply means lots of people are using the internet. it
> does not logically follow that, therefore, *everyone* can be expected to
> use the internet. it especially does not follow that the aforementioned
> 'everyone' is willing to *learn some new skill* in order to use the
> internet. my contention is that the number of people who, rather than
> learning about technology, will find another way to accomplish their
> goals, is larger than one might think. and rather than fussing about
> whether or not empirical data is available to support that claim, I'll
> address that below . . .
> > Luddites are vanishing.
> only from internet usage statistics, not from the planet :)
> > Cavemen have webcams. Savage tribes
> > are using email.
> > It is a revolution, and it's up to us to Educate Our Family,
> > Friends, and Clients.
> I don't think it is. That's exactly my point. [aside: my point is *not*
> that the internet is not useful, widespread, improving, and a darn good
> way to make a living without which I would be sad indeed]
> Was it the automobile maker's job to teach drivers how to shift,
> manually advance the spark, and do all the really geeky mechanical
> things it took to drive a car at the turn of the last century? if it
> was, why do virtually all cars on the road today do away with what's
> complex about driving a car, and do everything possible to make it
> easier? (yes, some folks prefer a manual transmission, and in some cases
> it's a superior mechanical device, but it's not because teaching the
> user was a better choice than simplifying the device.)
> and that *is* my point - it's *not* our job to educate *anyone* (except
> our own children) - it is our job to make technology so usable, so
> intelligent, so advanced, that it requires no education to use it.
> My Mom does not want a computer. It is not my job to 'educate' her into
> a different perspective.
> My client couldn't care less about how search engine optimization works,
> or in some cases, even if it *does* work. Since I'm building it into
> their site whether they ask for it or not, it's not my job to educate
> them about SEO (unless they ask, in which case, since serving my client
> is my job, answering their question is part of the job.)
> My friend uses a computer at work, in order to track info on the trusses
> his company sells and the clients who buy them. If I can build a better
> tool to do that, he'll buy it - but it's not my job to teach him some
> new skill in order to use the tool I build, it's my job to make a tool
> that doesn't require instructions. (Obviously I subscribe heavily to the
> Don Norman school of 'if it needs instructions it's too complicated.')
> I understand your perspective, Steven - I spent the first 3/4 of my life
> trying to teach the people around me how great technology was. One day I
> realized that they don't care. They really don't. And they're not dying
> off; they actually reproduce at about the same rate as geeks (actually,
> geeks might even have a lower reproduction rate but that's another
> subject.)
> And, as you did, I say it all with the respect you're due, Steven;
> you're an intelligent congenial person and I much enjoy the
> conversations we've had here and offline. I'm always glad to have my
> thinking juices prompted, especially when I need them for that song I'm
> supposed to be writing just to the right in that other window -->
> joel
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Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate
Web Usability. Blog Revolution. Ecommerce.


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