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w1k0 03-19-2013 02:22 AM

Civilization totters
 
Let’s start from the quotation from Wikipedia about soroban (Japanese abacus):

Quote:

On November 12, 1946, a contest was held in Tokyo between the Japanese soroban, used by Kiyoshi Matsuzaki, and an electric calculator, operated by US Army Private Thomas Nathan Wood. The bases for scoring in the contest were speed and accuracy of results in all four basic arithmetic operations and a problem which combines all four. The soroban won 4 to 1, with the electric calculator prevailing in multiplication.

About the event, the Nippon Times newspaper reported that “Civilization ... tottered” that day, while the Stars and Stripes newspaper described the soroban’s “decisive” victory as an event in which “the machine age took a step backward...”.
Everyone who observes the world and thinks about it in a critical way could draw such a conclusion a dozen times a day: “the civilization totters”. It’s impossible to count all those steps backward.

I could present here a list of “100 the most annoying contemporary ideas”. Instead of that I’ll give you just one example (rather long and rather boring). What you’ll do with that is up to you.

The keyword is: “user-friendliness”. If you comprehend that stupid idea and perceive the pernicious results of it everyday you don’t have to read the rest of that post at all. You can start simply to comment that topic or you may read the last section of the present post if need be passing over two huge ones (long and boring – you’re warned!).

***

When I buy a new device or install a new program I have very often an overwhelming impression that these modern devices and programs are designed to decrease the user’s productivity – my productivity. I’ll describe that here on the example of OpenOffice.org, LibreOffice, and Apache OpenOffice.

Some time ago I switched from OpenOffice.org to LibreOffice. I was disappointed with that new piece of the software a bit from the very beginning.

In OpenOffice.org when one wanted to find some word, for example “find”, in order to replace its every other instance with “seek” it was enough to press Ctrl+F, type the sought word, press Enter, (the program highlights the first occurrence), press Esc, edit the word, and press Ctrl+Shift+F, Ctrl+Shift+F to find the next occurrence that has to be changed. (The total is: 3 keyboard shortcuts, 2 keys, and the sought word written just once plus of course ignored here the replacing word).

In LibreOffice in the same situation it’s necessary: to press Ctrl+F, type the sought word, press Enter, (the program highlights the first occurrence), press Esc, edit the word, press Ctrl+F, type the sought word once again, press Enter, Enter to find the next occurrence that has to be changed, and then press Esc to edit the word. (The total is: 2 keyboard shortcuts, 5 keys, and the sought word written 2 times plus ignored here the replacing word).

The difference isn’t stunning in the above example but when the word “find” appears 10 times in the text and one would like to replace every other of these occurrences with “seek” the situation is much worse.

In OpenOffice.org there’s necessary to use 1 keyboard shortcut and 2 keys at the beginning, type the sought word in the meantime just once, and then it’s enough to use one keyboard shortcut 9 times to find each consecutive occurrence. The total in such a case is: 10 keyboard shortcuts, 2 keys, and the sought word written just once.

In LibreOffice the total in such a case is: 6 keyboard shortcuts, 17 keys, and the sought word written 5 times.

(I ignored in the above description the replacing word because in both cases it’s necessary to type it 5 times or – that’s the better idea – write it and copy with Ctrl+C once and then just paste it with Ctrl+V four times.)

If one has to replace 5 from among 10 occurrences of “find” with “seek” using OpenOffice.org she presses 16 keys or keyboard shortcuts in total (plus the replacing words) while using LibreOffice she presses 43 keys or keyboard shortcuts in total (plus the replacing words).

The word “find” is fortunately short. The situation worsens when one has to replace 5 from among 10 occurrences of “internationalization” with “globalization”. In such a case the score OpenOffice.org vs LibreOffice is 32 keys vs 123 keys. LibreOffice won!

I used the above slightly artificial example for the illustration purposes only because in such a case the better solution is of course to use Edit | Find & Replace option (Ctrl+F in OpenOffice.org or Ctrl+H in new LibreOffice) and then skip or replace the consecutive occurrences. What I’d like to communicate using such an example is that for me to use the sophisticated sequence required by LibreOffice is annoying from the very first time because I know that it could be much simpler – and it was in OpenOffice.org.

The idea by the LibreOffice developers was to show that option to the inexperienced users in the bottom bar the same way it’s showed by the web browsers. Unfortunately as a result the experienced users suffer because they have to use that overcomplicated technique.

***

I lived with that annoyance for some time until I installed LibreOffice 4.0.0.3. That version introduced the consecutive annoyance.

When I used OpenOffice.org I registered the default template using File | Templates | Organize... option just once. Then it was enough to use Ctrl+N keyboard shortcut to open a new document using that template. (The total: 1 keyboard shortcut.)

In new LibreOffice Ctrl+N opens the new document but it ignores the template stored in ~/.config/libreoffice/4/user/template directory. To open the document using the template one has to use File | New | Templates option, then double-click “My Templates”, and finally double-click the chosen template. (The total: 7 clicks.)

I produce the dozens of the documents each day. As a result if I used LibreOffice I’d have to click here and there about 100 times daily for nothing (i.e. for the stupid idea of “user-friendliness”).

The idea by the LibreOffice developers was to made templates more accessible for the inexperienced users because good old File | Templates | Organize... option was too difficult for the average man to comprehend while the stupid clicking here and there is perfectly intelligible for him or her.

The same day when I installed LibreOffice 4.0.0.3 I decided to switch to Apache OpenOffice 3.4.0. It works the same way as good old OpenOffice.org because its developers fortunately missed the idea of “user-friendliness” so far.

***

The sick idea of “user-friendliness” is ubiquitous.

MS Windows users are so dumb that Microsoft managed to convince the hardware manufacturers to put two special keys on all computer keyboards. The first key emulates Ctrl+Esc keyboard shortcut and the latter – less useful key – emulates some three-keys keyboard shortcut including F10, F11, or F12 key (I don’t remember that now because I used MS Windows for the last time 13 years ago but show me the machine with MS Windows and I’ll find that keyboard shortcut in less than 30 seconds). Dumb MS Windows users can’t memorize two keyboard shortcuts and – as a result – I have to suffer just looking at my keyboard (using it is even bigger suffering than looking at it). I don’t understand that. It’s much easier to press blindly Ctrl+Esc keyboard shortcut than hit that magic key squeezed between left Ctrl and Alt. So MS Windows users have to be really dumb. That’s the stupidest example of “user-friendliness” that I recalled but maybe you’ll manage to give us even more stupid example.

The “user-friendliness” infects probably all devices and all software (including the firmware used in different devices such as mobile phones, DVD/HD players, e-readers, etc.). The manufacturers of these utilities try to sell them to the huge masses so they implement different conveniences which may help inexperienced users supposedly but at the same time cause headache for the experienced users. To worsen the things these producers don’t improve their software nor put the open source code for the public use. No way! Their only activity is to disable the non-official jailbreaks in a new version of the firmware.

I barely understand the producers of the utilities sold to the masses (they prefer to keep users in an ignorance than to teach them – so they don’t believe in the humankind) but I can’t comprehend at all the developers of free software such as LibreOffice. They don’t sell their products so making them “user-friendly” is pointless in my humble opinion. Fortunately there are still some alternative programs such as Apache OpenOffice. The worse situation is with the devices. I always try to find the best ones for me – that means as user-unfriendly as possible – but these devices are still too “user-friendly” for me and they deteriorate my productivity.

So: the civilization totters.

ukiuki 03-19-2013 05:30 AM

Think or not to think, there is no the question, don't think. To buy or not to buy, there is no question, buy. That is the motto for the masses today.

It is obvious by now the present time and status of "civilization", the masses are lead to behave in a way and not to think or to question, but to swallow what is presented to them in an already "chewed"(user-friendly) state, where the thinking is put aside for the sake of this process, "don't think, buy". This is pretty much how the whole thing(system) works.

Now when we think about the OpenOffice with its "user-friendly", one may think, it is to bring less skilled users and the casual computer users to GNU/Linux but at what cost? Which reminds us another bit of the whole thing, which is: many people want to click and get the job done, so: "don't think, click" or "don't think, hit that key" , Now if developers could make software in a similar philosophy as the abacus/suapan/soroban devices, then people would be benefited leading them to think.
See also:Subproblem #5a

But yet make software or even hardware following the abacus philosophy doesn't remove the root of the problem which is related to the motto, mega corporations don't want that to change it because it is bad for business. It is also a matter of education and culture, remove those from people and they will stop thinking.

So if the system don't want us to have education, culture and to be thinkers, lets not depend on them but rather lets teach each other, educate each other to think and spread this culture.

Regards

yowi 03-19-2013 07:22 AM

Fortunately there's still the old editors. I like vi, I find it wonderfully productive. A little clumsy and arcane at first but powerful and fast with proficiency, like the abacus. With bash's vi editor mode suddenly the whole computer starts to respond as fast as I think.
Once upon a time resources were scarce and operators aspired to efficiency, their legacy lives on.

JWJones 03-19-2013 10:27 AM

In terms of computer operating systems, what's often considered the bastion of "user-friendliness" is the Mac OS. As a prepress technician in the commercial printing industry, I use it 9-10 hours a day, 5 days a week. It was Apple, with the Mac OS, that really popularized the mouse-driven GUI.

Having used Macs since 1986, I have gotten to the point where I can do a great many things without having to use the mouse, and in fact find it fairly counterproductive and annoying when I am forced to use the mouse. One of the pieces of software I use most on a daily basis, a Java-based application, is entirely mouse-driven. Very irritating.

When I have to explain to others how to do something in the Mac OS, such as when training new employees or helping my wife on the iMac at home, my default is to tell them the keyboard shortcuts to achieve the task at hand. This is invariably met with puzzled, befuddled looks of confusion. I then need to change my thinking to tell them what to do using the mouse, all the while trying to explain how much easier and quicker it would be to remember the keyboard commands to achieve the same results. But people don't want to hear it, they want to grab the mouse and point and click.

Civilization totters, indeed.

DavidMcCann 03-19-2013 01:20 PM

Quote:

The mass crushes beneath it everything that is different, everything that is excellent, individual, qualified and select. Anybody who is not like everybody, who does not think like everybody, runs the risk of being eliminated.
The Revolt of the Masses, Ortega y Gasset

JWJones 03-20-2013 08:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ukiuki (Post 4914357)

Thanks for that link, great article.

jamison20000e 03-20-2013 08:59 AM

edu.Thanks... :D

TobiSGD 03-20-2013 12:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by w1k0 (Post 4914273)
In OpenOffice.org when one wanted to find some word, for example “find”, in order to replace its every other instance with “seek” it was enough to press Ctrl+F, type the sought word, press Enter, (the program highlights the first occurrence), press Esc, edit the word, and press Ctrl+Shift+F, Ctrl+Shift+F to find the next occurrence that has to be changed. (The total is: 3 keyboard shortcuts, 2 keys, and the sought word written just once plus of course ignored here the replacing word).

In LibreOffice in the same situation it’s necessary: to press Ctrl+F, type the sought word, press Enter, (the program highlights the first occurrence), press Esc, edit the word, press Ctrl+F, type the sought word once again, press Enter, Enter to find the next occurrence that has to be changed, and then press Esc to edit the word. (The total is: 2 keyboard shortcuts, 5 keys, and the sought word written 2 times plus ignored here the replacing word).

The difference isn’t stunning in the above example but when the word “find” appears 10 times in the text and one would like to replace every other of these occurrences with “seek” the situation is much worse.

In OpenOffice.org there’s necessary to use 1 keyboard shortcut and 2 keys at the beginning, type the sought word in the meantime just once, and then it’s enough to use one keyboard shortcut 9 times to find each consecutive occurrence. The total in such a case is: 10 keyboard shortcuts, 2 keys, and the sought word written just once.

In LibreOffice the total in such a case is: 6 keyboard shortcuts, 17 keys, and the sought word written 5 times.

(I ignored in the above description the replacing word because in both cases it’s necessary to type it 5 times or – that’s the better idea – write it and copy with Ctrl+C once and then just paste it with Ctrl+V four times.)

If one has to replace 5 from among 10 occurrences of “find” with “seek” using OpenOffice.org she presses 16 keys or keyboard shortcuts in total (plus the replacing words) while using LibreOffice she presses 43 keys or keyboard shortcuts in total (plus the replacing words).

The word “find” is fortunately short. The situation worsens when one has to replace 5 from among 10 occurrences of “internationalization” with “globalization”. In such a case the score OpenOffice.org vs LibreOffice is 32 keys vs 123 keys. LibreOffice won!

I have problems to grasp want you want to tell us. The real problem here, as I can see it, is that you actually simply use the wrong tool for the task. Why do you use the "find"-tool when what you actually want to do is replacing stuff? Use Ctrl+h ("Find & Replace") instead of Ctrl+f ("Find"), will make your life much easier, it has keyboard shortcuts to let you do all the actions you need, without you repeatedly having to to type anything but the action you want to take.

w1k0 04-12-2013 07:14 PM

ukiuki,

Great post. Thank you very much!


yowi,

Thank you!


eyeofliberty,

Nice post. I am glad that we think the same way.


DavidMcCann,

Thanks!


TobiSGD,

Quote:

Originally Posted by TobiSGD (Post 4915308)
Use Ctrl+h ("Find & Replace") instead of Ctrl+f ("Find"), will make your life much easier, it has keyboard shortcuts to let you do all the actions you need, without you repeatedly having to to type anything but the action you want to take.

LibreOffice developers introduced that useful keyboard shortcut not until in the newest version of the suite introducing at the same time the horrible solution concerning the templates. I really doubt any ordinary user will prepare and use a template despite that futile “user-friendly” implementation. On the other hand some experienced users ran away from LibreOffice.

w1k0 04-12-2013 07:22 PM

The Sources of the Ideas

● The world deteriorates and is headed for a collapse (according to Plato the world recedes from its idea which was its model).

● The world develops and pursues an excellence (according to Aristotle the world approaches its form which is its goal).

● The world develops and deteriorates at the same time (according to Heraclitus the opposites coexist in each entity and in the whole world).

● The world does not exist (according to Parmenides only timeless, uniform, necessary, and unchanging unity exists).

● “I know that I know nothing” (according to Socrates there is no an absolute certainty but only a partial confidence).

enine 04-16-2013 07:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eyeofliberty (Post 4914514)
In terms of computer operating systems, what's often considered the bastion of "user-friendliness" is the Mac OS.

Which illustrates the OP's issue, I find MAC OS to be the most annoying and unfriendly to use because they have worked so much to make it 'friendly' to the new user.

They thing you must learn from all of this is:

Every OS sucks

JWJones 04-16-2013 11:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by enine (Post 4932344)
Which illustrates the OP's issue, I find MAC OS to be the most annoying and unfriendly to use because they have worked so much to make it 'friendly' to the new user.

They thing you must learn from all of this is:

Every OS sucks

At the risk of "biting the hand that feeds me," (I use the Mac OS 9-10 hours daily, as I work in the print industry) I agree. One of the saving graces of the Mac OS, however, is that it does have a bash shell! And it's not Windows. Although I tend to find it slow, it is, in my experience, very stable. We have an iMac at home that the wife and kids use, primarily, that has some serious uptime. The only time it's restarted is for software updates that require it.

And yes, every OS sucks.

w1k0 04-16-2013 03:46 PM

A shell is a crucial tool for the experienced computer users. MS Windows systems were for a long time the overlays working on the top of MS-DOS. That poor environment was the strongest asset of the systems made by Microsoft. Then it disappeared.

I related to that in the old thread: Why I don’t use Windows? My arguments are similar to these gathered in “Linux is Not Windows” article pointed by ukiuki but much shorter.

Before you decide to revitalize the mentioned thread posting there some new content make sure that you read it entire in order to avoid repeating the same arguments for the next time. Especially do not try to argue that some third party software such as Cygwin can turn MS Windows into UNIX because it can not. Turning MS Windows into UNIX has the same sense as turning GNU/Linux into MS Windows (do you remember Lindows project called later Linspire?).

Do not try to argue as well that there is a lot of free software working in MS Windows such as Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice.org, GIMP, Inkscape, MPlayer, etc. These programs appeared because FLOSS came into existence and evolved thanks to the increasing popularity of GNU/Linux systems. So MS Windows users owe that software GNU/Linux users. GNU/Linux users owe Microsoft systems just some poorly designed desktop environments.


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