Old Age (Was: More Firefox Annoyances)

Wade Curry wade-ml-kplug at syntaxman.org
Thu Jul 14 23:55:37 PDT 2005

Chris Mauricio(cmauricio at earthlink.net)@Thu, Jul 14, 2005 at 11:01:26AM -0700:
> I have this image in my head of a 3 ( or more )  level user experience. The 
> first time you log in, you are presented with a choice-
> 1) Newbie - HELP ME OBI WAN...
> 2 ) Intermediate -  Keep me from doing too much damage
> 3) Guru  -Stay out of my way.
> As one learns to use a computer, their level of understanding evolves, but the 
> interface stays the same, It treats every user the same, and every user is 
> treated like a newbie. The interface never matures with the user.  dialogue 
> boxes and confirmations become a detraction, not a benefit. In windows, I 
> spent more time clicking on "OK" and "NEXT" than getting the work done. I 
> just don't need my hand held anymore. It would be nice to disable all 
> warnings, disable all confirmations... in windows, it's just not possible. 

If it were only a newbie v. expert issue, then that wouldn't be so
bad.  It could be addressed with some "preset configurations" for 3
or 4 levels of "expertise".  My perception of the trend is that
there are people writing software who have only ever understood the
Windows world.  They have no clue that there exist people that
don't want massively integrated functionality in their apps, or to
have everything be strictly gui.

Another thing I see a lot of is the assumption that iff (no typo)
it is gui, then it is user friendly.  So now we have things that
sysadmins usually could do, that can only easily be configured by
the user in a gui dialog.  For my 4-5 users on my system, I would 
_much_ rather have the ability to put a default (human
comprehensible) configuration file in /etc/, and have the
~user/.rcfile be modifiable by a script.

Instead of making it easier, my family has to learn how to manage
settings for apps and printers, and whatever else... usually that
means that I have to log in as them to show them how.  This isn't
_always_ the case, but it happens more as time goes on.  Sometimes
I hear people say that gnome uses text files for configuration, but
this overlooks the fact that there isn't an easy way to set system
wide settings, and that the text files are generally full of
session information. They're a pain in the neck to understand.
Makes me long for the old days of using afterstep on slackware..

Wade Curry

sysadmin to 

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