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39

The dumbing down of programming : some thoughts on programming, knowing, and the nature of "easy"

1
terms
4
notes

Ullman, E. (2017). The dumbing down of programming : some thoughts on programming, knowing, and the nature of "easy". In Ullman, E. Life in Code: A Personal History of Technology. MCD, pp. 39-55

44

I feared for the health of my ENTER key. I looked for manuals: found none. Searcched for help disks: hiding somewhere in the mass of CDs Microsoft had relentlessly sent me. Two hours of pawing through stacks of disks. Horns of rush-hour traffic. Light fading from the sky. Disks tumbling to the floor.

—p.44 by Ellen Ullman 1 year, 5 months ago

I feared for the health of my ENTER key. I looked for manuals: found none. Searcched for help disks: hiding somewhere in the mass of CDs Microsoft had relentlessly sent me. Two hours of pawing through stacks of disks. Horns of rush-hour traffic. Light fading from the sky. Disks tumbling to the floor.

—p.44 by Ellen Ullman 1 year, 5 months ago
47

[...] The mere impulse toward Linux had led me into an act of desktop archaeology. And down under all those piles of stuff, the secret was written: we build our computers the way we build our cities - over time, without a plan, on top of ruins.

pretty

—p.47 by Ellen Ullman 1 year, 5 months ago

[...] The mere impulse toward Linux had led me into an act of desktop archaeology. And down under all those piles of stuff, the secret was written: we build our computers the way we build our cities - over time, without a plan, on top of ruins.

pretty

—p.47 by Ellen Ullman 1 year, 5 months ago

a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain

47

The computer was suddenly revealed as palimpsest

—p.47 by Ellen Ullman
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

The computer was suddenly revealed as palimpsest

—p.47 by Ellen Ullman
notable
1 year, 5 months ago
54

An immense calm settled over the room. We were reminded that software engineering was not about right and wrong but only better and worse, solutions that solved some problems while ignoring or exacerbating others. That the machine the world wants to see as possessing some supreme power and intelligence was indeed intelligent, but only as we humans are: full of hedge and error, brilliance and backtrack and compromise.

Linus Torvalds talk about Linux design tradeoffs

—p.54 by Ellen Ullman 1 year, 5 months ago

An immense calm settled over the room. We were reminded that software engineering was not about right and wrong but only better and worse, solutions that solved some problems while ignoring or exacerbating others. That the machine the world wants to see as possessing some supreme power and intelligence was indeed intelligent, but only as we humans are: full of hedge and error, brilliance and backtrack and compromise.

Linus Torvalds talk about Linux design tradeoffs

—p.54 by Ellen Ullman 1 year, 5 months ago
55

Above us, projected onto a screen no one is looking at, is the Netscape browser source code. I stare at it: it's blurry from the projector's unfocused red-blue-green guns, unreadable as it scrolls frantically down. There is something foreboding in this blur and hurry. The mood feels forced. Despite the band and the lights and Andreessen's triumphant pass through the room, I cannot convince myself that technologists truly do drive computing, that it is not all marketing; cannot convince myself that, if we only get the source code into the hands of people who understand it, we will redeem our human souls.

—p.55 by Ellen Ullman 1 year, 5 months ago

Above us, projected onto a screen no one is looking at, is the Netscape browser source code. I stare at it: it's blurry from the projector's unfocused red-blue-green guns, unreadable as it scrolls frantically down. There is something foreboding in this blur and hurry. The mood feels forced. Despite the band and the lights and Andreessen's triumphant pass through the room, I cannot convince myself that technologists truly do drive computing, that it is not all marketing; cannot convince myself that, if we only get the source code into the hands of people who understand it, we will redeem our human souls.

—p.55 by Ellen Ullman 1 year, 5 months ago