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I've only been awake for a few minutes and already I'm fluimmoxed. "The whole idea of using an athropomorphic user interface to the computer is considered to be one of the biggest obstacles in computing." which I took from greyyguy's journal.

I thought like... high computational speeds with more stable hardware and less heat bleed off was pretty high on the list, myself.
hehe .
To think that the thing that bothers a lot of people is the fact that computers don't have faces....


Apr. 24th, 2002 11:39 am (UTC)
Microsoft Bob and the Paperclip are the two most successful products of this idea, ever.

I wasn't quiet sure if you were joking about that or not, seeing as how those were two of the most reviled things ever. But they were good implimentations of trying to make the computer more personable. They just gave the computer an annoying personality.

I agree that on the inside a computer is not like a human, but I don't think that most people are able to get to that level of thinking and change how they look at the technology. The computers and software are sold as time savers and virtual assistants and the like. So the perception is that they are more human-like in their tasks then any other appliance peopel will use. Since they do human-like tasks of reminding us of appointments and the like, it makes sense to give them a human-like interface. That is the whole goal of voice recognition software- to be able to talk to your computer and have your computer understand. You talk to people all the time. It is a natural way of interacting.

The inside of a computer is nothing like the inside of a person, but I would say there are large groups of people out there that don't care what the inside is like. I would also suggest that a more intelligent interface is the logical step in computing. Just as the operating system hides the complexity of the underlying hardware from the software, the improved interface hides the complexity of the software from the user.
Apr. 24th, 2002 01:56 pm (UTC)
Not joking. Years of research went into Bob, lots of them. Likewise the paperclip-- there was actually a version of the help engine behind it in Excel 5.0, and some of the auto-format components were in Excel 5.0 and WinWord 2.0, and the team developing the front end that everybody hates was huge by MS feature-team standards. That paperclip was exactly what people clamored for for decades; I remember reading speculative articles in Byte and Compute! that described it fairly well back in the early eighties. Be careful what you wish for, eh?

People are entirely capable of learning how to use tools, real ones or software, if those tools work in simple, obvious, consistent ways. Most of the windowing UI stuff seen on Windows, the Mac, X-Windows, etc., works fairly well for this. The thing that drives folks up the wall is when the computer doesn't act like a tool, when it works inconsistently. Things like Excel's wacky clipboard behavior or some of the unmarked "special" areas in Microsoft editors that select whole words or lines, or when it gives you the Blue Screen of Death at random intervals for no reason you can see.


A Non-Newtonian Fluid

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