Way Out of the Box

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

Computer people don't understand computers. Oh, they understand the technicalities all right, but they don't understand the possibilities. Most of all, they don't understand that the computer world is entirely built out of artificial, arbitrary constructs. Word processing, spreadsheet, database aren't fundamental, they're just different ideas that different guys have whomped up, ideas that could be totally different in their structure. But these ideas have a plausible air that has set like concrete into a seeming reality. Macintosh and Windows look alike, therefore that must be reality, right? Wrong. Apple and Windows are like Ford and Chevrolet (or perhaps Tweedledum and Tweedledee), who in their co-imitation create a stereo illusion that seems like reality. The computer guys don't understand computers in all their manifold possibilities; they think today's conventions are how things really are, and so that's what they tell all the new victims. So-called "computer literacy" is an illusion: they train you in today's strange conventions and constructs-- (Desktop? This to you looks like a desktop? A vertical desktop?) --and tell you that's what computers really are. Wrong. Today's computer constructs were made up in situations that ranged from emergency to academia, which have been piled up into a seemingly meaningful whole. Yet the world of the screen could be anything at all, not just the imitation of paper. But everybody seems to think the basic designs are finished. It's just like "Space, we've done that!" -- a few inches of exploration and some people think it's over.

Pull Quotes: 

In the old days, you could run any program on any data, and if you didn't like the results, throw them away. But the Macintosh ended that. You didn't own your data any more. THEY owned your data. THEY chose the options, since you couldn't program. And you could only do what THEY allowed you-- those anointed official developers.

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Record posted by: 
Luciana Gattass