On Sun, 24 May 2020 19:19:09 GMT, ***@kithrup.com (Dorothy J
Post by Dorothy J Heydt Post by Paul S Person
That is similar to my theory about the problem with most user
the people who actually know how the program works have no idea at all
how a new user would approach it or what they would need to know
And/or they assume that everybody already knows it.
Or they assumed, when writing the documentation, that they had
put something entirely crucial, that they have known during the
whole development period, which in fact they didn't put in.
There was the time when the original Macintosh was about to come
out, and the Computer Center at UC Berkeley was sent one to test
out, along with its instruction book. I knew a smidgen about
computers (mostly BSD UNIX) and I knew how to write readable
text, so I volunteered to test it.
I could make it boot up (turn on the power), but I couldn't make
it do anything else. I called on my husband (he of the
decades-long experience in many systems and languages) for help,
and he couldn't make it speak either. There sat these icons on
the desktop, but we couldn't open them.
Then, quite by accident, I *double-clicked* on one of the icons
and it opened. Aha, we said, *that's* how you do it. Where in
the instruction does it say so?
So we read the instructions from cover to cover. Nowhere did it
say "to open a program, double-click on the appropriate icon."
Everybody at Apple had been opening icons by double-clicking for
Cat knows how many years, they allowed themselves to forget that
not everybody had been doing it.
So armed with that knowledge, I played around with the Mac for a
while, and reported back the things that I could live with and
the things I couldn't, and mentioned that there was nothing in
the text about double-clicking.
When the Mac actually launched (remember the "1984" commercial?)
I took a look at the instruction book and *now* it mentioned
There has always been a certain arrogance to Apple, both in its
creators and user base.
I remember an advert in the eighties highlighting how "simple" a Mac
was by showing its single button mouse alongside a 3 button one from
another windowed environment (possibly DR GEM since Windows was still
in its infancy then).
Although I was using a Mac II at work at the time (and quite enjoying
the novelty) I immediately spotted the fallacy, since there were loads
of actions which had to be performed by holding one of the meta keys
(IIRC there were two, roughly corresponding to <ctrl> amd <alt>) and
clicking the mouse button at the same time. The three button mice of
the time just saved a trip to the keyboard.
More recently, an Apple-head friend was proudly showing off his latest
Mac acquisition and deigned to let me have a go.
Its cordless mouse was featureless apart from a little black nubbin on
the top which I took to be the button, but clicking it appeared not to
do anything. He rather testily pointed out that it should be obvious
you push down on the mouse itself to click (I think you could push on
its left and right sides as well, to get left and right button
functionality), while the nubbin acted as a scroll wheel (basically a
trackball on top of a mouse).
All well and good, but not obvious to someone who hadn't been reading
the Apple magazines and just knew that about this piece of no-doubt
eagerly awaited functionality.
About the same time I read a book on the history of personal computers
and had my suspicions confirmed by the story of Apple guru Steve Jobs
violently resisting pressure to add networking because data transfer
between machines would always be easily achieved by passing round
floppy disks! This story must occured prior to my Mac use (88-89)
since we had 4 Macs connected via AppleTalk, an entirely proprietary
network utilising extremely expensive hardware adapators.
And don't get me started on the filesystem!
A cat may look at a king
(but probably won't bother)