Good point made, but I would generalize the idea further.
It may well be true that many, if not most, of an ordinary user's files are
of minor importance to him, but chances are that among those personal files
there builds up a substantial stock of files that are intended to serve him
a lifetime. And chances are, when people increasingly rely on their
electronic memory and electronic thinking that much of that stock may be
exceedingly important or even outright vital to him in his roles as a
provider, a professional, and a citizen. They may contain information and
modes of thinking rivalling in importance with many facts held in neural
memory and many of his thought processes. Those files must remain unscathed
throught a lifetime nomatter what twists and turns the art of computing is
bound to take.
Reliable software compatibility, emulators, etc.are of the essence. Global
standards seem much in order. Also there must be public access to stores of
older tools staffed by competent users of those tools so that one may access
and use old files, perhaps personally evaluate those tools as well (case in
And learning curves need be shortened. I believe that public education ought
include the inculcation of some fundamental skills (equivalent to, say,
algebra) such as algorithmics either without emphasis on a particular
language or along with a basic computer script hat is universally used
(interpreted BASIC?) such that no other language is considered complete
without means of converting the script into an executable in that language.
And on the subject of languages, computers store memory _and_ thought
processes. Hence, computer literacy better include programming skill, but
without every person having to be concerned about the latest fashion or
specific uses of programming languages in general. I mean programming skill
in the sense of writing skill - for everyday personal use throughout a
In short, personal computing is by definition computing for Everyman and
should be not so complex as to prevent every person to attend to other,
individual concerns. As long as our bookstores' shelves are laden with
two-inch-thick introductory texts to operating systems and executables there
is something wrong with what we are doing.
rapid (maybe automated) encryption/decryption methods
> Speaking like an uniformed prospective user:
> How do I bring all my old email into the OHS-EC (email client)? I'm
> pretty reluctant to leave it all behind.
> How do I get my email *out* of the EC. After all, free email clients at
> Yahoo and Iname really suck, and maybe this is more of the same. What
> if I don't like your product, huh? You're not going to trick me with
> proprietary formats again, Bill Gates!
> Not so many years ago having *both* import and export was part of the
> price of admission for new products to the marketplace. MS said the hell
> with it, but they can get away with it. The OSS community meanwhile has
> so maniacally pursued interoperability that they may have forgotten it's
> not taken for granted on Main St. I don't think users have forgotten.
> Eugene's comment on this:
> This is an excellent point. Part of our design requirements is that the
> system works well with non-OHS content. In other words, we should be
> able to view e-mail without modifying the original file, meaning that
> you won't have problems viewing the e-mail with regular browsers, and
> that the system will work with e-mail from other systems.
> Nicholas Carroll
> Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Alternate: email@example.com
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0.0 : Tue Aug 21 2001 - 17:57:50 PDT