Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Denning & quality
Interesting tidbits, Gary. (01)
Here is a recent personal experience of a kind that spells trouble. (02)
My federal income tax statement came back with a $3000 cheque. I had overpaid.
While happy about that, I also was darn ticked off with my tax accountant. How
could she have. Because she was away for the summer, I withheld her fees till I
could speak to her in person and pount out her blunder. (03)
Months went by, and then the truth of the matter dawned upon me. When I was at
her office to pick up the tax return she just had prepared for me, she walked
me through it and then found herself that a box to that amount had been left
blank. The choice was between her reprinting the whole wad of papers and me
picking it up the next day, or me filling it in myself by hand. It is quite a
distance to her office so I decided on the second course - which I prompt
Funny, if that is the word, that it took months for that sequence of events to
come back to me. (05)
Now, going back to Peter Denning's article in Ubiquitous. He points out that
the old-fashioned engineers tend to be "aloof from their customers, and
inclined to substitute technologies of personal interest for technologies that
would bring value to their customers. " Among the costs this exacts he lists a
waste in technology development. Denning's paper is about inculcating in
students "value dynamics," i.e. value-generating and value-delivery skills. (06)
Had some sort of mental augmentation be available to prod my memory a little a
few months before it self-corrected itself, that would have possibly prevented
a loss of $3000 and a strained relationship. (One may wonder how many cranky
old fogeys are cranky simply because they think other people are independable,
not they themselves.) (07)
There is a lot going on in the world of brain and mind science. It seems to me
it would be well for academia to contemplate how to better prepare cognitive
scientists of the future for creating effecitve connections between software
and meatware. (08)
There is more to Denning's paper than just this. I believe his Ubiquitous
article is a worthy subject of discussion. Perhaps especially the part where he
insists that claims must be grounded. (09)
"Garold (Gary) L. Johnson" wrote: (011)
> In "The Invisible Computer", Donald Norman points out that this sort of
> "lapse" is part of the benefit of human information processing.
> He uses the question:
> "How many of each kind of animal did Moses take on the ark?"
> It was Noah, not Moses, who built the ark, but most people will not note the
> error. When conversing with another person, the automatic correction is a
> benefit - "you know what I mean". If I asked the question, the intent is,
> presumably, to get an answer to the question, and if the question gets
> answered correctly, it is not important that the question itself was less
> than totally correct.
> Norman makes a strong case that we need to design interfaces that take into
> account human characteristics -- that indeed treat these characteristics as
> positive rather than negative.
> It does present a challenge, however. If you try to get a computer to
> provide information on Deming when asked for information on Denning, I am
> not certain how to do that, but it would be immensely useful if it can be
> Google tries this in its "Did you mean ...?" prompt when it has search terms
> that are close to, but not quite, what you typed.
> Garold (Gary) L. Johnson
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Henry K van Eyken
> Oh Boy! That memory of mine needs a kick in the you-know-where! I could have
> sworn that the "quality-first" man was Denning. Nevertheless, thanks for
> pointing this out.
> Actually, Dennis, this brings up a point of significance to augmenting the
> human intellect - to utilize, if we can so manage, digital support for false
> memories, aging brains, brains otherwise afflicted.
> I know that my brains play tricks on me, some much worse than this little
> pas. The important thing is not to be embarrassed about it but to do th best
> with what one has got. Which begins with being just plain objective.
> Proghrammes have been making all sorts of calendars, post-it notes,
> what-have-you. The next step would be to find some way to alert users to
> their memory needs course correction. Looks like a pretty tall order, but
> again ...
> Recently, I saw a report that memory mishaps are not so much the result of a
> loss of brain cells, but because of some deficiency in some mental circuit.
> Which suggests that work need be dome not so much on correcting data stored
> memory, but on certain mechanisms of the brain. That ought to reduce the
> Really, I should have been replying about Peter Denning's credentials. At
> point I am just intending to pay attention to the gentleman's
> Henry (012)