My wife Karen blogs infrequently, but today she posted a very excellent rant all about the inescapable personal time cost of using your computer.
Remember sub-second response time? That was the promise that any computer that can react quickly enough will come to seem like an internal mental reaction. You would be able to treat the computer like a psychologically immersive responsive tool, the same way a musical instrument feels.
Back in the green-screen days, before Windows and its ilk, it was possible to interact with computers at maximum human speed â€” as fast as you could type commands, they could be implemented, and keyboard buffers allowed you to control what command went to what program. That was sub-second response time â€” it felt like the computer was an extension of your body.
Ever since, computers have settled for becoming an extension of your intellect, instead. The more powerful the response, the more we expect it to be delayed by internet and other network latency delays, by software complexity, by the loss of keyboard type-ahead. We are grateful for the more flexible and powerful results, but we have lost the ability to treat the machine as a direct tool, one that convinces us it is an extension of our body by its immediacy. The required sub-second response time is an ever-receding goal, and I donâ€™t see that changing any time soon.
Read the whole thing.