26 Oct 2015

Tyranny of the PC

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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 — 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 — 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 don’t see that changing any time soon.

Read the whole thing.

2 Feedbacks on "Tyranny of the PC"


The operating systems are doing a lot more now. NOT more for you but more computer cycles are taken for things that the software companies want. A good example of this is many of us have noticed how much slower the internet has become. But you can do a little test and find the real problem. Find a site with no ads and popups and compare it with a site that has ads, popups, video ads and tricks and ploys to force you to pay attention to them and compare the load time. In my example the smaller site is loaded and available in about a second whereas the heavily ad loaded site takes in excess of 30 seconds and still reacts slowly. By reacts slowly I mean that when I page down it goes into think mode for 10 seconds before it will follow the command. This is what is going on inside your computer all the time.


It took over three hours to load windows 10 onto my p.c. and only three minutes to hate it.


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