Side Effects

Penguin Pete writes:
Once a way is found for something to work, there is no excuse for it not to work anymore.
I respond:
Dude... you walk right up to the answer and then...

See, the problem isn't that problems have been solved. The problem isn't that people are suddenly uninterested in, or capable of, running OSs that don't crash or setting their clocks on their VCRs.

The problem is that people have always been uniterested in or incapable of these things, and it is only the widespread availability and low cost of technology that reveals the truth:

People don't care.

If they cared, they would take the time, energy, and effort to learn how to correct these issues and would then live without the impact of these issues on their lives.

At some level they've made the choice that the pain of living with that flashing 12:00 on their VCR is less than the pain of actually reading the manual and learning how to fix the problem.

Motivating them to learn is difficult, if not impossible. Sure, learning how to set the clock is the gateway to being able to record programs when you are not already there -- but to too many people, that's magic.

My autistic son is fascinated with letters and numbers. However, I couldn't figure out how to teach him that the computer in the front room was literally an infinite supply of those very same letters and numbers. Eventually he figured it out for himself -- and now the computer is a source of infinite entertainment. (He also taught himself how to use Google, and interestingly enough learned all the Windows keyboard accelerators long before he figured out how the mouse worked.)

The point -- people have to learn the benefits of learning themselves.

Your argument that "we are going backwards" is like pointing to twitter, blogs, facebook et al and saying "look at how illiterate these things have made the average citizen!" No, the truth is that the widespread availability of these tools merely reveals how illiterate the average citizen is -- and probably always has been.

You and me, we're making strides. We are moving forward. We are making progress.

But all we're doing is dragging along the average citizen in our wakes as a side-effect... since it's easier that way for them.