Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Are machines too smart?

And the users too dumb?

Creating Passionate Users is one of those blogs I rarely read because her posts are so long and really, who has time for that with 80 feeds vying for attention? But this particular post, Are our tools making us dumber?, is pretty dang interesting.

My impatience with balancing a checkbook without the use of a calculator would indicate so. As frightening as it is to admit, my math skills have definitely declined because a calculator is so much more convenient.

I also really wish I'd learned HTML before trying to use Dreamweaver instead of vice versa. It really would have helped with all those insane urges to tear out my hair.

I think this is also part of the reason I try to explain "why" to library users. Of course, my explanation isn't the most brilliant - "okay, the library catalog is dumb. Unlike Google, it doesn't think to insert 'and' between all your words, and it also doesn't eliminate all those extra words you don't need, like 'a', 'an, 'the', etc." Before one can really understand something, I think the "why" behind it is important, even if it's not exact. Don't just use the tool, get a basic understanding of it first.

I wonder how else this can apply to libraries...


Elizabeth said...

If you had ever battled with the paleolithic fax machine that I battled with today, I don't think you'd ever again worry about machines being too smart...whata stupid piece of crap! (It took 2 hours to fax 4 documents, and yes, I'm still bitter.)

Kat said...

We have a rather fussy fax machine as well, but your experience sounds far worse. I hope you have been able to move on since the battle... 2 hours to fax 4 documents is insane!

Elizabeth said...

Ok, Ms. Librarian Lady, I have a legitimate question for you.

I'm looking for some kind of program -- preferably one I could find or download from online -- that would allow me and another person both to edit a word document at the same time.


*snickers* Sorry, I have to bring it up, but the word verification thingy I have to type in to post this comment was "nunpot."

Kat said...

Google Docs & Spreadsheets (used to be Writely, which I miss terribly) lets you do that. It's not Word that you are using, but rather Google's platform. However, I think you could copy/paste the final product into Word pretty easily - as long as your document isn't too complex.

Elizabeth said...

*beams* You have a beautiful soul, my friend. Thanks!

Kat said...

Glad to be of assistance! :)