“Hence, a person of virtue acts as if he were the debtor.
And a person without virtue acts as if he were the creditor that demands only from others.”—Tao Te Ching
Philosophy Smell #5: “Error Hiding”—the act of hiding sweeping logical mistakes under the carpet or, worse, justifying contradictions via added complexity.
Only those who want fawning, captive audiences would want people to use technology, or adopt mindsets, that cannot interact properly with others.
Postel’s Law of Robustness, “Be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others.” is beautiful because it combines the assumptions that 1. there’s usually something you can do to improve a situation, 2. it’s not the end of the world if others fall short.
Incremental v.s. radical innovation: incrementalism makes forms that are likely to work because they’re based on what worked before, but are locked into the past; radical innovation creates new forms that are likely fail but in rare cases, change our lives beyond imagination.
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” — A frightful cliché, but perhaps it contains some interest. Naively choosing a picture over words is to avoid delayed gratification. An audience built thus will be fickle, in that they can always find faster gratification elsewhere.
Some philosophies and world-views seem to be incompatible by design: one tell is the redefinition of common words, which frustrates conversation and learning. The goal of incompatible philosophies appears to be the same as incompatible technology: a captive audience.
When lamenting how hard it is to communicate across divides, remember TCP/IP: this suite of protocols, powering the Internet, is essentially an agreement 1. to collaborate and 2. on how to do so, facilitating universal communication, despite language, nation and politics.
Reading Ted Nelson’s Computer Lib, I learned about what he calls “punch card brain”—victims can’t move beyond punch card limitations: characters per row, length of variables, etc.
Technology idea: user interfaces make it easy and quick to do common things, but they should also make it easy and quick to do rare but sensitive or urgent things, e.g. set your out-of-office message on email.