What do people want to do with computers?

What do people want to do with computers?

Post by Henry Ch » Sun, 03 Apr 1994 12:35:14

(Re: ****Clinton Administration Drops Export Ccontrols 03/31/94):
: WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A, 1994 MAR 31 (NB) -- The Clinton
: administration has lifted export restrictions on most computer and
: telecommunications equipment to Russia, Eastern Europe and China,
: surprising and delighting high- tech industry executives.

another quote:
: The White House estimates the new telecommunications market in
: Eastern Europe and China at $150 billion over 10 years. They figure
: the computer export market will be $1.3 billion bigger annually with
: controls dropped. According to the administration, the Commerce
: Department will not issue general licenses to export conventional
: "low level" computer and telecommunications products to civilian
: buyers.

another quote:
: "This announcement means that American companies can now participate
: in these enormous markets," said Padilla. But arms control advocates
: were not happy with the decision. "It is a fantasy to think that you
: can ship strategic computers to places like China and Romania and
: not have them end up in places like Iran," said Gary Milhollin,
: director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control.
: "The happiest people in the world tonight are in Pakistan, India and
: North Korea, because they can now obtain, through front companies,
: computer power that previously was beyond their wildest dreams," he
: added.

Why do these countries want computing power? To run spreadsheets
faster? Ha ha.

To exaggerate a Nintendo game has as much computing power as a nuclear
arms building country. Americans don't know when they have it
good. They use these extensions of the mind to run hokey little

It's ok to have hokey things to run. It makes computers more
approachable. However, if I didn't know anything about computers, I
probably would have a hard time figuring out how to use their power.
For heavens sakes, 10 years ago if I was to figure out how to get so
much computing power up and running, I'd have to design the computer
and write the manual. Now, to figure out how to get so much computing
power up and running I just have to read something. So where the hell
do I find out how to read up?

I ask for those who aren't getting a university education in computer
science. Just some interesting stats: around 60 people graduate each
year from my university in computer science. The university serves a
Canadian prairie province of 1000000 people. That's 60 people learning
how to use computers really effectively in one year. Surely more than
60 computers are sold in a year! Of course many of the other
departments have computer training, and there are other schools. Just
the same, an undergraduate education in computers is just a small
stepping stone. 60 is outrageously low.

Consider cars. Cars are complicated machines, but they don't take a
whole lot of teaching to use so it's ok to have 60 race car drivers
per year completing a very advanced driving program. Pizza Hut
delivery people need not apply. When you drive for a business, you
don't need advanced training. However, if you operate computers for
businesses, you need advanced training. The need for computer
operators decreases because software gets smarter and computers get
faster. You don't have so many computer users waiting over coffee for
jobs to finish. You also have to outsmart computers to keep your job.

Not too long from now, if you don't get training to use a computer you
need not bother knowing how because it will do pleasing things without
you to command it, thank you very much. Then you may as well not show
up for work because the computer doesn't need you* around.
Someone can just sit in a corner and phone in dire problems.

It looks like 60-250 people a year get enough computer training to
last them for a while, but all those other users can expect to have to
go to school.

Of course, computer manufacturers should take note. If their fast
computers run smart software that outsmarts many people, then the many
people won't be hired and they won't have the money to buy computers.

Then again, computers that outsmart people are attractive purchases.
They will spur people to one-up computers.

One way or another I need to learn how to use a computer. How can an
ignorant man like me learn all about computers in a public library,
mall bookstore, and computer store without wading through a lot of
turd written for idiots, who mostly won't read the stuff because
they're shallow, expensive, and not insightful?

Henry Choy

       "Math is tough" - Barbie


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