Prison Pete

Monday, October 25, 2004
I want to comment on how I.B.M. (It's Better Manually) is still the best way to do some tasks.

As I think I have told you, one of the inmates here gets the NY Daily News. Unlike the NY Times, there is no "National Edition", so the paper is truly all NYC news. While scanning the paper and stopping to read articles of interest, something I think is far easier on paper than using a computer, I found an article about a traveling show that Mickey Rooney does. The show was in NY for a few weeks back in September.

Well, I thought my Dad would probably like something like that, so I told him about it. Then when I called tonight to wish them a Happy Anniversary, Dad told me they had gone to see the show, followed by a meal at the "Tomato Restaurant." So had I not been flipping the pages, Dad would not have known about the show.

The premise in a nutshell is if I want to know, for example, how many deaths the paper reported, give me a computer and a search engine, but ask me to "summarize" the goings on in a city and the actual paper is faster and much more efficient.

This raises a question of how to get back to a point where humans run the computers, not the other way around.
I think you're absolutely right. Peope forget not only their own capabilities and intelligence when relying and constantly utilizing technology, but also forget the advantages of some of the technology-free things we do. Not to mention, to be human is to be a living, sensual ball of thought, nerves and muscles, not a series of rules based on the 1/0 boundaries. Computers and technology most certainly do have their place in the world (I'm a computer technician... without them, I'd be without a job), but it's important to retain the human side to life too.

Plus, I think there's a certain satisfaction to be derived from the aesthetics of manual actions.... the paper for example (before even taking the content into account)... there's a lot to be said about the smell of the newsprint, the feel of the pages, the crinkling sound when turning them... this gives the action of reading a newspaper a distinct 'feel' that a computer does not achieve.

'till next time,
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