1993-10-15 - Mom & Pop Operating Systems

Header Data

From: deltorto@aol.com
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 2c0f4b20a2ac03b79274dbb8bd62d7ae2d186383fae1c28fe7b3d12a8d1cf5a0
Message ID: <9310150350.tn57426@aol.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1993-10-15 07:57:05 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 15 Oct 93 00:57:05 PDT

Raw message

From: deltorto@aol.com
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 93 00:57:05 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Mom & Pop Operating Systems
Message-ID: <9310150350.tn57426@aol.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

I saw this Letter to the Editors recently in a "family-oriented" Macintosh
weekly & thought you'd all enjoy it...   - dave

"Ma and Pa Finder Can Beat the Peter Pan Syndrome"

My mother was right. I am not capable of taking care of myself. Although I
haven't mislaid my head as she long predicted, I have lost nearly everything
else. I thought the Macintosh was going to help me organize my life, but it
let me down. My start-up volume, Moby Disk, is full of hundreds of folders
with names like Stuff, Stuff2 and Son of Stuff. The names are somewhat
accurate, they do contain stuff, but I have absolutely no idea what that
stuff is. The Macintosh doesn't help. For me, the Finder is more of a Loser.

I've noticed [MacWEEK columnist] Don Crabb's ongoing attempt in The Mac
Manager column to inspire Finder improvements and alternatves. These new
approaches will never succeed. The onus is still on the user to organize
data, and a lot of us are simply incapable of doing that.

A woman recently told me that many men suffer from the Peter Pan syndrome.
They refuse to grow up. I think she's right, and I qualify. I appreciate this
slander, because it provides me with a flimsy excuse for my lack of any
organizational maturity. I'm one of those fellows who believes that underwear
on the floor and socks in the hallway are easier to find.

If Apple wants to show off one of its new technologies and promote a better
user environment, it needs to incorporate psychology. For many of us, our
mothers are the only people who ever managed to exert some semblance of
control over our naturally messy selves. Bring out the Ma Finder. Using
PlainTalk's synthetic speech capabilities, the Ma Finder talks to you as you
perform tasks: "Now pick up that file and put it where it belongs!"

This is way cool. I'd love it if my mother took over my life. The real one
would never put up with my nonsense again, but the Ma Finder would. More disk
space: "Do you really need a seventh copy of TeachText?" Better descriptors:
"Nice people don't use file names like that!" Easier searches: "This folder
looks like a pigsty. Clean it up." Better moral values: "I found this GIF
file in your 'Hot' folder and, frankly, I'm a little disappointed." And old
fashioned motherly feedback: "So if George threw his System folder in the
Trash, would you have to do the same thing?"

You'd have to be careful, though. If the Ma Finder started getting on your
nerves, it is not as simple as going to the Sound control panel and pulling
the slider down to zero. "Don't you hush me, young man!" Try it, and you're
likely to hear from her partner, the Pa Finder.

The Pa Finder might have a very different way of communicating with you. "Get
your butt in here and empty the Trash! " Or perhaps, "Boy, what is wrong with

Apple can get a bit crazy when it comes to product introductions. We might
end up seeing a different Finder personality every six months. Bully Finder:
"Drop one more file in this folder and I'm going to sock you! " Cop Finder:
"Let me see your license and registration card." Doctor Finder: "Cough."
Boyfriend Finder: "Trust me." Girlfriend Finder: "No." Michael H. Spindler
Finder: "You need to toss out another 1,400 files."

I really would like a Macintosh that helped me intelligently manage massive
amounts of data. It is difficult to maintain schemes for organizing years of
work and thousands of files. I don't have time during the day to Iook for the
perfect algorithm, so I am hoping that Apple or a third-party developer
discovers the right solution.

  G Morgan Watkins
  Manager, Microcomputer Technologies
  University of Texas at Austin