[rescue] tired of current GUIs / a rant about the daily garbage we put up with

Nathan Raymond nraymond at gmail.com
Wed Oct 23 13:21:47 CDT 2019

On Wed, Oct 23, 2019 at 1:54 PM Lionel Peterson <lionel4287 at gmail.com>

> I lean towards a 'conspiracy of convenience' - yes, programmers are lazy,
> and
> yes, memory and processors clocks are cheap.
> Programming has, for the most part, evolved from an art to a trade - 'back
> in
> the day' things like TurboPascal were works of passion and the original 4K
> and
> 8K Microsoft BASIC interpreters were amazing in what they did (and how they
> did it), while today it literally isn't worth it to optimize your code in
> many
> applications (allowing for certain notable exceptions). Programmers can
> easily
> hide sloppy/inelegant code under a mountain of CPU resources.
> Ken (Lionel)

I largely agree - after all, programming is an activity that has economic
aspects to it, and there is always a trade-off between getting something
done more quickly vs. spending more time and designing/testing
it/re-engineering it so that it performs better/faster/more
efficiently/crashes less. As average computing resources go up, and the
end-user overhead to patching goes down (patching used to mean physically
putting new versions of software on media, packaging them up, and sending
them out in the mail to the customers, whereas now with always-on-internet
it means typing a few commands or clicking a button and waiting a few
seconds/minutes/hours for it to finish), there is less pressure on
developers to ship something that is the best version of itself. That best
version becomes a moving target, perhaps never achieved now, and then that
software product can often be part of a larger ecosystem despite it's
ever-changing state, a larger ecosystem of other moving targets, and so the
whole thing is kind of a lumbering, lurching blob of stuff that never

I also sense echoes of something else from the wider perspective here... in
my youth I vaguely subscribed to the ideas of technolibertarianism (without
really realizing I was), and generally just thinking that technology on
it's own, ever improving, would improve society/people. I know, naive
stuff. Eventually I realized the essential role that constraints play on
both creativity and design (especially constraints during the act of
creating and designing). I now have a general wariness about further
technology progress, because I don't trust most people to thoughtfully
implement constraints on creativity and design, and I fear all large system
designs are prone to be seriously flawed because of it. I'm also not sure
what the best solution is to prevent it.

- Nate

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