Monday, March 11, 2002

Go to: The Story of the Math Majors, Bridge Players, Engineers, Chess Wizards, Scientists and Iconoclasts who were the Hero Programmers of the Software Revolution A couple noteworthy quotes from the book, which I found useful despite a surprising number of typos:

"Whenever you hear someone say it has to be 'easy to learn and natural to use,' put up a little flag and go question it. ... Engelbart declared, "What's natural is what we've grown to accept"... To Engelbart, the desire to make things easy to learn and use was often the path to second-best solutions. He pointed to the tricycle, so much easier to learn than a bicycle; yet once trained, the bicycle rider had so much more speed and range." (p. 147)

"Java is a language where the rules are the rules," Gosling said. "Once you adapt, it is really an incredibly liberating thing." He compares the criticism of Java with the outcry heard from early fighter pilots, irritated when aircraft manufacturers sealed off cockpits. In the old days of propeller-powered planes, pilots stuck their heads out to navigate and sniff the air, sending the winds and the weather. "But when you are in a plane that is flying at Mach 3, if you open up the cockpit to look out you'll get your head ripped off," he said, warming up to his programming point. "To free yourself up for the next level of scale, you have to give up things that used to feel like freedom." (p. 196)

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