Re: Negroponte

Subject: Re: Negroponte
From: nancy ott <ott -at- ANSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 22 May 1995 12:08:14 EDT

> Date: Sun, 21 May 1995 23:59:25 GMT
> From: Roy Johnson <Roy -at- MANTEX -dot- DEMON -dot- CO -dot- UK>
> Subject: review

> Nicholas Negroponte, BEING DIGITAL, Knopf,1995. pp. 243.


> Others ideas might be more disturbing for those professionally engaged
> in existing forms of communication - but they make sense when
> measured against common experience. This is what he has to say
> about manuals for instance. "The notion of an instruction manual
> is obsolete. The fact that computer hardware and software
> manufacturers ship them with product is nothing short of perverse.
> The best instructor on how to use a machine is the machine itself."
> This is bad news for technical writers, but do you *really* refer to
> that 900 page manual any more? Of course not: you just click on

Oh? And just who is going to create the online help? Little gnomes
that pop out of the computer at the end of the day and write your HELP
files if you leave a bowl of milk on the monitor? 8-)

[I work with an engineer who appears to believe this.]

Seriously, I think technical writers will be around for some time to
come. (At least, I *HOPE* so!) If Negroponte's predictions are true,
it simply means that the medium in which we work will be changing over
the next few years. No big news there ... we are already seeing the
shift from paper to online delivery of information, and from text to
multimedia. In fact, it would be disastrous if changes of this sort
completely stopped!

Negroponte's points are well taken, but remember how ludicrous most of
the predictions about the future have proven in the long run. For
instance, back in the '70's, well-respected futurists thought that
advances in efficiency would lead businesses to adopt a 4-day work
week. (Time out while we all have a good laugh at THAT one!)
Unfortunately, we can't skip to the end of the book to see how
everything turns out. It will be interesting to see whether any of
the things he's predicting actually occur. But I think that the
future will be weirder, more terrifying, and possibly more wonderful
than we can now imagine......

- nancy

nancy ott....ansoft corporation....pittsburgh, pa -dot- -dot- -dot- -dot- ott -at- ansoft -dot- com
History is an angel being blown backwards into the future.
History is a pile of debris.
And the angel wants to go back and fix things
To repair the things that have been broken.
But there's a storm blowing from Paradise.
And this storm keeps blowing the angel
Backwards into the future.
And this storm
Is called Progress.

- Laurie Anderson

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