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Thread: Simplexity

  1. #1
    Council Member kowalskil's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Fort Lee, New Jersey, USA

    Default Simplexity

    I am reading "Simplexity," the 2008 book by J. Kluger. He writes:
    "Electronic devices ... have gone mad. It is not just your TV or your camera or your twenty-seven-button cell phone with its twenty-one different screen menus and its 124-page instruction manual. ... The act of buying nearly any electronic product has gone from the straightforward plug-and-play experience it used to be to a laborious, joy-killing experience in unpacking, reading, puzzling out, configuring, testing, cursing, reconfiguring, stopping altogether to call the customer support line, then calling again an hour or two later, until you finally get whatever it is you've bought operating in some tentative configuration that more or less does all the things you want it to do--at least until some error message causes the whole precarious assembly to crash and you have to start it all over again. ... "

    After elaborating on this topic (for several pages), the author concludes that "there's necessarily complex and then there's absurdly complex."

    What he does not analyze, at least in the chapter I am reading, is the effect all this may have on the minds of our push-button youngsters. Push-button experience is very different from building radios, repairing grandfather clocks, tractors, cars, etc. Will the overall effect be positive or negative? What do you think?
    Ludwik Kowalski, author of a free ON-LINE book entitled “Diary of a Former Communist: Thoughts, Feelings, Reality.”

    It is a testimony based on a diary kept between 1946 and 2004 (in the USSR, Poland, France and the USA).

    The more people know about proletarian dictatorship the less likely will we experience is.

  2. #2
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    Mar 2007


    About the ability to do and learn things. We were discussing this at my International Plastic Modelers Society meeting. One of our members who is a retired model maker for the NASA Langely wind tunnel says that he has noticed that the current generation of machinists are pretty good but they have to have a CAD and if the computer cannot set it up they do not know how to set their machines. I have noticed that my two grandsons have no patience for any kind of craft or building but will sit mesmerized by video games for hours at a time.
    It was also mentioned that we do not see the younger modelers like we used to and that a lot of the younger generation do not know how to do research without a computer.
    I think a lot of what they do with electronic devices is simply monkey see, monkey do and learning by repetition.

  3. #3
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Dec 2006

    Default Monkey see, Monkey do

    My daughter would prefer to be behind the monitor instead of what I insist she do. Can't go blaming an adolescent for something her parents allow her to do.

    She is now considered to be her school's top contender for what Estonian schools refer to as English Language Olympics. Next week she will represent her school (not just her class).

    If we as parents do not take over, there will no longer be a need for a pencil and pad of paper.

    On the other hand, our eldest son is a programmer, makes more than his mother after decades in the same job, and has yet to finish 10th grade and is already 27

    Time to take charge of our children !
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

  4. #4
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    Denver on occasion


    Some of the result of this has been seen already. Air France 447 crashed because the 30 something pilot in the right seat didn't know how to fly an airplane. That was combined with the fact that the Airbus cockpit was set up so he could make control inputs without the other pilot knowing about it. The right seat pilot must have been a master of the computer and computerized systems that control an Airbus or he wouldn't have gotten his job. But he couldn't fly. He didn't know or remember the most basic relationship between control input, lift and aircraft control. And it wasn't helped by the way current airline training is conducted. A similar thing happened with the airplane that died in Buffalo.

    The industry is just beginning to recognize this and is, strange as it may seem to those outside the business, starting to talk about making sure pilots know how to fly airplanes in addition to running flight management systems.

    In a military sense I don't know how this will work out, not good I suspect. We may already be seeing it in Afghanistan in that we just can't seem to, no matter what, deploy foot infantry that can match the mobility of the Taliban. We used to be able to do that.

    I have a question for you guys with children related to this and Kowalskil's question. Do your children realize that they, themselves with their own little hands, can make things if they put their minds to it, physical things I mean?
    Last edited by carl; 04-12-2013 at 05:07 PM.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  5. #5
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    Mar 2007


    As to whether they want to make things or not I believe that the answer is no.
    As with my grandsons; I was working on a model and they watched for a few minutes but it was not interesting enough and they left to play with their gaming systems. They have no patience for word puzzles or even jigsaw puzzles.

    I have wondered if children today are getting their brains rewired through watching video games and the types of show they watch on tv. the tv shows are fast cut (almost like animated music videos) and perhaps they are losing the abiltiy to focus on something for a length of time.

    In my antedeluvian youth; the tv shows I was allowed to watch were shows like Lassie, Fury, the Lone Ranger and similar shows. Even though not the best shows even then; the story was simple and easy to follow and led to a conclusion; i.e. Lassie finds the baby ducks mother; but you would pay attention.

    A friend of mine is getting her advanced degree in childhood education and she said you would not believe how hard it is to get their attention and hold it.

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