To see ourselves as others see us


Page 12A of the August 27 issue of The Transylvania Times offers the following quotation from Andy Rooney that I hadn't seen before:

Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don't need to be done.


Goes pretty much in parallel to a saying here: "A computer is a device for solving problems you won't have without it." Some very nasty people have analog sayings about housewifes etc. ;-)

Edit: BTW, I sincerely hoped that paper is called "The Transsylvania Times", but just learned the necessary second "s" was kicked in English. While the original meant "behind the forests", I've no idea what the prefix "tran" shall mean >:-( [rant] Oh, how could we expect people thinking properly who can't even write properly. [/rant]

Edited: 29 Aug 2012, 11:28 a.m.


I could also add something I heard in a TV documentary about computer history named 'The Nerds' Revenge' (IIRC):

A nerd is a guy who uses the telephone to talk about telephone.
(or something very close to it)

I'd change "A computer is a device for solving problems you won't have without it." for "A computer is a device for solving problems you wouldn't even know about without it." This is something like some 'new' diseases people claim to be created by men. They have always existed and people died because of them as for 'unknown cause', and the very science that have revealed them became their creator.

None of these guys mention working posts, medicine advancements, careers, educational technologies, safety and the so too many aids mankind has been added due to computers, they just want their obliterated, restricted point of view to take place.

Or else they have no idea of what they are talking about.


Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 29 Aug 2012, 12:29 p.m.


The documentary was called "Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires" and was on PBS in 1996. It was narrated by Robert X. Cringely (Mark Stephens) and is a must see for anyone who is interested in the history of computers and computing.


Thanks! 8^)


I've no idea what the prefix "tran" shall mean

It means the same thing in the proper noun Transylvania that it means in the words transcend, transcribe, transect, transept, transpire and transonic. What's so hard about that?


And maybe even "transistor". :-)




Sic tran-sit gloria mundi in America ;-)


In the late 1970's, I worked part time at a private school. Today my wife and one son work there. From 1998-2004 I was on the board, and we had an administrator who was on a huge push to get computers into everything. When I worked at the main campus in the 70's, two people did the accounting for all three campuses, without computers. 20 years later, this administrator took away the largest classroom to fill with cubicles for new accounting people on computers. My wife and son complain that it is very difficult to get expenses taken care of, even though they are purchases they were told to make. In spite of the computers, things are far more inefficient today than they were when I worked there. The problem is not the computers in themselves, but seems to be that they opened up the excuse to track far more details than anyone thought was necessary 35 years ago. Today there are more accounting people and fewer teachers on the payroll.

Edited: 29 Aug 2012, 2:56 p.m.


Along the same line, and still concerning the credit numerical analysts receive, there is this very famous (and savvy) saying by Richard Hamming (of the Hamming codes, Hamming distance, Hamming window, and whatnot):
"The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers".

In no time, the crooked people (probably algebraic calculator fans :P ) were alliterating it to read:
"The purpose of computing numbers is not in sight"




Our saying around here is that computers allow us to do in 2 hours what we never had to do before.


Reminds me on another saying "one computer can make as many errors in one second as 5000 people in five days" IIRC.

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