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Re: [olpc-software] AbiWord, HIG



Hi Steve --

At 06:01 PM 3/15/2006, Stephen J. Smoogen wrote:
On 3/15/06, Alan Kay <alan kay squeakland org> wrote:
> It's about the same age as Molecular Biology ~ 50+ years. `Plenty long
> enough. Why a short memory? Ironic, don't you think?
>

Because computer science is equal parts black magic to science even to
the people who do the deep science. Molecular biology builds off of a
ton of stuff that is repeatable.. I have had too many computers as a
kid where doing XYZ algorithm worked as described half the time, and
the other half didnt... add an extra NOOP and poof it works. This
leads to a stronger belief system than in say Physics (though I have
seen PhD's come to fists after a 'discussion' about closed/open
universe models). People going to MIT take this philosophical
approach, while people at Stanford take a different one and people
going to UIUC end up with something that makes the other 2 look sane.

It is like if physics were different every 20 miles when you did experiments.

I think this is a very good observation, and is really the difference between a natural science where the physics stays the same and a science of artifacts (as Simon called it) where there are far fewer constraints, so the artifacts you happen to look at will be different from others and will provide very different theories.



I worked with several of the Mosaic people at one point.. to those
guys it seemed to come  down to a "ok lets do something so that we can
look at the CERN stuff." It went from there to being "wow everyone is
downloading this now how do we fix it?" Most of these kids were 18-20
years old and doing this in their spare time.

In the middle ages anyone could be a scientist, they just had to get a pointy hat. The shame is that there was and is a literature. Let's be glad that the youngsters who did the ARPAnet and Internet had the discernment to read that literature and ask others -- the Internet RFCs (which are online and quite beautiful) show how the "other youngsters" did things.

Cheers,

Alan


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