Monday, December 19, 2011

Geek Morality

The most rigid moralists in the world today are not religious leaders or conservative politicians. They are the computer geeks, especially the ones who have been using computers and the Internet for 10 or 20 years (or more!!)

They have rules for everything. For example, nice looking formatted email is bad. Email has to be plain text, looking like it just rolled out of your typewriter. (Google it if you don't know what that is.)

Email should look like this: Not like this:
Hey, Max. Want to grab lunch? I was thinking either Changsho or Mary Chung. What say?
Hey, Max. Want to grab lunch? I was thinking of either:
  • Changsho, or
  • Mary Chung
What do you say?

And email with pictures?  Horror!

Also, when you reply to an email, you may not top-post (put your reply above the excerpt from the message you're replying to). This is a grave sin among knowledgeable geeks. Email has to read from top to bottom in chronological order, like some ancient scroll.

Using Flash to liven up a Web site is strictly taboo.  Web sites should also look like typewritten documents.  Except for the links.  Those can be blue.

But the worst sin of all is usability. Usability may mean more people can actually benefit from the technology, but it's always at the expense of performance. Nice looking Web pages take longer to download.  Understandable commands take longer to type. Worst of all, usability means that practically anybody could be on the Internet. Even non-geeks!

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