Keep it Simple: Wise Words from Ted Nelson

I think it’s safe to say I thoroughly enjoyed this reading because it was very informal and allowed me to follow it with ease. Nelson was correct in saying that not everyone understands computers, but it is very easy if the people who do understand them allow the outsiders, or laymen, into their environment and teach them their ways. In my opinion, computers can be simple to use if people just open their minds and get rid of the mental block that they have created.

I thought it was interesting how many different ways the computer can work and organize things, not only on the screen, but with the controls as well. The fact that the light pen could do so much with just a simple movement back then and to see how much a button on a mouse can do with a simple “right click”. Nelson’s irritation from buttons being in a row was comic because he just seemed so frustrated by something that a lot of people don’t even recognize now. The one thing that confused me in this section of the essay was the part on collateration, because I didn’t really understand the concept behind it other than that users could piece information together from two documents. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that just how tags on Delicious work? Please let me know if I followed that correctly.

Nelson’s extensive knowledge on the subject matter of computers and the media was very enlightening because there are huge differences between the different mediums. Other than remaining within the content of what you are trying to say, you must remember that some things cannot be portrayed in certain types of media. Nelson was very precise in what he liked and what he didn’t like about the changes in the mediums, which was very calming because he was able to get his point across without mentioning things that were irrelevant to what he wanted to say.

The simplicity throughout the article was amazing. Nelson made a good point that things are only as difficult as people make them. His ten minute or less strategy was genius because after ten minutes, most people will give up. Also, his idea of children using the computer at a very young age and not being able to leave the computer screen has come true. From my daily experiences, my younger cousins, ages 3 to 8, know how to use any cell phone that is in their path and know how to navigate their computers at home. To me, that is a scary thought because eventually they really will become dependent on technology, if they haven’t already.

Speaking of staring at computer screens, Nelson’s argument that computer screens can be adjusted for everyone is so true because they have been formatted to be dimmed, brightened, and many other things. I believe every aspect of computers are user-friendly if treated and approached in a way that people are not terrified of them. The main thing I took from this was to not be afraid of new things, especially if you will be immersed into them later on anyways. Nelson speaks his mind and lets you know that it’s okay to step out of your comfort zone every once in a while, which I completely agree with. Computers and media are not difficult to deal with, so people need to engage themselves in the new world of technology.

1 thought on “Keep it Simple: Wise Words from Ted Nelson

  1. I would like to draw a personal parallel to what you said about computers being easy to use if approached in an open-minded, terror-free kind of way. I think this concept should be applied to this class, for those of us (like me) who are lacking in comfort with and knowledge of technology. This class, for me, is far outside my comfort zone. It has opened up many thoughtful pathways for me, has enabled me to challenge the structure of our education system, and has helped me appreciate the ways in which the Internet can be an augmentation tool.

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