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Phoenix Feathers is updated on Tuesday and Friday

There's a debate-type thing on the wiki at the moment, regarding computers and cars. It started wth a description of a common complaint about computers, namely that 'Using my computer should be like driving a car: I turn the key and go. I shouldn't need to worry about what's under the bonnet - that's the mechanic's job. The car should just work.' However, a car doesn't just 'work' - one needs to keep it fuelled and check it every now and then. Neglect of our first car meant that it stalled on the motorway doing 70mph (an interesting occurrence but not half as dangerous as it sounds. The engine just cut out and the car started slowing down. Alas, poor Pteppic. He was towed away by the City Council for dumping). But anyway, one needs to keep a car properly - you don't just 'turn the key and go'. And indeed, there's a driving test that one must pass if one wishes to drive. I personally think an 'internet test' wouldn't be such a bad idea - to connect to the internet on one's personal computer, one should know what a virus is, how to use and update a virus checker, how to take responsibility for the machine (everybody say 'backups') and so on. But that's slightly beside the point.

Shortly after the paragraph saying roughly what the above paragraph says, one contributor to the wiki stated that in fact, cars should 'just go'. One should be able to get in and say 'want sweetie' and the car would then go straight to the sweet shop (there was a reason for the babytalk). And computers ought to be easy to use just like that, except that right now they're not perfect. I'm not sure I like the idea of relinquishing so much control, but maybe I'm a control freak. I'm certainly happy enough to use Microsoft Word, which also attempts to predict what you want to do, usually - in my case - incorrectly (it functions well enough once it's been clobbered a few times, though).

The debate continued and can be read here - I'm not going to reproduce it. One of the things it spawned, though was a brief discussion about abstracted societies, with the expected reference to 'Brave New World', by Aldous Huxley. This led onto the exciting adventures of Clone D-546, who, unlike most heroes of similar worlds, was perfectly happy with his mushball soup and was not a malcontent of any kind. They can be read here. Enjoy  ^.^

- Sun Kitten, 28th January '03

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