Re easy vs powerful OS -

ODONNELL at arcb.afrc.ac.uk ODONNELL at arcb.afrc.ac.uk
Tue Mar 19 04:46:00 EST 1991

>>Top omitted

>	People learn to use what they need. Anyone who can design and
>perform a subcloning experiment -  with all the steps required to
>isolate fragments, match ends, ligate, and transform - can figure out
>how to login, check a directory, edit a file, and run the sequence
>analysis programs on unix or VMS.  Anyone who is doing a sequencing
>project MUST learn to the machine.  So they do.
>Bill Pearson

A short reply:

If only that statement were true! Most users' experience is to the contrary,
and surely what sparked the whole debate off. The point is that DESPITE the
high level of ability in one area, many biologists find the use of computers
a difficult task.

Biologists typically do not login frequently enough to keep up with all the
minor changes that are made to the system. The analogy of riding a bike,
using a power tool etc - People don't change the position of the handle bars,
the brakes and pedals since the last time you rode it.

Research scientists typically spend several weeks or months in the lab
gathering data (ligating, running gels etc), then turn to the computer.
"Ah, now what did I do last time?....". If they remember, it sometimes won't
work anyway because someone has 'improved' something.  So the PERCEPTION of
many (certainly not all) is that computers only make life harder, and that
programmers etc only seek to find new ways of confusing users.

So lets not pretend the problems don't exist, but work with them.

Just think of all those "SUPPORT" jobs that wouldn't exist if everyone found it
too easy :-)

Cary O'Donnell

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