Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

No stupid metaphors to deal with?

What do you want to do?

I want to record sound

OK, the computer is organised in terms of files and directories where a file is a chunk of information with a nametag like in an office filing cabinet, and the microphone is presented as an imaginary never ending file where the chunk of information changes every time you look at it, and you'll need to run a program to repeatedly look at the file and copy the contents to a new file in a directory of your choice... no, you can't put it "anywhere" and then search for it later, you are forced to choose a directory for it.

Your files have all the lines messed up? That's because it's built as if it's a typewriter with a forced "I'm at the end of a line" instruction which you never need to care about until you get a page from another typewriter where the operator had to push a different button at the end of a line and when he looks at the page it looks fine but when you look at the page you see it as if you had typed it on your typewriter pressing his end-of-line button which you don't have on your typewriter so it doesn't do anything, so you see one long line, ha ha!

Those are very valid and true criticisms for current command lines and the way they interface to the larger computing environment on which they live (and you didn't even go into all of the problems you could have). But I want to point out the attack has a limited scope in an important way, command lines that have been built in the past, with roots that go quite far back for most of them.

Just as it isn't a full and knock-down criticism of GUI's to point out that people have done them badly, this attack doesn't go to the core idea of command lines, "type what you want to have happen." The available metaphors can and should be made more in line with how people think of what computers can do.


Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact