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Donald Norman

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Serious accidents are frequently blamed on "human error." Yet careful analysis of such situations shows that the design or installation of the equipment has contributed significantly to the problems. The design team or installers did not pay sufficient attention to the needs of those who would be using the equipment, so confusion or error was almost unavoidable.
Introduction to the 2002 Edition, p. ix

Donald Norman

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Too much equipment can be, however, something that hampers scientific development. I had the feeling that if there is no equipment present, everybody is forced to simplify his ideas in such a way that the experiments become simple. If there is too much equipment available, he can attack any experiment immediately since all the difficulties will be overcome by putting more money in the equipment. In the long run, some of the equipment becomes so complicated that it is difficult to see how all the parts interact.

Georg Von Bekesy

Hey, that's not a bug, that's a feature! You know what the most complex piece of engineering known to man in the whole solar system is? Guess what – it's not Linux, it's not Solaris, and it's not your car. It's you. And me. And think about how you and me actually came about – not through any complex design. Right. "Sheer luck". Well, sheer luck, and:
• Free availability and crosspollination through sharing of "source code", although biologists call it DNA.
• A rather unforgiving user environment, that happily replaces bad versions of us with better working versions and thus culls the herd (biologists often call this "survival of the fittest").
• Massive undirected parallel development ("trial and error").
I'm deadly serious: we humans have never been able to replicate something more complicated than what we ourselves are, yet natural selection did it without even thinking. Don't underestimate the power of survival of the fittest. And don't ever make the mistake that you can design something better than what you get from ruthless massively parallel trial-and-error with a feedback cycle. That's giving your intelligence much too much credit. Quite frankly, Sun is doomed. And it has nothing to do with their engineering practices or their coding style.

Linus Torvalds

The moderns contended that the concentration on virtue contradicts the concern for well-being. Aristotle admitted that “equipment” as well as virtue is necessary for happiness, but he said nothing about how that equipment is acquired. A careful examination of the acquisition of equipment reveals that virtue impedes that acquisition. Liberality, for example, presupposes money and not caring for it overmuch. But one must care for it to get it. Moreover, spending money exhausts it, so that liberality makes the need for acquisitiveness greater than it would have been without the virtue. Liberality both discourages and encourages acquisitiveness, putting man in contradiction with himself. … The miser is not likely to need to steal. And his quest for profit can, properly channeled, produce benefits for others. In the old system he is given a bad conscience and a bad name. But it would seem that nature is not kind to man, if the two elements of happiness—virtue and equipment—are at tension with one another. Equipment is surely necessary, so why not experiment with doing without virtue? If a substitute for virtue can be found, the inner conflict that renders man’s life so hard could be resolved.

Allan Bloom

Architects know that some kinds of design problems are more personal than others. One of the cleanest, most abstract design problems is designing bridges. There your job is largely a matter of spanning a given distance with the least material. The other end of the spectrum is designing chairs. Chair designers have to spend their time thinking about human butts.

Paul Graham

Besides, including <std_ice_cubes.h> is a fatal error on machines that don't have it yet. Bad language design, there...  :-)

Larry Wall
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