Murphy and the Mac

May 28, 2004 at 10:18 am | Posted in Macintosh | Leave a comment

A lot of lunchtime discussion topics converged in Paul Murphy’s article describing differences in user interface philosophy.

A few months ago, I read Edward Tufte’s criticism of PowerPoint and Paul reminds us that this one application has done more damage to creative business thinking than the rest of Microsoft’s applications combined. When business communications is nothing more than sending each other PowerPoint presentations, there is really no communication going on; our forieign competition will undoubtedly teach us a lesson in this in the next few years.

The application-centric user interface of Windows is contrasted with the transparent Mac version. Many of my colleagues think that simply slapping a GUI on top of a complex problem is the end solution, when it is only the *beginning* of the solution. The additional effort to integrate and scale various business activities (aka “process improvements”) is almost never taken into account. On an IT-level, the lack of data format standardization within a business and between businesses and customers is a major cause of problems. Likewise, opening a web site that is simply a collection of links to non-standard MS Office documents is short-sighted.
Paul then uses half of his article to not really further explore the difference in thinking between Microsoft and Apple, but rather goes on a full-fledged tirade on how badly the Toronto International Airport was designed, and then compares it mercilessly with Microsoft. If you thought American-style bureaucracy and group-think is bad, you haven’t seen the Canadian version 🙂
He makes a quick point about frogs in boiling water, which often explains as to why people are willing to put up with so much shit, as long as it’s fed to them in incrementally increasing doses.

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