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Comments on Simplexity

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Posted 04/12/13 - 10:16 AM:
Subject: Simplexity
I am reading "Simplexity," the 2008 book by J. Kluger. He writes:
"Electronic devices ... have gone mad. It is not just your TV or your camera or your twenty-seven-button cell phone with its twenty-one different screen menus and its 124-page instruction manual. ... The act of buying nearly any electronic product has gone from the straightforward plug-and-play experience it used to be to a laborious, joy-killing experience in unpacking, reading, puzzling out, configuring, testing, cursing, reconfiguring, stopping altogether to call the customer support line, then calling again an hour or two later, until you finally get whatever it is you've bought operating in some tentative configuration that more or less does all the things you want it to do--at least until some error message causes the whole precarious assembly to crash and you have to start it all over again. ... "

After elaborating on this topic  (for several pages), the author concludes that "there's necessarily complex and then there's absurdly complex."

What he does not analyze, at least in the chapter I am reading, is the effect all this may have on the minds of our push-button youngsters. Push-button experience is very different from building radios, repairing grandfather clocks, tractors, cars, etc. Will the overall effect be positive or negative?  What do you think?

Ludwik Kowalski,
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Avatar thedoc
Posted 04/12/13 - 11:14 AM:

Just curious, which other forums have given you an active response to this?

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Posted 04/13/13 - 10:52 AM:

I think there are positives and negatives in everything. The brains of youngsters are definitely up to the task of whatever complexity we throw at them, I certainly believe that. Teach them multiple languages while they're young and they can pick it up like a sponge to water. Electronic devices are merely another language - computer language.
henry quirk
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Posted 04/15/13 - 8:40 AM:

I think way too much is made about the effect of technologies on kids.

'Need' is a great motivator. If I, semi-literate, 50 year old, primitive that I am, can 'learn' (new tech, new language, etc.) because I have a 'need' to, then kids -- with their overly plastic brains -- are in little danger of 'niche-ing' themselves too tightly.
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