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Edit Assignment15-Nilo here.

Assignment #15

Nilo Tsung
1. what did you find
1.1. interesting about the article?
The authors did a very good job on how much we rely on the social system to learn new technology. Instead of wishing our society being transformed by the new technology, the authors argued that we should design the technology in a way that it can be adopted by the society. The authors mentioned several good analogies in the past such as telephone, electricity, etc.

1.2. not interesting about the article?
I like the entire chapter very much.

2. what do you consider the main message of the article?
Futurists and technologists have, from time to time, ignored the social system where the new technology is used.

3. what does the following quote mean to you: "design needs to attend not simply to the frailty of technological systems and the robustness of social systems, but to ways in which social systems often play a key part in making even frail technology robust"
Learning how to use a new technology with frailty in a collaborative social system should not be underestimated when we design a new technology.

3.1. why are social systems robust?
Human society has existed long before any fancy technology has been invented. We learn to help each other in the family setting since we were children at home.

3.2. why are technological systems frail?
The designers invent a particular technological system for a specific purpose. The users of the technological system usually are not fully aware the limitations of the technological system, especially when the technological system has been later redesigned by many groups of designers. Things could be very complicated, even for the designers.

3.3 or do you disagree with the authors about his?
No, I agree with the authors.

4. think of a couple of persons (maybe family members or friends) who are in a position to use computer by being "home alone"! Characterize the major problems that these persons have!
My brother-in-law is a professor of art history at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He bought a nice computer system couple years ago, planned to work at home more often, but soon found out that the Chinese word processor systems (both traditional and simplified characters) he bought could not compatible with each other. He tried to get help from various people, but his experience was very frustrating. I told him to get a teenage boy who loves to work on computer systems. Later, a 15-year-old boy from his neighborhood helped him by hacking around the systems, and quickly made them worked.

5. Describe briefly some new innovative technologies that you can think of which would address these problems!
The problem is more political than technical, because neither Mainland China nor Taiwan is willing to acknowledge the other system. Unfortunately, so far, there is no good and easy way to convert these two systems.

6. in case of problems with computer systems ? how often to you look for help/advice
6.1. from humans?
About 60% of time, I will ask around to get some help from my friends who are more knowledgeable in that area.

6.2. from written documentation?
About 30% of time, I will read some documentation.

6.3. from online resources?
Only 10% of time, I will use some on-line help systems, because they tend to be more confusing than helpful to me.

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