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Andrew Skalet hw15

1.1 I thought the many hidden social factors that exist in a work environment were very interesting. Also the failure of the ultra-modern office at Chiat/Day is a very useful data point for facilities innovators.

1.2 Nothing, really.

2. I think the main message of the article is that social structures, even (perhaps especially) very subtle ones, have a great effect on the efficiency within a company. The article voices concern about working from home, in the absence of all of these social structures.

3. This statement relates to the situation with the copiers that Xerox executives found easy to use. The design did not attend to the ways in which social systems play a key part in making frail technologies robust; in this case without the proper social systems the technology (copier) proved frail in the field. Specifically, this statement refers to the support that a social system can provide for a technological system, such as for the assistant at Xerox PARC.

4. My mother, and elementary school teacher, is a good example. When she is in her work environment using her computer, she can interact with a technology specialist and other teachers who deal with the same software problems. However, when she uses her computer at home in the evening or over a break, she is easily confused without these support systems.

5. One technology which has been utilized in technical support is chat with a human specialist. I think this would work well in this case. Automated solutions are not easy to implement. The social cues, such as understanding other teachers' difficulties with computer systems, would be very difficult to replicate in a "home alone" environment.

6.1 I very rarely seek help from humans. The only time I do this is when I am getting a network set up, like a DSL circuit, and I know that the person I call is going to have to actually make configuration changes.

6.2 I assume "written documentation" refers to printed documentation, and perhaps the help integrated with an operating system or application. when working in UNIX, I use the man system quite often, to remember how commands and functions are used. Under windows, I almost never use this type of documentation.

6.3 Online resources are by far my most used form of documentation. I usually try to find someone who has asked a question about the same problem I am having to a list or bulletin board, and had the question answered. However, I never ask the question myself, because I am not willing to wait for an answer. I can usually figure out the problem somehow in less time than it takes for an answer to be posted.

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