NeoVictorian Computing

Now, I do have to admit that after reading Gavin Menzes’ books (1421 and 1434) that I don’t care for the term or context of the “Victorian” age. But I can get with the idea beind Mark Bernstein’s thoughts about computing and the direction would be better off taking with it.

We software creators woke up one day to find ourselves living in the software factory. The floor is hard, from time to time it gets very cold at night, and they say the factory is going to close and move somewhere else. We are unhappy with our modern computing and alienated from our work, we experience constant, inexorable guilt.

I propose NeoVictorian Computing which, drawing on elements of contemporary culture, might succeed in restoring creative integrity, beauty, and independence to the craft of software.

There are a ton of posts in Berstein’s NeoVictorian series, and all are worth the read. For example, the piece talking about computing as brushstrokes:

…I want this to change. I want a software world where we might again enjoy new software that does things we couldn’t do before. I want software that fits specific needs. I’m a software professional; why should I be using the same tools as a sixth grader, or a professional photographer, or an interior decorator?

Why do we have so little variety in our software? One reason is that we ask it to do what it cannot, and we expect to do too little.

We should expect to learn. Sophisticated tools require study and effort, and they repay that effort by letting us do things we could not do otherwise. Calculus is a lot of work, but you can’t understand physics or the stock market until you understand derivatives. Learning to draw the figure is a lot of work; once you do the work, you can draw…

That resonated so much to me, especially since the recent update to All Books was pushed to GitHub. I am finding that designing my own Bible reader is allowing me to learns and take chances much the same way that I do when I am doing sketchnotes. And then, probably in a similar light, I will end up with something rough around the edges, not quite befitting the rest of this age of shiny UX, but altogether something that merits a better experience overall for me.

Yea, this has got me nodding in a neat direction today.