More Holy Wars

Subject: More Holy Wars
From: Andrew Plato <aplato -at- EASYSTREET -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 18:19:12 -0800

Friends,

I respect the fact that everyone has their favorite set of tools. I respect
the fact that some tools are better than others. But, I think it is very
important to realize that no tool is perfect for all situations. The recent
HTML - PDF war is a perfect example of how obsessive and small minded we can
become when our favorite tool gets criticized.

As you know, I loathe holy wars. I find them the most immature, moronic,
and unproductive aspect of the high tech industries. I also find that the
most ardent supporters of some technologies fail to accept the realities of
the market. Like it or lump it: there are more PCs then Macs, there are
more Netscape browsers than IE browsers, and there are more unemployed (or
under- employed) writers that think Tool X is the ultra-perfect tool for
every possible need.

We live in a market with incredible dynamics. A mere four years ago HTML
was nothing. Six years ago, Help systems barely existed. We must remember
that technology, like most biological entities, is an evolving and changing
beast. To stake your life and career in one subset of technologies is not
only foolish its a disservice to your company and the users/customer your
writing to.

Consider all those people that learned to program their Commodore home
computers. Some of them went on to bigger and better things. The ones that
refused to learn anything new moved into a trailer park and are routinely
abducted by aliens.

My point is that regardless of how much you like Framemaker, Word, Acrobat,
or BlatherMaster 98 there is some technology around the corner that could
easily unseat any of the popular tools and leave you behind, unemployable.

Moreover, some tools work better under some circumstances. This is a fact
of life, not a mandate from God to make square pegs fit into round holes.
There are circumstances out there in the big messy world where FrameMaker is
totally useless and stupid to use. A hammer is great for pounding nails,
but sucks for changing babies.

What I am saying is that technological intolerance is just as bad as racial
intolerance. It is an unfounded bias against something because of personal
preferences. All technology is useful under some circumstances. Commodore
Vic-20s might be outdated, but they have value somewhere in the world
(perhaps as donations to children in third-world countries who don't know
about computers, Perhaps only as paper-weights.)

HTML is good.
PDF is good
Help files are good
FrameMaker is good.
Word is good.
RoboHelp is good.
Macs are good.
PCs are good.
Windows is good.
UNIX is good.
Java is good.
Bill Gates is good.
Scott McNealy is good.
Larry Ellison is ugly, but good.

See... if you say it enough times you laugh and relax. Which is what is
important. It is important to leverage off your skills and experience
rather than force a technology on a situation just because you feel
comfortable using that technology. Nothing is more frustrating then picking
up after a one-trick writer.

Remember:
All technology is good.
All technology is useful.
All tools are good under some circumstances.
Exploit the market, never fight it.
The customer/audience/user is always right.
Have a nice day.

Thank you for your time. Eric, you may now yell at me for posting this.

.......................................................
Andrew Plato
Owner/Principal Consultant
Anitian Technology Services
www.anitian.com




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