Recent Development on the Use-List

Mathewson richmond at
Sun Dec 11 07:38:18 EST 2005

The point of comparison between HC/SC/MC/RR and religions
is valid. If you read the Jewish Bible (whether you believe
it or not) it presents a history where every time the
Jewish religion, and its adherents get a bit "frayed round
the edges" a new prophet was sent to get everybody going
again - present the same message in a slightly fresher,
more up-to-date packaging. We could see Bill Atkinson in
the role of Abraham - the great founder-patriarch.

[By the way, I described Bill Atkinson's photography
website as 'sad': the word 'sad' was not meant to refer to
his photos - personally I think they are super - the word
'sad' referred to the fact that I felt a man of real vision
had retreated into the "mountain fastnesses of his
hermitage" away from the continuing life of the great
avatar of HC - RR]

Over the last few weeks RR has come in for some scrutiny
and discussion of a quite different nature than the usual
user-list fare. This is undoubtedly healthy and symptomatic
of a "crisis of faith" that needs addressing before there
is a mass migration of users away from RR to other RAD

1. A question about who RR is meant for: does it have
pretensions to be a "universal faith", or is it some little
"gnostic sect" for an elite?

2. Is the "liturgy" to be conducted in Plain English or
"Sanskrit / Latin / Old Church Slavonic" ?

3. Is there a need for a "person of vision" to radically
rethink and repackage RR to prevent mass migration
elsewhere and reinvigorate people's faith in the validity
of RR right now?

4. Do the churches (GUI) look a bit shabby in comparison
with the mosques, temples and so forth that litter the

One of my criticisms of RR (the company) is that, apart
from the fact that we know their headquarters are in the
New Town in Edinburgh, we know very little about them
personally. There is also a feeling that the faceless folk
at RR don't have a strong leader who LISTENS AND RESPONDS

Now I have referred in several of my postings to 'Princes
of the Church' - but I really wonder if there are any
official princes of this church. I also made a joke about
Dan Shafer in a Cardinal's hat - well, it seems to me that
Dan Shafer, Richard Gaskin and Jeanne DeVoto are as near as
one can get to princes of this church (I'm sorry, there are
others (Chipp ? and more) who escape me at the moment) -
yet they also seem to stand in some sort of ambivalent
position vis-a-vis RR (the company).

I sacked a project-engineer who was designing my house here
in Bulgaria because he went on his own sweet way without
ever consulting me: i.e. planning a house for me, with my
money, and treating me like a mushroom (keep it in the dark
and throw sh*t on it). I now have a new project engineer
who knows damn well that every penny is mine and I'm a mean
Scot who won't give him a brass bawbee of my siller unless
he keeps me informed and defers to my requests and

If RR has pretensions to become a universal standard RAD
then it had better "pull its finger out" (I notice that
RealBasic is now FREE for Linux - and one can develop
cross-platform with it - bl**dy fantastic! mind you, I have
invested a lot of time and energy into learning xTalk - but
RR cannot rely on people's knowledge investment for ever).
I have a few ideas (which may be fairly naive and goofy):

1. Apple is having a "tent revival" session which could
just blow the socks off Uncle Bill: the Intel-based Macs
are just around the corner, and with it "Leopard" - Mac OS
10.5 -  that will have both PPC and Intel variants. How
about a cut-down version of RR with every copy of Leopard?
Ring Uncle Steve.

1.1 I suppose each copy of Leopard should also be
accompanied by a slim volume called "Intro to RR" so that
users actually realise that there is a copy of RR bundled
with the OS.

2. A FREE downloadable cut-down version: DreamCard with a
10-line limit?

3. Sort out the way the online documentation is organised.
I still use the docs from 2.0.1 even though I work with DC
2.6.1 on Mac and RR 2.2.1 on Linux - RR should be able to
work out why - they have been told about this by many, many
people for a long time: slack, very slack.

Personally I cannot see much wrong with the UI that
individuals cannot change (recall my heretical versions of
the toolbar). Of course if one relies for RR for what one's
finished stacks or standalones look like they will all be
rather "samey" and possibly not to one's individual taste.
What is extremely good about RR is that one can go to
graphic "hell" and graphic "heaven" of one's own free will;
of course that involves a bit more effort than if one
relies on RR's own look and feel. However it has come in
for some heavy criticism so needs to be addressed.

4. Let the RR people come out of the closet so we feel that
they care about their user-base (and I don't mean just for
expensive jaunts to Malta).

5. Let the RR people know that they respond to user
suggestions not just by implementing them, but by
acknowledging them, both publicly and in the RR

6. Every school in the "First World" (Ho, Ho; there's
another bone of contention) should have some sort of
version of RR
(c.f. idea #2) installed on its computers - and kids ought
to be being introduced to programming using RR. Even if for
the only reason that Accessing the Internet and typing
"Word" documents are now almost instinctive to kids under
the age of 30 (!!!!), and teachers are wasting their time
and taxpayers' money teaching something that everybody
already knows (except, probably, some stuffy
'educationalist' employed by organisations such as Fife
Council - woops, personal peeve there). Personally I feel
that HyperStudio ought to be burnt at the stake as a
dangerous heresy.

7. Somebody could be employed to "strain" the use-list
(even if only to strain out my "bl**dy" rants) for useful
stuff to compile into a useful and usable reference source
for RR users.

Now one of the besetting problems with religions is that to
convert to them one requires a leap of faith. Looking at
recent postings to the use-list it seems that some people
are finding the need for a leap of faith to adopt RR a bit
too much.

RR is not a religion, and does not require its users to
believe in intangible things. RR is a way of getting
computers to do what we want them to do, and as such is
extremely concrete. Because RR is not a religion it should
not require any leap of faith at all. To ensure that
would-be users of RR aren't required to make a leap of
faith requires the following:

1. A body of freely available example stacks showing off
RR's capabilities.

2. Every aspect of RR's capabilities and how to
implement/achieve them needs to be up-front and readily
accessible and comprehensible to the new user.

sincerely, Richmond Mathewson

See Mathewson's software at:
The Think Different Store
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