Does Ed or Anyone Else Know What Professor Thomas Landauer Says About y2k? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Several years ago, probably just before I became y2k aware, I read a book by Thomas Landauer, "The Trouble With Computers." This forum has probably already gone over this, but has Landauer gotten into the y2k debates? Ed, are you or anyone else familiar with his y2k opinions?

I have pasted some Amazon reviews below for those not familiar with the book.

Begin Amazon paste:

The Trouble With Computers : Usefulness, Usability, and Productivity by Thomas K. Landauer Paperback (September 1996) MIT Press; ISBN: 0262621088 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.03 x 8.91 x 6.00

Customers who bought this book also bought:

Usability Engineering; Jakob Nielsen Computer Revolution : An Economic Perspective; Daniel E. Sichel Tog on Software Design; Bruce Tognazzini The Invisible Computer : Why Good Products Can Fail, the Personal Computer Is So Complex, and Information Appliances Are the Solution; Donald A. Norman

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Reviews Midwest Book Review Governments and the general public are spending a fortune on computers, but the real potential of the new technology has remain largely unrealized: that's the hard-hitting message of the latest to join others in criticizing the computer. There's a huge gap between what is promised and delivered by computers: seldom-used features, obsolete designs, and difficult learning curves plague the systems. Landauer proposes new techniques for solving many of these problems. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Customer Comments Average Customer Review: Number of Reviews: 3 from Silver Spring, MD , November 10, 1997 Debunks the myth that computers always improve things. Landauer has good credentials to be talking about what's wrong with computers. He talks about the two main phases in computer history: 1)The 50s and 60s where bookkeepers were replaced in great numbers and 2) The 70s and 80s when word processors and spreadsheets came of age. He says that the productivity improvements in the first phase are obvious, but the results from the 2nd are dubious in terms of economic gain. He does point to a few big recent successes such as the communications industry. This book came out just before the Web became big, however. Landauer describes software testing methods in detail and believes better testing could make the difference in current software user productivity. He includes lots of memorable statements, at least to programmer types. He mentions that nowadays many people do things with computers simply because they can, not because it makes sense. He also points out how people pump money into PCs getting them to do things badly, which are easy and cheap to do by other means, just because they are so amazed a computer can do them.

A reader , February 8, 1997 A must read for any developer or IS person In a relatively short book, Mr. Landauer has brought to focus much of the ill-conceived notions of the computer industry as well as it's failings. For anyone who reads "trade rags" and wonders if it is at all realistic, one MUST read this book.

It's filled with real-world examples, and true scientific research that brings home the points made in the book.

To avoid the same pitfalls in your projects you should see what everyone else had done wrong.

A reader , February 5, 1997 A most important book about computers and productivity Why are computers so hard to use, and what is this costing us? Answering this question is the focus of Thomas Landauer's in-depth study of computers and productivity. If you are interesed in the economics of computing, software usability or the effect of computing on our nation's economic performance, this is a must-read book.

It is not light reading, but it is well documented and worth the effort. (And the price is right!) Landauer, formerly head of Cognitive Research at Bellcore, is now a professor at the University of Colorado.

I have posted a more detailed review of this book at:

Lokk under "discussion papers".

Charles B. Kreitzberg

-- Puddintame (, March 22, 1999

Moderation questions? read the FAQ