Chapter 7: Relative Heaven

Footnote: Immature Wisdom

To this day, one is hard pressed to find a computer operating system that is not, beneath its smooth GUI, still a labyrinth of disparate drivers and awkwardly patched scripts glued together by a rat's nest of code called a kernel that was rushed out of the door, by the market deadline, flying on a wing and a prayer.

Even established application areas are not immune from retrograde design. In 1981 I designed a contacts management package. One of the things it certainly got right was the salutation of a mailshot letter. I had programmed it to parse the social title (Mr Ms etc), the forename, initials, academic qualifications etc out of the single 'contact name field' of the contact record. When it began a letter

Dear [whoever]

it always got the form of address correct. It isn't difficult. Yet not far off two decades later I still frequently receive letters and mailshots addressed in such forms as

Dear Robert J
Dear Morton
Dear RJ Morton
Dear Morton R J
Dear Mr Robert
Dear Morton Consultant
Dear Mr R J
Dear Robert Esq

It seems that a new set of kids have to make the same old mistakes and learn the same old lessons all over again while those of more mature standing, who could have set them straight to start with, are kept unemployed.

Parent Document | ©Mar 1999 Robert John Morton