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Humanist Archives: Nov. 27, 2018, 6:30 a.m. Humanist 32.230 - limitations of devices

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 230.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
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        Date: 2018-11-26 06:50:34+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty 
        Subject: limitations of devices

On the question of which OS is better on what hardware, there are two 
things that matter to me: the design/aesthetics of the end-product and 
how I spend my time using it. The first of these is (correct me if I am 
wrong) so much a matter of taste that I cannot see my way to an 
argument. The second, however, seems fairly clear-cut.

Quite often I have the argument of Mac vs Linux with my son, a technical 
expert such as I never was and never will be. He spends loads of time 
searching for the best laptop hardware, paying great attention to the 
qualities of the processor (beyond me). This never turns out to be a 
Mac; his list of moral objections against the company, including 
allegations of conspiracy to defraud customers, and of technical points 
is long. Then he installs some flavour of Linux, and spends a fair bit 
more time getting the right drivers (by criteria I do not understand). 
Meanwhile I am downloading secondary sources, writing, running a 
journal, editing Humanist &c. I am certainly not arguing for my way of 
life vs his, only that the two ways are different. Mundane choices 
entail so much else.

He reminds me of a friend years ago at the time when this friend was 
building a computer from components. At one point he had terrible 
difficulties getting a hard disc controller to work with the hard disc 
he wanted to use; this meant buying one after another to test it. I 
listened to him complain vociferously several times, then asked, "Why 
don't you just buy a computer?" (He had the money.) He looked at me as 
if I did not understand, which I didn't when I asked the question. And 
then I did get it. Those difficulties were inseparable from his 
builder's satisfaction at finally getting it right.

And how could any computer be morally unstained? We ourselves can't. Is 
there a doctor (of ethics) in the house?

Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/),
Professor emeritus, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London;
Adjunct Professor, Western Sydney University; Editor, Interdisciplinary 
Science Reviews (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20) and Humanist 

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