So Slashdot's beta is addictive? I don't think so...
I am not a shill for the drug companies by any means. That being said, I think the third world's energies would be better spent dealing with their quality issues before they got butt hurt over this move by big pharma's lobby. In reality, drugs sourced from India and/or China are a crap shoot. Read Derek Lowe's blog "In the Pipeline" for information on this industry and pharmacological chemistry.
Yes, India may be getting unfairly punished for it's ability to manufacture drugs inexpensively, but unfair things go on all the time - just look at Slashdot beta!
Text is more dense than graphics. Graphics, depending on how it's laid out can provide better or worse documentation than the code itself. Debuggers run on text, not pictures. Text can be edited with a variety of tools; any graphical notation will have its own editor, which will probably suck. Big diagrams are too tangled, while small diagrams provide too little context or require enough off-page connectors to make any intent opaque. No good way to connect to globals without use of (again) said off-page connectors. Need I go on?
People have been trying out and discarding graphical programming interfaces since the early 1970's (at least). Nobody keeps using them. Get the clue.
Plus, fuck beta.
... a lot of these posts imply that 'a technological solution that can render the essential features of the device inoperable
Either that or a beta.
Any organization that has a "Senior VP of People and Places" needs to rethink what the hell they are doing. Stupid titles are a sign of stupid management. I bet Slashdot has a "Senior VP of Beta:".
Damn it! I did it again. Sorry...
Oh well... Fuck beta!
You can see Detroit as another example. Slashdot beta - the Detroit of web sites.
But I see Dice is convinced that piling on to sunk costs for a broken project is a great strategy for success. Tells you all you need to know about the company. Web gazillion.0 idiots at their best! Arrogance and idiocy all rolled into a big steamer delivered fresh to your browser every day!
Given that and web design that sacrifices half the screen real estate for a sea of white is seriously broken, together with the fact that it's been that way since beta first came out in October, been complained about, and not fixed tells most people all they need to know about how much Slashdot cares about "user experience" and the feedback of the community.
I think that what Slashdot needs to do is simple: First, stop the beta NOW. It's sunk cost with a VERY bad outcome. Stop throwing good money after bad. Next, set up a discussion forum where users can give feedback on what they think is necessary - not on what you think is necessary. Focus the beta on that. Note that this is not to say that the designers at Dice should have no say - they should put forth their arguments as to how they think the site should change to attract new users (which is supposedly what they want and ALSO what we want, given that the community also wants a vibrant user base to interact with). After that, start making an updated site that is optional for users to use and, then, only after the initial usability gotchas are taken care of, start transferring folks over. Finally, always leave the old way for a backup for at least two major upgrades - I know that's old school and very non-Web gazillion.0, but it does help laggards transition.
If Slashdot had done this, I doubt there would have been this kerfuffle. And I know it would take longer and cost a bit more. However, if you actually believe in using feedback from your users when designing "user" experience (something that a lot of "user" experience designers don't seem to get), that's what you'll do. In any case, when what you're doing isn't working, you have to be an idiot to keep doing it. Alienating your current customer base is not a way to build an improved, vibrant site - Slashdot, you've had your Target moment. Right now you suck and we're going to boycott you next week to make sure you don't forget this. Show us how you're not going to suck in the future. That's really all you'e got left, unless you're going to start deleting accounts.
You open the mailbox. Peering inside you see a Post-It (TM) note stuck to the back of the mailbox, which you must reach in to remove. Scrawled in blood on the Post-It (TM) note are the words "Welcome to Slashdot Beta! Love, Dice Holdings, Inc. P.S. Enjoy your stay."
You close the mailbox and stagger off. You are eaten by a grue.
Well, you know why it's skinny, don't you? Because everyone reads Slashdot on their phone and phones are skinny! Unless you turn them sideways, but no one does that! I hope they cut the comment width to about one inch. That way we can all see the quality ads that Dice wants us to see. Maybe they can make their ads blink, too, so that we have the full FUCK SLASHDOT BETA experience!
OK. You idiots at Dice want to "fix" the beta? My number one complaint - you post about 12 inches of crap in the right hand column that (because of your layout) removes about 50% of the screen for use by the comments. Not only does that destroy screen space that could be used by content users actually want to read, but that content that you've wasted this space for also scrolls off the screen for people who might (for some unknown reason) want to see the wonders of Dice's lovely sub-companies. Here's a clue for your idiot designers - either find some way to use CSS regions (and, yes, I know that Google has made an issue of this) so you can wrap around that crap after you've put up your stupid Dice job postings, etc., or embed the Dice ads inline - i's less annoying to scroll past wide and short pieces of crap, rather than long, narrow pieces of crap (which is what you're turning comments into).
Fuck Slashdot Beta!
P.S. I think you should fire your idiot web designers.
We could, if we were also not embedded in an economic system that also puts a value on what is done together with a political system that preaches both freedom and equality. The problem seems to be that somehow, when we take advantage of our freedom to "do whatever the fuck [we] want to do", there is still a persistent gap in wages between one half+ of the population and the other half. So you have to explain to me how otherwise reasonable people who make rational choices about what they want to do somehow always end up statistically down. I'm thinking it has more to do with the economic system that systematically undervalues work that is typically done by one of those halves, together with a lack of political will to provide adequate support for particular issues that lead to income inequality (support for childcare, paid maternity leave, etc.) for that half.
Of course, you can do your Libertarian whining all you want, but it's this toxic combination of economic and conflicting political goals that brings about this result. And, of course, any of these could be changed to fix this issue, if anyone (especially those economically on top) wanted to change it. But they don't, so we can't, other than in local, systemically ineffective ways. So, sorry ladies, life as a worker is likely to suck for you for the foreseeable future - not that it's much better for us guys (which is one of the issues against it getting better), but you get all of that and get paid less with little support for making it better.
Our apologies for the inconvenience.
Efficiency is not the sole determiner of market success by any means.
Yes, but it is the sole metric of modern economics, meaning that any activity taken using this system as a driving model will eventually have a goal of increasing that metric. As such, you will devolve to a cog, and an efficient one at that, or your relative usefulness to the economic system will be over and your employment prospects will plummet precipitously.
The use of economics (and thus, efficiency) as the main (and almost sole) underpinning of what is "right" is the cause of most of our misery. Efficiency is important. So is kindness and happiness. However, with only a few minor exceptions, it is efficiency that we (and modern businesses and governments) covet. Because even if you can't always find a way to create creative and innovative products that make peoples' lives better - you can almost always screw another 2% out of your employees with less risk and effort.
Minimizing risk and effort? Yeah - that's the efficiency metric in action. Have fun with it...
I checked with my old tape drive. Here's what she said:
It was years ago... decades, really. Back in a time when computers were big. I mean really, really big. Back when your computer didn't sit around the house! No! You designed the house around the computer!
And big! I can tell you about big! They were making movies that had computers in them! And how did you know that the large hulking box in the corner was a computer? Because it had a tape drive like spinning back and forth. Every movie that had a computer in it had one or more of us tape drives included...
And then... Well, I guess times changed. Magnetic tapes became passe. We weren't seen as a young up-and-comers anymore. We just didn't get the parts in the pictures anymore, those spots going to networking gear or some other assortment of blinking lights. And those young stars were getting so tiny, so slender... so new. And what use did the industry have for some old tape drive? I ask you, what use?
But I'll tell you one thing: I was big. I am still big! It's the computers that are small...
This guy hits the nail on the head.
That being said, the other nail you need to hit is what you'll be doing with the software. From the emphasis on Finale in your post, it sounds as if you're doing composition. If your doing simple stuff and mainly want a nice playback of a score you might be able to cobble together an open source solution. However, you'd have many fewer headaches if you put together a Win7 box and put stuff that's not in perpetual beta on it.
Similarly, if you're wanting to produce the music you're writing, you'll want a DAW - but which one will vary based on what you're doing... Performing live? You'll need something like Ableton. Just recording and mixing? Sonar, Reaper, Cubase, and ProTools are all good choices (except Reaper is cheaper). Doing mastering? You'll probably want something like Samplitude and a really good I/O system for pushing the audio through external boxes. And, again, even though the open source world has lookalikes for many of these things, you'll get a much more simple and polished experience from a commercial OS. Especially since audio I/O on Linux has been even more FU'ed than Windows' audio I/O (I know... a concept even I have a hard time wrapping my head around) for the past twenty years.
So the real answer is "It depends." And I won't troll more by trying to recommend a Macintosh where the stuff is mainly plug-and-play and just works. Although Logic is its own can of hell, from what a friend I know tells me.
In any case, don't get too mired in the tools. They aren't where the music comes from, anyway.