Alastair’s Place

Software development, Cocoa, Objective-C, life. Stuff like that.

Computers! Bah, Don't Talk to Me About Computers.

One thing I really hate is when people discover that I work with computers, they always seem to want to start conversations about them. I would much rather talk about something else (anything else), unless the other person has something genuinely interesting to say (doubtful unless they're a techie themselves or it's an observation about how people interact with machines).

Even more annoying is when people tell me that I only ever talk about computers, which simply isn't true. Usually the people who say this to me are those who only ever speak to me if they want to talk about computers (that is, it's them starting conversations about the wretched things ;->). Yes, I find technology fascinating, but I find lots of other things interesting too… and given that computer software is what I do for a living, I would far rather be talking about art, astronomy, literature, music, politics, religion or indeed just about any other branch of human endeavour.

So, please, World, don't talk to me about computers, unless either:

  1. You have something interesting to say, or

  2. I start talking to you about them (which I won't do unless I think you'll be interested by what I've got to say).

By the way, for the record, the absolute most annoying conversation about computers that you can try to start with me is the one where you begin with some fatuous remark about how utterly amazing Microsoft software is.

Remember, I'm a software developer, and a fairly knowledgeable example of the species at that (well, so I'm told, anyway); I don't find very much that computers can do amazing, because I know more about how they work than any sane person would ever want to. I find some things that people can do with computers amazing (3D animation, for example, or modelling the physics of a star; even the latest crazy user interface feature from the likes of Apple or Sun), but when you understand how they work from the transistor up, office software and operating systems are very mundane and not really terribly interesting, especially in the context of “Aren't Microsoft products great?”.