h a l f b a k e r y
add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random
news, help, about, links, report a problem
or get an account
You know the concept of 'Formative Years'? This is the same, except without the years bit
We as people place a lot of stock in the notion of 'formative years' as
though it is something to be proud of and placed on a pedestal - the
rapid random fanout of crippling thwarted experiences, burned into
the initial experiential profile to which all further overlays are
compared, thus adding
up to a persons 'formative years'.
Quite apart from the possibility of 'hey, why not just forget those
and have some more formative years, whenever you like?', which
would be the non-stupid approach to things like this, I think there
are some other 'signatures' or 'profiles' of random idiocy that
happened to you that have burned themselves into fixed and
forevermore immutable approaches.
This idea is the idea of Formative Technologies. I wasn't sure
whether to call it that, or Formative Informations, or Formative
Formats, or something, but this is what I've written first, so it can't
be changed now, or it won't be formative won't it.
Formative Technologies as a theory and a paradigm and also a
bicycle on Tuesdays, is the notion that a persons first exposure to
certain technologies immutably and forevermore sets in concrete, as
if it were set in stone, not only an approach to all future
technologies but a personal reflective gauge as to how a person and
technology interact. That's it.
A person might decide early on that they're 'not technical' or 'not
good with technology' because of their early formative experiences.
Another person might consider them selves technical, but because of
their first experiences, don't move on to different paradigms -
someone who grew up tinkering with valves might disparagingly
disparage the modern VLSI world. Another person might have
learned programming on BASIC computers in the 80s and that
approach fixed their understanding, so they don't 'get' functional
programming nowadays, or even CSS.
Now, this doesn't imply that a] a person can't learn more and further,
and also it doesn't disimply that a] a person who might have learned
machine code on a PDP-8 therefore understands enough broad
principles to see every form of programming in simpler and more
fundamental and 'no big deal' than most people today will struggle to
do with their barrage of frameworks and monads and beards.
So, formative technologies. I suppose we all have them, and what I'm
saying is that we should be embarrassed by them, not drag them out
after a few drinks every bloody time as if this inability to change or
reassess is something to be proud of.
||I'm amenable to the idea that all years are formative years
because of the idea of lifelong learning and not getting
trapped. If that's true, what if all technology is formative?
But I do have a problem understanding most things which
happened in IT after 1985.
||However, whereas we shouldn't get bogged down in the
past, how would you distinguish between the good old days
and the current golden age?
||I suspect the way to quantify formative technologies is to
do with how many units of alcohol before it gets dragged
out. If it isn't a personal formative technology, if it is what
is currently being zeitgeisted about, if it is what is being
taught on youtube (or even those quaint archaic relics -
schools colleges and universities), if it is what job adverts
are all braying out for, it is current and surfaced to the
point that it is on the very top of everyone's mindset at the
present time. If after several beers I start talking about
FORTH, then that is a formative technology, for me.
||What about people who don't drink alcohol? I hardly do. Maybe if you
hit me on the head the requisite number of times?
||FORTH is a kind of puzzle where I try to whittle down the vocabulary to
a minimum. I suspect it's actually only about three words or fewer, but
it's very like Jenga, and liking Jenga or not doesn't reveal one's age.
||What I meant was that for me, FORTH is the thing I learned
first, therefore everything else is compared to that - not as
good as FORTH because of, not as easy as FORTH because
of, not as elegant, etc, and I blame not understanding
everything else on the fact that they're not FORTH.
However, it could, with another person, be another thing.
Whatever it is, paints the frame which doors around
everything to come.
||No actually, you're just right. Nothing is as good as FORTH. You should
probably seek input from someone younger.
||(a) Given that people's views are shaped by the first technology they get along with, and given that they may be able to identify those technologies, what do they do about it?
||The thing to do about it is the thing we must or should do
consider our formative years. Destroy the impact they have
on us. Our formative years are nothing to cherish, they
must be diminished, muted or at least disempowered.
Similarly, formative technologies must be reduced in
impact, laughed at in importance, and kept quiet about as
a random mistake. FORTH is fuck all use today, for me, and
similarly with most people's first exposure to a technology -
useless as a transferrable experience, but more so because
of the heightened impact of it being, of course, 'formative'.
||And this differs from a "let's all" by...
||By being an idea. It is a classification, or a category, of
human experiential experience, or human developmental
psychology stuff thing whatsit. Oddly, there's almost no
major or minor categories in the hb for this sort of thing.
||I believe that if you are smart enough, eventhing can be framed by everything else. A clever person could use FORTH in a clever way to explain the newer language ideas. But only people with early FOURTH formating would get the complex analogy.
||Indeed, but most days, being smart enough is too much
bother, and other people don't match the exercise, leaving
||This is all about a state of mind, one that would be more
helpful if it wasn't allowed to dominate or to have the
impact it naturally has. The formative impressions of
technology stay static, but the technologies and techniques
||Or more accurately, the package that the formative
technologies are wrapped in when they are first presented
to a person are destined to get horrifically dated soon
after. Although the nuts and bolts inside might bear only
some fundamental structural correspondences to what is
going on today, the packaging and presentation is nothing
like the current way of perceiving these things. Yet it was
that older Bakelite and paintwork and box that made the
big deep formative impression.
||Formative constructs, therefore, are also a method of societal stratification. Those that can keep updating or adapt their formative experiences may be seen as younger or better but speed of change eventually passes us all in the end. In a perfect world everyone should be celebrated for their formative idiosyncratic differences, as wonder of human nature, but there's no money in it
|| Maybe in the future, drugs, stem cells or magnetic field technologies will allow a formative clean slate so the virgin formative experiences can be renewed all over again.
||My suggestion is do what I did last year - trip up and crash
head first directly into the ice at high speed on an ice
skating rink. Or, do what I did this year - fall out of the
attic. Both activities really do change the way you think,
revealing a lot more clarity and whatever that other stuff
||Problem with that method, [Ian], is that it works for the
young but the older we get the less we have to break, for