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Selected Quotes


On Consumer Technology

"In some ways, the new technology has made life easier. We can punch one button instead of seven or 11 to call the kids. We can write readable, correctly spelled letters on a personal computer…On the other hand, the inability of many people to program their VCRs has become a symbol of the vast gap between the buyers of these marvelous new machines and the engineers who made programming them cumbersome and the directions a nightmare."

"Plugged In," The Boston Globe, April 1, 1994

Full text of 'On Consumer Technology'


On the World Wide Web

"I look at the Internet as an important new tool in the hands of people who are seeking to win greater public understanding of their own interests or causes. The graphical nature of the World Wide Web, the nearly infinite capacity and the coming multimedia capabilities of adding sound, animation and--someday--even video to the message make the Internet an exciting new medium in which to work.

"I would argue, however, that much of the work going on right now in development of Web sites is adding to a giant junk pile in cyberspace that, if we're not careful, will frustrate and discourage exactly those people we're trying to reach. I'm not suggesting the Web will go the way of CB radio, but I am saying that building Web sites badly can have effects equal and opposite to those intended by the builders."

--Remarks to Washington on the Web conference, May 1996

Full text of 'On the World Wide Web'


On Microsoft Bob

"Personal computing is for everyone and ought to be easier and more reliable for all of us. I therefore welcome Microsoft's introduction of a program that sets out to make everyday tasks manageable, cutting through the technical jargon and confusing routines that frighten many people away from machines that might make their lives easier.

"Unfortunately, Bob is an utter simpleton, poorly designed and dreadfully executed."

"Plugged In," The Boston Globe, March 31, 1995

Full text of 'On Microsoft Bob'


On Language

"Writers as well as editors must cringe in the brave world of the Internet, where anyone can publish anything without benefit of editing. The language we use is being butchered Out There by electronic publishers who think they don't need editors because they have spell-checking programs. Frequently, they don't even use those.

"We may one day regret we dispensed with the rule that holds a second pair of eyes can see mistakes the first pair missed."

"Plugged In," The Boston Globe, December 21, 1995

Full text of 'On Language'


Turn on Computer, Insert Photo

"The two easiest ways I've found to get pictures into a computer are Storm Software's EasyPhoto color scanner, which costs about $250, and the $100 black-and-white QuickCam made by Connectix."

"Plugged In," The Boston Globe, November 16, 1995

Full text of 'Turn on Computer, Insert Photo'


On doing expense reports

"If you can load Windows on your computer and keep even a rough record of the checks you write, you can do expense accounts with this program."

"Plugged In," The Boston Globe, December 30, 1994

Full text of 'On doing expense reports'


On Getting Onto the Internet

"We keep hearing about all the wonderful resources the Internet offers for research, education and simple enjoyment. The fact is, unless you are an experienced professional or have one handy, the Information Superhighway can be darned hard to get to and plenty frustrating once you're there. Trying to find what you want can be like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack--after the hay has been through the cow."

Speech to New England Society of Online Professionals, May 1995

Full text of 'On getting onto the Internet'


Will Newspapers Survive?

"The most familiar arguments against newspapers and magazines becoming obsolete are that most people don't like to read long stories on computer screens, and computers themselves aren't convenient to carry around the house to comfortable reading places, read on the bus or carry from home to office. Those arguments are sound enough -- today."

From a Paper submitted to the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication, January, 1996

Full text of 'Will Newspapers Survive?


On Thomas, the Legislative Reference on the Internet

"If you ask Thomas to provide any legislation dealing with 'elderly black Americans,' the first two bills he will report back concern the Black Bear Protection Act, (and) why do you suppose the Bucket Drowning Prevention Act is listed?

"…Thomas demonstrates that the great challenge of the Information Age is not merely to gain access to information but to figure out how to manage it."

"Plugged In," The Boston Globe, January 27, 1995

Full text of 'On Thomas, the legislative reference on the Internet'


On Automap

"A visitor from France asked my advice in taking a scenic drive from Washington to Lexington, Va., so I sought a route that would take her down the famed Skyline Drive through the mountains of western Virginia. You can imagine my dismay when Automap insisted instead on sending her car hurtling down the Appalachian Trail at 50 mph."

"Plugged In," The Boston Globe, April 22, 1994

On the H-P OmniGo 100

"To be successful on a large scale, (a pocket electronic organizer) must be small enough to fit unobtrusively in a jacket pocket or purse, share information with a desktop or laptop computer and be easy enough for nontechnical people to use without raising the blood pressure more than a point or two.

"The OmniGo is getting there."

"Plugged In," The Boston Globe, December 7, 1995

On the Microsoft Network

"CompuServe proved that widespread communication among personal computers was possible. America Online proved it could be easy. The Microsoft Network demonstrates an on-line service can be powerfully confusing."

"Plugged In," The Boston Globe, August 20, 1995