01 March 2013

My new pocket dictionary is easier to use than the digital ones

I just received a Langensheidt Pocket Italian/English dictionary for a gift, and low and behold it's easier to use than any of digital dictionaries I'm using, e.g. iphone/ipad app, google translate or an internet based dictionary.

I've been doing digital because hey, it's there, and hey it's "supposed to be better."

The main reason it's not better is usability. With the good old dicto, my thumb glides over the pages in 2 heartbeats then eye scans the pages in 2 more.

Finito. On with what I was doing.

With all the digital versions I have to type in the entry. I have to scroll. Neither of these tasks is as effortless as thumb rippling and eye scanning. My small hands are pretty facile with the phone too.

Nope, interacting with the device requires more effort to do the task. And this matters a lot, a way lot, actually.

I notice technology ever more encroaching on my effort capacity. Well I've always noticed the effort involved with technology and weighed it against the ROE (return on effort). The last few years I've become more sensitized though. My cumulative experiences of the procedural hell of working in Blackboard and helping other people do it have been revelational, particularly juxtaposed to working in Second Life.

In both cases, one has to ask: why, what for?

I'm here to do something. That something isn't the technology.

Oh yeah, and I can read the good old dictionary in the sunlight too.