INSPIRATIONAL: Then, at the very bottom in the toe, was a …

My Perfect Christmas
by Susan Callaway (AKA MamaLiberty)
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

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In later years my mother often told us how she and Virginia mixed together the last remaining bread, milk, eggs and sugar with a few raisins and some cinnamon. They put it into the oven with a prayer, and we said our usual prayer of thanks before we ate it. Only the adults knew that those were the last morsels of food left in the house and that none of them had any idea when or how they would be able to get anything else until the next pension check came in on the first. I can only imagine their agony—and their faith.

Christmas morning broke clear and very cold. The snow wasn’t deep, but it stretched unbroken for many miles in every direction. We certainly didn’t anticipate company, but up the road came the county snowplow with a lone blue car behind it. The county never plowed the road by our house, so it was a mystery until the car pulled into our driveway.

Out popped Virginia’s mother! She had shamed the plowman into making a path for her, and he helped her unload boxes of groceries and other things. The children were too busy to notice, however, because we each had a wonderful felt stocking full of nuts, candy and a few small toys. Then, at the very bottom in the toe, was a huge shining orange! Those were worth their weight in gold then and had been very rare in our lives to that point. I can’t begin to tell you what it meant to us as we jealously watched our orange peeled and then savored each drop of the golden fruit.

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Indeed, a Merry to everyone.

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MEME: Raskin’s Design Principle: “Computers should never lose work or waste time.”

Don’t harm a human

During reading Jef Raskins “Humane Interface” for the first time I came across him quoting Isaac Asimov’s famous first rule for robots: “A robot shall not harm a human, or, through inaction, allow a human to come to harm.” He rightly pointed to the deep meaning this quote should have to every interface designer and it got me thinking about how right he actually is.

Raskin exchanges “robot” for “computer” and “harm a human” with “lose work” or “waste time”. But I actually would prefer to leave the “harm a human” as is, because it encapsulates both lost work and wasting time, as well as other disastrous events that can occur while using a computer / applications / websites.

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Raskin’s Design Principle: “Computers should never lose work or waste time.”

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