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Thu 08 May 2003

The Renaissance Man

Category : Commentary/renaissanceman.txt

Lending credence to the notion that the Mac tends to attract people who like to think with both sides of the brain is the result of a recently concluded survey by O'Reilly's MacDevCenter (a must-visit website for any Mac developer).

I have always enjoyed the breadth of the articles published here - from Java and Apache to digital photography, audio and Rendezvous - and I'm not alone.

Commented Derrick Story, the managing editor of O-Reilly Network :

"I'm going to continue with the broader stuff too. I have a number of reasons for this thinking, but a primary one is that being a developer for Mac OS X is a little different than for other platforms. Successful Mac developers are not only good at their specialty, such as Brent Simmons [the creator of NetNewsWire] in managing RSS, but they tend to have an overall understanding of what's going on with their platform.

"Having a handle on Rendezvous, digital photography, X Window, ACC, Java, artist and developer rights, bioinformatics, and QuickTime authoring, just to name a few, helps us understand the interests of the people who support our ideas and our software. I'm not saying this is exclusive to the Mac platform. Certainly Larry Wall [the creator of Perl] is a Renaissance man. But I think this trait is more common in the successful Mac developer than maybe on other platforms. That's why we mix the content the way we do on the site."

I think of the Dell guy who comes into our client's office, who opens up the PC and takes out card and puts in card, takes out cable and puts in cable, calls himself a doctor, not knowing the world is passing him by.

There's a better alternative. Start from the notion that we're really there to work with information - to shape meaningful information out of the mass of raw data.

Then it gets easier to understand how we can possibly wield all these technology to help us reach those ends - i.e. to help other people understand the information better. And also to know what to spend time on and what to throw out the Windows.

It's been said that knowing how to choose the right point of view is worth (how many?) IQ points. Can't see the forest for the trees?

Posted at 6:52AM UTC | permalink


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