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RE: Patterns are useful (was RE: [XP] Patterns are harmful)

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  • Dinwiddie, George
    As a sailor, this statement doesn t make much sense to me. The analogue to GPS is not basic understanding; it s a code generator. GPS is a large, complex,
    Message 1 of 10 , Apr 27, 2001
      As a sailor, this statement doesn't make much sense
      to me. The analogue to GPS is not basic understanding;
      it's a code generator. GPS is a large, complex, mostly
      hidden system that, when it fails and gives the wrong
      answer, that fact may not be apparent to the user. And,
      when it fails, the user who has become reliant on it
      will have no backup. This has become all too common
      in recent years.

      "The prudent navigator does not rely on a single
      aid to navigation."

      GPS is wonderful magic, but it is still magic. It's
      an easy tool for the novice and quite useful for the
      master navigator. But the master navigator will also
      maintain a dead reckoning, knowing about where you
      are by where you've been, which way you've been headed,
      and how long you've been going. The master navigator
      will also take bearings, with a compass for precision
      or by eye for confirmation of other means of navigation.
      There are myriad other hints: the sun, the moon, the
      stars, the direction and shape of waves, lights or
      objects on shore, birds, airplanes, and, of course,
      lighthouses and other man-made aids to navigation.
      There are many ways of using these items, too, and
      what is appropriate differs depending on circumstances.

      I know that I became much better at navigating the
      shallow waters of the Chesapeake Bay when my depth
      sounder broke and I started watching the shape of
      the shoreline and the color of the water instead of
      that dumb dial. I not only go aground much less, I
      don't feel the tension and can enjoy myself more. I
      also sail better when I feel the motion of the boat
      and adjust it until it feels "happy" than when I try
      to adjust to preset marks and sail some compass angle
      to the wind.

      I think this is very close to your original point;
      it's your statement about GPS that goes way wide of
      the mark IMO.

      BTW, I really liked your earlier statement about
      lighthouses and bugzappers.

      - George

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Michael C. Feathers [mailto:mfeathers@...]
      [snip]
      In my opinion, when people get at
      some of these more basic understandings,
      they are closer to having GPS. I really
      like the aesthetics of lighthouses. I read
      about them all the time, but if they ever
      got in the way of the adoption of GPS,
      I'd be livid.
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