The computer is a tool that has become indispensable to the modern family and company. In flourishing so successfully the computer has passed from incredibly complex and unusable to anyone how was not well versed in its intricacies, to consumer oriented and user-friendly. In Ellen Ullman’s essay, Programming Under The Wizard’s Spell, she attempts to convince to reader that the computer has been over simplified to the point of no return.
The simplification of the computer made it more user-friendly and there for more appealing to customers, this only blinded people into using the computer the way corporate America wanted them to, using without understanding. First, this essay is a hybrid, it is a mix of the expository and comparison and contrast essay. In the first part she attempts to examine the differences between various Microsoft operating systems and the Unix operating system.
Then the author tries to answer the question ”What is it ? ” and ”What is it not ? ” in paragraphs 3, Ullman states : ”Unix always presumes that you know what you’re doing. and in referring to Microsoft she states it as: “Consumer-oriented, idiot-proofed, covered by its pretty skin of icons and dialog boxes [… ]”.
She has tactfully drawn the boundaries between the two products which start to take one the appearance of the good and the corporate induced bad. Ullman has now inferred her goal, she wishes to convince the reader of her convictions of the new computerised corporate America. Also, she uses simple wording, narration and a somewhat comic anecdote of her experiences, effectively leading the reader into drawing negative conclusions about the new consumer oriented computer.
She does not truly attempt to be objective but gives that illusion by shortly stating in the first paragraph: ”a reasonable, professional choice in a world where Microsoft platforms are everywhere”. This was a reasonably good statement that inspires in the reader to believe that Ellen Ullman is waying the good and the bad. Further more, once finished, the reader can only conclude that there where so many more bad things than good things about Microsoft that it most likely a bad product hinged on reducing our computing freedom.
This conclusion is of course the only one possible to anyone how reads the essay. she made it this way but without actually expressing this opinion herself, she is merle telling a story littered with an unfavourable tone that seeped out of the text by her choice of wording: “My computer. I’ve always hated this icon”. Ullman infintilizes windows in order to ridicule it in order to further convince the reader of the negativity of these sorts of programs.
Ullman’s purpose in writing her essay was to warn the reader of the dangers that may insue from the over simplification of such a complex machine, the title she chose conveys her convictions well. But as she explains her misfortunes with Windows she makes usage of certain terms and expression that not just any one can understand, she wrote this essay for an audience of others such computer fans that she try’s to convince of the perils of forgetting how a computer really works, not just how the operating system works.
In conclusions, Ellen Ullman’s ultimate goal was that Corporate America saw the complex computer as a wild beast inaccessible to most, so they tinkered with to finally made it the new user-friendly computer system, man’s new best friend. But in doing so they destroyed it’s instincts. Her vision of the industry is most obviously a personal one and through her essay she ultimately succeeds in persuading the reader that her convictions are almost fact. This is a good example of how one’s opinions can be successfully diffused to others.