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Programming Under The Wizard’s Spell Essay, Research Paper

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


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.


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