Thursday, September 30, 2004

Aside: Need vs. Want

Before we get too far into this list of things I need, I thought I'd take a moment to explain what I mean. When I declare that I need something here, I will do my best to make sure that:

  • I have identified a type of work, a form of expression, or a routine task that I am engaged in and that would be enhanced by the technology.
  • I have thought through the circumstances of its use enough to explain them lucidly.
The first criterion is to make sure that I don't fill up the page with things I merely want. There's lots of stuff that I want and that I feel drawn to. But often I can't and don't feel the need to apply any rational effort to justifying why. I have a particular weakness, for example, for some types of shoes.

But I don't really need any more shoes. I can't think of a single case where another pair of shoes would make a significant impact on any sort of activity I do. Ok, maybe golf. But as golf shoes are my last equipment-centric excuse for not being any good, I am reluctant to get them. I need golf shoes more as an excuse than as performance enhancing footwear.

The second criterion is a nod towards implementation and/or evaluation of candidate technologies. I want to explain needs in a way that suggests the shape and function of technologies to others who might help me locate, identify, design, or build them.


Blogger leslie hart-davidson said...

As Bill's wife, I can readily attest to the fact that this man has too many shoes. When we moved recently, one of the gentlemen who packed us up was handing pair after pair to his partner. "Whaddya mean there's MORE?", he asked, stunned that two garment boxes had not yet met the needs of Bill's footwear fetish. For accuracy, I must now state (for fear of fetish retaliation) that after hearing this shoe-packing comment, I walked downstairs to my kitchen where one dazed man had just finished his 13th dish barrel. I have no excuse for my dish fetish....well....working at Pottery Barn didn't help....but I must say that at times I have downright encouraged a new shoe purchase to ease my conscience about pasta bowls I coveted. "What do we covet, Clarice? We covet what we see everyday".

October 1, 2004 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Bill with a shoe fetish, and Leslie with a dish fetish... I'm learning more than I want to here...

October 4, 2004 at 11:46 AM  

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