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06/29/2004:

THOUGHTS . Problem solving and alternatives


I'm reading this list where a certain member posted about having problems with Product-A (which is by the way a default program of OperatingSystem-A). It seems that his copy of Product-A shows a sexy picture of Drew Barrymore but closes a split second after the whole picture is displayed. Same thing happens if he opens a picture of a fire-breathing dragon devouring one of our funny presidentiables with an awkward hair-do. So like most humans online these days he asks in the list about the problem instead of RTFMin' or doing other RTFM-related tasks first.

One of the recent replies surprised me. It suggested junking Product-A and using Product-B instead, even calling Product-A names that would make even my imaginary pet tiger cringe upon hearing them.

Though in some ways Product-B is indeed better than Product-A, and in a way switching to Product-B could probably 'solve' the problem, it still bothers me that most humans think and approach problems this way.

If finding alternatives is the first way of 'solving' problems then there must be something wrong with one's problem solving techniques. Finding alternatives is an escapist way of solving problems. Solve a problem by finding the root of the problem and what causes the problem. That's how real programmers tackle things. Finding alternative should be the last means of solving problems and is in a way considered a lazy and coward's way of finding solutions.

If such a practice continues what we'll have is a world filled with looping alternatives after alternatives whose main existence is brought upon by the attitude of escaping from a certain problem which in the first place has not been solved at all, how can it have been when the attempt to attempt fell flat?

I'm not saying of course that alternatives are useless. What I'm saying is in every problem there's a root cause which one has to know and tackle first before choosing other better alternatives.

Besides Drew Barrymore looks prettier when displayed with Product-A.


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