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These two don't jive

Is it just me, or do these paragraphs from Joel's two articles contradict each other?

Look at this from Article 1:
"By the time I've finished this series of articles, I think you'll be utterly convinced that nothing matters more to a product's success -- whether it's a software product, website, cell phone, or garbage can -- than good design. And as for great design? Well, that's coming up in the next installment. Stay tuned."

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/design/1stDraft/01.html

Look at these from Article 2:
"That's because good design can only take you so far. Getting every aspect of the design perfect, making a usable product, making the right tradeoffs between price and functionality, between flexibility and ease of use, between weight and battery life, etc., etc., etc., is all really important, but the most it can possibly get you is to #2."

and

"Later, once I've got all the obvious things taken care of, you'll have a really usable design and one which meets your customers' needs, and in fact, if you pay more attention to these usability things than your competitors, you may have the best design, but that's not going to get you to #1."

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/design/1stDraft/02.html
Central Cal Girl Send private email
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
 
 
No, they don't seem to _jibe_.
Chris Nelson
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
 
 
So, Chris.  Now you've launched another debate.  Is 'jive' a legitimate way of expressing 'in agreement; in accordance'...or not?
Central Cal Girl Send private email
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
 
 
What don't you like about the articles?
Scott
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
 
 
Not as I've researched it in several dicationaries. <shrug>
Chris Nelson
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
 
 
If you feel he contradicts himself, you could label his statements "jive." ;-)
MBJ Send private email
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
 
 
Okay, well if you go to England and say 'Bobbins!', in the right context, of course, nobody there will think you are referring to a thread spool, which is the dictionary's definition of the word.  Everybody, except perhaps some very isolated folk, will know that you mean 'Rubbish!'.  So, does that mean that it's wrong or incorrect to use bobbins in place of rubbish?
Central Cal Girl Send private email
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
 
 
>Is 'jive' a legitimate way of expressing 'in agreement; in accordance'...or not?
Not.

"To be in accord; agree: Your figures jibe with mine."
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=jibe

"Deceptive, nonsensical, or glib talk: "the sexist, locker-room jive of men boasting and bonding""
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=jive
Peter
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
 
 
Yes, Peter, Chris has already indicated that the dictionary definitions of 'jive' do not correspond to my usage of the word.  However, some prominent sources agree that using jive in the context I have used it in constitutes a legitimate American colloquialism, just as 'Bobbins!' in England means 'Rubbish!', 'Nonesense!', etc., rather than the formal dictionary definition.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/indepth/words/gigjig.html

So, my question is, does a word's implied meaning have to conform to a dictionary's definition in order to be 'correct'?
Central Cal Girl Send private email
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
 
 
I would guess that "jibe" came first (with this meaning), and people started mis-hearing it as "jive". In fifty years, the dictionary will probably define them as synonyms. Words do change their meanings, and this is one way it happens. So for a while it was incorrect to use "jive" with that meaning, then gradually it will become (or has become) more acceptable, until finally it's a perfectly legitimate word.
JW
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
 
 
Language is a tool. If you use it poorly enough, eventually, you'll reach a point where other people won't take the time to bother deciphering what you are trying to say. Take a look at the peculiar difficulties some folks have in "your" vs "you're" or "their" vs "they're" vs "there." Each means something different, yet sounds identical. "Jive" vs "jibe" sound similar, but not the same.

Now, getting back to the original question you posed:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0465067107/
Quite coincidentally, I am reading "The Design of Everyday Things." Some of the essays, so far, look like Joel should read that book. To answer your question in the shortest manner possible: "it depends."

Everything is a balance of tradeoffs. For some products, design is the most important tradeoff, for others, it isn't. For people who shop for/at walmart, price is the most important tradeoff. People who shop at Nordstroms want different tradeoffs. Personally, I think the reason that the iPod is winning in the marketplace isn't style/design, that it is a different set of attributes. Yet folks who own one will tell you reasons that are probably completely different from the real motivations they had. Sort of like why people who write "success" stories have a distorted sense of why they were successful, and why folks following those books rarely get successful at all. Sample: "I am successful because I am a great master of the $SECRET." Dude, you inherited several million dollars when you were a teenager.

Design can also be a tool. It should make things easier to do, and should also make it hard to do them wrong/incorrectly. Mr Norman calls those "forcing functions." One classic photo is of 2 similar controls in a nuclear power plant, located side by side, that do drastically different things. The operators at that plant put beer-tap handles on them, so that they would be recognizably different.
(page 35 of: http://courses.iicm.edu/hci/hci.pdf )
Good design? Or were they making lemonade out of the lemons they were dealt; by the identical controls, placed side by side?

One of the areas I've been studying involves decision making: why people make bad decisions, why people make good decisions. I for one want to make less bad decisions, and make more good ones. Some other books in this area are:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0262611465/
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0131862626/
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0201479486/
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0691004129/
Not everyone wants to make better decisions. For example, our president doesn't want to make better decisions, he wants to do a better job covering them up.
Peter
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
 
 
Aren't the original pieces quoted saying something like "Good design is necessary - and is the most important factor that you can identify - but it is not sufficient to be great. Something ineffable makes a product great and takes it to #1."

I didn't find them contradictory.
Bob Corrick
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
Peter,

You said people use 'jive' instead of 'jibe' because they sound the same, but I think there's more to it then just that.  As I've pointed out, the use of 'jive' to mean 'jibe' is an Americanism and American's are very concerned with sounding cool and hip rather than stuffy or too smart, which equals nerdy.  Whereas most other Western cultures aren't afriad of displaying at least a hint of intelligence, we tend to have a great fear of it.  And you have to admit, using 'jibe' in a sentance where you could use 'jive' sounds much more formal than the latter.  In fact, were you to do so, some average person (non-programmer) who read your sentance might conclude that you've got no soul.  So, in some circles, I think it would be beneficial to use the word 'jive' in place of 'jibe', just not in this circle, where every sentance must be run through an English-language-dictionary-based compiler. :)
Central Cal Girl Send private email
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
Sorry, CCG, 'jive' (game talk) is not a synonym for 'jibe' (match up with), at least not in this part of the state.  Equating the two is just sloppy use of the language.
Southern Cal Guy Send private email
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
Can I be "Northern Cal Guy?" 8-)
MBJ Send private email
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
Scott and Bob,

I do like the articles very much.  I'm just saying that the one paragraph I singled out in Article 1 leaves the impression that having an optimal design is critical to success, whereas the second article uses most of its verbiage pointing out that most monumentally successful products have serious design flaws, even moreso than their kowtowing competitors.  That's what seems contradictory.  However, who's to say these loose threads will not be tied together as the series progresses?
Central Cal Girl Send private email
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
Yeah I was just asking for a more specific explanation of what you didn't like; I didn't think you didn't like the article in general. I'm not seeing the contradiction is all.

He says nothing is more important than design. But good design can only take you so far - it can only take you to #2.

Now to get to #1 he hasn't said. Maybe it will be "GREAT design gets you to #1", or maybe it will be "marketing gets you to #1". Or more likely, looking at the names of the proposed articles, he will say "An EMOTIONAL reaction to the product is what gets you to #1." Products at #1 are not just used, they are *experienced*. Actually, I'm sure Joel will say that and then I can gloat at having been right!

I think all these statements about #1 presuppose that there is good design to begin with. The iPod is great design. No battery compartment because it would slightly impair the seamless tactile 'experience'. Design is about making choices! You can't have easily replaceable batteries *and* a seamless case, you have to chose. Nonreplaceable batteries seems to be an insane choice, or at least a daring one. Apple made that choice, a choice that probably every engineer on the team screamed and sent memos about, but in the end they benefited from it - the choice of the designers was correct.

Harley Davidson makes motorcycles with a very specific odd sound, a sound soo odd it is trademarked! Is this sound more important than reliability? Any engineer would say NO. But Harley says YES, and they have benefitted from that decision.
Scott
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
Central Cal Girl:

Your original post was interesting and you point out a valid inconsistency in Joel's articles.

You used an incorrect word.  It's "jibe" if you want to use correct English.  You got pissed when you got called on it and kind of ruined your own thread.

"Jive" synonymous with "jibe?"  Bobbins!

You also used "then" very late in the thread when you should have used "than."  Many people are guilty of this misuse of English as well, but that doesn't turn "then" into a synonym for "than."  Want to have a pissing contest about that, too?

If you get called out for something, just accept it and try not to repeat the mistake the next time.
Karl Perry Send private email
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
Karl,

You are right.  I used 'then' when I should have used 'than'.  In fact, in that very same post, I used 'afriad' when I should have used 'afraid'.  And, yes, I know 'afriad' is not a suitable substitute for 'afraid'...so, you know, sometimes a girl is in a hurry and posts things hastily and, since there's no editing, what can a girl do but accept her fate, being labelled an occasional misspeller and misuser of grammar. 

Anyway, going back to 'jive', that's another matter.  You see, Karl, you were right in that I got a little annoyed when Mr. Nelson indirectly corrected my use of 'jive', but it wasn't because I was wrong and he was right.  It was because everybody in this country, (except for people in Southern California,) knows that 'jive' is often used to mean 'match up with', 'agree with', etc. but, just because it's not in the dictionary YET, Mr. Nelson felt that he must correct my phrase and cast the perception that my phrase was incorrect. 

And so, you say, this has ruined my post, whereas others may conclude this has turned my post into a fascinating debate...it's all in the eye of the beholder.

And now, moving on, I must speak to SouthernCalGuy because he has revealed some shocking news!  Nobody in Southern California knows that 'jive' means 'match up with'.  Well, SCGuy, all I can say is there must be some serious trouble brewing! 

For example, look at this:
Only a couple of months ago, somebody posted this sentence on the World Wide Web while reviewing a restaurant in Los Angeles:

'small portions and relatively high prices just don't jive too well with thai food.' 

Accoring to this website, the name of this user is 'cafudge'.  SCGuy, you should really go to this site and see if you can e-mail this user and inform them that their wayward use of the word 'jive' is spreading confusion throughout Southern California, seeing that nobody there understands jive to mean 'match up with'.

http://losangeles.citysearch.com/review/32740426

And not only that, Dana Priest, a reporter for the Washington Post, recently used the following sentance during an online discussion of National Security issues:

'We're constantly challenging the administration's talking points when they don't jive with reality.'

What a shame she alienated her entire Southern California audience, using 'jive' in a context that nobody there understands.  Somebody should really e-mail her and tell her.

...and the list goes on, SCGuy, because not only are these two people using 'jive' to mean 'match up with', and simultaneously broadcasting it to the folks in Southern California, but thousands of others are doing the same and, so, I don't know what a person can do about it but it sure smells like a serious problem.
Central Cal Girl Send private email
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
Yes, a lot of people mistakenly use jive when they should use jibe, but that doesn't mean it's correct.

People also use criteria when they should use criterion. I've been guilty of that myself.

But it’s still incorrect usage.
MBJ Send private email
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
All I know is, I can't wait until 'agree with', 'in accordance with' or some similar phrase is attributed to the word 'jive' in the dictionary in the coming year or two.  Then, I can use my version of jive freely and proudly, without fear of ridicule or reproach.

But, until then, I just want to say that I love you all, don't let nobody jive ya, and jive safely.
Central Cal Girl Send private email
Thursday, February 02, 2006
 
 
"Bobbins" means "Garbage"?
"Bobbins"?
What on earth are you talking about?
Have you ever been to England?
In London we say "bullshit"
Friday, February 03, 2006
 
 
"Bobbins" is northern. You've never listened to Mark and Lard on the radio, have you?
Tom H Send private email
Friday, February 03, 2006
 
 
If you spent the same effort in actually learning the words correctly, that you put into defending incorrect usage, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

My all-time favorite usage of "jive" came on the movie "Airplane" where a woman walks up and says "excuse me, *I* speak jive" with subtitles.
Peter
Friday, February 03, 2006
 
 
Sorry I mised the diatribe live and in-person, CCG.  No matter what your examples, 'jive' and 'jibe' do not mean the same thing.

Neither do 'they're', 'their' and 'there'.
Nor do 'to', 'too' and 'two'.

Just because many people with poor understanding do something doesn't make it right.  You've just illustrated that many people don't care to take the time to communicate clearly.  Or maybe that their typesetters are the ones who really need to be corrected. 

I can understand the typos (make 'em myself!), so the 'afriad'/'afraid', 'then'/'than', 'sentance'/'sentence' and "American's"/'Americans' in your OP didn't and don't bother me.  Your glib defense of the misuse of the word as OK because you're American after someone had the _audacity_ to correct you did and does.
Southern Cal Guy Send private email
Friday, February 03, 2006
 
 
/...in your OP.../...in your posts.../
Southern Cal Guy Send private email
Friday, February 03, 2006
 
 
Dear In London,

Just because you and your associates interpret 'Bobbins' to mean something crude and unladylike doesn't mean everyone in England is the same.  Mary Poppins, for one, would never interpret it that way, and she happens to be a mentor of mine, so can you please just allow two different species to coexist, without trying to stamp one of them out?

And now, in light of Tom's input that bobbins is only used in Northern England, I feel the need to revise my illustrative use of the word bobbins.

So, say an American man goes to Northern England and lives there a while.  And one day he meets an Englishman who says to him 'Americans are all a bunch of fat, lazy loudmouths!'  Then the American would say, 'Bobbins!  Englishmen are nothing but a bunch of gaunt, scowling, shoelace-eaters!'  Then, the Englishman would punch out the American, both for insulting him and for using an English colloquialism, which would undoubtedly sound terrible with an American accent.

If, on the other hand, the Englishman was a reader of this blog, he would not directly punch the American out.  Instead, the following would ensue: 'Your use of the word "bobbins" is not in the dictionary!  I hereby demand that you to select an alternate form of expression!  Otherwise, I must challenge you to a deathly duel!'  And so...they would fight to the death.
Central Cal Girl Send private email
Friday, February 03, 2006
 
 
Having lived in England (among other places), I know for certain that the Englishman would merely shake his head and mutter "dumb yanks!" Now, I know there are some Americans who'd go all postal about being described as Yanks (especially "southerners"), since to an American, a yank is someone from north of the mason-dixon line. And to someone from north of the mason-dixon line, a Yank is someone from New England. And to someone from New England, a Yank is someone from Vermont. And to someone from Vermont, a Yank is someone who lives upstate and still uses an outhouse. Yet to everyone outside the US, all Americans are Yanks. All. No saving throw™.

The moral of this story, and there is one, is that you should refrain from using slang. Many groups use slang, jargon, or other words to mark who is "in group" and who is "out group." Trying to look "cool" by using slang incorrectly really only makes you look foolish: the exact opposite of "cool."

No. Wait a sec... The real moral of this story is that, when learning a language, you will make a complete and utter ass of yourself. One of the reasons that children do much better at learning languages is that they don't get all self concious when they make an ass of themselves, while adults get all defensive about it. Because adults are more hesitant to make mistakes, they do far worse at learning language. If you do something stupid, just nod, shake the dust off, and go on with your life. Getting all defensive about it shows that you are being "wrong, wrong, wrong! Just sit there in your wrongness and be wrong."
Peter
Friday, February 03, 2006
 
 
Bobbins is short for bobbins of cotton, which is rhyming slang for rotten.
James Send private email
Friday, February 03, 2006
 
 
You know, Peter, there ARE some Englishmen who punch others.  And, if you want an Englishman who doesn't punch, then I recommend you come up with your own story.  But as for the Englishman in my story, he both punches and wields a sword.

And, believe it or not, English is my first language and I'm not actively learning it any more, but thanks for the advice.  And, you know, this is a blog, it's not a statement of purpose for Harvard grad school and I just get the impression that some readers of this blog feel the need to press their white shirt and put on their pen pack just to go grab a burger and it just seems like a lot of work to me ... I really wish I had that much energy.

Anyway, regarding whether I'm right or wrong to post a word on a blog that's not in the dictionary, that's a subjective issue, unless Joel himself decides it's wrong and sets up some kind of rule about it, so you can keep trying to convince us all that hamsters are ugly but there are still some of us who think hamsters are really cute.
Central Cal Girl
Sunday, February 05, 2006
 
 
The thread title implies neither article has merit (which may well be true) but goes on as if "jibe" was intended instead of jive. I call a typo (V and B proximity), either that or septics can't handle their own dialect these days.
trollop
Sunday, February 05, 2006
 
 
Central Cal Girl,

Again: you used the wrong word, you got called on it, then you got ticked that you got called on it and then proceeded through 30 posts to try and defend your indefensible position.

I myself have enjoyed your creativity as you have tried to prove that red is blue.  However, red is red and blue is blue and if you won't believe that then shame on you.
Karl Perry Send private email
Monday, February 06, 2006
 
 
Karl, I know it's really important to you that I suffer some type of shame, whether it's by confessing my guilt or by professing my innocence; however, I simply cannot oblige you because we are not talking red and blue - we are clearly talking purple.

Jive, in the context of being a synonym to 'agree with', is a word in transition, moving from red to blue.  It used to be red but it is so commonly used that it will soon be blue and there is EVIDENCE to back this up.  For example, Wikipedia's Wictionary lists the aforementioned context as one definition of jive.  Also, at least one major published dictionary lists it as a valid definition.  Also, if you type "doesn't jive with" in your Google toolbar, you'll get over 49,000 matching entries, the vast majority of which correspond with our context-of-discussion.  And, so, jive is on it's way to being blue but is currently purple, and the decision is, at this point in time is there more red in the mix or blue and that IS a subjective decision.
Central Cal Girl
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
 
 
<flog>dead horse</flog>
Southern Cal Guy Send private email
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
 
 
Oh, thank you for setting me free, SCG!  I thought the horse was dead, but some wretched defect in my character just wouldn't let go, especially when I saw it twitching.  But now, the burden is lifted!  You are a true friend.
Central Cal Girl Send private email
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
 
 

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