More on Entrez and GUIs

Tue May 11 10:29:00 EST 1993

This is my opinion with respect to this discussion. It may sound a bit
extremist, but this is the result of my own experience.

	Though I have always been a defender of using almost anything that
could be suitable for a given purpose, I also think that we should all
weight its real usefulness.

	Applied to this problem it means that almost any discussion in
defense of old teletype terminals is nonsense. It wouldn't if most of the
users only had access to them and evolving to more sophisticated tools were

	Let's face it. This is NOT true for biologists. When someone spends
tens or more of thousands of dollars in 'volatile' lab materials (like
restriction enzymes) and does not doubt to buy at least one micropipet set
for each person in the lab, there is NO excuse for not buying somthing that
will be more useful -like a computer- and is less expensive).

	At our site, for instance, it took a lot of effort to convince
people to buy a personal computer. But once one begun, most followed happily.
The same hold for the network: initially only a couple of guys wanted it,
now most RECLAIM at least a pair of connections. And the same holds for
any other consideration.

	The point is that we grew up on a non-cmputerized world, and can't
see its pros until we use one. But once we see it, it seems so neat that
we can't understand living without it.

	Now, if somone wants to do Molecular Biology, but does not want
to buy restriction enzymes, what would you think of his/her approach?

	And the cons are also important. We can't say PCR is a bad move,
can we? So why should better GUIs be so? Should we restrain from promoting
GUIs and PCR?

	Anyone with a bit of willingness can afford a Macintosh or a PC,
and NO MATTER the problems of converting it in a X server or of using a
native GUI, it is in no doubt better than old VT--- terminals. My opinion
is that by sticking to those old interfaces we are retaining the advance
and development of better and more powerfull tools.

	As for me, if someone does want to do Mol. Biol without plasmids,
phages, and restriction enzymes, s/he is absolutely free to try, but I
don't see why the innovative people should try to develop solutions for
them instead of working for more open-minded persons.

		J. R. Valverdde
	Biomedical Research Institute

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