8 responses to “User vs. Tron”

  1. This is just a reminder that, in Tron, the citizens of the computer system worshipped their users. And make no mistake, “users” was exactly what they called them.

    (Next: You vs. I)

  2. Jeff Piazza Avatar
    Jeff Piazza

    We really need to watch this again.

  3. favorite. movie. ever.

    that flick also spawned my top intellivision game back in the day — snafu!

    to your point about the nomenclature; how do you square running a methodology to create design personae that represent archetypes, not stereotypes… and then use language like user?

    tron referred to the user as “my user” as if describing a particular individual using the program. that notion fits the time period where software was “used” by people within a much smaller community based on career, access, wealth and power.

    what if tron wasn’t a blip in a closed enterprise software system in 1982 and instead found himself within facebook in 2007?

    would he even be able to narrow down to “my user?”

  4. @sean coon: how do you square running a methodology to create design personae that represent archetypes, not stereotypes… and then use language like user?

    Easy — not every conversation, document, or specification has to do with features being used by any specific personas. Not every conversation even has anything to do with a client project. When, for example, talking about the creation of personas, we say “they represent users”. See? There’s that word, used in a perfectly natural and respectful way.

    I love the idea of Tron on the Internet. Think of this: What would it look like when Tron’s system was first plugged into the Internet. It would probably look like the sky suddenly turned from a black void into a brightly colored fireworks display of color and light, as if a giant hole were ripped out of the sky. The art direction possibilities are really exciting to imagine.

    I can only assume that the Tron 2.0 computer game completely missed your point.

  5. tron 2.0 looks cool, but yeah, they pretty much released a narrative game version of the movie than a “2.0” game (but then again, how could they have — o’reilly didn’t coin “2.0” until ’04, right? 😉

    i’m not too interested in the debate about “user” vs. “people.” i seem to be using the term “user” less over the past few years, but it doesn’t bother me in any real way when other folks use it.

    it is interesting fodder when you’re bored, though. 😉

  6. @chris, those would have been some *serious* I/O towers

  7. I found my copy… it was in my “storage location” (friend’s house) in Stamford. I’ll pick it up later this week. Perhaps an after-noon showing in the main conference room?

  8. @sean: re “my user”

    You do have a point… the pool of users was obviously much smaller in that day. So small, often the user *was* the programmer.

    However, taking the film metaphor to its real-life analogue, the “people” inside the computer were apps in RAM, so each binary “person” had only one user. This could mean however, that a large group of users could each launch the TRON binary, spawning 8 copies of the TRON “person” (this was a multi-user UNIX-like system). “De-Rezzing” is actually taking that binary out of RAM, ie the “kill -9” command =)

    The giant “solar sail” ship… the beam of light was a DMA (Direct Memory Access) channel.

    I am sure if I had the film running in front of me, I could name all the analogues.

    Dammit, now I want to pick it up tonight.