The long tail

In my reading pile on the way over to Philadelphia today I bumped into this post exploring “Long Tail” issues, which I think are very prevalent in scientific computing – there’s an awful lot of users “Scratching their own itch” and we as ELN developers need to figure out how to embrace & support that rather than .

“We developers are quick to dismiss the little Excel and Access applications that ‘lusers’ tend to write. We assume that they would do them in a ‘better’ technology if only they knew how. But they don’t, so they either have to wait around for a software developer to come around and save the day, or they have to settle for this ugly spreadsheet stuff.

Techno-elitist myopia. This is the tail-wagging-the-dog part of the post.

Users don’t make spreadsheets just because they don’t know Java. They make them because they like them, and because they want to make them. I can think of at least two reasons why.”

(The post itself is from October 2005, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant to today’s issues)