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Chapter 51. Wizard Widgets

An axiom of science fiction is that any sufficiently advanced technology looks like magic to the uninitiated. Even to those on the inside, who know that it's all just floating point adds and conditional logic, computers can seem a little like black magic. Some software developers would make them seem even more magical by putting wizards and agents and active intelligence on your screen.

Like a cocktail-lounge mentalist, a software wizard asks leading questions, then jumps to conclusions. A wizard in a presentation package might ask what kind of talk you are going to be making, what the main subject and secondary themes are, who will be in the audience, and what you want to accomplish. Then the wizard picks a color scheme and a slide template, then lays out your title slide for you. Maybe it's a good choice, maybe it isn't, but at least it saves you from having to think. And as long as you don't mind having visuals that look like everyone else's corporate issue, you don't need to have good taste or know anything about layout and design.


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