Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Cartoon
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
By the way... there's a crossword at the bottom of this page
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
I fear for all of us computer users. Even Apple users. But mostly those with Microsoft based systems. Which, incidentally, is still 95% of us, I think.
I fear the future of computing.
"Why?", you ask. And I say "Because they won't leave things alone."
Yes, I understand there's new technology and a lot of competition and companies cannot sit still or be conservative or their competition will destroy them. But there comes a point where change seems to be for the sake of change and not to take advantage of advances in technology.
I'm a little weird. I think need should drive change. But it seems the cart is pushing the horse these days. Someone invents a new technology and, therefore, we must take advantage of it. Scrap that notebook you bought last year, dump that phone, get the newest model; the one with all those new bells and whistles. You know, the one you can have a conversation with so you don't actually have to call your friends. It can be your friend.
Ooma (a VoIP equipment supplier) even runs a series of ads implying an intimate relationship between a buyer and his phone service through Ooma. Yeah, I get that it's just an advertising trick, an attention getter, a way to get you to think about the product.
And what do we do with this new technology? Pretty much what we did with the old technology. We make phone calls on those smart phones or we text each other. But we've been able to do that for years now. My cable company is offering phone calls (video calls, actually) through your TV. Now, they have been promising video calling for most of my life. Now we can actually do it. Well, it's no surprise to me... we have been able to do it for some time. Think Skype. Think CUCME. Think video conferencing... which has been available for decades.
Ah, you say, but now we can sit in the living room with that big flat screen TV and do it. You mean you couldn't do it with your laptop (connected to the wireless router) connected to that TV before? Of course you could.
And in the article was this: But despite being rock-solid, snappy and responsive, as a platform to do work on Windows 8 feel utterly unusable, and that’s down to one thing — the “Metro UI” user interface.
Thereafter runs a screed on why the interface is a problem; how it gets in the way, how it's not user friendly, how it is counter-intuitive and impedes productivity and efficiency.
The article never really asks the question that, to me, is obvious: Why do we need a new user interface? What was wrong with the old one? Was it all of the things the new one is? No. Is it difficult to master? No. So, says Microsoft... "Let's change it." Forget that it will impede the learning curve and obscure the useful improvements... we can change it so we will.
Back in the late 50's someone came up with the concept called "planned obsolescence." The problem was that not enough people were buying new cars each year. So the auto-makers came up with new gimmicks and the advertisers hyped them as "gotta have" items so the public would buy a new car when the old one was just fine. It's more complex than that and yet simpler at the same time.
And it is still being done today. When you consider purchasing a new car today, are you being lured by the greatly improved handling and/or economy? No, you are being told about the great sound system and how it interfaces smoothly with your smart phone. But what you learn is that that smooth interfacing is only available with the "premium" package. A package that has a lot you do not want or need. Doodads and gimmicks that you won't use or don't even want. All tied together in a costly option package that adds 10%-20% to the cost of the car.
Oh, you can buy the car without that package but they won't have one on the lot so you'll have to wait weeks for delivery and, if they do, you will find it cheap looking and tawdry. And the salesperson will make you feel cheap and tawdry for wanting it. the demo you drive will have every option possible. And the salesperson will tout the options as "essential."
You aren't buying a car, you are buying a lifestyle, an image. You aren't buying a computer, you are buying a personality to fit with your friends. You aren't buying a phone, you're buying a personal assistant.