Windows 8 and the ‘Dad test’ stunts
Let's get real
Comment Out and about shopping yesterday, I spotted a PC magazine in the newsagent advertising the ‘ultimate guide’ to Windows 8 in the form of a ’33 page special’.
As well as reminding me of reports that Microsoft is planning to spend over $1.5bn on Windows 8 marketing, it made me think of those horribly contrived YouTube videos in which some smart arse presents his Dad with a Windows 8 installation, offers no coaching or explanation, then records him struggling (examples here and here).
The purpose of such videos is to illustrate the unintuitive nature the Windows 8 user interface, making the point, either directly or indirectly, that Microsoft has got it totally wrong.
When I first saw this stuff emerging, I remember saying to a few a people how these were pure attention grabbing stunts that bore no relation to how things would pan out in the real world.
The truth is that users generally aren’t sat down in front a new installation of a new operating that someone has set up for them and just told to get on with it – that almost never happens in either a domestic or a business context. And even if users find themselves rocking up to an unfamiliar environment cold and asking someone for help, they are not just going to be told “You’re on your own; you work it out”.
Apart from the obvious clues on new features and navigation presented during the initial setup, Microsoft and OEMs invariably provide some basic documentation in the box to get users going with each new release of Windows (e.g. ‘quick start’ guides).
Beyond this bundled help, it was then pretty certain that for a few months leading up to and following the Windows 8 launch, we would see every self-respecting PC magazine publish extensive reviews and guides of their own, covering basic education along with tips and tricks to get the most from your new system. The one I referred to above is the first I have seen on the shelves, but you aren’t going to be able move for this Windows 8 awareness and educational stuff pretty soon.
As I have already reported, my own experience of Windows 8 is very positive on desktop configurations driven by a mouse and a keyboard, and my teenage daughter has had a good experience of a dockable slate running the new OS.
So is it perfect? No. Is there room for improvement on the initial release? Definitely.
But it really isn’t the disaster area that lot of people would have you believe, so it’s important to take a lot of the more extreme criticism you come across with a pinch of salt. ®
Dale Vile is the managing director of Freeform Dynamics, an IT analyst firm.
And another vote for the "wat the hell you smokin" award.
Punter buys a shiny new PC from PC World.
Brings it home, unpacks it. Plugs everything in, bangs head on table, swears, turns it on, plugs the power cord in, and remembers the monitor cable this time, and turns it on again.
Sits down at the table, and answers any questions as best they can. Usually a software serial number at most.
Then they are ON THEIR OWN..
The smart thing would indeed be to get a mate who knows a bit to give them a quick run through, but this does not actually happen. People don't want to appear stupid, so they make guesses. They do NOT ask questions. That's cheating. And people you ask use computer talk anyway, so what is the point.
Updates.. Stop annoying me. And amazingly, these will be turned off. Especially if it reboots while said punter pops to the kitchen to make a cuppa, and comes back to a login screen. Irritation is a great way to get something done, and a nagging PC will always be reconfigured to stop it nagging. EVER.
Firewall.. interferes with P2P.. Outa here.
Virus scanner.. It's free innit.. Keeps screeching about a 3 month demo, but the little picture is right there in the corner.
And now.. "To the internet!!" not for tutorials, but to download software, to surf porn sites, to watch Youtube and update your facebook page to "new computer set up and pretty damn fast so far".. Yes.. I suppose I'd better click ok for this virus scan what popped up out of nowhere.. See.. Told you the demo one worked just fine.
This is reality. When faced with a warning box, they look for the OK button, because if you don't read the writing, anything that happens is not your fault. Common sense.. I didn't see nothin, I didn't do nothin, I wasn't even there. Amazing how grown men and women regress to 8 years old when faced twit a tech problem.
And in six months or so, when it takes a half hour to boot, they will take it to a mate, or take it to a shop, and get it drenched in digital pesticide, so it's good for another six months of abuse.
Malware avoidance.. You gotta be kidding me.
Reading, or following a tutorial.. BWHAAAAAA!! If they know which version of Windows they have it's a miracle.
This is the real world.. Not the Reg offices, where everybody has been using computers all their lives, and have picked up a thing or two on the way.
And no. Outside computing hobbyists(who can and do figure out how to operate an new OS properly by themselves), people do not read computer magazines. Any more than computer shopper publishes articles from Plumbing today monthly.
Ever wonder why people like web based email so much? Oh.. you thought it was because you could access it from anywhere..
They like it, because all they have to do is put in a user name and password and it's up and running.
The only unrealistic thing that is in those "Dad uses new Windows" videos is the lack of swearing and shouting, and blaming the kids for mucking the computer up.
"The truth is that users generally aren’t sat down in front a new installation of a new operating that someone has set up for them and just told to get on with it – that almost never happens in either a domestic or a business context."
Utter bollocks, people are dumped in front of a computer with no training or if training is given it's often worse than no training.
I make no comment about Windows 8, I've not seen or used it, but the idea that people are actually trained is madness.
Speaking as a Dad
I've tried Windows 8 and it can definitely be improved on.
Windows 7 is a massive usability upgrade over Windows 8.
Ubuntu is also a massive usability upgrade over Windows 8.
Still, I'm very grateful to Microsoft for shovelling out more high quality entertainment. It's hilarious watching the Windows fanboyz justify this latest crock of shit. Now, wheres the popcorn?