Monday, April 23, 2012

Windows is Getting to be Passe for Many Seniors

  Windows is more and more passe for many seniors.    Not all.     I still use Windows for some needs.  (But I am an old hand at it.)

It came home to me that I have more and more swung to this view as I was asked recently to help with a new Windows project.      I spent a day looking it over and realized it was a future problem child.

I help seniors one on one.    Too often I come upon  a Windows problem which should not have happened, and even worse, a rarely used computer.   I feel sad when I see an unused computer where a senior needs to keep connected.
When I help with an iPad, it gets used.

Windows crashes too often, comes up with cryptic messages, runs too slow, requires mechanical drives as opposed to solid state.   Mostly, it is just too non-intuitive to use.

Windows is also claimed to be more prone to viruses, but that problem is overhyped.     Most problems turn out to be soimething else entirely.

That does mean that Microsoft has not tried to simplify things .    I like Windows 7.  But Windows 8 piles too much together again.

Seniors have unique needs.    They travel.    They get confined.     They need something portable and indestructible.     They need simplicity.    Exit Windows.

I do not have a Mac.     However, I recommend Macs simply because Mac help (free) and  courses are available at the Apple store.    The MacBook Air has a solid state drive and is light and easy to carry, a wonderful device.   Yes, it costs too much.

Strangely, one of the reasons I have stayed with Windows was for Apple iTunes!   I used my Windows machine to use iTunes and get media.     I don't need either now with the cloud and  TIVO.    The only reason I don't have an iPhone is that the data plan costs too much---I do have and love the iPod Touch, which is a non-cellphone clone without the monthly costs.

I used my Windows computer as an intermediary between small device and internet, a "holding tank."     I don't  need that anymore with the "cloud".

The android phone and tablet have come on so quickly that I see the future in them, whereas just three  months ago I despaired over the first 3 Android phones I tried in vane to use.      The latest, an Exhibit II from t-Mobile finally got everything right.   As for tablets, wait just a bit for the marvelous Android 4.0---I have it running on an old laptop (yet)!   Oh, wait,..  Tap or click for a new one which just came out ($170).

Tap or Click for What is Coming

So what do I persist with Windows for?:

word processing - you need Windows or Mac, but there will soon be alternatives
my website
Spotify through my sound system
old stuff where I have not bothered to learn the new way

Bear in mind, though, that for most of this, all I need is any way to get to internet and the cloud, where my word processor, web creator, and Spotify reside.  Like with my Chromebook given me by Google.

Calibre converts books from one format to another.    Once you get the hang of it, superb.   I hope this necessity for conversion vanishes.

If you are an old hand and especially if you like to tinker, Windows is fine.     But if your objective is keeping connected, you might try something that does not leave you disconnected too much.

I would love to hear your comments, pro and con.   Am I being unfair?

Sure, I will still help you "do it yourself" with Windows.  But if you are mostly new to computers, get something else.      If your old Windows is giving too much trouble, try Zorin, a clone of Windows not likely to fail.

In addition to iPads, much improved Android tablets and laptops are coming.    I will have an evaluation soon of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7" tablet which came to store shelves April 22.    This could be a one and only device for some seniors: $249.