Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Not Your Fault!

Computers can make you feel like a buffoon.  A complete idiot.

Truly,  it.Is not your fault.    

It has always been that way.   I get regular calls like this:

How do I turn it on?

How do I turn it off?

You would think that they on/off button would be identified,  but usually not.   And very often  it is hidden.

Then I get calls like this:

How can I make it STOP playing music?

How can I make it go back to where I was?

I forgot to save it,  did I lose everything?  

I am ready to throw this thing right out the window!

It won't do anything.

And so on and on and on…

No wonder some seniors are totally turned off.     One recently told me she would never get a smartphone ever.      

The problem is not with you or the user.      The problem is with the person who designed the device.     

Let's say you are the designer programmer and you are almost finished the design,  and the boss is looking over your shoulder asking if you're done yet and making the point that there are a lot of other things to do.      So you quit and go on to the next.    No time to make things easy to use.

It has been that way since the very beginning  and it continues that way right through up to the present.

You are actually fortunate if you have not been going through this over and over again over the yesars and have never used computers at all until now.     One 95 year old woman here caught onto an iPad in only about an hour simply because she had not been turned off so many times before because she had never tried using a computer.

When smart phones came out,  the keyboard was shrunk to the size of a postage stamp.     No wonder people didn't like it.      No wonder some seniors will have nothing to do with it even today when you can use voice.

At the beginning, the computer was nothing more  than a big box with a string of lights.    That was it! Earlier,  when punch cards were used,  the sorting machines ground up the cards after a couple of sorts.

But it was even worse than that.

Early programming had to be done with something called Assembler Language.     You would write the code and if you made one single tiny mistake,  everything you had done would be blown away forever.

And it was worse than that…

Sometimes the mistake would not only blow away all of your work,  but also the device itself,  damaged beyond repair.

That went on until somebody invented a so-called compiler which pretended to run things and didn't destroy your device along with all your work.

I actually gave up on tabulating machines and went into a different field,  thinking that nothing could ever come of computers.     But computers came after me,  until I couldn't survive without getting back into them.

Meanwhile a young man in a garage in California had a vision.       First of all, make the device beautiful.   And second of all,  he thought it should with actual people as opposed to techies..    

Steve Jobs was on the side of the user right from the start.      The original Apple II  opened everyone's eyes to what could be done..
Here was finally a user-friendly device that almost anybody could use.     And here was someone committed to the user and his future, no matter what stood in the way.

More recently,  Amazon has entered the field to give you an easy to use device to buy from them,  with no other motivation on their part but to give you the cheapest and best most usable device possible device.   $50!!!!

So are we there yet?

Absolutely not.

Most of us know that when there is trouble, often  an easy fix is to unplug the device and restart it. But why can't that simply be built  in?

The, when a device starts to slow up,  why can't it restart itself,  instead of relying on you to go to settings and restart the thing?

And why can it not correct my typing errors?

But we have come a long way.

Just before computers came on the scene,  in my college years, I visited a college friend whose father was a professor of mathematics specializing in an obscure field called Boolean logic.      He explained to me that no one had really ever come up with a decent use for it.

Well, that is where the trouble started.

Now iBoolean Logic is at the basis of everything we do with computers and we can't live without it, so hang in there, and don't blame those problems on yourself.  

Not your fault.

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