It has been some years since the personal computer was first invented, one William Gates invented MS-DOS and a myriad of spin-off products, the Internet became ubiquitous, and wireless connectivity was rolled out hither and yon. One would think that after such a length of time that things technological would become reliable and easier to use for average punters. Alas, no.
Why? I don’t know. Perhaps because the developers and manufacturers involved have no real incentive to care. If their focus is on the “next upgrade” then why should they do what needs to be done to make the current model more reliable.
Recently I upgraded my business laptop. Mr Dell was easy to deal with online and extremely price competitive compared with other suppliers. The new machine arrived with Windows 8 installed as well as Microsoft Office 2013. Gahh! Thud.
I am not a geek, but after having used many PC applications almost every day since the late 1980s I like to think that I know my way around office applications, possibly better than some other folks may. That situation has now been amended, and thanks to Windows 8 it appears I now have much to learn.
Windows 8 may be useful for people perhaps with a Windows 8 phone or tablet, but computer users with keyboards and mice will probably struggle to find out where things are and how to make them work as they have been used to. Windows 7 is a nice piece of kit, particularly when compared to Windows XP, the previous Windows OS iteration which is still the stalwart of many corporates and government agencies. I had presumed that Microsoft Corporation would have learned much from the egregious Vista that was supposed to supersede XP, notably why not to fanny around needlessly with a solid product. But it appears that that is not the case.
All is not lost. Many third-party developers are building reliable applications that make Windows 8 do what most users want. I have installed some of those and don’t mind spending a few dollars of my tax-paid cash money to acquire these. However Microsoft, if it had done any real user testing, should have spotted these deficiencies and made them options in its new software.
As for Word 2013, words largely fail me. Back in 2003 Microsoft was as the top of its game when it came to having a largely satisfactory, well featured and straightforward word processor. Why fundamentally change it? Rhetorical questions don’t become me, I know. Word 2013? Hates it, I does. But there are few credible alternatives. I persisted with LibreOffice until my brain exploded and although Google Documents is a good very basic effort, it is still a long way away from being a “proper” word processing tool.
A notable omission from Windows 8 is Minesweeper. This time-wasting yet addictive game has been part and parcel of Microsoft’s operating systems since forever ago. Now one as to go to the “store” and download it. At least it’s free, albeit “sponsored” as the 12-second pre-use trailer testifies. But what’s all that about? What has happened to any consideration of a “Windows user experience”?
To me marketing has some simple objectives: 1. Provide outstanding customer service, and 2. Innovate constantly.
It is also extremely useful if both objectives are connected. In Microsoft Corporation they clearly aren’t. Hopefully Service Pack 1 for Windows 8 will contain a whole bunch of useful enhancements. If Microsoft has been listening to its users, that’s the least it can do.