Windows Vista and Dumb Machines

I don’t really want to harp on Vista but I’ve been working with it a little over the last week and am not enjoying the “easy of use.” For people unused to operating systems or basic design functionality since Windows 98, Vista will not make life easier. My first problem is with the desktop.

The Windows machine doesn’t seem to know what it wants: is it Vista or Google who’s running the show on the computer deck. In one instance, while working with desktop gadgets, I couldn’t tell whether Google gadgets or Windows gadgets were different or the same. I know the answer, but Vista apparently didn’t, which I found odd. This particular computer is for my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law hasn’t used a machine since about 2001. The question of what should be on the desktop shouldn’t be so complicated and one shouldn’t need a manual, CD, or help for this. The question for the desktop may not be light or heavy, but rather another kind of question that an OS may ask: “Are you new to this or are you pretty up on things? Let me help you get started.”

Mesa Dynamics’ converter is fine. But for a novice user, what is running on the desktop and why should be fairly straightforward. On a startup, Vista sidebar tanked and voiced an error. A computer error is a major interruption–still. I couldn’t figure out why the error occured. On the desktop, gadgets can be a major gain. Feeds can inform employees of an organization’s business and news. They provide a way for people to enter the conversation. If my students all had Vista, we could all share our forum posts and courses could be engaged from the deck.

In the future, perhaps computers will know who’s in the room. I can see this possibility clearer now. In the future, a smoke detector might figure the difference between a serious fire and a dirty oven, too.

I know what Wally would say about all this.