Here is my modest proposal for Windows 7.
Forget the nifty touch screen coffee table interface and create an OS that works predictably and reliably.
Touch screen? I have a mouse in Vista that still fails to move some files and folders predictably between my two monitors. And it’s not a cheap mouse – it’s even wireless. I could spend two hours “researching” and fixing the problem today, but you know what? Tomorrow… the same issue…
Here is my proposal for Windows 7. What if you were to:
· Create code that , when you set up a network printer, makes it fairly certain that the next time you log on it is still actually working properly.
· Create an environment that, where, when you suddenly have two redundant networks for no apparent reason, the OS explains why it happens and lets you know clearly what needs to be done.
· Create diagnostic tools that actually do “Repair” or “Find the Problem” without resulting dialog boxes that tell you things you already know (plug in all your cables).
· And finally, if I put the field for Date Modified in my Explorer window so I can sort files by their dates, respect my decision – and if I make it the default, show the field in ALL of my windows.
Forget about fancy new “features” – create a trustworthy environment that performs stably, so that when you wake up in the morning it still behaves like it did the previous night (update or no update).
And it’s not just me. I’ve seen Windows error messages on kiosks in the mall, and even on the screens of my bank’s ATM. When I lost my card recently their network was down (like all of the airlines most of the time) – presumably someone somewhere had to go and turn a router off and on.
I run two versions of Windows on my desktop computer: Windows Vista to write about how to do things theoretically and Windows XP to actually get my work done.
My fervent hope for Windows 7 is that it understands and respects my choices and settings for both of these environments, adapts to them and to me, and lets me keep on working as though not a whole lot has changed.
This time around I don’t want to be the guinea pig for some group of Ph.D.’s in GUI design or “usability”.
Please don’t make me buy new peripherals, new versions of my software, download drivers that still don’t work, or promise me a patch or a service pack in six months.
And finally I expect speed not sloth. If it takes nifty new hardware to run your OS, I expect it to fly. I don’t expect squiggly circles without end or sliders to nowhere. I actually expect Microsoft Word to open before my coffee is cold and to be able to burn a CD or DVD in less than a day.
I plan my days around Vista. Coffee while it boots, brush teeth while I reset the network router, take a shower while I move files or burn a backup disk, and so on.
It has now been two decades since I first networked two PCs with Windows for Workgroups; this past week in researching why I had conflicting IP addresses I did not get a fix on the Windows web site. Instead I got a help page dating back to Windows 3.11. It didn’t tell me how to fix the problem or even how it might have happened. It said something like conflicting IP addresses can happen on a network, and they are kind of bad.
Actually if you read the screen, it has a bunch of jargon that is incomprehensible to a user in trouble who would need a week to understand the terms before he or she could even begin to address the problem. But in 20 years – the same issue – with no simple resolution? Give me a break.
Before you put a touch screen interface on Windows 7, Microsoft, how about making it impossible for me to get conflicting IP addresses -- so that when I wake up tomorrow my network is still working?
And before I hear from you Mac-heads and Open Source people, I know Mac users who tear their remaining hair out for similar reasons, and Open Source? When my video camera works with your software – or you even have video editing software – give me a call.
But Windows – I’ve been loyal – it’s time to get serious and make it work reliably. Everything else is fluff.
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