The computer needs a make over.
For more than 6 decades, the computer hasn't really evolved that much. Yes we have smaller and faster processors; smaller and higer density/capacity disks; lots of I/O options including USB, IEEE 1394, Bluetooth, Wifi, IRDA and many others. The number of applications one can run and use has also increased dramatically and virtually just about any application one can think of, already exists.
The computer has also dramatically changed our lives in how we live, communicate, work and play.
However, these developments over the years, only made the computer more complex and sophisticated compared to other household appliances. Think about the TV for instance, many would find the remote control confusing but it wouldn't stop them from using it anyway and after sometime get good with it. But with a computer, even someone going to school to learn computers still have trouble using them.
I don't know about you but in my personal experience, it is not uncommon for me to meet people who would ask me about how to do stuff in the computer and find myself explaining to them along the lines of:
"...well to get this going you will need this.... yes but that's for the other application.... correct, but make sure you do this first.... no i don't think you can do that.... oh sorry, did it work?..... hmm, anyway, keep trying..... yeah, try changing that option..... did you run this first before you inserted the PCMCIA card?.... okay, I'll look into that tomorrow.... "
Maybe because there are a million things that a person can do in the computer that makes this machine a really really complex one. As such, people would do different things even when trying to achieve the same outcome.
Say to watch a DVD, one would press a button to eject the DVD tray and puts the disc in and press the button to close it. The other maybe would just push the tray back in. Yet another one would press a button on the remote control.
Then a pop-up window would open prompting the user what to do. The other one may automatically pop-up a DVD player application and starts playing the disc. Yet on another, nothing happens.
What about turning off the computer, one would need to make a few clicks or press a few keys to turn it off. Even if one can just press the power button now directly, a recent improvement, still it takes several seconds for the thing to turn off.
How about files? Ever wondered how to find your file after writing your document on a word processor? Ever wondered why you can't open a .tgz file attached in an email sent to you from your friend? I think the concept of files must be re-designed in the computer world. The user should never ever have to worry about files. I should just be dealing with document titles, music titles, video links, etc, I should just be clicking on things and not figuring out what a file does or what application I should use with what file types.
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