Yes, I fully appreciate that at least 70% of Windows 7 users probably are not aware that they are using a GUI. Most will care less.
Even those with considerable experience may not know of basic stuff like ‘right click.’ This Saturday, I was on the phone for hours, helping my 81 year old father (who lives in LA) with the new Dell he had bought 2 months ago (without any input from me). I asked me to ‘right click.’ He had no idea what I was talking about. My father has been using a computer, for his writing, since the mid-1980s. So he is not exactly new to this. He also used to be one of the most intelligent of people I knew, and I have had the honor of bumming around with quite a few very intelligent souls in my time (making me realize, acutely, my own personal limitations). With over 80 published books, some quite successful, my father doesn’t have anything to be embarrassed about in that he had never heard of ‘right click.’
A few years ago I did some work for a local reality firm. They had one of those formidable, in her 60s, office managers who had convinced all that she was their local PC expert. No question. She knew QuickBooks. She could send and receive email like a pro. She could listen to music on the Web. One day I was helping her create a Word document from some of her QuickBook data. I told her to ‘cut-and-paste.’ She looked at me as if I told her to take off her blouse. She had never heard of ‘cut-and-paste!’ She had been convincing folks for 20 years that she knew everything about computers. Had never heard of ‘cut-and-paste.’ She loved ‘cut-and-paste.’
So, I appreciate that my gripes about the Windows 7 GUI is immaterial to most. However, the irony is that the reason the Windows 7 GUI should be without inconsistencies is to help those that don’t know what a GUI is … and may have never heard of ‘right click’ or ‘cut-and-paste.’
Two New Holes With Corresponding Woes
I have already, in my January 3, 2010 rant complained about the GUI failings of the Windows 7 calculator, snipper tool and the Action Center.
Now let me give you two, others — both of which are quite serious and inexcusable.
- Windows 7 Media Player: As of Media Player 11, which pre-dated Windows 7, Microsoft has decided that it is best to HIDE the MENU bar; i.e., that bar that has ‘File Edit View’ etc. That is STUPID. The File menu is the cornerstone of any GUI. Why is Microsoft ashamed of the Menu Bar? Hiding the menu bar is akin to a married man taking off his wedding ring while on a business trip, in the hope that it will increase his chances of scoring. It is stupid. Without the MENU bar it is DIFFICULT to OPEN a file.
Withe the Windows 7 Media Player MSFT wants to force us to use the new LIBRARY hierarchy. That is nice but all the media files that you may want to view might not be in your Windows 7 library. The other night, one of my friends had sent me an XXX-rater video clip titled ‘Why My Girlfriend No Longer Visits Me.’ I really didn’t want it in my library. So it was in my DOWNLOADS … which is not a part of my library hierarchy. I had to jump through hoops, right click here there and everywhere before I could find how to activate the Media Player menu bar. Gee thanks MSFT. Idiots.
- Printing from Windows Explorer: Yes, again I will readily admit that I am atypical. But, I can’t be the ONLY person who has wanted a printout of the files they have in a folder or the folders they have on a disk. I have 102 folders on my C-drive. I have folders, associated with my books, with 80 or more files. A few days ago, I wanted to backup my C-drive on to a DVD. [I also maintain a D-drive on which I manually mirror my C-drive. No, I do not want RAID 1. One more thing to go wrong.] But as I was burning the folders I wanted a graphical ‘map’ on paper, so I could make some annotations. Damn it. Do you think you can print a damn list of the folders you have on a damn drive. NO. Yes, you can use Snipper. But that is a bloody pain.
Last night I wanted a print out of the list of Word files I have in a folder. Damn it. I had to use Snipper to get it. The Menu Bar for Explorer does NOT give you a PRINT option. Damn you, MSFT. Idiots.
OK. Here is a funny part, just to prove that I do have a sense of humor. All I wanted was to print this list (below). These are the 17 Word files that make up my latest book. Since I have been forced to use 4 proof-readers (given my middle name is ‘typo’) I have to keep track of how many of these have edited a given file. So, I wasn’t asking for much. Just a print out of this list. I noticed that the COPY option was available. So I copied the list. Then I opened up a NEW Word 2007 document and said PASTE. Anybody care to tell me WHAT Windows 7 copied into that new document. Idiots. Idiots all. No wonder Steve likes to parade around in drag.Jokes apart. After I am done with this book … IF EVER … I am NOW seriously thinking … maybe back to a Mac. I do own Apple. I used to be a raving advocate of Macs. I don’t ask for much. Just give me a stable, reliable system … that can keep up with me and is CONSISTENT.