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Thread: Computing now and as we grow old together a response to Pauls post

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    Computing now and as we grow old together a response to Pauls post

    I was going to simply post a response to Paul related to his battle with his new computer and win 8 operating system. But decided perhaps getting this topic more visibility may just help some of our more senior woodworkers on our forum. ( By the way i think of you guys all the time).

    I gave Paul's trials and tribulations with his discovery of the new Windows 8 operating system some thought over night. Its been an item that has bugged me significantly given i have just been through spending several thousand dollars on new computer equipment for my business and myself. I have different needs but experience much the same frustration so i thought i would put down some thoughts more related to what i would advise Paul to consider and it got me going to give as wide an audience visibility to my thinking on this matter.
    Naturally i don't see my views as the be all and end all and there are far more qualified people here than me to talk tech but this is just my current take on the matter of computers where they headed and how we deal with them as we age and have to digest the cost.

    So this is for Paul but it could apply to you if you on the edge of considering new computer technology. I welcome any contributions our community at large can make to this thread any retired person needs all the help they can get in my view.

    I don't know what type or kind of monitor you have but for a moment just follow along and think about this.

    In time to come we going to see touch monitors come down in price just the way any other electronics have.

    Win 8 is geared towards touch and browsing in my view. That is geared towards consumption of information rather than creation although that too if one gets the rig.

    I think given budgets of people as we age, its important to consider the future. When i talk about future i mean more of how we cope with interacting with our computers in the sense of old age. The more frail we become or shaky the harder the whole current interaction is going to be given we need to get the mouse onto pretty tiny in many cases spaces to click a link.
    Touch as a whole technology especially on a monitor size scale will make it far easier to continue to enjoy the positive merits of interacting online or obtaining info online.
    I am totally 1000% in your camp with your feelings towards them messing with operating system interfaces, but we have all adapted to the changes over time its just they get more difficult to do as we get older and more resistant to change.

    Windows 8 will get better i guess over time, it has to for Microsoft they betting the bank on it. But the interface type will be worth getting to grips with learning, even if you do it over a longer period.

    To that extent it would be worth considering a transition plan where you get some techie outfit to make use of your win7 OEM license and setup what is called a dual boot. For activities that require the familiar win 7 interface boot into win 7 but gradually over time as mood and interest permit start to get into the win8 interface.
    I think we need to take cognizance of the fact that mobile computing is driving touch and web site interfaces will begin to respond to the whole touch scene over time. This will result in a more touch friendly User interface when it comes to navigating a website.

    When i consider my Dad who at 94 bought a new all in one computer and climbed into learning win 7 and bought office 2010 and today 2 years later is still at it, i think we need to recognize that we are not going to be giving up the computer as we get pretty old and make allowances in our purchases early on to accommodate this aspect of our lives with the minimum of cost. Of course it helps tremendously when our techie guys help out with tips and if you have a techie in the family, but for those without this advantage or uncomfortable messing with these things, a good long term strategy is the way to go.
    I would go so far as to say that if anyone is on the brink of "upgrading" making changes to their computing in their home, and fundamentally use the computer mostly for content consumption and banking essentially non hard application work, that it would be wise to consider going the mobile route and forgetting about the desktop.
    When one is laid up in bed due to illness or operation, or end up in a wheelchair or many other issues which do not permit getting to the desk where the computer is positioned, the aspect of having a lightweight mobile computing device including screen on hand just changes the whole experience.
    While on this subject i will mention, i got my wife a tablet for Christmas, and one of the issues i noticed was her touch activity on screen was affected by her nails. Her nails are not long by any standards but they longer than mine. So i picked up a stylus for her and its made the world of difference to use one of these items. I can see these items being made with all sorts of methods of attaching them to our bodies simply put because i think of someone that has say had a stroke and had their mobility affected could perhaps use this kind of device and a tablet to communicate and bring a huge element of quality to their life without the huge cost it would have been a few years back to have this capability.

    Another thing to consider is just because a mobile device may have a touch screen keyboard it does not mean you have to use it. You can still get a cheapo keyboard and connect it to the device. Not sure about them Apples since they often don't have external ports but even then there are blue tooth keyboards that make it wireless.

    A little woodworking stand will soon help hold the "mobile device screen" in a desktop monitor position if you like to work at a table, but there are also opportunities here for some new woodworking innovation in terms of tea trays to serve breakfast in bed and have the device mounted on the tray to either read the news, an ebook or heck why not have small speakers for some music.

    We may be woodworkers and traditionalists to some extent but we can also be product innovators such as a fold up frame behind the washroom door to read a magazine while doing the business. Got to cater for a time when them printed magazines wont be piled up in the washroom.

    Linda has found a new remote app on her tablet and its meant that she now no longer uses the tv remote, well not all the time but i see it changing significantly.

    So i would advise before anyone abandons what they see as windows 8 entirely, don't let Windows 8 be the element that keeps you out of the world of touch and touch screen interfaces. We should keep in mind that when one moves to the mobile computing arena there are many more choices to life than Microsoft and Windows 8.

    Going mobile allows for entry of Apple , Android as alternatives but they will cut you off from any packages you might be a user off if you need more computing power and would like to use some of your old software. By example i am still using windows 2003. I am considering right now upgrading to windows 2010 only because i do not wish to be driven to the cloud for access to applications such as word excel etc and i do not want to be paying MS bucks each year for access to them.

    Others feel free to add to this post. Its a subject our non tech brethren can do with all the help they can get to enable suitable choices to be made.

    All the best Paul.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    its not just micro soft doing this, back in my day job days Mac products would keep upgrading the software to do specific jobs and as they did this it got to where the operating system was dependent on its usage if you didnt have th latest operating system the software wouldn't work and the old stuff wouldn't work on the new OS either.. its just another way to keep the customers just that, customers.. you can replace the shingles on a roof and its good for 25 yrs but you wont get that roof to do again unless its get damaged from storms. this way the software companies and computer stores are staying busy..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    I'm heading towards agreeing with Larry here.

    Some of the "innovation" is change for the sake of change, some of it is good and we'll hopefully see that carry on to the next generation and the rest dumped (hopefully, although no one ever said progress was rational so that's probably overly optimistic). I expect to see a lot of ideas end up on the technological trash heap going forward just as we have in the past. Being an early adopter is great if you have the time and energy for it, I find that more and more often I don't so its often worth letting other folks run with something for a while before jumping in.

    Touch screens work really well and are useful on tablets because they keep the size down, I'm still unconvinced on regular computers. For me its actually harder to hit right where I want with a touch screen than with a mouse/scroll pad because you can change the scroll speed of a mouse (mine is setup as variable, fast == long movement, slow and you can drag all day to get across the screen). On the creation vs consumption; I have seen some artist types moving towards trying out drawing on things like Microsoft Surface, in that case it sort seems like the obvious extension of the old drawing tablets (watcom makes a lot) that sat on the side beside the screen. Except now you are one step less removed between the products so in that case I could see it useful as well. I also see them being used more & more at cash registers, they're definitely slower than scanners or the old days at costco where the cashiers just knew all the part numbers and could one hand type them in... but they take less training/skill (I suppose that's a trend as well).

    I recently upgraded one of my linux machines and it had a new UI called "unity", I've been using computers pretty much daily for 20+ years and it left me cold, the UI elements were all over the place, not especially attractive (unless you like cartoon interfaces I suppose) and it took me 5 minutes just to figure out how to logout (well actually I started a terminal and used kill to nuke the window manager - heh).. The nice thing is that it was easy to switch back to something I could use. It had one other flaw I see in Windows 8 and many other newer UI's, the OS wants to be the "whole computer", well I disagree the OS is for running things, stop taking up my precious screen realestate with stuff I only occasionally use.

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