Saturday, September 27, 2014

Microsoft, tsk, tsk, tsk.

I was not too busy at work one day and just decided to organize my computer desktop background because I do a lot of work from my desktop. I came up with this:

This took a few minutes using Photoshop, although I did it more than once to iron out the categories that fit my current work load. As far as I know other folders could have "backgrounds" that would suit the same function. How about those document folders? How nice would it be to have a visual folder there?

I help people with computer skills all day. It is just part of my job. So far, I have never seen an organized desktop on a laptop or anyone's personal computer. I have just never seen it. I know people are out there with something akin to this but not the average user.

This led me through a little thought process that made me shake my head. My idea is an editable desktop. There simply needs to be a program that makes blocks, arrows, fonts, adds clip art, or whatever. After creating, a simple command could replace the desktop with the created organizational background How much would this cost a company like Microsoft with its talented staff? Users could personalize their desktops.

Remember the first appearance of the scheme to put gadgets and even live web sites on the desktop, on top of the background? It went over like a lead balloon. The idea was right and the implementation was terrible.

Remember when Windows 8 came out and it was mostly panned? It was primarily because Microsoft was using it's monopoly power to force yet another change... the adoption of a desktop more suited to Microsoft's marketing goals in the hardware direction.

Personally, I had had enough of the ch-ch-ch-changes, viruses, adware, etc. I bought a Chromebook laptop. I was investing in the future. I have not looked back though I still use my old desktop computer to run programs remotely from my Chromebook.

For those who just wanted improvements in the old GUI and operating system in Windows 8, there appeared to be no news. Worse, Microsoft started withdrawing support from old operating systems. And by withdrawal of support, I mean there was talk of leaving old operating systems open to viruses (viri? viruli?) but they had done nothing new except Windows 8 which looked less suited to desktops than anything that went before.

Enforced learning curves appears to be Microsoft's strategy. If everyone uses Windows as the standard then Microsoft can change the standard to sell hardware or other software. They did this when they broke into the business market (everyone was familiar with Windows, make it an office operating system) and now they were going to do it for laptops.

Yet... I can't help but ponder why Microsoft just did not give a little, for publicity, to desktop users. It took... (what was it?) a year? to offer a bootup to the old GUI.

So, let's say Microsoft had done a few improvements to the desktop, I guess like the one I propose but I am no genius programmer. There are probably even better ways of implementing an organization of the desktop that goes beyond folders with pictures of the contents on the folder. That is the best they can do?

Would the situation where the press went south on Windows 8 have been the same?  I think not.

Had Microsoft spent $500,000, or some piddling amount, doing improvements to the organization of the desktop, THAT would have been a story all its own. All they probably needed to do was to create an easy user customizable desktop to get a  line or two of good PR for the "improvements" of the old GUI, rather than the endless blare of negative PR that drove people to buy expensive Macs. Tell me: are they just not this smart? Or is there a hidden agenda or something?

Do I dare think that this is an idea they have already used exclusively for the purpose of slowing down older computers and getting people to buy newer ones? Not for organization but for something else. The drive of the Microsoft appears to be less in the direction of helping people, doing good, and more in the direction of maneuvering the monopoly environment.  This, despite Bill Gates doing a huge amount of good with his foundation.

I exchanged emails with a guy from Microsoft about the bridge they were building partially using Obama's stimulus money for the Great Bush Recession. They could give convincing reasons why they should use government money to make their business better, but I just couldn't help but wonder why Microsoft was not a standup guy about the thing, and use its own money to get that bridge built. Stimulus money could have been used for a more worthy project. There was just no thought beyond legalities and money. During this discussion, I suggested that if the company would shift and choose the correct path of putting people first, a la Bill Gates and his charity, that the synergy would in the long run be a winning strategy.

I don't know. The problem with Microsoft is that I never know. How could such a big company be so blind?

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