June 24, 2004

Depressing Software Thought

by peterb

It's the year 2004, and I am helping my parents configure their brand new Thinkpad to talk a completely standard wireless access point, and it is so painful that it is beyond the power of language to express.

Posted by peterb at June 24, 2004 05:23 PM | Bookmark This

Interesting, but never let your family buy Windows ;-)

I installed a new harddrive in my nieces old iMac, using CCC to clone the old one, installed a wireless router and setup all three house computers (and my own PowerBook for that matter) within 2 hours one night, then went to help my cousin for two nights+some phone calls getting his two XP's running on a similar setup. I don't know how MS manages to make this kind of setup so obscure!

Posted by Kim Gammelgård at June 24, 2004 06:51 PM

Believe me, I -tried- to convince them to get a Mac, but you can't tell anyone anything. And, frankly, my mom was traumatized enough moving from an Apple ][ with AppleWriter to the Windows/MS Word configuration that she never wants to go through it again.

Posted by peterb at June 24, 2004 06:59 PM

<implant>XP SP2 makes this totally painless</implant>

Posted by Jonathan Hardwick at June 25, 2004 02:32 AM

That's weird. I just setup a new system and wireless was automatically done. I'd be happy to try to help with some tech support, if you would like.

Posted by Robert Scoble at June 25, 2004 02:37 AM

Apparently the deal is that they got on the network at first, and then the first time they tried to connect to an SMB share they lost their 802.11b connection, and no combination of masochistic wizards was able to bring it back. IBM now suspects a hardware problem, so they are replacing the laptop. Hopefully that's all it was, in which case I'll write an update/retraction when the NEXT laptop sets up painlessly.

Posted by peterb at June 25, 2004 08:57 AM

My parents' 6-year-old Macintosh was showing its age, and my father asked me what I would recommend he replace it with. I told him to get a new Macintosh. When he asked whether it wouldn't make more sense to get a less-expensive computer from Dell or one of the local computer shops, my brother and I didn't debate the issue. We simply bought our parents a new Macintosh.

Man, was that ever the right thing to do.

Here's the thing. The Internet and modern operating systems are complicated, no matter how you try to simplify them. Even with a Macintosh, things like setting up email accounts or mailing digital photos take some practice. And that's about the limit for most home users.

Configuring network devices that don't quite work out of the box? Staying above the rising tide of spyware, malware, and Internet-based Windows worms? Knowing what is safe to click on and what's not? It's insane. How can I expect my parents -- *anybody's* parents -- to grapple with these things?

And that's why Apple is the only company whose computers are going to grace my parents' home. Apple isn't perfect, but they do a markedly better job of hiding complexity than any other computer or OS manufacturer.

As far as I'm concerned, Apple's price "premium" is a bargain. I would much rather volunteer a few extra dollars at the time of purchace than be forced to pay repeatedly in blood, sweat, and tears over the lifetime of the computer.

Posted by tmoertel at June 25, 2004 02:03 PM

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