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Windows 8, Computer Literacy, and the End-User

 

To be blunt, Windows 8 is not for you.

 

To be fair, Windows 8 is not for the average end-user, and at this point, that person is still better described as being 'computer functional' as opposed to 'computer literate'.

 

Now don't anyone be insulted. It is in no small part due to the increase in the capabilities of the average end-user that 'computer functional' has even entered the vernacular (even though some no doubt used it before to discount their own tech savvy-ness I'm sure) and 'computer literate' has come to describe one with somewhat more advanced computer skills.

 

As such, the majority of end-users are in fact better described as being 'computer functional'. That is to say that most users;
  • Know how to turn the thing On (and Off properly)
  • Have no issues with using the Mouse and Keyboard for input
  • Have a pretty solid grasp on using the Internet, their Word Processing program of choice, and their Email application
That's where most people stand, and that's a pretty good place to be. In fact, even those people that feel that they've 'just' gotten to the point at which they're comfortable using their computer for whatever it is they need do are already adapting to using smart phones, tablets, and iPads to do much the same tasks. That's a pretty fast learning curve. See, I wasn't insulting anyone, a pat on the back is in order come to think of it.

 

Where now does Windows 8 come in to all of this?

 

Windows 8 was really, and still is I suppose, being pushed as a touch-centric interface, with Apps and all, more similar to that of a smart phone, or tablet - and that's all well and good. Heck, on paper I'm sure it looked to Microsoft to be the wave of the future. The problem is, it's really not.

 

Obviously Apps aren't going away any time soon, if ever in the foreseeable future, but neither are portable electronics, and therein lies the problem with Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system. The OS itself is between 10.5 to 13 Gigabytes alone, and while that isn't huge by any means according to todays standards, it's still a large, clunky, install residing on a hard disk drive on your computer in a day and age when Cloud Storage options are becoming increasing available from any number of vendors (Google Drive, Skydrive, Logic-Land, etc.), and our interaction with our computers is increasingly 'Browser-Based'.

 

We are not far, in my opinion, from our computers being not much more than terminals being served information in much the same way that many peoples computer on their desk at work request information from the company server, and backs-up their work on the same server at the end of the day.

 

Cloud-based operating systems are coming, most notably Google Chrome OS, and the days of gigabytes, and terabytes worth of information being stored on end-users hard drives are coming to a close. One out of four PC's is still running Windows XP, and that bad boy came out in 2001. Two out of four are currently sporting Windows 7, that came out in 2009, and it's not Windows 8 on that remaining computer out of the random four we're talking about.

 

To bring this to a close, my point is is that we resist change, and companies resist change even more than individuals do. And with the majority of PC's running operating systems anywhere from 3-12 years old there is no room between now, and the coming natural transition to cloud-based operating systems for a touch-based (I know my monitor doesn't detect surface-acoustic, or electrostatic input) operating system with a screwy interface (Windows 8 has no Start Button) that is not kind to the computer functional crowd only a few years before their lives are about to get a whole lot easier as is. Namely through the evolution and integration of everything they need their computers for right into a web browser.