Saturday, May 9, 2015

Windows Is Confusing Me and I'm Concerned

The computer platforms wars have been raging for quite some time now and we've seen everything from Windows (multiple iterations) to Apple OS (also multiple iterations) to Linus (freeware) and I'm not sure about any other obscure platforms. But the one thing that is of great concern to me now is the shift from a simple computer purchase for an operating system to what Adobe is doing and Microsoft has begun to do; subscription services.

I want to be clear here. I'm not a big fan of subscriptions services that change the upgrades we've come to expect into subscription services we have to pay for monthly. Sure, it may come out to something like $200 a year, but let's think who's being left in the dust here.

CEOs, numbers crunchers and the rest of you appear to be seeing the market as one big consumer glob of people with ready cash and a thirst for yet more tweaks to your platforms. In this mode of rather constricted, in-the-box thinking, you are throwing a portion of the market overboard. Of course, I'm thinking of all those people out there who struggle to keep a computer in their homes for their kids and worry about the wi-fi bill or the elderly who more and more need computer access for homecare, ordering prescriptions and getting information that is vitally needed.

Switching out of Windows? May seem like a good idea to you as the right time to push on into that new technology that you are eagerly anticipating, but to me, I'm concerned about the little guys. But, perhaps, I'm being too much of a Nervous Nelly here.

In your heart-of-hearts you fully plan to keep offering support for things like Windows XP (doesn't business love this already and aren't they refusing to give it up?), Windows 7, and Windows 8. But for how long? Who knows, in this climate of change, when their computer just won't struggle, it won't work as well and then will come its demise. I should say this is abandonment because that's what it will be. Left in the dust again to, once more, be a cut-off population that has its lack of value stamped down hard on them.

Put yourself in the position of school kids in Mississippi or older folks in various parts of the country who were overjoyed when they actually got their hands on a computer. Sure it may have had to take a used one, but it worked, it actually worked and the wonders of the Internet were like discovering a whole new world of wonder. Comes the dawn and the undoing of all this wonder or the sudden need to pay for something that is unaffordable. A blow to them? No more like a tornado and all the dashed dreams that accompany it.

Am I reading this wrong? Are you going the Adobe route? There's a pick-and-choose menu of apps you may want, but it's at least $20 a month for each. Sure "One Adobe account, infinite possibilities" but, boys and girls, only if you can afford them. Tell me how many poor school systems that desperately need technology to get their kids up to speed in our technological age or elderly can fork over $20 a month for ONE app when they need three?

Oh, you have a whole package that sells for $49.95 a month. Do you know what that means? It is forget it time and dreams are dashed. Wonderful corporate move. Or are you going to make a special section for schools and the elderly? Why not a charitable section like that? Not in your corporate plans? Consider the PR you can get from it and the young new graphic designers you will be grooming and the medical consequences. You have a mighty PR advantage here. Are you going to use it? Smart move if you do

I was in a store yesterday that gave "student" and "military discounts" prominently displayed, but I didn't see "senior citizens" discounts. Yes, Ralph Lauren wrote them off for discounts. Probably thinks, wrongly so, that the older crowd doesn't wear jeans and shirts and sweaters, etc. Yes, they do Ralph and your people are being blatantly discriminatory. Don't you wear jeans and you're not exactly a spring chicken any longer, are you? Let's not forget your Brooklyn roots no matter how you've changed your name.

Windows has already made their move toward the subscription model, I know and I, for one, may be looking for another way to produce what I need not using Windows. Why should I pay for something I can get just as good for free. I love the Free Software Foundation and I think I should give it more attention in my tweets in the future.

The Internet used to be a wonderful, sharing place everyone could go to get things they needed (free) and help each other with projects. All of that help has been subsumed in "forums" set up on the sites of major developers. I have to tell you, I haven't always found the forums all that helpful, especially when it came to Apple and Canon. Yeah, I, like so many others, need "baby speak" when you explain how to do something. Get your experts to talk to real people on a regular basis. Even consider focus groups of new users.

What will we see in the End of Windows 10? I don't know, but I'm skeptical and I'm concerned. I root for the little guy and he/she seems to need a lot of rooting these days.