Windows 8 – the interface that needed a ‘Start Me Up’ revision. The emotion that has been unleashed by the launch of Windows 8 is fun to read about – unless you have a new computer pre-installed with it. Then you are in deep trouble – you are dealing with a mysterious user interface designed for a Windows phone that nobody will buy – nor will you – but sadly, you are running it on a computer. You cannot find the Start menu, locate a network printer, find where files are placed -- and that’s actually before you’ve done any work. The lack of a Start menu alone immediately spawned an entire software industry of add-ons! But thankfully, someone tells you about a downloadable START button – and you’ve taken one small step forward – at least until the complainers are silenced with Windows 8.1.
Smart phones – complexity gone wild. You know that even the engineers see what their feature fanaticism hath wrought when they ship the Samsung Galaxy S4 with ‘Standard Mode’ and ‘Easy Mode.’ Ah, the irony, unintentionally noted in this review: "While it may be a bit of a task for the non-tech-savvy people to get to that feature in the first place, the world becomes a much better place once you do!" So now you know, before you get to the store, that the phone does not default to Easy Mode. In fact, it barely defaults to anything – it has a setting for every occasion, every whim, every mode -- it's a user-configurable paradise of choice. Why, you might ask? Because it is feasible, it shall be so. As feature creep continues -- and smart phones will default to telling your friends where you are, popping you into group chats, pinning and tagging your picture on sites you never visit and didn't know existed -- let us hope for other modes, HIDE ME UNLESS I SAY SO, THE SECRET TO SETTINGS, and SUPER DUPER EASY MODE.
Your rental car user experience – some training required. So you get off the plane and are whisked off to the car rental counter – your record is retrieved and you are shown your car, which is much newer than the one you left at home. You walk around to make sure there are no scratches, say goodbye to the friendly agent. Now it is time to start the tech-laden car and turn on the radio. Oops. When the Volvo CEO says that cars today are too complicated for the consumer – maybe he’d driven a Ford Escape lately – always take a passenger with you when renting a car if you want to change the volume or the radio station. Also, let’s remember that sometimes cars are rented in unfamiliar locations – so just getting around is difficult enough. Trust me, drive in silence until you have help or are parked.
Setting up a home web camera is incredibly easy – says Wired. We all know that the home care market is booming, some might say at the expense of the assisted living industry. But it is no easy task to manage home care delivery as this adult son noted in a Times article: “He once came home to find a caregiver’s handgun, carried for self-defense when working in rough neighborhoods, sitting on a table and easily reachable by his mother.” Under such worrisome circumstances, wouldn’t it make sense to see greater adoption of web cameras in home care (living room or kitchen) used simply as a reminder to workers and a reassurance to family members? Putting aside the objections of care providers for the moment, what if you want to put one in? Well, it is incredibly easy if you already know what you are doing. Hopefully the home to be monitored is already replete with a home network. “After the first 2-3 days of connection hiccups, it ran pretty stable for the next several days and continues to do so now.” Right.