Older than I thought

And I have been hacking away at computers for longer than I thought too. I ran into a guy I haven’t seen much lately and he was telling me about his adventure with computers, because that’s what he remembered that I do. Of course the last time I saw him about 10 years ago, I don’t think the Internet was very widely known, and so I let him slide on this minor point. I know he didn’t have EIGHT kids back then. (And that’s what made me feel old.)
But it was another example of the problem I wrote about the last time. The complexity of maintaining personal computers in today’s networked environment is becoming such that the average user cannot reasonably held responsible for knowing how to keep their computer safe.
I wonder what this means. Will Microsoft get it together? My old friend asked about Linux, is it ready for the desktop? Why not? And what about our new friend OSX? Is the computer really an entertainment device, or should home consumers just get a thin client like Web TV tried to be a few years ago?
No one can know everything about computers, most like me learn what we need to do our job. (Admittedly, I use mine as much as anyone in my job.) It has taken me years to understand what is worth spending my time to understand about computers, and what I can do by means of just “follow the instructions and get by”. Children probably grow up with this sensibility, and the rest of us are racing towards retirement so fast it may not matter soon. This issue may just grow away.
In the mean time, us network guys just keep hoping the computer guys get the same thing that the phone and TV guys already understand. End users need something that can be controlled with no more that 12 to 24 buttons which only needs to be updated when it is replaced. We’ll let em have a keyboard for writing email only, but all configuration and command should take place in less than 24 different buttons.
If you don’t believe me, look at your TV (or the cable box; but NOT your remote control which most of us really can’t fully use anyway) or your phone.

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