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Microsoft Windows

Are Windows XP/7 Users Smarter Than a 3-Year-Old? 537

theodp writes "Those sounding the alarm about the difficulty in making the transition to Windows 8, especially on traditional computers, should check out Adam Desrosiers' son Julian, a 3-year-old kid who uses Windows 8 like a champ. 'I read these tech pundits and journalists discussing how hard it's gonna be for the general public to learn the new UI of Windows 8,' says Desrosiers. 'Nonsense. The long and short of it is: If my 3 years old son can learn Windows 8 through very moderate usage, anybody with half a brain can do so too.' Bill Gates has already successfully made the transition to what he calls an 'unbelievably great' Microsoft Surface. On Friday, we'll start finding out if current Windows XP and Windows 7 users are also smarter than the average 3-year-old!"
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Are Windows XP/7 Users Smarter Than a 3-Year-Old?

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  • by For a Free Internet ( 1594621 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:10AM (#41739695)

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it! The problem is capitalism. Under socialism, production will be planned to meet human needs, not driven blindly by the whims of a market of idle parasitical bourgeois shareholders. CAPITALISM SUCKS, MICROSOFT SUCKS, FORWARD TO COMMUNISM, I DRanke coffee that I made with a coffeee makore thagt ish iu f,saoz-0-0-0-0- 0oiofdsalk fs;a;a a;;a the pain!

    • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:54AM (#41740153) Homepage

      The problem isn't whether or not it's "easy to use".

      The problem is that it's designed to be easy to use on tablets and tablets are rubbish for doing real work. On desktop machines ... it's crap.

      • by causality ( 777677 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @10:48AM (#41740307)

        The problem isn't whether or not it's "easy to use".

        The problem is that it's designed to be easy to use on tablets and tablets are rubbish for doing real work. On desktop machines ... it's crap.

        That fails to explain why a three-year-old has no problems using it ... on a standard desktop PC. Like what the summary describes.

        I propose that the three-year-old likes learning new things and that is why he had no problems with Win 8 and probably won't have showstopper problems with any other system. For him, learning is based on curiosity and wonder and the thrill of discovery.

        Let him get a bit older. Then give him 12 years or so of schooling where learning is rote memorization that's pounded into your head - whether you like it or not - by people who treat you in a dehumanized fashion, like a number on a spreadsheet. Then he'll hate learning too. Then he'll work some job and require "retraining" after an upgrade because the functionality has remained the same, but the location of some superficial menu items has changed. It will be enough to confuse him. Gone will be the easy ability to take a look at the new interface and say "oh, they just moved it over there, but it does the same thing, I see" like he can do now.

        Unless they take great pains to remain actual individuals, they will succumb.

        It's probably not fair to average Windows users to compare them to a three-year-old. The three-year-old doesn't know it's supposed to be too hard, so it isn't. It's too much like pitting the average couch potato against a professional boxer. There is no sense in betting on the outcome.

        • by citizenr ( 871508 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @10:59AM (#41740317) Homepage

          That fails to explain why a three-year-old has no problems using it ... on a standard desktop PC. Like what the summary describes.

          Three year old also has no problems with eating dog shit picked up from the ground.

          • by paiute ( 550198 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:49AM (#41740995)

            That fails to explain why a three-year-old has no problems using it ... on a standard desktop PC. Like what the summary describes.

            Three year old also has no problems with eating dog shit picked up from the ground.

            Somewhere a Microsoft marketing executive leaned back in his chair and pursed his lips. An idea was forming....

        • by B'Trey ( 111263 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:08AM (#41740359)

          The problem isn't whether or not it's "easy to use".

          The problem is that it's designed to be easy to use on tablets and tablets are rubbish for doing real work. On desktop machines ... it's crap.

          That fails to explain why a three-year-old has no problems using it ... on a standard desktop PC. Like what the summary describes.

          Two things. First, a three year old doesn't have to unlearn years of expectations of a system acting a certain way. Second, what a three year old is trying to accomplish on a PC might be just slightly different from the purposes of a typical business user.

          • by Phrogman ( 80473 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:12AM (#41740415) Homepage

            Not some of the business users I have met... :P

        • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:12AM (#41740423) Homepage Journal

          Yes, a three year old can use W8 easier than he can use W7 because he can't read! Plus, he hasn't been using the standard Windows interface for twenty years. The three year old isn't going to do any typing -- HE CAN'T READ.

          In short, W8 is a very good OS... for a three year old. Not so much for someone who can read and type and needs to turn reports in to his boss.

          W8 illustrates my worst gripe with all MS products, and that's that they insist on making you relearn the damned interface with every upgrade. Take Office; mine upgraded from 03 to 07 with the infernal god damned ribbon. It's as if they're trying to make the interface as hard as possible to use. Why rename "edit" to "home"? Why rename "file" to... well, to nothing at all, just a multicolored button that doesn't even have a mouseover and it's in the same place that one expects the max/min/close at the top left of the screen. Of course, a three year old doesn't need text, does he? It's as if MS designs its products for three year old illiterates.

          I have report due monthly that's derived from an Access database. It was late this month; thanks, Microsoft. What's worse than trying to completely relearn the interface is it mangled the presentation of the report, and with all the god damned changes I'm having a hell of a time fixing it.

          A computer isn't a toy for a three year old, it's a tool for adults to get real work done. Microsoft has yet to learn this... remember XP's kindergarten tinker toy looking interface?

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:14AM (#41740449)

          Another big one that goes along with what you are describing is "learned helplessness".

          On the other hand, the three year old likely uses a computer quite differently than you or I. I doubt he writes a lot of code, or really produces much of anything. For him it is probably a device for consumption of games and video. While I could learn EMACS, I have spent so many years with VIM that installing it and ignoring EMACS is the more rational thing to do. The three year old would have no use for that kind of text editor.

          • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
            That is why complaints that MS is making their UI worse is valid, but saying that it is hard is not valid.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:25AM (#41740609)

          I propose that the three-year-old likes learning new things and that is why he had no problems with Win 8,

          And I propose that just like a cardboard picture book, an interface designed for 3 year olds and retards will be easier for them to learn.
          If your logic made any sense at all, newspaper articles would be replaced with pictures of smiling cartoon animals, and the people competing in the Tour de France would all be using training wheels.

          The entire idea that "easy for a child" equates to "better for an adult" is completely fucking stupid, and you ought to feel like an ass for even suggesting it.

        • by dinfinity ( 2300094 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:30AM (#41740687)

          That fails to explain why a three-year-old has no problems using it

          Try watching the video. The kid is absolutely terrible at using Windows 8. If this is the new definition of 'a champ', then the interface of Windows 8 can indeed be called 'a champ of an interface'.

          His dad has clearly (over the course of a month) learnt him some of the basics (like 'pin to the side') that work, but generally:
          - He has difficulties opening the start screen
          - He has difficulties making a program fullscreen again
          - He has difficulties in getting the list of open apps to show, erroneously selects the time app and then on second try stumbles upon the actual list of open applications.

          And if you think about it, the kid hasn't actually done anything remotely complex. Nobody ever argued that it would be impossible for new users to click on the fucking huge tiles to open an application or to learn a couple of basic gestures.
          Everybody did and does say that it most of the gestures are counterintuitive, cumbersome and that the interface in general fails when trying to do anything more complex than playing Angry Birds.

          This article is fucking bullshit.

        • The three year old also doesn't have any un-learning to do. Someone who's been using Windows XP for the last ten years is a lot of expectations that certain functionality will be present via specific mechanisms. Replace those mechanisms and that XP user has to reprogram ten years of reflex and memory, while the 3yo just has to remember how the first thing works. There aren't any established patterns to trip him up.

          I think a lot of people could benefit by learning to think like a child again; being able to l

        • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @12:07PM (#41741287) Homepage

          "a three year old has no problems using it"

          Sorry but that statement needs a LOT of qualifications. That 3 year old is organizing his photographs in folder and setting up his backup schedule, or is he clicking on the colored boxes...

          If my daily computer use was just clicking on colored boxes, Yes a 3 year old is superior.. I do a LOT more complex things that I GUARENTEE that the 3 year old is NOT doing.

          The whole thing is a joke of a test.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 )

      So you are supporting an economy that doesn't innovate?

      If it isn't broke, we should still try to make it better. Now guess what in the process of trying to make things better sometimes often mistakes are made. So you can just be a whiny and say how bad it is and you say back on older technologies. Or look and take advantage of the new features, and work to clear up existing issues. Often such design changes offer tradeoffs, so you get something better and you may lose something.

      Why change the in

      • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:33AM (#41740731) Homepage Journal

        If it isn't broke, we should still try to make it better.

        The trouble is, they don't improve, they simply change. Take that stupid ribbon interface: renaming "edit" to "home" was brain-dead retarded. That's not an improvement, that's a degradation. Taking away all text from the file menu and moving it to where you expect the max/min/close usually are isn't an improvement, it's a degradation.

        How is anything about W8 in any way an improvement?

        Or look and take advantage of the new features

        What new features?

        Often such design changes offer tradeoffs, so you get something better and you may lose something.

        If any functionality is lost, that's NOT improvement.

        My Laptop has a multi-touch screen and Windows 7 doesn't cut it

        Prove you're not lying. What touch screen laptop comes with W7? You're insulting our intelligence.

        Windows 7 doesn't cut it, Hard to click small icons, zooming is choppy...

        Odd, I don't have those problems on my small W7 laptop or my kubuntu tower, and never had them with any other MS OS.

      • Fine... Innovate. That is good. But how do we decide when an "innovation" is good or bad. If Microsoft would agree to support Windows 7 (older style) next to Windows 8 (the "innovation) and let the market decide which one won, then I would say you have a point. But, Microsoft is going to try to phase out Windows 7 (like they did to Windows XP) even if people prefer Windows 7 (and XP) over Windows 8. Innovation is good when you can choose whether to use that innovation and let it live or die on its meri
      • There is a time and a place for innovation.

        The wheel is *thousands* of years old but yet we don't hear anyone complaining about that because the concept is sound; we don't need to replace it.

        What we do is *refine* the implementation -- softer rubber, better grip, etc.

        The same should be true in User Interfaces.

        The ribbon was badly designed primarily because the amount of options/choices you could see was based on how wide your window was!? The old system of drop-down menus provided a couple of benefits:

        1. T

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:10AM (#41739697)

    They can't concentrate long enough to do any work...

    I guess that makes Windows 8 a toy system... and still not suitable for work.

    • by gtvr ( 1702650 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:14AM (#41739735)
      Also the 3 year old doesn't have the years of working with Xp/7 to bog him down & set expectations of how the OS should work.
      • by war4peace ( 1628283 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:21AM (#41739809)

        I was able to work my way through Windows 8 pretty easily. That's not the issue at hand, at all. this didn't stop me from hating its guts, because I needed to break free from my 15 years old habits and do it differently.
        Habit change issues is exactly why we don't see cars with gaming controllers instead of the usual wheel-stick-and-pedals system. They might be great for the guy who never used anything before, but horrible for the long haul truck driver with 30 years of driving experience.

        • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:54AM (#41740151) Homepage Journal

          Actually the reason you won't see gaming controllers on cars is that they suck for fine control when driving. If you drive in a real simulation game, using a steering wheel and pedals is preferable, because then you get several inches of travel to adjust control, rather than just one inch. In a real car do you always press your accelerator or brake as hard as you can? Because that's how most driving games are still set up these days

          If you try playing a racing game or simulator in full simulator mode with a controller you'll probably see that you end up with much worse tyre wear than with a steering wheel/pedal setup. And that's if you can even control the car well enough in the first place. If you don't have traction control or some kind of input smoothing on the controls (which actually reduces your control level) then you're going to be spinning out all over the place.

        • Yea. Replacing the start button with a full screen is a REAL BIG Deal.

          Get over it man!

          We don't see car with game controllers, because we still get road feedback. However. The key in the ignition is going away with a power button. Dashboard displays are becoming more digital, and can change their displays for you. Cars are also getting more automated such as sensing cruse control where the car will slow down if the car in front of them is a bit slower.... We have been getting a lot of changes in the car.

          • by digitalsolo ( 1175321 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @10:49AM (#41740309) Homepage
            I've been a Windows user since '95 (well some 3.11 as well). I currently run Windows 7 in various incarnations on all my desktops/laptops at home. I do not dislike Windows at all. I greatly enjoy playing with new OS releases, and have tried each prerelease of Windows 8. I don't care for the Metro/whatever-they-want-to-call-it. It's a negative impact on productivity. I find when using a single application it's fine. I actually LIKE the tile layout and think it looks nice and the active tiles with information are a neat feature. The primary issue is when using multiple applications or when looking for a specific non-commonly used application it's much more effort to work with.

            I applaud their attempt to improve it, but I do not care for the end result on a normal PC. It does seem that it would be excellent on a tablet. I do like the way Windows 8 "feels". There is a nice fluidity to it and lots of nice little features such as file transfer statistics that actually work, etc. If I could have a "normal" desktop mode, I'd love to use it, but after a month of playing with the new interface, I rolled back to Windows 7.
          • by sarysa ( 1089739 )
            Windows is heavily relied upon for productivity purposes, all joking aside. Changing an interface drastically should generate this level of resentment. The start menu change isn't the end of the world, but I don't see it as an improvement for desktop (incl. Laptops with that statement) usage.

            I have used the consumer preview and I just don't see any compelling reason for POS terminals, cnc grinders (some use win 98 still), and a large percentage of cubicle monkeys out there to upgrade. It's not an apocalypt
          • by war4peace ( 1628283 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @12:40PM (#41741769)

            Um, dude, I'm a Windows user. Been using Windows since 3.1 and Linux almost not at all. I still think Windows 8 is "the suck".
            The Windows 8 versus Windows 7 issue, for me at least, is mainly the awful waste of screen estate. I would fit at least 10 icons in just one of those dreadful "tiles". I don't need a 2x2 inch tile to click on a shortcut. And side-scrolling an entire screen to get to more tiles is dumb, especially on the PC.
            Opening the "All programs" menu shows 28 entries (on my screen) and takes up maybe 1/10 of my screen estate. They're sorted alphabetically, with no bling-bling of colors. Easy to use and intuitive. I have created a shortcuts folder on my desktop and also a games folder on my desktop, with shortcuts to pretty much everything I usually need to run. And I created toolbars on the taskbar pointing to those folders, transforming them into 1-click menus which bring on all the software I use, ready to run and nicely arranged the way I want them to. Windows 8 tiles are way, WAY behind in terms of functionality and speed. I hated having to move my mouse pointer all around the screen to get to that app I needed. Waste of space, as far as I am concerned.

          • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

            1. it is a big deal. starting a program should not be a focus stealing, modal event. it's a pain in the ass. Some of us still use our computers for real work and not just checking failbook every 5 minutes.

            2. We do'nt see a car with game controllers because game controllers suck! they don't even work well for complex games requiring precision pointing and movement, nevermind driving real equipment in all but the most controlled or consequence-free situations. they are the number one reason why the FPS and

          • by Nyder ( 754090 )

            Yea. Replacing the start button with a full screen is a REAL BIG Deal.

            Get over it man!

            We don't see car with game controllers, because we still get road feedback. However. The key in the ignition is going away with a power button. Dashboard displays are becoming more digital, and can change their displays for you. Cars are also getting more automated such as sensing cruse control where the car will slow down if the car in front of them is a bit slower.... We have been getting a lot of changes in the car. Sure we still have 4 wheels, a steering wheel and pedals... But other things have changed. And some of these changes change how we drive.

            Your hate Windows 8 either because you in general don't like microsoft windows. Or you are just too old to get enjoyment in learning something new.

            Crappy car analogy dude.

            Windows 8 is like changing the dashboard around, so where normally the MPH is, isn't. Where the other things normally are, aren't. None of the button are labled the same. The shift is missing (in both stick and auto), and the pedals are reversed.

            Oh, and you dont' use a steering wheel anymore, it's touch control on the windshield.

        • by Applekid ( 993327 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:19AM (#41740513)

          I was able to work my way through Windows 8 pretty easily. That's not the issue at hand, at all. this didn't stop me from hating its guts, because I needed to break free from my 15 years old habits and do it differently.

          And yet during the transition to Windows 95, you'd have been hard pressed to find a Windows 3.x user that didn't immediately love the Start button and the collapsing menus as opposed to progman and it's horrible icons-in-folders organization.

          Habits are easy to quit, I think, if the alternative is truly better. Microsoft wants to harmonize touch and non-touch computers, the way Windows Desktop and Windows Server are essentially the same*. This desktop/server harmonization didn't take anything away, though. You can still do it all from command line if you're so inclined. Microsoft's answer to harmonizing touch and non-touch seems to be taking away things from the non-touch side of the house.

          As any good DM can tell you, you can't just take away toys from your players, even if they're overpowered and breaking your game. You gotta be more clever than that. If you set up a game event to "aw, someone stole your ill-gotten wand of amazing powers, too bad so sad let's move on." your players are going to hate you.

          * the difference is in what's running at any given time, truth is, things that work in one will work on the other.

      • by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:47AM (#41740081)

        I always took the tack that Windows Surface was designed for a child, but if you need to do any work, the interface gets in the way. For common tasks, I think the home users will be fine for the most part, but if you need to dig into the OS to do any serious work you will end up fighting the UI.

        I don't it's a matter of being 'smarter', but target audience.

      • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:17AM (#41740489)

        Also the 3 year old doesn't have the years of working with Xp/7 to bog him down & set expectations of how the OS should work.

        Nor do they use a computer to attempt to solve the same problems an adult does. A 3 year old might want to find one thing, based on pictures. My desktop is juggling 12 different applications right now, and I found them based on descriptions not based on images. The work hours spreadsheet and the game balance spreadsheet have the same icon, but the content is somewhat important. Windows 8 is a trainwreck because it's inconsistent in how it manages lots of things, if you only ever want to do one thing at a time it's fine. It's like my phone - me and a 5 year old could manage 99% of the use cases on my phone equally well, because I'm only rarely actually multitasking, and most everything complex is buried. But try and actually manage half a dozen running programs on windows 8 and you're jumping between UI's, trying to figure out which applications did and which didn't create icons on the traditional desktop. If you have several hundred programs installed (which is not btw, unreasonable on windows or linux), the 'metro' style can be much harder to navigate.

        I agree with posters in reply, a lot of this is muscle memory, and changing that is hard - but the question is whether or not I benefit from it. If you try windows phone (which is essentially the basis for windows 8) it's interesting and different from the iPhone/Android style. I'm not sure better or worse overall, but it's certainly a different take on the same basic problem. And it works reasonably well at it (again, not sure better or worse than the alternative but definitely different). But windows 8 isn't just windows phone 8, losing productivity without any apparent pickup in productivity is troublesome. I've got a windows 8 convertible tablet, and it's a nightmare to use unfortunately, it's fast, which is good, but it can't decide how it's going to behave, so I think I'm going to roll the machine back to vista when the preview build gets shut off.

        The bigger questions with windows 8, about the store (which conflicts with the open platform nature of windows, and pisses off their suppliers) and the big industry questions of whether forking windows into an x86 and ARM version is going to cause no end of confusion (does a 3 year old care? no, but you can bet a 63 year old buying a computer does), the 'Surface' initiative as either a good kick in the pants to the 3rd party hardware guys or sign of microsoft entering the hardware market are all things that are *bad*, and well beyond a 3 year old. A 3 year old can look at pictures and click on them - and that's what microsoft was aiming for, but that has no bearing on how to build a productivity desktop for 15-85 year olds.

    • by devjoe ( 88696 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:24AM (#41739845)
      Three-year-olds are likely to only focus on one program at a time, exactly the model Windows 8 presents, and the model which works well on a smartphone because of the limited screen space. Experienced adult computer users are likely to have email, multiple browser windows, a document they are writing or a game they are playing, and maybe other programs open at the same time. The comparison presented in the article is not a reasonable one.
      • by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:47AM (#41740079) Homepage Journal

        The error I am seeing on this thread time and time again is the assumption that 3-year-olds are stupid.

        They aren't. They have a hyper-active ability to learn that leaves all adults in the dust. This is exactly when they are learning languages and most of the building blocks of knowledge that are incredibly important and we take for granted.

        I doesn't matter if they are "focusing on one thing." They are learning sponges at that age. The fact they would have no problems with basic use of Windows 8 isn't surprising at all and it has nothing to do with multitasking.

        • The article title should have read "Are Windows XP/7 Users able to learn a new interface as well as a highly coached 3 year old"
    • by ByOhTek ( 1181381 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:36AM (#41739979) Journal


      Not to mention a 3 year old can use an easy bake oven. There's a reason they don't replace the cookware in a professional kitchen with easy bake ovens.

  • by FriendlyLurker ( 50431 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:10AM (#41739699)
    ...but I think I will pass this round, thanks anyway. Marketing department appealing to peoples egos to make a sale, now?
  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Simulant ( 528590 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:10AM (#41739701) Journal
    No doubt anyone can learn it. Doesn't mean we want or need to.
    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by LurkerXXX ( 667952 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:24AM (#41739829)

      Ageed. I moved away from Ubuntu to Mint Linux because while Unity might be a fine interface for a tablet, it's a crappy interface for a desktop, requiring huge amounts of moust travel to do the same thing that you could do with minimal movement/time in the regular menu system.

      I'm staying with Windows 7 for the same reason. I don't want a shitty tablet interface on my 30" desktop screen.

    • by kil3r ( 819571 )
      How is that boy dealing with pivot tables then?
    • No doubt anyone can learn it. Doesn't mean we want or need to.

      Right. I learned to use xfig, but that doesn't mean its UI isn't crap.

      There's a difference between "possible to learn" and "good".

  • by Cwix ( 1671282 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:12AM (#41739705)


    So because a 3 year old can use the playskool interface the rest of us should suck it up? Dear Adam, no one gives a flying shit about you or your kid.

  • Gee, this really makes me want to upgrade right away.
  • Yeah! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ratnerstar ( 609443 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:13AM (#41739727) Homepage

    Millions of children in China learn Chinese every year, without even really trying! And you think it's so difficult ... it must be because Chinese is incredibly easy to learn and you're just stupider than a baby.

  • I don't think the complaint is that the Windows 8 interface is hard to learn, it seems pretty simplistic. The argument that the user experience of Windows has been more-or-less consistent since Windows 95. Unlearning 15+ years of an interface is difficult for anyone, but giving a three year old something that is new for him at a time in his life when learning isn't an exception it's the absolute norm is not a valid test for the hypothesis concerning the general public adoption of Windows 8.
    • The other issue with the "give it to a 3 year old for 10 minutes" test, in addition to the 'unlearning' piece, is that it only measures the slope of the first tiny bit of the learning curve. What people who actually use computers(or who have to do actual work with them) really care about is whether the interface makes them more powerful and efficient in exchange for a modicum of skill.

    • by richg74 ( 650636 )
      Exactly. The potential problem is not that people can't learn the interface formerly known as Metro, it's that they won't. Moving to a new OS version is almost certain to involve some difficulties, and getting around these is not made any easier by having a user mutiny at the same time. From the user's point of view, forcing a change amounts to taking away something that works (yes, it may have its quirks, but they have learned them), and putting in its place something else that is at least somewhat puz
  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:14AM (#41739731)
    It departments here it all the time: "why can't you just upgrade to Windows 8, my 12-year old kid did that to our laptop". Did the 12-year old kid have to cope with ensuring all applications are in support, the money for the database upgrade has been deferred a year, and the Finance department are using an ancient app that needs a replacement researched? Whould their kid e fired for saying "dad the PCs not working after the upgrade"? I hate articles like this
  • by Big Hairy Ian ( 1155547 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:15AM (#41739741)
    There are 3yr olds who are adept at linux/apple/andriod. Also MS appear to have finally trimmed some of the fat for a change as W8 has a much smaller footprint than its recent predecessors and is considerably faster its just the cludgy replacement for the start menu that's got everyone pissing!
    • The OS itself is a HUGE upgrade. Its this stupid Metro shit thats got everyone bitching.

  • A kid is exactly the benchmark we should be using for this. After all, a 3 year old is exactly the target market: they are the people using computers all day long in banks, call centers, offices etc where you don't need to worry about getting the software to do what you want in the manner you need it to: i.e. make your job easier.
  • Ribbon (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I still don't know anyone who knows how to use the ribbon.

  • I hope I am wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by dizzy8578 ( 106660 ) * on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:18AM (#41739775)

    But I suspect win8 will continue the pattern of hiding useful menus and dialog boxes under more and more layers of what I consider obfuscated crap eye candy. My primary goal when using a computer is to get it back to functioning normally or at least how the client thinks is normally.

    Each iteration of windows has placed more and more "purty" screens in front of the administrative tools and log files I usually need to fix something.

    I will buy Win8 next week but mainly because I need to find where they have hidden the useful stuff before people start to bring the broken/mis-configured/AIO-printer install from hell, POS systems to me to fix or at least save their data/mail file from the only cost effective method of repair left open to the end user ie: (nuke it from orbit and reload)

  • Because have learned how something is done, but not why, and refuse to learn a different way that perhaps is better ( or just new ).

  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:19AM (#41739787) Journal

    for grown up men who wish to get serious work done, you know.... like coding, making things happen; Windows XP and Linux distros are the thing.

    Balls to Ballmer... he can go play with his dolls.

  • by Blinkin1200 ( 917437 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:20AM (#41739797)
    Fisher - Price called, they want their UI back.
  • Was his 3yr old doing something productive? What previously learned skills and software had his son to give up to make the transition from windows 2K/XP/7 to windows 8? Adam Desrosier is completely missing to central point of the windows 8 critiques, that is that an OS should stay out of the way and have a consistent user interface. Windows 8 break both of these with the introduction of radically new interface while keeping the "classic" view for the part of the software.
  • Great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:23AM (#41739827) Homepage

    Now get him to go into the network device settings and disable TCP offloading. Or change the IP. Or remove a rogue program from the context menu when you right-click files.

    Whoops. Maybe that analogy doesn't seem so close now, does it?

    Sure a 3-year-old can "use" the OS to do everything a 3 year old might want to do. But how easy is it for a parent to configure so that that 3-year-old CAN'T do things (e.g. get on the Internet in any way, shape or form, but be on the wireless so he can print out his work?), or for someone to set it up so that even the most genius 3-year-old + parent helping can't modify the settings you don't want modified (so that the staff member who brings their kid into school and let's them "just play" on the laptop can't run off and mess up their computer?)

    That's an ENTIRELY different question. And something a 3-year-old can't do, and probably never will be able to do, on a Windows 8 PC.

    My complaint with Windows 8 is not the lack of ability for a newbie to do things. It's the exact opposite. A lack of ability for a SKILLED IT USER to do things, and also a lack of ability to STOP a newbie doing things that are hard to undo for them (A show of hands: How many network admin's usual policy is to just delete the network profile of a user having trouble when the hardware is working fine and let it recreate itself?)

  • by Drathos ( 1092 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:24AM (#41739837)

    .. says it's "unbelievably great?"

    You, know what? He's right. I don't believe it.

  • by wulfhere ( 94308 ) <slashdot@GAUSShu ... g minus math_god> on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:24AM (#41739847)

    I don't think anybody is saying that Windows 8 is going to be completely unusable. This kid is obviously getting coaching from his parent. I'm sure anyone can be taught to use the OS. I'm also sure that they won't complain if they've never used anything different. That doesn't mean that Windows 8 contains any worthwhile changes.

    The fundamental problem is that they are trying to shoehorn a single operating system into two very different user experiences. Touch-screen based systems tend to have small screens, and they NEED large icons/menus so your finger can accurately select what you are to get to. Mouse-based systems allow for very precise selection, and because of that, they should be maximizing the amount of information that you have access to while MINIMIZING the number of clicks it takes to get there.

    Oh, and insulting me is surely not the best way to convince me that Windows 8 is great. I'm not going to buy an operating system based on a dare.

  • is the latest phase in Microsoft's search for the one true interface.

    maybe they should learn something from Malcolm Gladwell when he talks about spaghetti sauce. []
  • XCom: Enemy Unknown (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:27AM (#41739879) Journal

    XCom: Enemy Unknown has a 3D main interface where you can go to the seperate areas, with a fly animation zooming in on the sub sections of your base.

    Nice the first time, meh the second, the 1000th time you scream and rage at your monitor and hurl the cat out the window.

    Newbie friendly is a great market because you never run out of newbies but the moment a newbie has grown beyond the need for a newbie interface, you lost him forever.

    There isn't much repeat business in the training wheel market.

    W8 is MS Bob all over again. For older people like me, the desktop is like my toes, haven't seen it in decades. I startup the applications I need automatically and never even minimize them, the desktop could display my golden ticket to nirvana and I will never ever see it.

    W8 to me adds just cruft I don't need or want and that increasingly seems to desire to get in the way. I don't use active desktop, widgets or gadgets (98, Vista and W7). The desktop has one use, to stop my applications from falling into the monitor.

    I need a start menu to groups application, a taskbar to switch and that is it. End of fucking story.

    And trying to sell me on something new because a 3yr old likes it... 3yr olds also like teletubbies, boogers and the word poop. poop... POOP! eheh POOP!!!

  • At age 3 a child has an incredible ability to learn. It's half way/near the end of the prime time for learning languages.

    Contrast that to an oldster that is losing the ability to learn by degrees. When you add the given amount of "old fart"iness, lack of patience, "...back in my day," or downright lack of care then you have a problem.

    On top of it, it gains them *nothing*. This is a move that manipulates people into using their interface for a corporate advantage. It's classic Microsoft.

  • what the hell? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by amoeba1911 ( 978485 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:27AM (#41739893) Homepage

    The OS is just a platform to run your apps. Why are they making it seem like the OS is more than just a platform to run your apps? My software uses Windows, and I use my software, doesn't mean I use windows.

    This whole idiotic notion of the OS being important started when Microsoft realized Windows was the most used desktop OS in the world, they figured people must love Windows. Nobody loves Windows! We all cope with it because it runs our god damn software. The only way Windows could be better is if it got out of the way and made our software run better and faster. Microsoft doesn't seem to understand that, they somehow think people care about the OS. I'm sure a huge majority of the users don't even know what an OS is.

    Admit it, if you use Windows, it's only because it runs your software. The majority of my software runs only on Windows... but that's changing. Linux has lots of great software, and the moment when Linux has the majority of my software will be the moment when I ditch Windows for good and never look back, and I can see that date in the horizon already and there's nothing Microsoft can do to stop it. (except anti-competitiveness)

  • ... a 3-year-old kid who uses Windows 8 like a champ

    Hello Julian. What's happening? Um, I'm gonna need you go ahead and come in tomorrow. So if you could be here around nine, that would be great. (starts to walk away) Oh, oh, yeaI forgot. I'm gonna also need you to come in Sunday too. We, uh, lost some people this week and we need to sorta catch up. Thanks.

  • Why do people relate intelligence with age? People do not get smarter the older they get, quite often the opposite as IQ tends to decrease with age. There are 3 year olds that are smarter then adults, and vice-versa. There are genius 3 year olds and stupid 3 year olds.

    What is really being said is that people without preconceived notions of how computer interfaces work will get used to a completely new interface standard than people who have been using a completely different format for the past 15 years, whi

  • That the offices full of three year olds that run most companies will love it.
  • by Kagetsuki ( 1620613 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:31AM (#41739929)

    My 4 year old uses GNOME Shell, but she has her 6 year old brother help her launch MineCraft from the terminal.

    No I'm not joking. Kids aren't stupid, so how about not giving them interfaces for idiots.

  • by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:33AM (#41739945) Homepage

    Three year olds have very adaptable brains, and don't have set expectations or things to un-learn.

    A sixty year old who has been using the computer the same way for over a decade is going to have a more difficult time adapting simply due to how the brain works. That doesn't reflect on their intelligence at all - it reflects on fundamental biology.

    I'm pretty sure at one point Slashdot editors would have known that and not posted something this stupid, but I guess they need to bait people with "my 3 year old is smarter then you" BS to get pageviews.

  • This is an entire article trolling on the basis of the logical fallacy called the straw man. The argument was never that we couldn't learn to use Windows 8. The argument is that the existing interface is better for mouse users than the new one, with less pointer motion and just as much use of muscle memory. Trolling article is trolling. So is slashdot, by repeating it. Nothing to see here, please move along.

  • by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:50AM (#41740125)

    It's reminds me of all the doom and gloom over the Ribbon UI and how people would never accept and it'll be the downfall of Office.

    In reality, I've been in three companies now which have transitioned from Office 2003 to one of the versions with the ribbon. In all three cases, they provided some documentation on the intranet (a couple of pages in a PDF, not very much), an hour long class for people who really wanted it (of which take up was pretty poor) and floor walkers in the first two weeks helping anyone with problems.

    It took about 2-3 weeks for people to get used to the software. A month later and the large majority were perfectly happy and only a select few wanted to go back to Office 2003.

  • by AC-x ( 735297 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:18AM (#41740497)

    Maybe 3 year olds don't mind it because they don't know how UIs are supposed to work. For web testing I've used Windows 8 from our MSDN account and it's hideously annoying, from things hiding in the corners of the screen to no logic in metro apps UI, for example I literally couldn't work out how to get the address bar back in Metro IE, I tried all the standard phone UI ways of doing it (scrolling to the top or bottom), moving the mouse to the screen corners, everything. I only happened upon it by chance, you have to press the right mouse button on an empty part of the screen! Yet right mouse button is still a context menu for links.

    Then I tried to shut it down and wasted several moments trying to find the shutdown button, finally found it in settings -> power (no idea where the actual power settings menu is hidden).

    Needless to say I will not be using Windows 8 on anything I own, I know you can install a 3rd party start menu replacement, but to be honest (as with jailbreaking iPhones) I'd rather vote with my wallet and not support companies whose products are only usable after hacking them, maybe MS will take a hint and fix it for Win9.

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:21AM (#41740541)

    Easy to use doesn't necessarily mean usable for the purpose.

    My 10 year old cell phone was extremely easy to use - dial the number, press send, and voila, I just made a phone call. A 3 year old could do it.

    My smartphone is much harder - unlock the phone, go to the home screen, find the dialer app, start it up, open the dial-pad, dial the number, and voila, I just made a phone call (unless it got dropped).

    But my smart phone is still much more usable and useful than my old phone ever was despite being much harder to use.

    Let's see how the uber-smart 3 year old handles multitasking on typical office apps - run a report from the ERP system, copy the last 2 years of performance metrics to a spreadsheet, run projections from the numbers, then move the key results to a powerpoint slide. All while carrying on an email conversation with your boss about why you don't have the presentation ready yet.

    Unless the typical Win8 user uses their computer the same way as a 3 year old, I'm not sure why it's relevant how well a 3 year old can use it.

  • by Nate the greatest ( 2261802 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:22AM (#41740567)
    This is not a valid comparison. Is that 3 year old a long term user of Windows? Then he does not reflect the average user who will have trouble switching over because they are used to the current interface.
  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:24AM (#41740601) Homepage

    I can learn to use Win8 just fine. It's not about ease-of-use, or how easy it is for a 3-year-old.

    I don't want Win8 because it doesn't have the UI I need, plain and simple. I'm not playing the simple games a 3-year-old plays. I'm not just browsing the Web. I'm a professional software developer who needs a fairly large number of applications open at the same time, spread across 2 monitors. I'm doing coding, technical writing, spreadsheets, diagrams, running visual diff/merge tools, editing XML and HTML and Javascript and CSS, mucking about with databases. I'm running multiple SSH sessions to multiple machines to troubleshoot production issues. At home I'm playing an MMO, running a log parser, running the voice-chat client, running the browser to look up encounter strategies, all at once. And all of this? The one thing Win8 adds, the Metro UI, isn't just not designed to do this, it's designed to not do this. It's designed to have a single application visible at a time, the way a smartphone or tablet works.

    Yes, I know, I can kick it back into traditional desktop mode. But that means extra steps every single time I use it, or using a third-party program to hack it into doing what I want. Win7, by contrast, doesn't need hacking or extra work. I see no reason to add extra work and non-vendor-supported hackery to get back to where I am now. Plus there's the question of software support: how many of the programs I must use every day will officially support Win8? Right now none. Not even the ones from Microsoft. I'd have to upgrade all my software to get versions with official support. And for work I can't upgrade, I have to remain on the versions that the company mandates internally. They won't be upgrading any time soon either, they have to first certify every single application as working on Win8 and then they have to get money budgeted to upgrade. In some cases software will have to be repurchased, and there's manpower and other costs associated with upgrading all those computers to a new OS and migrating all the existing data. Our hardware vendor will have to support Win8 on the hardware too or we'll have to purchase all new hardware. So overall the company isn't even going to think about Win8 until the next hardware refresh cycle comes along, and that isn't going to start for another 3 years or so. We just finished a hardware refresh at the end of last year, after all.

    So in summary, it doesn't really matter how easily a 3-year-old with no exposure and no existing infrastructure requirements can use Win8. It matters how well Win8 suits the tasks I actually perform and the requirements I have for what my system needs to run. A 3-year-old can easily ride a Big Wheel, but that doesn't make a Big Wheel suitable as a vehicle for me to commute to work in.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @11:47AM (#41740969)

    My grandpa likes the Windows 8 UI as well. I can only hope that Windows 9 will keep up with his increasing dementia.

  • Content creation is a totally different ballgame than content consumption. When my daughter was about 18 months she figured out that the TV remote does something and the picture comes on. She would politely offer the remote to the TV, almost like some tribal chief making an offering to the local deity. Gosh, I should find the tape and put it on youtube. Took her a week or so to notice that I press buttons and figure out the button that turns the machine on. This is nothing.

    It is content *creation* that is difficult in dumbed down interfaces. To m content creation spans the entire range from putting together video clips, to writing documents, calculating on spreadsheets, to hacking code, to creating web sites etc etc. It is those tasks where the user interface makes a big difference.

    My skill is coding. I have learnt one interface to code and debug. Now if I am forced to chuck all that experience out of the window and learn a new one, OK, INBD. I will do it. But at the end of the process, my improved productivity should justify the downtime for retraining. An accountant analyst's skill is collecting information from various accounting departments, make sure the numbers tally and cross reference correctly, and put them out in standard locations for the daily script to read and update SEC reporting. Even small and trivial changes frustrate her. "I have a process, that works. They are paying me to make sure the numbers are correct. If you change something, unless it improves my process, it is not worth my time to relearn everything new". That is what she would say.

    Hurts me to say it. But Apple got it right. One ubiquitos, easy to use OS for content consumption. And a more involved OS for content creation and for people who are more comfortable with computing devices. And they interoperate seamlessly behind the curtain. I hate the Apple walled garden as much as I hated Microsoft arrogance and monoculture. But they are winning because they have learnt something. They don't mind throwing stuff out and starting all over. They ditched their home grown OS and switched to unix, much to the consternation of Apple die-hards back in the 1990s. They ditched their chip set and went to Intel. They constantly experimented with form factors in desk tops. They innovated so much, something had to click, and it di.

You know, Callahan's is a peaceable bar, but if you ask that dog what his favorite formatter is, and he says "roff! roff!", well, I'll just have to...