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Duh, Scoble!

Robert Scoble is up to it again. Up to what? Being stupid. Let's have a look:

1. He wants Longhorn to set the highest resolution possible out of the box (and really, he wants XP to do it too). He repeats this same error many times: turning on advanced features out of the box and requiring the newbies to turn them off. Thing is, newbies are by definition probably not going to know where to go to turn off a feature! What's worse, in this case, Scoble is in favor of saying "screw you" to anyone who is handicapped with poor or failing eyesight (who might have bought a 20" display to use at 800 x 600). Users with good eyesight can always make the text tiny at 1600 x 1200, but users with poor eyesight aren't going to be able to read or see the screen if it's set to that resolution out of the box.

2. He hates not having icons on the desktop. Okay, so turn the option on. There you go. Big deal.

3. He wonders why he has to have a screen saver turned on by default, and then says that the screensaver is "TOTALLY EVIL" and should be turned off on servers. Duh, and any competent server admin would know that. Actually, any competent server admin would know better than to use Windows, but I digress.

4. He complains that his screen refresh rate is too low. Umm, okay. This is only for advanced users?

5. He complains that the Start menu isn't how he likes it. Robert: is the start menu like anyone likes it? It's crap, and sooner or later, Microsoft is going to realize that it's their hangnail - the annoying thing they can't ever shake and are afraid of ripping out for causing lots of bleeding.

6. He complains about having to double-click everywhere, and on Windows, I can see his point. However, then he goes overboard by suggesting that links not be underlined because turning underlining off "is the single biggest thing we could do to improve readability on web pages and in the OS." Uh huh… No.

7. He complains about "big icon" view, and then asks "Again, why do we need to cater to beginners?" Duh, genius! This answer is so self-evident, and is again an example of one man's ego getting the better of his judgment. This is unfortunately very bad, given his position and influence in the company. But hey, I feel safe. With people like Scoble in the world making decisions, Windows will never rise above mediocrity. (FWIW, most of my icons are 128 x 128, and I am an advanced user. Typically, though, I use column mode.)

8. He wonders why some settings aren't global without having clicked an "apply to all folders" setting. Well, Robert, because advanced users know to click the "apply globally" button to apply settings globally. Or do they? You don't seem to…

9. He wants his file explorer as an explorer window because it makes him "tons more productive." Then he gives steps to tell you how to turn this on permanently. Guess what? That's the way it should be. Advanced users turning on advanced features, beginners or newbies comfortable with a safer, secure, less confusing environment. BTW, take the words "safer, secure, less confusing" with the proper perspective. It is Windows we're talking about here.

10. He complains that the Start Menu is too simplified. No, Robert, the Start Menu is crap. But again, go change it. You're the advanced user, do your two minutes of work necessary to set up your computer for months of work, and let the "simple" stuff to the newbies.

Yes, the list is "10 Things Advanced Users Need in Longhorn," but Scoble does not seem advanced enough to realize that 95% of his users are not "advanced." This is his personal bitch list and all usability arguments are chucked aside. Perhaps Robert is going to suggest that the Windows installer asks "are you an advanced user?" That won't piss people off, nope, and I'm sure everyone would be totally honest.

But hey, this article made me smile. Like I said, it's good to have these people in the other camp.

12 Responses to "Duh, Scoble!"

  1. Ha, I just re-read (more closely) his article, and he does suggest an "I'm an Advanced User" button! What a tool. 😛

  2. Poor Scoble 😉

  3. Well, setting the screen to the highest refresh rate possible by default would be very nice (so all those newbies don't have to get new eyeglasses after a while). I think that could even be possible by using the monitor's plug&play-feature.

  4. "But hey, this article made me smile. Like I said, it's good to have these people in the other camp."


    "Ha, I just re-read (more closely) his article, and he does suggest an "I'm an Advanced User" button! What a tool."

    Also agreed. Haha.

  5. Jesus Christ. Let's hope Scoble has no real influence, over anything.

  6. Some of what he's asking for should be implemented by default (ie: refresh rate), but saying "just change it" is missing the point. Each time I set up a windows box I spend a day setting it all up and making it livable (in addition to the download update, reboot, download update, dance). Even if just a few of these things could be done by default it'll make my life much easier.

    On the other hand, my new powerbook (through work, currently in the shop for a wonky hard drive, so much for the legendary apple hardware!, but anyway), had about 0 setup. I install the os, fill in a few forms for emai info, etc, boot up and the only "system setting" I change is to set hot corners for expose. Far superior.

  7. "But hey, this article made me smile. Like I said, it's good to have these people in the other camp."

    Hey... don't be rooting for the further demise of windows. I'm stuck with windows for simple economic reasons (PC=1/3 cost of Mac), so I hate to see idiots like this having *any* influence over the future of windows.

    The idiocy of defaulting to advanced users aside, I thought half his "advanced user" settings were the worst imaginable. *SINGLE CLICK* to open every file on my computer?!? Oh gag.

  8. Wait, wait. I don't understand why, under Longhorn, anyone should not run their display at the highest supported resolution (except too low a refresh at the highest res). Isn't this supposed to be one of the improvements with Longhorn - a graphics model that recognizes that different displays have different DPI's as well as different sizes in pixels? If this is the case, then shouldn't Longhorn be smart enough to differentiate between a 90dpi screen and a 150 dpi screen and make sure that the system font gets displayed at the correct point size. (i.e. a point is correctly measured to be 1/72 of an inch)

    Someone with failing eyesight should not have to run a display at a lower resolution to increase the size of type, although I suppose that is what many do today.

  9. Defaulting to a max resolution is bad. But flat panel displays are quite a different beast. The flat panel displays that I use at work are not so great models that have a native 1280x1024 resolution. In the case of these Viewsonic models, setting them to anything but native resolution just makes whatever is on the screen look that much worse. Macs aren't imune either. Ever use an LCD Mac (iMac, iBook or Powerbook) that has it's screen resolution set to something other than the native resolution? It sucks just as much as the Viewsonic displays do. So, yeah, give me the maximum please. Of course, I do have good eyes.

  10. PC's costing 1/3 the cost of a Macintosh? Where are you pulling those numbers from?

    For comparison, check the weblink for a price comparison between Apple's iMacs and Gateway's competition for all-in-ones.

  11. Heh. You all missed the whole point of what I was trying to do. Which was to get you to talk about what SHOULD be changed in the next version of Windows. But, you decided to just call me an idiot instead and you missed that chance. Oh well.

    By the way, the next version of Windows will have much better tools for viewers with poor eyesight. The entire UI can be zoomed in and out. But, you didn't consider that the next version is massively different than XP is.

    By the way, I knew that there's no way that many of my suggestions would get implemented. Why? Because we design our systems for the bell curve of users (which is NOT advanced users). So, if you really would spend some time thinking about what I wrote, you'd note that a bit of it was tongue in cheek. Oh well.

  12. You failed horribly, Robert, and calling us the idiots for taking what you said at face value and telling you how ridiculous it is is even more ridiculous than the original post was to begin with!