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[Discuss] Its not possible to make things easier for users

I have always been the tech guru. Running the film projector in the 
early 1970s in school because the teachers never understood how. Many of 
us have an innate ability to understand mechanisms. We see things and 
they make sense to us.

So, I have used Windows, Macintosh, Linux, FreeBSD, SunOS, CP/M, and so 
on. I have come to the conclusion that there is NOTHING that can make a 
user's life easier or a computer more "usable" in any significant way. 
Sure, you can help with some incremental aids, icons, menus, and such, 
but not much more than that.

Here's the problem....

(q) How do I get my pictures on my computer.
(a) Run a program to download them to your computer.
     (q) Why can't I just use them on the camera?
     (a) You might be able to, but it depends on the application or the 
         (q) what?
         (a) Some cameras look like disks to the computer and some don't
             (q) What?
             (a) The people that make the cameras decide how the cameras 

             And this goes on for a while

(q) "I want to upload some pictures to the internet." or "I want to 
email some pictures" but it always stops
(a) The pictures are too big, you need to reduce their size
     (q) Why are they too big/
     (a) The camera creates really big pictures in case you want to 
print them like a photo
         (q) what do you mean, pictures are small
         (a) sigh

         and this can go on for a while

(q) How do I get music on my computer/music player
(a) rip a CD or download music you can convert to something your music 
player can use

       This too will go on and on

I don't believe the problem is that people can't use the computer, 
because computers, especially today, are fairly trivially easy to use. 
In fact, I think we are more or less at the limit of the current 
paradigms and anything done to improve them will actually make them 
harder to use.

No the real problem isn't the computer, the real problem is the user's 
understanding of the task they wish to accomplish. Copying music from a 
CD to an [MP3,OGG,FLAAC] is an operation with choices. These choices 
have pros and cons, benefits and drawbacks. There often times is no 
"best" choice. The same goes for pictures, email, word processing, 
printing, etc.

User's don't want to know how to do what they want to do and blame the 
computer for not being easy enough. If we stepped back to the 1970s, 
we'd have the same problem with recording music off the radio. You'd use 
a cassette or a reel to reel tape recorder.  Most people wouldn't 
understand how to do that either. It wasn't because of a computer, it 
was because you had a process that had a few steps and to perform the 
operation you had to have some background knowledge on how things worked 
so you would know what to do.

Problems with computers are mostly over at this point. It isn't about 
computers at all. It is about the tasks the users want to accomplish. 
You can't make them easier without changing the nature of the task.

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