Want email updates from me?
Want more unvarnished truth?
Looking for something? Look here!
What I'm saying now
What you're saying...
I think tag clouds are pretty, and not to be taken overly seriously
111 Chop House 75 on Liberty Wharf 9/11 A Broth of a Boy ABCs Abiouness accountability activities alcohol Allora Ristorante Analysis Angry Hams ANSI/TIA 942 Anthony's Pier 4 Apple Application Armsby Abbey Arsenal Arturo's Ristorante Ashland AT&T Audio Automation baby Baby Monitor babysitting Back To School Bad News Bangkok Thai Bar Bay State Common baystateparent BBQ BCP BeeZers Before I die I want to... behavior Big Bang Bike Bill of Rights Bistro Black Box BlackBerry Boston Boston Marathon boundaries Boyston BPO brand Breakfast Bridge Bring Your Own Technology Budget Burlington Burn Burrito buyer BYOD Cabling Cambridge Camp Campaign career Casey's Diner Castle casual cCabling Cell Phone Central Square Change Management Cheers Chef Sun ChengDu Chet's Diner Children Chinese Christmas Christmas Families Holiday CIO Cloud coddle collage College College Acceptance co-lo Co-Location Co-Location Tier Power Cooling Comfort Food Control Country Country Kettle Crisis customer dad Dad Phrases damage daredevil Data Center Data Center Design Davios Day Care Dead Death declaration Del Frisco's Design Desktop Video dinner Disaster Recovery Divorce Do Epic Shit dodgeball Downtown Crossing DR driving Droid Easter Economic Kids Edaville Education Elbow Night Elevator Employee Engagement Erin Etiquette Evaluation events Exchange Expiration Dates Facebook Failing family Fatherhood Favorite things Flash Flemings Fogo de Chão Food Hits and Misses Format Foundry on Elm Foxborough Frameworks fraternity Fraud French Fried Clams friends fun Fusion Generations germs Girl Scouts girls Global Go/No Go GPS Grafton Grandchild Grandpa Harry's hazing Healthcare Healthy Choices while Dining Out Help Desk Hisa Japanese Cuisine Historic holiday Home hope Horizons hose Hot Dog Hurricane IIT Assessment incident Indecision Indian Infrastructure Inn Innovation Internet Inventory Management iPhone IT IT Assessment IT Satisfaction Italian Jack Daniels Jakes Restaurant Janet Japanese Jazz Joey's Bar and Grill JP's Khatta Mitha kickball kids Laid off Lakes Region Lala Java Leadership Learning legacy Legal Harborside Les Zygomates L'Espalier Liberty Wharf lights out Linguine's loss Love Lucky's Cafe M&M Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade mai tai Managed Application Services Managed Services managers Mandarin Manners Mark Fidrych marriage Mary Chung mass save Maxwell-Silverman Mediterranean meetings Memorial Day memory Mendon Mergers Mexican MiFi Migration Ming III miss MIT MIT CIO Symposium Mobility Moes Hot Dog Truck MOM money Mother Moving on Name neanderthal neighborhood Network New York Marathon newborn Northborough Not Your Average Joe's Nuovo Nursing On-Call Operations Operators Oregon Club Organization Pancakes Pandemic Parental Control Parenting Patch Peeves People Perserverance UMASS growth Play Plug and Run Predictable Pride Problem Process Production program Project Management propane PTA. PTO PUE QR Quick Response Rant Real Estate Realtor Recognition Red Rock Resiliency Respect restaurant Restaurant Guy RFP ribs Ritual Root Cause Analysis Sam Adams Sandy Sapporo savings School Sea Dog Brewing Company Sea Dog Steak and Ale Seafood Seaport Security Sel de la Terra Service Service Desk Service Indicator Light sharing SHIRO Shit Pump Shriners SHTF Simplification Skunk Works Skype Sleep sleepovers Sloan Smith & Wollensky soccer Son SOP sorority spanking Squarespace staffing Starbucks Status Reporting Steak Steve Jobs Storage Strategy stress Summer Sushi swimming Tacos Acalpulco teacher Technology Teen Telephony Temperature Strip Tenka terrorist Testing Texas BBQ Company Text Thai Thanksgiving in IT The Mooring Thomas Thought Leader Three Gorges III TIA 942 Timesheets Toby Keith Toddlers traditions Transition treehouse turnover TV Twitter unspoken moments Valentine's Day Value Vendor Venezuelan Verizon Vermont Video Vietnamese voice VoIP Watertown Wedding Westborough Korean Restaurant Westborough MA. StormCam WiFI Wi-Fi Wilbraham Wine Worcester work work life balance working Yama Zakura Zem Han Zitis

Entries in Design (1)

Monday
Sep272010

Technology and Toasters

My wife and I frequently talk about technology. I love it, she hates it. WHY? I think that the pace of change has been stunning over the last two decade and the new devices that are available continue to amaze me. (I love my toys)




I recall getting a new PC that was 486 DX4 with a 20 meg hard drive….I was the baddest dude on my street with the hottest machine, ( amongst me and my geek friends)—- Pathetic.

What that 486 did teach me was how to load all my own software, configure DLL’s, and triage all of the obnoxious cryptic Microsoft error/warning messages. Before I had my 486, I was living large with a 286 but no Windows only DOS. By growing up with DOS, I was forced to gain an understanding of how those infuriating boxes worked. I also managed a helpdesk and software installation. Good training for knowing how the x86 architecture operated.

On the opposite, my wife is a consumer. Her background was in the insurance industry and legal profession. Her expectation is that when she presses the button she is delivered a good or service. That is, a screen appears that is useful and does something she wants. The analogy we use is that her PC should be like a toaster. She hits the button and it delivers something warm, tasty and useful. It meets her needs. He issue is that she is constantly required to know things that the operator of toaster wouldn’t be expect to know. For example, to install software, do you need a CD, is it a flash memory or do you have to go to a website. YUK, for a toaster, you insert the bread hit the button- BAM you get toast.

There is a bewildering array of things that kids can do the family PC that leaves us wondering….how did they get the home screen to be size 40 pt font? Again, it requires knowing how to navigate and get things back to a ‘normal state’. For the toaster, you turn one knob lighter or darker- simple. Why can’t the PC be more like that?

AH HA you say, you should get a MAC… Why should I. Granted they look cool, work cool and are very stylish, BUT, everything we have and do is PC based. It would require a paradigm shift in the house for all users. PLUS, PCs have been commoditized. There is great competition in PC architecture that continues to drive innovation, improve capability and reduce cost. The same can’t be said for Apple. They have and continue to try and keep a stranglehold on their franchise. We’ll see how long that lasts. Look at the Iphone. Very cool but the competition is really heating up.

So, what is the point of this rant? PC’s have a long way to go to be user friendly. What I see is convergence: the ease of use of Apple’s interfaces and set up, the commoditized pricing, and continual delivery of faster, smaller, and more efficient. Hopefully, PC’s will become more like toasters. Push the button and it will deliver simply every time.


This post was prepared by John Manning, Associate Partner at Harvard Partners.
He can be reached at john.manning@harvardpartners.com