Ray writes:

>No, Wirt, I was complaining that the "RUN" command is no longer
>in the START menu.


Yes, that's true. They moved it to the "Accessories" folder, so that it'snow
grouped with other similar programs, such as the MS-DOS prompt, and that
seems reasonable to me. The MS-DOS prompt itself was moved and renamed
the "c:\command" when XP appeared, which took me a little while to find at
that transition, and I too grumbled a bit when I first looked around for it.

The "RUN" command is no longer at the bottom of the screen as it was, noris
the "Start" button labeled "Start" any longer -- but does everyone remember
all of the jokes about "how do you turn your PC off? Press START." It's kind of
a no-win situation for Microsoft. I suspect that all of the jokes actually did
have an impact with the designers of Vista

The tendency nowadays, lead by Apple and emulated by Microsoft, is to make
things look much less computerish than they used to, and the
dimunition/elimination of typed commands are part of that trend.

Heck, with Apple, to be exceedingly stylish and cool, they packaged up the
5th Generation iPods (the ones with video screens) in a very attractive,
elegantly designed box in which only the iPod and the earbuds appear. It is so
yesterday, so uncool to include instructions on how to use a really hip product
that they don't.

I presume the thought is that using an iPod makes you so hip and cool that
your friends will show you how to use it. Me, not having any hip or cool friends
(I hang around with people like you all), I had to find the instructions using
Google.

But as for things looking less computerish than they used to, the Apple iPhone
and Touch iPod are triumphs of design. I constantly have to remind myself
that this is a UNIX-based computer when I'm using it, because it is the least
computer-like device that you could ever imagine. I am wildly impressed with
what Apple has done with the iPhone. It truly is a transformative bit of
technology and design.

But it too is not perfect. It is after all a computer. The primary difference is
that when it fails, it doesn't print out an HP3000-like failure tombstonethat
only an engineer would love, or any sort of error message at all. It merely quits
and reboots itself. It's fast enough doing that so that it isn't really wildly
irritating, but it does happen often enough that it will occasionally tryyour
patience.

Nonetheless, as I say, I am very impressed with the iPhone. But then again
they provided instructions booklets with the device and have very nice on-line
training videos up on the Apple website. With the video iPods however, I think
that they took "coolness" one or two steps too far.

Wirt Atmar

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