Saturday, 19 November 2011

Never Ending Technical Developments

Aahhh!  Google are changing the layout of gmail.  Why?  There is nothing wrong with the old layout.  It is clear, simple, easy to use,what more could you want?  There's an option to try the new layout.  I tried it.  Didn't like it.  Told them so.  But I bet in a few weeks I will have to put up with it as it's changing eventually.  One of the things they have incorporated is pictograms (ok, icons) in the tool bar so that there is a picture of a rubbish bin to represent delete.  Why?  I presume that as people are writing emails they can actually read the words 'delete', 'archive', 'spam', etc without needing a picture to show them.  I gave all that up when I was in primary school and learnt to read.
   I blame Microsoft for all the icons.  The last update of Word and other office programmes, offered ribbons of pictures to represent the things you could do.  So confusing.  What was wrong with the old drop down menu where you could look for what you needed using good old-fashioned words.  I've mastered it, or at least what I need to do what I want to do, but I've minimised the the pesky ribbons and created my own short-cut bar.  
    Back to gmail.  At one time when you signed out of your account you were taken immediately to the sign in page, which was great, especially, if like me, you have more than one account to check.  Now you are taken to a 'sign out' page which has nothing on it apart from the gmail options which are on the sign in page, oh, and a place for ads, which you can block anyway.  So you now have to tell the page you want to sign in and you are then taken back to where you were originally!  Why?  What a waste of time, energy and computer space.
    Then yesterday I signed into my bank.  That's changed!  Once again I was searching for the places I wanted to go on a system that I once knew well and that worked.  It wasn't any clearer.  It wasn't any quicker.  So why change it?
    Ok, I may sound like an old stick-in-the-mud and I do appreciate that things do need to move on.  If they hadn't we would still be using Windows 3.1 and an ancient version of Word.  But I miss some of the things the older versions had.  Take WordArt for example. That is so boring now.  At one time you could write things in a circle, great for making up a logo, words could go up and down, they could be line wavy lines, start small and get bigger, there was so much you could do.  Now it is limited to writing things in straight lines, with a touch of angle-poise and that's about it.  Bring back the Art to WordArt is what I say.
    I suppose we have to keep the tech guys in employment, moving on, ever onwards and upwards.  But where will it all end.  I don't really know for certain but I bet the average user of all these systems use barely 10% of what the package can do.  I once went on a course to try to find out what I didn't know about computer packages.  What I found out was I knew as much as the tutor where some packages were concerned and very little about others because I didn't need them.  Then the next edition came out and everything had to be re-learnt - well, not exactly re-learnt but search for the right icon to do the things you knew how to do in the first place.
    All this technical improvement wouldn't be so bad if it didn't happen so quickly.  No sooner have you bought a new product, be it computer, phone, TV, camera, than the next generation of super wizardry appears.  I'm of the generation where you bought something and expected it to last ten years at least.  Now it is more like ten months and while it is good for the retailers and manufacturers I'm not so sure it is good for the pocket or the environment, but I'm straying into a different subject here, so I will sign off by saying PLEASE stop changing everything!