27 years looking at text on screens

Yeah – that last post I made got me thinking.  And it’s been just about 27 years that I have worked with computers.  And that reminds me of a story from a few years ago – right after XP was released…

One of my close friends wanted to buy his wife a PC, and he asked me for help.  We picked out a computer, I snuck over to their house while she was at work, and I set the machine up – including the Wireless LAN (yes, I’ve been wireless for almost 15 years!)

Anyway, a few days after Christmas my friends wife called me up and needed help with something (scanning a document I think) and I walked her through several screens until finally she said, “Never Mind.  I shut the computer off”.  And she hung up the phone.  It took several weeks for me to find out that she actually thought I could see her screen, and that I was spying on her – when in fact I just knew the OS very well – I beta tested it for a long time before it was ever released.

And that brings up an interesting point – I don’t think we have ever had a better trained support group for ANY Operating System than we have for Windows XP right now. 

And Vista is going to change that – a lot.  I wonder how that will affect the Vista adoption.  I know Microsoft has thought about it – and they have acted on it.  As a Windows enthusiast as a “voice” to my friends about all things PC, Microsoft realized early that they needed people like me as evangelists – that’s why I have had at least three opportunities at a free copy of Vista and at least 5 at a free copy of Office 2007.

There will be a huge knowledge gap for a year or so, and Microsoft needs evangelists.  And giving them the software for free in exchange for the many hours of free support and consultation they give is a very smart move.


  1. Seriously, I am mad at myself for not getting on the Vista wagon earlier…I just work too much. No freebies for me!