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COMPUTERS: Making Life EASIER By Making It CONFUSING

There was a time, four computers ago, when I could turn my computer on and use it. Yet with each successive computer, things just keep getting more complicated. My new computer does at least 1000 things that I don’t give two nickels about. Even to send a basic message requires four or five clicks, deletions, opens, restarts – you name it!

Every time I try to go somewhere or to see something or to send something via my computer, I get a thousand choices. Why? Why don’t the programs give me the most frequently selected choice along with an “other” for the oddball selections. Frankly, I spend more time getting rid of the computer clutter than reading/sending what I’m interested in. Apparently, the computer/software industry has gone berserk!

Yes, I know our kids can handle all this stuff. They spend half their day on their smart-phones and computers – chatting with friends – playing games – and learning how to manipulate all the many features and functions associated with what – from my perspective – has turned into a monster.

What’s the matter with the computer industry? Are kids the market or are adults? Perhaps there are two or three markets with different needs, wants and expectations. Adults are busy most of the time and want to do straightforward things related to their work and social life.

I can only believe that the computer industry is being controlled by a bunch of literate, computer geeks who can do everything without thinking twice. They apparently want to preserve their jobs by innovating new and more powerful functions – or must I say apps? However, at my age, 78, buying and selling stocks and options and researching the markets every day, I don’t need all the imposed clutter.

Frankly, it’s frustrating. Just opening the computer in the morning is cluttered. I know you geeks will tell me the clutter can be illuminated – but I don’t know how to do that. I just buy a computer, plug it in, and want to use it. Impossible! Sometimes I think I should just put my computer in the drawer and forgot about it. Instead, I phone my computer consultant who unravels the mess for $100 an hour. Thank the Lord for him!

Hey! Even my iPhone is unnecessarily complicated. My wife has a “Jitterbug” phone. Nothing could be easier to use. You pick it up and use it to make calls. I reach for it whenever it’s handy. It does two things – makes phone calls and receives phone calls. I wish they made a Jitterbug computer!

As a business executive I always taught my employees to use the KISS principle: keep it short and simple; and the QEF principle: make it quick, easy and fun for customers to do business with us. And it worked. The present day digital-business philosophy seems to be the antithesis of this, i.e., make it as complicated as possible and confuse as many grown-ups as you can.

You may think I’m exaggerating – but very few of my adult friends are active on their computers or smart-phones.

Now how do I send this to computer industry execs? Where are the yellow pages?

Image: Shutterstock; photo ID: 602966969

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William Pauwels

About the author, William Pauwels:

William A. Pauwels, Sr. was born in Jackson Michigan to a Belgian, immigrant, entrepreneurial family. Bill is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and served in executive and/or leadership positions at Thomson Industries, Inc., Dow Corning, Loctite and Sherwin-Williams. He is currently CIO of Pauwels Private Investment Practice. He’s been commenting on matters political/economic/philosophical since 1980.

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