Linked by David Adams on Wed 24th May 2006 04:08 UTC
Editorial It's conventional wisdom that computers need to be "easier to use." But do they? More reliable, yes. Easier to troubleshoot, yes. But now that so many people use computers so much, I think there's something to be said for making them less easy-to-use and less intuitive.
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hmm, i recall making similar posts on usability topics here on osnews before and getting virtual stones trown at me ;)

to me it appears as if the home computer would be better of if it was based on a collection of parts that could talk together, but could do their individual tasks seperatly.

the computer itself would only be a kind of connections box that allows the diffrent devices to talk together. plug in a scanner and you can scan images, plug in a printer and you can turn on both and have a copier. plug in a keyboard and you can write books and maybe do spreadsheets. plug in a modem and you can do web and mail. slap a normal numeric keyboard on top of that modem and you can even do faxes. just hit scan on the scanner. then hit the number and "call"...

the gui would be generated by the connections box, but the individual devices would handle the "computing". and many basic functions would be available as buttons on the diffrent devices themselfs.

ok, so the power user would scream murder. but this device is not for the power user. the allready existing PC is for the power user ;)

with xml based filetypes, these two systems could share files without problems.

want a games-console with this setup? a dvd-player+a console computing device, complete with controller ports. so when a new storage format comes out, you can add the player for it into the mix, and the game makers can use it for the console from day one ;)

the trick is a rich communications protocol between the devices, instead of drivers. kinda like how usb today gets more and more "profiles" buildt in. pictbridge, usb storage, usb hid. its all there. now trow in a xfree-like gui language (xml based).

say that when a new device comes online, the "computer" asks for a device icon, and have it transferd. then this is displayed on screen. select the icon and the computer asks the device for its "gui". basicly a xml-based layout of buttons, menus and whatesnot. from there you can access all the functions normaly assosiated with said device.

to take my scanner+modem=fax above. the scanner scans, and then store said data in a predefined format in its own ram. it allso broadcasts this to every other device. now it tell the modem to dial a fax number. when the modem encounters the fax, it starts to send the data from the scanner, and the scanner purge the data from its ram when task is completed.

if you instead wants to fax a stored file. dig the file out of whatever storage device its on, put it up for grabs, then dial the fax. print it? up for grabs and get the printer going ;)

in many ways, the problem of the computer today is to much reimplementation. each device or hardware addon have their own drivers rather then relying on common standards. even worse is when companys take a common standard and extends on it without releasing said extensions for potential review and implementation into a revised standard.

if so, then one could have each device transmitt what version of the diffrent standards it supports, and the others could from that know what functions are not supported.

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