Friday, September 27, 2013

BIG’s Blog: It Takes A Village

Remember when Hillary Clinton wrote the book It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us? No matter what you thought of the book or its premise, It Takes a Village presaged the movement of people helping people in all kinds of ways online.

If you remember User’s Manuals, then you are definitely a baby boomer. Today, if you have a problem with anything, especially tech devices, there are no user’s manuals. But what we do have today is Google. And frankly, Google is better than any user’s manual.

Case in point; Apple just released their new operating system, iOS7. I have both an iPhone and an iPad so I could update both. My 20-something daughter called me and said, “Dad, I just looked at the online comments (she Googled iOS7) and there are a lot of comments about potential bugs, with many saying only tech savvy early adopters should upgrade now. Dad, that means you should wait.”

Did I listen? Well, kinda. I waited two days and then updated. I’ll share my opinion of Apple’s “new look” below, but the real question was “How did the update go?” The update on my iPhone went seamlessly. The update on my iPad . . . not so much. The update on my iPad had a glitch that left me unable to use my keypad for typing anything. There is a five second delay in my typing a letter and it showing up. Needless to say, it terminated my ability to communicate or do other functions on my iPad.

I Googled the problem on my iPhone, and apparently I had a lot of company with others reporting exactly the same glitch. The other great thing about Googling the problem was finding all those who offered fixes or workarounds. Of course I just dropped my iPad at the Apple Store for them to fix . . . but it’s good to know I had options.

Google is the new user’s manual. Only better.
So what do I think of Apple’s new look for their devices? Well, let’s just say that if Steve Jobs were still alive it would never have seen the light of day. Why do I say that? Because Steve Jobs – like me – was a baby boomer who wore glasses. He would A) not appreciate the skinny font, and B) he would not appreciate how bright the screen is . . . just way too bright!

Will there be fixes? No doubt.  After all, there are a lot of boomers with eyes and sensibilities like mine who are buying a lot of Apple iPhones and iPads.

But even with this small misstep, I’m not giving up my iPad or iPhone anytime soon. I am, however, absolutely giving up user’s manuals. I love going to “the online village” to commiserate and find answers to the problems with my stuff.

Join us.
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