We were down visiting my father last Sunday. He was asking about Google–he’s 96 and has an iMac (“the kids” agreed on a Mac because my brother, who uses them by preference, would clearly be the one to set it up and get it working), but doesn’t use it intensively–so I offered to show him a couple of searches and the significance of what you get back.
And quickly discovered that the wonderfully intuitive and wholly natural interface of the Mac is wonderfully intuitive and wholly natural after you’ve learned to use it–and that, for an experienced Windows user, it is about as intuitive as AACR2.
Click on the browser. Nope, that doesn’t open the ISP. Click on AOL. Then click on the browser. Right-click to…oops, no right mouse button… Anyway, I managed to do a search and show him what I wanted to show him. Then I wanted to shut down. Geez, that was loads of fun. Eventually, we managed to get it turned off. I’m sure “Special” is intuitively the label under which you’d expect “Stop,” where putting Stop on a Start menu (like a light switch) has been roundly denounced for being counterintuitive.
And I know that it’s really a bad thing to be able to do something four different ways, as is convenient or habitual, instead of the One True Way that’s allowed on the Mac.
I’m not criticizing the Mac. I’m certainly not suggesting that a Mac user switch to Windows (and have never done so).
But when I read (as I just did in Computer Shopper that thus-and-such (in this case, the “glacially slow” Mac Mini) means that “Windows users are running out of excuses not to switch to Mac OS X,” my politer response is “I know how to use my computer. It’s pretty clear that Windows skills don’t translate to the Mac. At this point, I find the Mac wildly counter to my own intuition. Why do I need excuses?”
All of which comes down to: In the real world, there’s rarely One True Path.