It’s obvious–once you know how

I see in this morning’s social streams a Mac-using librarian sneering at Windows and Microsoft–this time because shutting down a Windows 8 computer isn’t obvious.

I can sympathize. Sort of.

Several years ago, when my wife & I were visiting my father (now deceased: this was a while back), he was having trouble with his iMac (which I paid for one-third of: we three siblings agreed to buy him a Mac because my brother, a two-platform user who prefers Macs, would be doing most of the support). He wanted to shut it down entirely to see if a fresh power-up would solve the problem.

I looked for the proper shut-down button. Whoops. I looked for a Start menu. Whoops.

Eventually, I stumbled upon what I assumed to be a decorative element over in one corner, the Apple icon. Clicking on it brought up a menu, including shutdown.

Obvious, once you know how.

I’m not saying Windows 8 (which I don’t have) is better. And Windows 7, to be sure, has it under the little Windows logo–but there’s so much under that logo that if you don’t recognize it you’d be sorely hampered. (And I do remember how many people objected to the fact that Office 2010 and, I think, 2007 “hid” the file and print commands under…yep, that’s right, the Office logo. I understand that Office 2013 has changed that, but I haven’t moved.)

What I think I’m really saying is that “intuitive” and “obvious” are both tricky things to say about most any aspect of a PC or tablet interface. (Oh, c’mon, you tell me that swipe-to-unlock is intuitive or obvious: and that’s on a device, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9, I rather like–as I guess it is on many other tablets.)

Oh, yes, I almost forgot the shutdown method for OS X that I found when doing a web search: you bring up a terminal window and use a “sudo” command. What could be more obvious? (There’s also a four-keystroke intuitive command…)

2 Responses to “It’s obvious–once you know how”

  1. Michael Sauers Says:

    I don’t know what happens on a Mac, but for the past two years or so, I’ve been using this little thing called the power button. Press that once and Windows shuts down. (Though, yes, I do get your point.)

  2. Walt Crawford Says:

    That depends what you mean by “shuts down.” Tapping the power button will, I believe, normally put the machine into sleep mode (although you can set that), which is still using (some) power and doesn’t get you a clean reboot.

    Holding the power button down–on either Mac or PC, if I’m right–does a forced shutdown, which you normally don’t want to do unless something’s badly wrong.

    [I typically put my notebook in Sleep mode--which you can do just by shutting the cover--during the day when I'm not using it for extended periods, into Hibernate mode--which actually eliminates power use--overnight, and fully Off at least once a week, probably for no good reason. I'm not offering that as a suggestion for anybody else!]

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