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. 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!]