For the past four Thursday evenings, I’ve been meeting with a group of individuals drawn together by a shared deeply-felt commitment: No friggin’ way in hell were we going to read a Windows 7 manual. We’d rather plunk down 80 bucks to take a Windows 7 class that, after eight hours of intensive training, would enable us to seriously dislike computers, and be more highly confused than we ever dreamed possible.
Now, you may be wondering why, given that in just more than three months, it will be 2011, there are still people who don’t know how to use the Windows thing. Let me explain.
When the operating system was first introduced, it sold like crazy. Even so, a large number of Americans, for reasons ranging from “satisfied with computer as-is” to “tossed computer in deep gorge,” failed to rush out and purchase this wondrous new software.
This upset Bill Gates, because he’s currently building a quaint little 35,000-square-foot house, and was really counting on the extra income to purchase throw rugs. So, he decided that his need for floor coverings far outweighed any consumer need for product choice. Consequently, virtually every new computer on the planet now comes with Windows preinstalled.
At least, that’s my understanding of the situation, which I became aware of recently after buying my first computer. The one I was temporarily borrowing from my friend, Jeff, didn’t have enough RAM or GOAT, or a Pentium thingee. For those unfamiliar, both these items are absolutely essential if you want to make many, many monthly payments to some consumer retailer.
Once my new computer was set up—a process, by the way, that was surprisingly easy once I stopped hyperventilating long enough to hire a professional computer installer—I turned the machine on.
Then, I turned the machine off.
I glanced through the Windows 7 manual. Then, I set fire to the Windows 7 manual, and enrolled in the class.
I’m happy to report that I now hold an official “Certificate of Training for Completion of the Eight-Hour Course Windows 7,” because—and I say this with a deserved measure of pride—my tuition check cleared.
Which isn’t to imply that I didn’t learn a great many valuable skills. I did. For example, I’m now capable, without the aid of online or in-person assistance, of changing the background color of my computer screen.
I’ve also become fairly expert at spending a large number of hours actively engaged in any number of absolutely critical activities. For instance, by using the system’s built-in clock/calendar mechanism, I can determine what time it is, at this very moment, in New Caledonia. Or, more importantly, in Islamabad.
The calendar portion of this mechanism provides equally vital information. You can find out, for example, what day your birthday will fall in on, say, 2047. This way, you’ll be able to avoid those frequent, embarrassing, darn-I’m-being-embalmed-that-afternoon scheduling conflicts.
Much of what I learned, of course, was very practical. I discovered, for instance, that to open a document, I should repeatedly hit my head against a hard surface, because there are at least nine ways to accomplish this task, and, chances are, I won’t be able to remember a single one.
Another fascinating feature of this Windows software—designed to help users better understand that a high-powered computer can, in fact, ruin your life—is the right mouse button. Alert programmers realized, however, that by requiring right clicks for many procedures, consumers would no longer be forced to use a simple system that made actual sense.
On the last night of class, we learned about managing files and folders. This is the way you organize everything in your computer. It’s one of the most important aspects of Windows 7.
If you don’t understand these concepts, you might as well spend most of your time changing the color of your computer screen to match your socks.
Hmmm, there must be mauve in here somewhere….
What can I say, folks? Consider the source.
Bye for now.