Reply - Why are computers still so difficult to use?

-- Can you remember when you started using computers?

Based on what I'd assume you'd consider a computer, I would say a Commodore 64. But actually it would be before that on an 8 bit octal system in the U.S. Navy.

-- Would you say this was an easy process to get to grips with?

Back then? Yes, there was a plethora of magazines, books, clubs and BBS's.

-- Since then, has your journey been straightforward, and if not, can you remember what some of your challenges were?

Back then the real hurdle was the insane cost. Think $350 for a single sided 5 1/2" floppy drive.

Since most of the early machines allowed you to program them the learning curve was your only limitation.

-- Do you have any challenges even now?

There are always irritating things that drive one to the 'net to hopefully find an application that does what you're looking to do. i.e. bulk renaming of files, determining size of folders, combining files, un-deleting files, merging photographs, adding transparent backgrounds to graphics etc.

-- Did you/do you have any coping strategies?

Now that 1TB hard drives are below $100. I simply copy everything onto hard drives,label them and put them back into their original packaging. I expect an annual validation. Writable CD's and DVD's don't seem to last very long.

-- Looking back, do you think the challenges you faced are any easier to tackle now?

My answer would be the speed at which any task can be accomplished. Loading programs, saving files, printing anything requiring a final output. All much faster now and at better quality.

-- On a typical day, how long will you be interacting with computer devices?

8 to 10 hours typically, can be as much as 16.

-- Do you appreciate the extended functionality/increasing pervasiveness of computing now?

Considering that I program and maintain Safety Shutdown/Instrumented Systems and Turbine Controls I'd say yes, because when compared to the "old" way of doing things I can get more done faster with less effort.