My wife, who’s probably the only reader of my blog, sent this link to a John Dvorak article. Like many others, I don’t think that a computer license is practical.
However, he also bashes Microsoft a few times for having Windows defaults that don’t help. One of the examples he gives is that extensions of email attachments are hidden. Allegedly, this makes it too easy for users to click on what they think is a spreadsheet but is really a PIF or an EXE file. I would argue that many (maybe most) users of Excel wouldn’t know that a PIF or an EXE extension is not a spreadsheet. These users would still open the attachment.
If you doubt this belief, look for all the stories on the web of stupid things people do because they don’t really understand how their computers work. Why do we have to put warnings on irons that say “Do not iron clothes while wearing them”?
Raymond Chen writes about Windows 95 testing where users just sat in front of the computer doing nothing because the button on the bottom of the screen said “System” instead of “Start”.
A friend told me a relevant story. He was helping a friend of his upgrade the RAM in his computer. He opened the case and took the old RAM out. His friend, with wide eyes, asked him if he had just lost all the programs on his computer. I’m not surprised at the number of people who don’t know the difference between volatile RAM and non-volatile hard drives.
I wonder how many mechanics make fun of programmers who bring in an engine that was allowed to run on no oil?
As much as we would like to protect us from ourselves, it’s just not possible, no matter what John Dvorak thinks.