Demystifying the Digital World – Part 4 – Ditching Windows

All I am saying is that getting rid of Microsoft Windows is so easy, even a child can do it and if you think about it, they already have! In the past few years people who spend any amount of time around children immediately notice that kids are glued to their phones – traditional computers are nowhere in sight. They do everything online through them. They Snapchat, send text messaging, use Facebook / Instagram, watch YouTube, listen to Spotify, etc. all through that tiny screen. What’s more, they seem to use all these apps and services effortlessly. I wrote about this in detail in the recent post, “Mommy What’s a Computer?

Why do children have such an easy time with tech? Probably because their natural drive to explore combined with a lack of fear of the consequences creates the perfect learning environment.  “Oh look, if I click here, then this happens. What does this button do? Oh, that’s cool! That didn’t work like I thought it would, what if I try this instead?” Then they show off their discoveries to others and the learning snowballs. Instead of being embarrassed by posting a silly video, they have competitions to see who will post the silliest. It’s all a game, a virtual world full of stimulation from hundreds of sources. By comparison, what do adults do? “Oh no, I clicked there and THAT happened, now what?! I’ll never understand this crazy computer.”

For some interesting examples of the concepts above, the article, “What younger generations think of their elders online” is a fascinating glimpse into their world view of technology and buried in this article is the fun Buzzfeed post “My Little Sister Taught Me How To ‘Snapchat Like The Teens” where the author, who is only 29 and deeply involved with technology, is floored by the tech abilities of his 13 year old sister.

It might be good to keep these ideas in mind as we tackle one of the biggest projects of this series, ditching Windows. First though, you have to have good reasons to make this shift because there is a fair bit of work involved. For example:

  • Did a Windows update make your three year old computer barely usable?
  • Did you get a virus / malware / ransomware / phishing attack / etc. and pay hundreds of dollars to get your computer “cleaned?”
  • Have basic tasks like finding a recent photo, file, or email become an exercise in frustration?
  • Are you reading this post on your phone waiting for “Windows 10 Spring Creators Update” to install and wondering if you’ll ever get to use your computer again?
  • Does sitting down to do any task on your computer give you stress?

In general, if you are already thinking about buying a new computer and aren’t excited about any of the options available, this might be a good time to switch. Just one encounter with malware is enough to push most people over the edge while it might take several annoyance type problems to make this project worth the effort.

The next part of this series will cover two of the most popular recent options, the Google Chromebook and the Apple iPad. Until then, the recent video “Is this a computer?” is a good, brief summary of these options. Also, Steve Jobs famously introduced the idea of the “Post PC era” in 2013 in this three minute video, equating traditional PCs to large trucks. While it might be fun, do you really need a full sized F-150 to go grocery shopping?