It’s unbelievable to me that in this day and age it’s still so ridiculously difficult to install things. Hardware, software, drivers, whatever. Is it easier with my Mac than it was with Windows? Sure. Especially relative to my Sony Vaio, which, (say it along with me people), is the most terrible laptop you can buy. (Exhale).
I write this roughly 70 minutes into the process of attempting to install a simple webcam on my dad’s computer (guiding him through it over the phone). First, it’s a Microsoft LifeCam VX-1000, which apparently strongly encourages the user to download and install Live Messenger otherwise nothing will work. Which I know is a lie, but to the unsuspecting installer, is quite a threatening note to the inexperienced user. Bad form.
Next up, the bewildering steps of determining which order hardware/software installs can go. Just plain stupid. If one requires the other, the respective systems simply should not allow the user to proceed. How hard is that? I’m not exactly a top-notch coder, but I’m pretty sure it would look something like:
(!hardware_installed()) then install_hardware();
The above steps are definitely more Windows pains that Mac ones, but next is the process of actually putting software where it belongs. The first problem lies in a software download, which invariably ends up in a random location on the user’s computer, and probably stays there forever, long after the installation is completed. As much as OS X brings the simplicity of moving apps into the Applications folder, the fact remains that there is unnecessary room for error (and for the tech-elitists reading this who think it’s SOOOO easy, I’m amazed you got this far).
Finally, I really dislike the fact that applications are less aware of hardware than they should be. Back to my father’s case, shouldn’t Skype be “aware” of the fact that a webcam showed up? Why should he have to go into settings, video options, webcam settings, and pick the device? OK, this one isn’t Apple/Microsoft’s fault, but they certainly could provide the required infrastructure to make it work better.
By the way, for those keeping track, it took a total of about 80 minutes to get my dad’s webcam working. And it only took two system reboots, three aborted installs of MS Live Crappenger, and 5 visits to the Skype tech support forums.