Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Tablet Interface is coming to a PC near you: Thank God!

I absolutely cannot wait until tablet interfaces come to every operating system. I just spent the last 2 hours watching my mom fumble through Windows 7 shitty interface as I taught her how to copy files from "My Pictures" to "Dropbox."

I'm not even going to go into the whole "oh fuck, which cloud service do I tell her to use so she can easily back up her important photos" conversation I had in my head for like 10 minutes before that. On the desktop, all experiences are equally shitty; it ultimately came down to a matter of, "which service provided least friction."

It was Dropbox, of course; they ask for your name, an email address, and a password and then you're off to the races. She could manage that part on her own. Navigating through the files was a total pain, though, and I realized just how idiotic file manager interfaces are for regular every day computing. I mean, I'm a programmer, so I'm used to stuff being designed-by-stupid, but watching someone else struggle with these kinds of basic computing tasks is eye-opening.

The experience with Android + Dropbox is much easier. Smooth, intuitive for even someone who has no idea what they're doing.

Right then I realized that despite all the bitching about tablet interfaces, they do the Unix philosophy just right.

Each app does one thing, but each app does that one thing very, very well.

The Dropbox app? It lets you view and upload your Dropbox files. In a few clicks any file you want is uploaded or downloaded. It's that easy.

And, much like Unix pipes, integration is everywhere: anything that uses the standard "share" mechanism on Android can send a file to Dropbox. And Dropbox can send those files back using the "share" mechanism.

Tablet / Mobile interfaces like Android 4.0 are probably the best thing to happen in computing since... I don't know. All time?

I cannot wait until tablet interfaces come to PCs. Most of the savvy dudes and dudettes are going to turn them off because we need to get at the technical shit, but for everyone else? Kiss going over to your neighbors to show them how to send a file to their friend goodbye.


Anonymous said...

Already got Win8? :)

Thomas Watson said...

The most logical step.