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  • Newsletter Issue #629: How Much Mediocrity Are You Willing to Tolerate?

    December 19th, 2011

    Certainly no consumer electronics product is necessarily perfect, but you have to hope you can get these gadgets to perform their basic tasks without having force you to jump through hoops, or navigate difficult-to-configure settings. With a TV set, things aren’t so bad. Turn it on, and press a button on the remote to change a channel. But please don’t get me started about doing picture settings and other setup routines.

    When it comes to the personal computing world, it took a while before the easier-to-use methods became acceptable. When Apple struggled to spread the word about the Mac in the 1980s, Microsoft was still making boatloads of money licensing DOS to PC makers. Oh, yes, they were also working on their graphical OS, dubbed Windows.

    It’s generally agreed that Windows 95 was perhaps the first reasonably useful version. As Apple’s executives continued to make foolish decisions that nearly caused the company to collapse, Microsoft made Windows good enough to actually allow you to be reasonably productive with it.

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