My youngest son, all of nine years of age, is the only person in the family with a Windows PC as his primary computer. The rest of us are on Macs. I do run a Windows PC for my personal financial management as Quicken for the Mac is a dog’s breakfast. And, under Vista, the computing experience is much better than under XP. Almost as nice as OS X.
The reason for my son’s Windows PC is simple enough: games. There is an excellent supply of gaming software for kids on the PC. He can also use the machine to play DVD movies. Or at least he could until the dreaded Windows Update.
He wanted to watch a DVD and for whatever reason, Windows had to do an update. This can often take fifteen to twenty minutes as the system downloads a bunch of patches and reboots a couple of times. On this go around, a new version of Windows Media Player also had to be downloaded.
Now if you have a nine-year old, patiently waiting to play his DVD movie on his computer, you know how long thirty minutes or so can be to a child.
He understood why Windows had to download a dozen or so security patches. “Windows is not a very safe place is it Dad? That’s why it needs to get all those security guards.”
Rebooting the machine is one of the first tasks that my son learned on a computer — Ctrl Alt Del. “It’s an alarm clock, Dad. It makes the computer wake up.”
My oldest was helping my youngest through the patch downloads, security updates and Windows Media Player update. Finally, the system was able to boot up for general use. In goes the DVD. And what comes up?
“This version of Windows Media Player requires an updated video driver.”
At that point, my nine-year old could bear it no longer. He broke down. He cried. He turned to my oldest son, and sobbing he said: “See? This is why I need a Mac!”.