I know, it sounds a little lame, but I realize now that, over time, my practical and useful experience with Windows — in any flavor — is now either many years out of date, or so thin as to be transparent.
The issue came to light a day or two ago with a question about how to change a desktop setting in Vista, and I was looking in completely the wrong place for the answer. I got the “I thought you were a geek” look from a co-worker, who went on later to get the correct information from one of the in-house gamers. I was a tiny bit embarrassed, for having tried to be of help at all.
So I am building the habit of referring Windows questions to actual Windows users, rather than trying to be of some help myself.
I take the approach to any variation of Mac operating systems, so it’s not a new idea. I haven’t used a Mac machine on a regular basis in decades, and I certainly wouldn’t offer advice to anyone having problems with that OS.
And the same goes for Ubuntu, although it is a little “closer” in my mind than the others. After all, I can install a vanilla Gnome Ubuntu desktop on my Inspiron and suffer through the weak performance, if someone needs an answer. But really, it’s one of the reasons I stepped down as a moderator for the Ubuntu Forums, about a year ago. I just lack the immediate experience to be of help.
And the last time I used Windows to any degree beyond setting my router software or setting up a sparse dual-boot system was … almost four years ago, and the playing field has changed considerably since then.
For a while I still felt relatively comfortable answering questions about Windows machines, but no longer. I tell Windows users to ask Windows users how to solve problems. I really don’t think I can be of much help.
Unless they want to get away from it altogether.