[FoRK] A thought on Design and Quality

Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo ken_ganshirt at yahoo.ca
Tue Oct 6 15:00:04 PDT 2009


I'm just reading a review of the General Dynamics MR-1 laptop computer with built-in GPS. 

http://www.gpsworld.com/defense/general-dynamics-mr-1-amazing-compact-laptop-8241

This is a fairly expensive device that is aimed at soldiers and other outdoor users with a need for something that is really rugged and water-resistant and small. It runs the Windows operating system.

One thing struck me in the review. The author gives General Dynamics high marks for creating a really good interface. The author required no documentation to figure out the computer and GPS functions. As another example of how well thought out the whole package is, the author mentioned the very welcome feature of a single Ctl/Alt/Del key. Yes, a single key that does the Ctl/Alt/Del function.

Clearly a design feature that impressed the author as an example of how much thought General Dynamics had put into making this device as easy to use as possible.

But what does it say about Microsoft Windows that General Dynamics felt a single Ctl/Alt/Del key was a necessity at the hardware design level, enough to make space for it on a pretty small keyboard. And that the author of the review saw it as useful enough to comment on it specifically and favorably rather than castigating them for taking up space that might have been better used for something else?

I know ... there are lots bigger things to wonder about in this world. This situation just made a statement that seemed to demand some comment.

          ...ken...


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