When I worked on my high school paper, I spent many hours working on the newsroom Macs, but I had a Windows machine at home, and I was pretty comfortable going back and forth. I noticed a few people who had more trouble: Windows users who would swear a Mac would crash as soon as they touched it, and symmetrically, Mac users who if using a Windows machine would crash it right away.
This was in the bad old days of Windows 3.1 and System 7, before MMUs and memory protection, and crashing neither OS was particularly hard or uncommon. Still, there seemed to be something to this cross-platform-and-crash phenomenon. A friend and I came up with a half-serious theory that these crashes had to do with natural rhythms of human-user activity — mouse and keyboard input would arrive and trigger interrupts and Mac OS and Windows might have different preferences for the intervals between these interrupts where certain rhythms would trigger race conditions just so, and kaboom, while other rhythms would dance around the same bugs without triggering them. And, the theory went, people would subconsciously learn what sequences of inputs would crash their computer, learn to avoid those patterns, and compute along happily on whichever platform they’d learned to get along with: then upon trying the other platform, kaboom again.
It was with this in mind that I read John Moltz’s impressions of Microsoft Surface. He’s generally pretty fair about giving it a chance, but then he dings it for screen-rotation flakiness:
Once when I set it down the screen orientation was upside down and it didn’t seem to realize it. I had to pick it up and turn it over and then back again to get it the right way.
I’m sure that happened, but hey, every Apple device with automatic rotation (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) I’ve ever owned occasionally does that too. Come to think of it, so do the various digital cameras I’ve owned (from Canon, Nikon and Panasonic). I can’t think of anything that has a similar feature that I haven’t seen flake out that way.
But maybe if I could just learn to hold it right…