CT&D #20. Cross-Platform Issues in Computing

What experiences have you had in cross-platform issues? What do you foresee to be in store for future dealings between platforms?

Is it to work natively even when it may be difficult and unfamiliar? Is a utopia of universality of worry free designing foreseeable?

Regarding my experiences in dealing with cross-platform issues, there are a few examples I can name. Two of the more basic ones are file extensions and inserting media. For most of my life, I have owned and used Windows-based computers before actually owning a Mac and regularly using one too. Because of this, I was caught off guard that the Mac handled file extensions differently (regarding naming conventions for example) and to some extent did not take CDs (my MacBook lacks a CD/DVD port where one would have to buy a standalone drive); even so, it has USB ports as do Windows-based computers which in this instance is a platform-universal feature. More so, the actions on a Mac I learned were different (like not right clicking from only a mouse and using “command” instead of “control” for shortcuts).

Although these are certainly problems that people tend to deal with when using different platforms, these issues I think are pretty minor when compared to facing the prospect of having to use a program that works on one platform and not the other. That’s not good. Fortunately, I haven’t really experienced that; programs that I often use like Photoshop are cross-platform compatible software (despite its differences in controls for some tools which one has to learn and get accustomed to). With that said, I really think that the incentive to make programs and software widely cross-platform compatible has been raised historically (but not without setbacks like budgeting and feasibility); nonetheless, with efforts having been made in certain sectors of the programming industry, I won’t be surprised if every program (mainstream or not) is made 100% cross compatible in the far future in some master digital library (if only to cater to as many users as possible to maximize software sales). Still, the top priority in 100% cross platform compatibility of any given software rests on design, business and even gaming demand, that of which varies considerably across different consumer bases.

I do agree with the concept that one needs to become experienced to working natively on an operating system even if unfamiliar because we live in a world where different operating systems exist at any point and by learning another, it gives one the knowledge and skill to perform tasks at any time and any place a computer is available. An analogy I would give that parallels this is learning how to drive automatic and stick shift. If you know how to drive both, you are similarly prepared when a situation calls for one to drive either.

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