Communication Breakdown OS Style

by Richard Zwicky

All SEO Articles

This article from The Mender (Issue 12),
Metamend's Web Site Optimization and Marketing Newsletter.


One of the many problems to overcome in any organization regardless of size, is communications. Rather than rehashing the same discussions everyone has enjoyed countless times, let's take a look at a different communication problem; operating systems.

In a web based business, one of the factors which may contribute to a communication problem is different operating systems. Just because you can do something on your system, does not mean anyone else can perform the same function. This is where inertia takes over. Meanwhile the business, transactions, phone calls, e-mail, etc., all continue, while you're stuck trying to figure out how to make a .jpeg created on a Mac open on your PC.

Sounds Trivial? It should be. Unfortunately, different Operating Systems (OS's) are exactly the same in day-to- day life as different languages. Imagine handing someone from Tibet a magazine in German and then asking them questions about it in English, to which the answers are required to be written out in French. Not pretty. But that in essence, is what your computers and office communication has to deal with everyday. Our web designers review every web page we put up within a variety of operating systems, using various browsers, and browser versions. Logically, a web site built with an html foundation should be viewable exactly the same on any platform. After all, I'm writing this article in English. If you are receiving it, I'm pretty sure you are able to read it, just as I wrote it, typos and all.

Unfortunately there's no quick or easy fix to the problems posed by different operating systems, combined with different software solutions.

I sometimes receive Word 2000 attachments from a very large corporation sending mail using MS Outlook. I use Eudora, and Word 2000. I have yet once to be able to open their files in anything except Wordpad! At first I thought it was me, but I've recently learned they are having the same problem sharing files inside their own corporation!

Within our own office scenario we us MS Windows 2000, Linux Red Hat 7.0 and Mac OS 9.5. Occasionally, we need to share files, Word files, Excel files, etc. We have yet to transfer a file from one OS to another and not spend valuable time correcting the formatting. All this despite using the latest available translators on the market.

Some days I find it easier to read a German news magazine with my German to English dictionary by my side than it is to send a simple Word file using our office network.

The next time you feel frustrated by a communication problem within your company, even if you are the only two people there, take solace in the fact you are at least speaking to each other in the same language. That is, unless you are working with your spouse... Then all bets are off :-)

Other articles from this issue:
- Redirection and Search Engines
- More Than One Way to Skin a Web Site

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