Foiled by my withered hand


A few years ago, some email was sent out to the product team asking for a volunteer hand model to demonstrate how to open the Windows Vista box. Alas, I withdrew myself from consideration due to my withered hand.

Comments (16)
  1. Neil (SM) says:

    Wow, there are quite a few links to follow to get to the actual withered hand picture!  It’s worth it, though.

  2. Aaargh! says:

    If you need to have instructions on how to open the box, then maybe the box is too complicated.

    /Never opened a Vista box

  3. John says:

    I agree with Aargh!.  On the other hand, there is an old saying about making things idiot proof…

  4. sam says:

    It took me maybe 10 minutes of fiddling to work out how to open it :(

  5. Mr Cranky says:

    WTF!  If I ever need to open a Vista box, I intend to use a hammer, and possibly a crowbar.

  6. bmathew says:

    Its not easy striking a balance between ‘complicated’ and ‘too easy to shoplift’

  7. Shy Shalom says:

    This instruction page really belongs in the fail blog (http://failblog.org/)

    After years and years of software being produced in the world, Microsoft managed to figure out a way to screw up one more thing which no one ever thought was could possibly be screwable.

    [And yet when the new box design was announced, people liked it. “I’m glad you guys chose to try something new instead of continuing with the old oversized paper boxes.” If you try something new, you suck for not sticking to the old way. If you stick to the old way, you suck for not trying something new. -Raymond]
  8. Yuhong Bao says:

    Joel talked about the Vista/Office 2007 box and it’s problems here:

    http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2007/08/18.html

  9. Worf says:

    Hmm… my copy of Vista came in an easy-to-open folder that required a tool to cut open the plastic dot…

    My copy of office 2007 requires cutting a similar dot, and downloading it since no DVD was present inside, just a CD-key.

  10. If you google for withered hand, page 1 is now empty.  Interesting.

  11. Morten says:

    I refuse to make a joke about Raymond declining a hand job. Think of the children and all. Nope, I won’t do it.

  12. Lauren Smith says:

    Step 1. Cut a hole in the box…

  13. Marc Wickens says:

    Vista was fine. It had a red tag to open it. The  Visual Studio 2008 box on the other hand, is exactly the same colour red as the tag, and so it appears not to have one :)

  14. peterchen says:

    Raymiond (I don’t assume you are reading this) – the box does not suck for trying something new, the box sucks at usability.

    I’m sharing the Visual Studio 2008 experience:

    the box is stylish (in a positive sense), but everyone fiddles with it. In the office, zhe opinion on the designer is torn: between "earned big money" and "won a prize".

    It’s the antithesis of todays "invisible UI" axiom, a bold choice for wrapping software.

  15. John Elliott says:

    I followed the "people liked it" link. There were a large number of comments saying how nice it looked, followed by a similar number saying how difficult it was to open. Perhaps people only liked it until they tried to use it?

  16. DWalker says:

    I didn’t like the box at all.  I have somewhat gone through the learning curve, but still, every time I am confronted with one of these boxes, I get confused all over again.  And I like to think that I’m pretty smart.

    The gratuitous snipe at MS for redesigning the packaging AND the Office 2007 interface that JoelOnSoftware offers, is unwarranted: the advantages far outweigh the fact that the Office 2007 ribbon/toolbat is different.

    Change can be good or bad, but we didn’t really need a ton of innovation in packaging, did we?

    Sorry to digress.  It should be obvious from the passion on this issue that a LOT of normal people don’t like the new packaging.

    Sorry about your withered hand, Raymond!  :-)

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