My attention has been drawn to the happy existence of a Microsoft help page covering a grossly ignored usability issue in modern computing: how to open the packaging. To be more specific, the help page covers how to open the Vista box. You have to get through various security seals, you see, before encountering the hidden catch.
As metaphor, it is unmatched. As an actual creation of open intent, it is gobsmacking. The questions flare up, unbidden and unignorable as acne: how do people who don't know how to open a box earn enough to buy Vista at retail? What on earth did the hand model and the photographer say to each other as they realised that this was how they were earning their living? And, most perplexing; security seals? On Vista?
Nonetheless, we cannot overlook the possibility that Microsoft is leading the pack on this one. Perhaps it is the others who are at fault. My informant the ineffable Codepope and I got to writing the scripts for others who might conceivably feel the need to play catch-up.
Apple: "Just open the box. You know you want to. Who cares what's inside?"
Ubuntu: "The box is open already! it's not quite the right box, but feel free to colour it in any way you like! Here, borrow our crayons!"
SCO:"One of our engineers once opened a box that AT&T sent. Please contact sales for details of our box, packet, jar and envelope opening licences."
Sun;"This box is conceived, designed and presented as an open box. This statement in no way guarantees content egress without prior agreement of of Sun Microsystems."
Flickr:"Here's a fifty shot slideshow of how me and Benny opened a box in Venice. It's really well lit."
YouTube:"KITTAHZ IN BOXZ"
Wired;"New Box Opening Tech; Why It Will Make Your Children Immortal"
WillItBlend: "You need to ask?"
Techmeme:"Wired: New Box Tech"
Scoble:"Why MIcrosoft should make a box"
Slashdot:"Techmeme redefines future of box opening"
Facebook: "You have 56 box opening requests"
Digg:"Slashdot: Best Opening Ever! You Gotta See This!!!"
Google:"You do not need to open the box. You are already inside the box. There is nothing outside the box. Nothing. Soon, there will be no box. Meld with the GoogleMind. Gooooogle... Goooooooogle.... Gooooooooooo....."