The Trouble with Gerrold: Windows Ate
November 30, 2012 —
(Page 1 of 4)
Related Search Term(s): Windows 8
Windows 8 is here. I have two immediate reactions. The first: What’s the rush? Windows 7 works just fine. It’s still young and spry. I could be happy with Windows 7 for a long time to come. XP served me very well, and I still have it running on two older laptops. Windows 7 feels like a natural progression. I’m comfortable.
The second reaction is the important one. What’s in Windows 8 that justifies the upgrade?
My own rule of thumb about software, especially operating systems, is to upgrade only when there’s a significant reason to do so. I’m David-centric. I always ask the same question: What’s in it for me?
Looking back, I can see the path from DOS to the present. Windows 3.0 gave me What You See Is What You Get. Windows For Workgroups gave me practical networking. Windows 95 and 98 gave me shortcuts and long file names, and finally made it possible to drag and drop things from one program into another without first having to sacrifice a goat during a lunar eclipse. Windows XP was rugged, and the taskbar finally became the most useful part of the interface. (There was nothing as memorable in Vista, but it did serve as a convenient stepping-stone from XP to Windows 7, without having to lose software or settings or files.) Windows 7 gave me jump lists, which makes the taskbar even more useful.
Okay, there was a lot of other stuff too in all those upgrades, most of it under the hood. Over the years, Windows has adapted and changed to meet the needs of users all over the world. It has become powerful, rugged, and versatile. It has become the paradigm in which we live, the massage that shapes our thinking.
Or, at least, it was until the advent of the smartphone.
Prior to the smartphone, most nerds had one of those cute little clamshell phones that let us pretend we were Captain Kirk on the Enterprise. They’d beep or chirp and we’d flip them open with a flick of the wrist and say, “Kirk here—I mean, uh—David here.”