See that image to the left? That is the future of computing. Or the end. I’m just not sure. Actually, I am. It is the end. Microsoft’s newest operating system is intended to be their response to the Open Handset Alliance‘s Android operating system. The problem is that a desktop (or laptop) computer is different than a tablet or smart phone. Let me be as clear as I can be: no one writes their dissertation on a smart phone, unless the dissertation is titled something like, “Studies in Extreme Behavior.”
The first thing I noticed when I got Windows 8 up and running was how quick it was. This was not a heavy operating system! It is great for doing what you do on your phone: start apps and surf the web and… Well, that’s about it. It is not that you can’t install something like PhotoShop or Office, though. All you have to do is go to the desktop. You know: that part of the operating system you’re not supposed to need to use any more! Then you will be transported into a wondrous land that looks like old fashioned Windows. Except that all kinds of thing that you rely on aren’t there like “Control Panel” and “Computer.” Not to worry! You can click on the Windows Explorer icon. Once you’re there, you can run anything you want. All you have to know is where it is. Want to open the device manager? Simple. Navigate to the primary drive (probably C: because many at Microsoft still think DOS 2.0 was the pinnacle of computing). Then go to the system directory (probably WINDOWS because capital letters so easy to read). Then go to the SYSTEM32 directory (even though you are running a 64-bit operating system). Then run the intuitively named program DEVMGMT.MSC (Don’t you just love 8.3 file names? And the word “manager” abbreviated “mgmt”?). Wasn’t that easy?!
The main thing about this new operating system is that it is not a step forward. The Android operating system is designed the way it is because of its limited input/output devices. It doesn’t have a keyboard. It doesn’t have a mouse. Thus, great tools like hierarchical storage are not that helpful. But given that regular computers do have these devices, Microsoft should try to create an operating system that uses the good tools of the past and develops new tools. It should not brush these tools and opportunities aside in the name of making a desktop computer act more like a phone.
But this is not the first time that Microsoft was totally wrong about the future of computing. Remember that time they totally misread the market, but managed to stay in business because of their monopolistic practices? No, not that time! Not that time, either. Oh, yeah; kind of like that time, but it’s not what I’m thinking of. No, no, no! Not that time. Not that time either. Well, you know what I mean.