For the first time ever, I bought a laptop. I now do almost all my business over the Internet and it will be useful. Eventually.
The trouble is, all the Windows platform laptops now comes infected with the Windows Edsel operating system. (Right, I'd have preferred a Mac -- believe me -- but it would have cost at least an extra $600.)
So I'm dealing with Windows 8. What a dog's breakfast this OS is.
As far as I can make out so far, it does everything Windows 7 and most earlier versions did. Only you have to learn a completely new system vocabulary and jump through more hoops.
Oh, it's co-o-o-l right enough. So cool it makes me gag.
I've used successive iterations of Windows since its first. While they all had their oddities, I had no critical problems learning or using them. Even the notorious Vista worked okay for me.
Win 8 is madness. What loon ever came up with the name "Charms menu"? Why must you open and close umpteen menus to do simple tasks?
This crackpot operating system seems to me both an example of corporate hybris and designer contempt for ordinary users. In that order:
1. Microsoft, the rooster on top of the dunghill. They couldn't just refine (or leave alone) a system that worked perfectly well. No, they'd been smarting for years about the Mac cult. They wanted to be the new cult. The word went out: Okay, tear it down and build us a Burj. We want color! We want glitz! Those stupid customers laughed at us when we had an animated paper clip telling them how to use our product. Let them laugh at this! (They were successful. No one is laughing. The sound you hear is a scream of frustration circling the globe.)
2. I have nothing against those who are knowledgeable in information technology. More than once they have pulled my chestnuts out of the fire. In fact I refuse to use the derogatory term "geek." But on the whole, they just can't understand the idea of designing systems or apps to meet the needs of 95 percent of the population that must work with the code they invent.
They are besotted with the idea that just because a function is technically feasible, it must be included.
The vast majority of customers use the Office Suite, send e-mail, and surf the net. They don't give a tinker's curse about apps that track the positions of the planets or send instructions to a microwave -- and the few that do simply download the apps they want. Win 8 doesn't give you a choice; every menu, including the Start page (or whatever they're calling it now), puts them all in your face as so-called "tiles". Yeah, I gather you can delete some you don't want, if you stand on your head while pedaling a unicycle and sing the Microsoft Company Song.
Win 8 has been an acknowledged dud, one of the colossal bloopers of corporate history. They are coming out with a revised version (called, I am told, "Blue"). Even if Blue files some of the rough edges off, now that Windows has fallen into the tar pit, it can't really extricate itself. Probably everyone who is lumbered with Windows 8 will get a free upgrade, but I don't know whether to look forward to Blue or fear it.