Windows – Is This The End Of An Era?


America-the-Beautiful-XP

The Golden Days of Windows

As the tears of nostalgia roll down my face and I reminisce over the launch of Windows XP in October 2001, I can’t help thinking that those halcyon days may have been Microsoft’s finest hour. A full choir singing America the Beautiful, Sting performing on stage, Madonna lending her voice to the TV ad and a youthful looking Bill Gates in exuberant form signing copies of XP in stores across New York.

APW2001110119927

Sadly those days are now long gone, especially since Steve Jobs, the great believer, left us all, but we could still fall back on Steve Ballmer clowning around on stage, at least until his bland successor Satya Nadella took over.

898338-steve-ballmer

It’s all so reminiscent of when vinyl gave way to CDs and thence to digital, all real character and style having given way to bland empowerment statements that do little to inspire anybody.

Windows 10 – the final cut

When Microsoft recently announced that Windows 10 would be the last major launch of a Windows version, the news appears to have been greeted with a deafening silence, I suppose because it really comes as no great surprise to most of us in these days of austerity and uniformity. I think most people would agree that Microsoft hasn’t always been the torchbearer in the rapid cycles of change we have all seen, but in recent times has simply been trying to play catch-up. With the more recent Windows releases, I found myself eyeing them with suspicion, which is a far cry to how most of us felt when XP was released. Skip to Vista, which was more full bodied and rounded, or for the more politically sensitive correct of you out there, a full and heavy red wine that required dedication and patience. Vista was XP with bells, whistles and all manner of bolt ons, much like an overloaded lifeboat, which when tweaked was actually not that bad at all.

vista_flip3d

Two years later and Vista was to become just a bad memory for many when Windows 7 was launched almost apologetically by Microsoft and one couldn’t help noticing a distinct diminuendo in the fanfares of previous years, as if the orchestra had been asked to tone down a tad and only bring their second fiddles with them. Whilst the Windows 7 launch lacked the razamataz of XP and possibly Vista, the OS quietly forged ahead to become the rock solid system we all needed and wanted. In the meantime, dark clouds were stirring on the horizon as a new and more radical operating system was spoken about, sometimes in hushed tones. There were fanfares in New York and other cities, but the hype overtook the reality that most were not ready for such an ill conceived idea and any celebrations simply became detritus blown in the wind along the cold streets and sidewalks of New York.


Windows 10 – the saviour?

win10-desktop

No fanfare, no evangelical stage appearances by Bill or Satya, in spite of the fact Windows 10 is pretty much a defining moment for Microsoft, which kind of harks back to Bill Gates’ prediction that there will be a PC in every home one day. But do we need these extravaganzas to launch a boring old operating system? Will it be a conversation piece at a dinner party? Probably not, because nowadays you’d more than likely be comparing iPhones or iWatches because they’re sexy and Windows isn’t, let’s face it. It’s also the first time Microsoft has literally given its software away to existing users, I mean that has to be a first right? In light of that, I think the Redmond giant would be excused the odd ticker tape parade and a few brightly lit billboards in Times Square. I might not go, but I’d certainly enjoy the razzle and glitz, although I might be wrong here, but I don’t exactly see Microsoft overspending on its advertising budget for a product they want to see installed in almost every device conceivable.

But of course, as July approaches they might wheel out the big guns, all Apple style, and give us the party we yearn for to mark another milestone in Microsoft’s prestigious history. What will you be doing on July 29th? Will you be celebrating a free of charge operating system or toasting a shiny new and lightning fast system that you’ve come to expect from Microsoft over the years?

Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated

Microsoft’s announcement that this will the last version (sic) of Windows did rattle a few cages and judging from some industry headlines, one would be forgiven for thinking that this was the end of Microsoft as an entity. An outrageous idea to propagate of course and nothing could be further from the truth. But let’s face it, whoever thought that flares, platform shoes and vinyl would make a comeback? Perhaps they’ll start naming their OSs after cocktails or popular side dishes; I mean Ice Cream Sandwich hasn’t done too badly for Android has it? This time next year the new flavour of Windows might be Pastrami On Rye, Devils On Horseback, Chili Cheese Hot Dog or Steak And Kidney Pud, who knows?

corn-dogs-windows

So instead of a new number on your windows, you’ll be getting extra toppings, side dishes and sauces instead. What could be fairer than that? I know I won’t be complaining just as long as they don’t start calling my Ketchup Topping Corn Dog Update 1.2, Update, Update because you know what they’re like nowadays over there in the Campus.

So, what flavour would you plump for? Are you a Pastrami kind of guy or do you prefer a lightly tossed salad instead?


Answers on a postcard in the comments section below please.

 

About the Author

Marc Thomas

Marc is an avid traveler, motorcyclist, entrepreneur, and gamer from Buenos Aires, Argentina. His interest in computers and technology began in the early 1990's when he was introduced by a friend to a Zenith Data Systems computer running DOS. In the years following he has experienced all versions of the Windows operating system, built hundreds of systems, and fixed many more for his customers. Marc also has an interesting forum you might like to check out at Argentina Expats

6 Comments

  1. Just exactly what is W10 supposed to be saving all us “NERDHEAD” Users from? My guess would be self destruction or maybe my PC will self destruct.
    Maybe I’ll just take my backhoe and bury all my Windows based PC’s, might be more graceful than just sending them to a landfill. I’ll try to say something appropriate. Always enjoy the humor in your articles.

  2. I cannot be the only one able to see the tree in the the forest. Are we forgetting that an operating system is just the tool which allows us to run programs ans connect to the Internet? Do we worry about changes to the Internet? It’s been around for decades, and we just accept it, use it, and say nothing. So why so much worry about an o/s?

    A little insight in how we store (save) information might explain things. I believe the disc is all but forgotten, and the blu-ray format is too expensive in writing to. Flash drives can handle over 254G, hard disks (internal and external) over 5T. But, we’re not saving that much information any more now. There are services which all you on-demand viewing (no ability to capture) of old movies and tv shows, and pretty some songs, yet there are services which allow you to fine tune your music while driving. The cell phone is all but history right now. (You read that right). It’s NOT a CELL phone any more, as it’s loaded with all gadgets, like ability to tape pictures, record life action, a pda, connect to the Internet, etc…

    In other words, the computer (desktop, laptop, even tablet) is taking a back seat. We need to ask ourselves if Hardware has surpassed Software, and if the CLOUD will be what we next rely on, as far as change, the way the Internet is viewed, Mindblower!

  3. My opinion is that Microsoft actually skewed how technology COULD have developed by trying to monopolize & appropriate everything & everyone- either via money or power. Who know how much more innovation might have found it’s way had it not been squashed from the outset?

    As another here has said, it’s now all about the big pitch of “cloud”-o-rama. Yeah, well good luck with that. No thank you, I kind of like my stuff right where I can access it- anytime- with or with internet, for free! I also get to bypass all of the online ads & circus-barker sales you get now on every, frigging web page you hit.

    In the end, it’s all about the money, folks. Cloud is just another way to extract some hard-earned dosh from your pocket. Does it have it’s uses? Sure, not a bad idea to encrypt & upload precious data to have a copy off-site. But would I entrust everything n the cloud– no way.

    • Just looking at the bookshelf above my PC which still contains many, many antiques including MS_DOS 6.22 (3 Disks) & Microsoft Windows for Workgroups Version 3.11.(8 Disks) and some where, under my desk, I have a shrink wrapped & unopened 1.44 MB drive. Perhaps I will dig it out, connect it and create a virtual set-up, just for old-times sake. :))