Friday, July 31, 2015

Old Guy Turns On Computer: My Sort-Of Review of Windows10


This is the place I’ve arrived at when I speak in nostalgic tones. No longer am I remembering the Salad Days of my youth where I found my tribe, where everything was new and exciting, and I didn’t have a care in the world. Of course in those days, Reagan was still president, MTV still had these things called “music videos”, and gasoline was a whopping $0.93 a gallon.


Nope.


No, these days when I wax nostalgic whilst not coming off as a complete geezer, I have to go back to the time of Clinton, Grunge and Windows 95.


… Does anybody remember Windows 95?




vintage-computer.com
For any and all Millennial that might by chance stumble across this blog, and for future generations who are excavating every inch of the internet to find out what life was like in the 90s, allow me to share a little history… Once upon a time, Personal Computers were the nothing more than an idea. There weren’t as prevalent as they are today, because the average personal computer was roughly the size of an average microwave oven and sucked up about as much power. Personal Computers have historically been a tool used by engineers, scientists, high-school students, and to some extent, accountants. And then, one day, almost overnight, Macs and PCs were everywhere; almost ubiquitous and more importantly, affordable. Suddenly, everyone had one. They were smaller, sleeker, friendlier. They appeared useful. Everyone needed one. Everyone was productive. New jobs were created. New needs were created. New mindsets were pondered. And then, Starbucks took over America, and everyone was jittery and happy and cranking up Better Than Ezra and New Radicals in their Saturns… and that’s how I met your mother…


… sorry, nostalgia …


FreeDOS Beta 9 pre-release5 (command line interface) on Bochs sshot20040912 Anyway, with the advent of Windows 95, it marked the end of needing to learn DOS or something like it in order to get anything done while using your computer. A wonderful, friendly Graphic User Interface was stolen adapted from Apple’s already existing operating system, and all of a sudden, big, gigantic, fluffy, coffee stained worlds of possibility presented themselves to those who knew what they were looking for. Windows 95 was released upon the masses, and it was good.


That is, until Windows 98 came out and ruined everything.


Oh, the backlash that followed the release of Windows 98. It was almost as if everyone got kicked out of the Garden of Eden all at once, or getting kicked out of the nest and learning to fly. It was as if a million voices cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. Something terrible had happened. People started complaining to retailers. The inevitable returning machines, the mopeing, the whinging. The red-hot hatred that slowly cooled and morphed into fodder for late night comedians.


For Mac users (and I’m presuming here), there was never such an uproar when time came to upgrade their operating systems. But for Windows users, this of course is nothing out of the ordinary. We are used to, if not being completely beholden to, doing the hit-or-miss tango with Microsoft whenever they upgrade their OS. Stop me when it sounds familiar… We loved Win95, but hated Win98. We were okay with Win98, but were completely horrified with Windows ME. We all breathed a sigh of relief when Windows XP saved our sanity, but all turned our nose up at Vista. Et cetera, and so on.


What I’m trying to say is that the kicking and screaming and gnashing of teeth whenever the release date of the latest version of Windows goes live, whatever version it may happen to be at the time, has always been an ordeal. And it’s no different this time around with the latest upgrade to Windows10.


I have been using Windows 7 for years now, and I’ve been loving it for about as long. Considering I was a diehard XP fanboy, it was going to take a lot of convincing to make me let go of it at first, and get used to something new. Like, that dark period around 2000 when I had to suffer through ME. It didn’t take me long to appreciate the speed and efficiency of it; everything had it’s space, everything had a purpose. It was good.


A couple of weeks ago, my computer informs me that Windows10 is on the horizon, and I had better be ready for it. From what I gathered from random websites and news stories, it was going to be a gamechanger and become the future of all operating systems going forward. My first issue with it was quickly laid to rest when Microsoft expressed right up front that Windows 7 could easily be upgraded, and there would be no issues. I figured, why not? It couldn’t hurt.


July 29th, 2015 was the release date for the new operating system. July 30th, 2015, was the day I uninstalled Windows 10 and reverted back to the previous version. I had Win10 for a grand total of 24 hours. I had it for 23 hours too long.


Now, before everyone starts lighting up their torches and gathering up their pitchforks, hear me out. I’m speaking for and on behalf of everyone who still has Windows 7, and has not yet upgraded to Windows 8. If you’re considering an upgrade, please do so at your own discretion. Maybe I’m sounding like an old dude who is still stuck in the 90s, but in my opinion, Windows 10 is not all it’s cracked up to be. I had a laundry list of why I wasn’t so impressed, but it all boiled down to one reason…


It’s not that when I first installed it, my computer was noticeably slower. It’s not that it didn’t recognize my monitor (first referred to as “generic”, but after reinstalling my drivers, it referred to my Samsung monitor as “Other”). It’s not that the choices for screen resolution for my particular monitor ranged from bad to worse, leaving me with no choice but to suffer through going through my usual tasks in low-res. It’s not that I didn’t jump at the chance to use Microsoft Edge, and decided instead to use Chrome and to more or less an extent, Firefox. It’s not that when I did need to use Firefox, my computer started struggling for air like the life was being choked out of it, which it was (what’s my proof? Landing on an average web page and every graphic on that page flickered as it struggled to appear, while my case fan blew so hard I swear my tower levitated). It’s not that I had to wade through, delete or disable all the ubiquitous Bloatware that usually comes with a Windows upgrade (do I really need a big, bright, shiny button to access my non-existent XBox 360 account? After uninstalling, all was quiet).  All of these are just smaller pieces to the bigger picture. The reason why I wasn’t impressed with Windows 10, is that it’s a huge memory hog. I am not impressed with an update that slowly kills my computer. I am not impressed with an update that front loads a metric ton of useless apps that I’ll never use. I’m not impressed with an update that makes me feel like I’m back to when I was assured that Sega Dreamcast would be the Gold Standard in console game playing, and my new Dell desktop kept crashing because it had an inferior graphics card.

Yo, girl. Back off! I just met you!
Sorry, Microsoft. I’m sure that you had the best of intentions by releasing your big, shiny new operating system. I’m sure Cortana could bitch-slap Siri into next week with it’s searching abilities. But, my computing habits are rooted in, what appears to be a different time. I don’t need apps, I don’t need buttons that could take me to games that I won’t play. I don’t have a touch screen for my desktop, so I don’t really have the need to have my space assume that I do. I’m just a simple guy with simple means. I know where I need to get stuff, and I know how to retrieve it. I do not need a creepy, disembodied voice checking out my personal information, with intention of “making my life easier”.


Lastly, just a suggestion, a little heads-up would have been helpful from you. I mean, if I would have known that making the leap from 7 to 10 would have caused my computer to jump into a TRS-80 fetal position, I would have thought differently. I’m sure that 10 is a vast improvement over 8, but I wouldn’t know, because I’m computing in the land of blissful ignorance of five years ago. Rest assured, there will come a time when my tower will go kaput and I will have to upgrade, but it is not now. As I write this post, there are a number of reports and reviews that are pouring in that sing the praises of Windows 10. I’m waiting for that day, maybe in a week or so, when the comparisons to Vista start chiming in.


Don’t get me wrong. If I was suffering through Windows 8 and I was waiting like a starving man waits in line for his 5Guys burger (amiryte, kids?) for the latest version to come out, I probably would be writing a different post by now. And once the day comes when I have a system that will handle the load of this with ease, I will probably fall in love with it too. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m happy with my Windows 7.


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my 90210 marathon that have recorded on VHS.

You know, they’re right! Binge watching is pretty cool… Heh… Brenda’s such a bitch…

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