Something curious happened during Microsoft’s PDC in 2003 (See ‘geeks bearing gifts‘). They unveiled the then-exciting and anticipated Longhorn operating system that was powered in large part by the GPU. That is, each “window” of Windows would no longer be rendered in software. They would be rendered as full 3D planes using the GPU.
The state of user interfaces has reached the point of diminishing returns. In retrospect, it is clear that many user interfaces reached their peak balance of ease and complexity in 2007. Since then, it seems that balancing new features has been a very difficult task for many companies. There’s a curious trend to hide functionality to an obsessive degree that inhibits average users from being able to find often rather obviously necessary features. The learning curve continues to grow tremendously despite the superficial trend towards “simplicity.”
It’s worse than I thought.
The new ASUS U47A comes with a whole host of “security” features to prevent downgrading of the operating system, Windows 8.
This particular U47A system was purchased in preparation for a federal criminal trial in Las Vegas in which I will be relying heavily on the system to serve up dense amounts of information. I learned my lesson from my last case to not rely on Windows 8 (more on that later), so, downgrading was part of the plan all along. ASUS’ position that “No,downgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 7 is not an option,” was unacceptable for me.
I’m not one to be easily confused by UI decisions. Comfortable with the command-line, and having used dozens upon dozens of different distributions of Linux, and nearly every version of Windows since 3.11 for Workgroups (and MS-DOS before that, v. 6.22) — I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything like Windows 8.
Granted, that’s how Microsoft wants it to be perceived. Perhaps they’ve succeeded in that cursory endeavor.