Way back in like 1994 (oh my!) I went to work in an office environment where I used a computer every day. They were all very expensive desktop type machines whose cases were open more often than not so as to allow for near-constant hardware upgrades. The OS was Windows for Workgroups (what, like 3.1?) and it was just fine. Or seemed that way. I certainly didn’t know any better.
Then came Windows 95. I hated it. HATED it! Nothing worked right anymore, couldn’t find anything, it was slow and blue-screened all the time. Then they “fixed” it. Yeah, right. I remember reading an article in the Wall Street Journal reviewing the Lion King game. The gist of it was they didn’t like it as the game was not intuitive to even get working. The reviewer opined that the game should be like a toaster – you push a button and it does what it’s supposed to! I coined the phrase “it ain’t a toaster!” in response to any computer related problem. These other things called Macintoshes showed up, created by a bunch of hippies. They were for the cool kids so of course I paid them no heed. Oops…
Over the years the rift between Apple OS’s and Windows has grown. I have been a Windows guy the whole time and have suffered through the various iterations and levels of abomination that Microsoft has thrown out (or up.) Most of them sucked. Badly. XP was the first OS that actually seemed to have promise; it was intuitive, didn’t fail (too often) and was fairly toaster-ish. Macs continued to be impenetrable to me but they had a reputation for not doing anything bad, not to mention that hackers and other bad actors left them alone.
Then a couple of things happened: Windows 7 and the iPhone. Windows 7 was (and is) to me the perfect Windows OS. It just worked. I knew where to find things, it didn’t break down (like ever) and it seemed the final (Laugh out LOUD!) solution to all things Windows. The appeal of a Mac of any sort faded quickly. My digital mind had found a home at long last. Of course the gods of Redmond knew this and evilly kept at their lustful quest to screw with stuff, all in the name of “improvement.” The iPhone though… well, damn what a device. I demurred for a long time, clinging to my flip phone in true Luddite fashion. When I was forced by my family to adopt iOS I (because I’m not actually an idiot) realized that this thing was truly the holy grail – it WAS a toaster! You push a button and it does what you want! Oh my! This didn’t diminish my enjoyment of my Windows 7 desktop at all. It was just different. I couldn’t do spreadsheets or real writing on it but the world got much bigger (or smaller) and easy to access anywhere. I was quite content with the two just as they were.
But NO! Ignoring the abomination that was Windows 8 (I mean really, WTF?!) here comes 10. And oh by the way support and by extension security for 7 was going to end. Bastards. So I made the shift (oh goody and thanks! for free) and entered into a nightmare of immense proportions. Windows 10 was and is a virus. It nearly destroyed my entire digital life and it took months to recover from. I wanted my 7 back! Um, screw you said the gods of Redmond. Adapt or get stuffed! I did adapt as I really had no choice. But my revulsion and hatred of all things Microsoft simmers still. As does my complete lack of understanding of Mac OS. So what to do? Suffer for the rest of my days? I guess so. I have learned to radically accept that Windows 10 is my new normal, at least until they screw with that, at which point I will either be dead or will be so fed up as to take a hammer to my beloved desktop.
God loves me and finds me amusing. But He has shown compassion. Grace has been granted in the form of a new thing, what might arguably be deigned as the perfect toaster. The iPad. You push a button and it does exactly what it’s supposed to. It’s sleek and beautifully designed. A near perfect piece of technology. I haven’t figured out how to fully adapt my digital life to just it and won’t until I’m forced to, but I know my digital future is no longer fraught with suffering. Until the gods of Cupertino become infected with whatever disease those in Redmond have. I just pray that this never happens, at least in my lifetime. I’m probably shouting into the wind of course, but that’s what I do.
When will the digital gods figure out that most people just want a damn toaster? A device that does what it’s supposed to, simply, efficiently and correctly? Enough with the bloody upgrades, so-called improvements and “advances.” Give us our toasters and go away.
Of course I have to close with hypocrisy. I suppose, in the best of all possible worlds, I would like to see some sort of merger or evolution of the iOS into a more useful desktop-like experience. At some point my iPad will become my default device. I will have a monitor that mirrors the iPad display, I will have my go-to apps (but NOT anything from damned and double-damned Microsoft) to do spreadsheets and writing. I will be competent with my backups and storage, leveraging the Cloud whatever that actually is. I will be portable. Maybe the iPad and phone will merge. I don’t know, but my hope is that the gods of Cupertino will realize that ease of use, transparency, reliability, security, and portability will be the things that really matter to people. Something tells me it is already mostly this way, I’m just slow. So I’m not a hypocrite, I’m just old and have experienced the entirety of computer evolution to date and judge the hell out of it, and just have to accept that the various digital gods don’t care what I think. Acceptance comes in the form of laughing at myself and finding a plate of cheese to go with my whine.