Becoming OS numb
A little personal story about GUIs and smileys
I remember the time when Windows 95 was about to come out. It was incredible time as I was just another PC user with boring old DOS on my hard drive and even more boring Windows 3.1 — as an extension I guess. No “proper” operating system... with some nice interface that is. And then — boom! An incredible announcement coming from notorious Microsoft itself, explaining they are developing full fledged GUI OS. It felt like a breeze of fresh air. Why all this excitement? Only those who (and you’re not old no matter what people tell you) had to write those long command lines to extract files from an ARJ archive or had to modify autoexec.bat file just to play Comanche Overkill, will know. Anyway, I got hold of that long awaited “Chicago” beta. Just to get the taste of it. Man, exchanging those 3,5” floppies during install from a huge stack on my desk kept that spark in the corner of my eye glowing. And… It was the only time it happened. Excitement with later Windows 95 deflated rather quickly.
Every year we come back to Croatia to visit our families and as always there are questions coming from my dad asking to check their PC since it got sluggish and all. Time to empty “recycle bin”, move a terabyte of data from a desktop and update nasty antivirus repository. My parents have Windows 10 installed now. I was thinking: this should be exciting. A brand new OS. But wasn’t even curious to click through it. Simply don’t care. It works. That’s the only thing that matters these days.
Let’s rewind “a few” years back…
It was nineties. At that time I started my career in desktop publishing. Got me some LaserJet and VGA card. I had Windows 3.1 setup but working with various print shops I was pushed into Macintosh world and its System 7 glaring from all those Quadra’s. Somehow it looked much easier to work on. But I was stuck with Windows. I mean it’s just a tool, right? An OS… But why had I spent so much time tweaking it to work properly? A lot of frustration that Mac users seem to avoid easily. They got a cute smiley on a boot screen (crafted with so much love by Susan Kare) while I was moaning about BSoD every now and then.
On other note a whole bunch of cool movies came out back then where dinosaurs lived again and actors became geeks. And that is how I found out about Silicon Graphics. It was complete overkill for me of course. But both IRIX and Macintosh showed exactly what I wanted from an OS respectively. And they did it classy. Remembering “Newman” hacking Jurassic Park’s control room. And Sandra Bullock ordering pizza online — was that the AOL? In any case Mac made it look so easy and SGI made it look polished. And then NeXTSTEP was introduced. It seemed like both SGI and Apple converged at this point. We all know the history and after Apple deployed Rhapsody it was logical for me to choose that platform for my work. I took some time though. Since I couldn’t afford the best toys on the market and because “Chicago” happened I was trying to make some sense out of Windows 95. Later I switched to NT and that was much better experience in terms of stability but still it wasn’t “it”.
It’s different time now…
I am not a kid anymore (from the outside that is). In the end I became a Mac user. I don’t even remember how many OSX instances marched across my screen. Entire ZOO I guess. And now it’s stuck somewhere in the mountains. Never liked the name though. OSX. Mac always sounded more homey. Reminiscing that smiley. While I’m waiting for the brand new one coming this autumn I know it will update flawlessly. Just a click away in the App Store. Doesn’t seem like a huge deal now. But one thing excites me though: it will be MacOS again!