I finally tried Windows 8 today. When I first heard about it, I was very, very skeptical. It sounded like a terrible idea; Microsoft had taken a formula they’d worked with for years and literally threw it out of the window, instead replacing it with something designed for mobile and touch-screen devices. Now, I know most of these new-fangled ‘ultrabook’ thingymajigs (or whatever the hell they are, I’m not quite as tech-savvy as you’d expect for someone my age) have both your bog-standard mouse-and-keyboard input system as well as a touch screen, but my simple ‘notebook’ (what a stupid name for a computer) doesn’t, and as such attempting to navigate Windows 8 in the way its design intends results in little more than scuff marks and tears.
It would appear, however, that Windows 8 is actually so frikkin’ cool I’ve decided I want it myself. Why? Well, rather than the ridiculous and pointless overhaul they advertised, it turns out all they’ve really done is trashed the old start menu and replaced it with that thing that’s meant for mobile devices. Instead of a neat and tidy list containing all your useless crap, it’s now strewn about willy-nilly across what appears to be a complete mess of buttons and pictures.
“Hold on,” I hear (some of you) screaming. “How’s that an improvement?”
Well, I guess that’s subjective. You see, I like things to be a mess of buttons and pictures, because it’s interesting. Sure, it’s a little tricky to get to grips with, but once you work your way around and get used to it, it’ll cease to be a nonsensical mess and it’ll turn into something rather striking and organised. Basically, instead of Windows organizing everything all methodical like into folders and lists, it’s all laid out however the hell you like, with whatever you think should be most important immediately available and, with most apps giving out notifications constantly (such as weather and news headlines updating automatically, it actually works for you. No effort, looks however fun you want it to, just marvelous.
Even the search function works better, organizing all apps and files relating to your search in a just as simple, yet more visually pleasing way. I’ve always struggled with that, especially when obscure files I wanted to find shared names with other related files. With the new way, it seems all-round easier to differentiate them.
My skepticism, then, was horribly misplaced. Why? Simple. The same reason I’m skeptical about anything new – because it’s new. It deviates from the norm, forces me to leave my comfort zone, and therefore I don’t like it. But once you convince yourself to give it a shot, you’ll usually find that you like it better. It applies to everything; technology, music, political theories, food, art, anything.
If there is a moral to this (and there is), I guess it’d be this: Don’t judge the quality of the water before you’ve dipped your toe in it. Because unless you can blatantly see that it’s irredeemably crap, how can you possibly know?