Monthly Archives: August 2009

Windows Heaven

It’s about time that Microsoft learned something about innovation.  And from what I can see, the company is starting to actually innovate something new of its own.

Windows 7, which I’ve decided to call “Windows Heaven,” is such an example.  The interface is not just fresh and new, but redesigned in fundamental yet subtle ways that give some consistency with the former interface of Windows-95 through Windows Vista, but yet is the most substantial change in interface since Windows 3.1 went to Windows 95.  Though not quite as big a change as Apple’s foray from OS9 to OS-X.

It borrowed a lot from the Mac:  a more functional dock thing that’s still called a “taskbar” but works more like the Mac dock.  Windows groups applications together now always by default, and not just if it starts running out of space.  Gone are the useless titles like “C:\My Docum…”  which don’t tell you a thing.  Replaced by pretty functional icons.  And when you mouse over them, two wonderful things happen:

  • You get a preview of the window that pops out above the dock icon and….
  • The entire interface dims out all but the windows you are previewing, enabling you to see all of what’s in there.

As a consequence, Microsoft Windows actually does windows now!  Prior to that, I could not run more than a few apps at once on my PC.  I use a Mac too and frequently have 30-4o windows open with 10-15 applications.  Under Windows Vista and predecessors, that number of windows was simply unmanageable.   Now, Windows is actually as good as managing lots of windows as my Mac.

It’s interesting to see Apple borrowing some of the functional ideas for its new Snow Leopard from Windows 7.  I hear that the Alt-TAB functionality in Snow Leopard will shade out the other windows that don’t belong to an application so you can more easily pick which application you want.   Windows 7 does that, but Alt-TAB switches between windows, and not applications. I prefer switching between applications the way my mac does because usually if I am working on a project, I will have several apps open to work on it, and the most recent window for that app is almost always the one I want when switching between them.

But the improvement in Windows Heaven of actually letting me SEE the windows I’m tabbing over, instead of that stupid ridiculous long name that I can’t read quickly, is just fine!

I actually bought some stock in Microsoft. Not just because of this OS, but the company seems to be changing the way it works, innovating more, trying new things.  That’s new for Micro-shaft (which is what I used to call it).  They’re a bit late in the game with some technologies, but with some new things coming out, I’ve got my eye on them.

Maybe it’s cause Bill’s gone.  Never did like him much. He has a whiney voice, and looks like his butt’s in the front of his body instead of the back.  That’s not his fault and I don’t want to knock him for it – he’s apparently a very generous man!  But I’ve never been impressed with the way he ran Microsoft.  In my opinion he thought backwards, too, gobbling up other companies and then trashing their products instead of designing new things.

We’ll see what Microsoft does next!