Ah, the wonders of technology! Just about every day I discover new wondrous things that one can do these days thanks to new developments in information technology.
For instance, when I point my car’s remote control at my car and press the button to lock or unlock it, my neighbor’s car’s lights flash and the car beeps if the car is parked not far from my house. That must mean that he too could use his remote to open my car if I park it in the driveway.
But that is not all. If my dog Lucy gets too close to a very expensive, gas-guzzling SUV of another neighbor of mine when I am walking her, and she likes to do that because she loves to smell tailgates for some reason the way women love to smell roses, the car beeps, the lights flash, and the car starts itself! I am not kidding! It must be some kind of a really super cool animal-machine interface that the car designers created without even realizing it. Since the technology for self-driving cars has been already developed and patented, it is probably only a matter of time before car stealing rings of criminals start employing this remarkable animal-machine interface to steal expensive cars.
I bought a new laptop sort of as a Christmas present for myself last month because the old one, which I had for only a few months, gave up its ghost after my return from Europe three months ago. I was able to check my e-mail with it and do the things that I normally do on my computer while on vacation because the hotels where I stayed had wireless Internet access, which meant that I was able to confirm a couple of translation jobs that were waiting for me here when I got back from my vacation. But the laptop somehow became damaged during the trip back, either by airport baggage handlers (I have seen how they handle baggage), or by the X ray machines. All it shows now is a death screen with pixels creating an abstract painting that sort of looks like a greenish lotus flower painted by Picasso who had too much Absinthe one night.
So I bought me a new, cheap laptop with Windows 8 installed on it. I was kind of hoping that this update of Windows would be again mostly sparkle ponies and rainbows like the previous updates, a new, shiny interface that would be fairly easy to use to get access to old, familiar functions.
But I absolutely detest this new interface in Windows 8. Because it is designed for touch devices: phones, tablets, and computers provided with a touch screen, it makes the computer extremely difficult to use for people who use a keyboard with a mouse. I have had it for about a month now and I am still struggling mightily with the basic function hiding behind the new interface.
There should be an option in Windows 8 for “Classic Mode” that would make it work like Vista or Windows 7. All these new application buttons seem irrelevant when you have a computer with a mouse. I tried to put some of them to use, but could not figure out why or how. There probably is no “Classic Mode” button in Windows 8 because all computer users with a mouse and a keyboard would immediately switch to it and stay there.
Plus the one Microsoft application that I really need, Microsoft Paint, is so well hidden in the new interface that I thought that since I could not find, it had been redesigned into something called Fresh Paint, which does not seem to work at all, at least for me. I have been using Microsoft Paint for scanning-in figures from foreign patents into my English translations for about 10 years now because it is very simple to use and because it was instantly available to me every time when I bought a new desktop or laptop computer and like most translators, I bought a lot of them in the last 10 years.
Fortunately, an alert reader of my blog pointed out that Paint is still available even in Windows 8, see comment from Roman in the Comments below.
I think that Microsoft decided to drastically redesign Windows 8 in this manner because the people running the company were asleep at the wheel while Apple’s iPod, iPhone and iPad and devices using Google’s Android operating system were selling like hotcakes, making Microsoft irrelevant.
But with this late entry of Microsoft into the new market for clever devices of the 21st century, Microsoft created an operating system that is not suitable at all for those of us who became comfortable with a mouse and a keyboard over the last 3 decades.
Since Apple is so greedy, I really have no choice but to keep learning new Microsoft operating system upgrades. I will continue using iPhone, but that is the only Apple product that I am willing to pay for. Hopefully, I will figure out in another year or two how Microsoft’s Fresh Vomit works.
I tried to make Lucy come to my new laptop and sniff it with her ears up and the pensive look on her face in the hope that her magical dog powers would somehow trigger in me a Satori moment in which all the mysteries of Windows 8 would suddenly be revealed to me.
But that did not happen. Lucy may know how to remotely start a car, but not even she can do anything about Windows 8.