In the immortal words of Diana Ross, "I’m Coming Out, I Want the World to Know"”. And what exactly is my secret? I am the guy Microsoft makes all the eye candy for.
You see, there are a large (and vocal) number of computer users who are faced with things like Clippit the Office Annoyance or the drop shadow on the cursor in Windows 2000 and they respond with comments like "Why can’t Microsoft stop making things prettier and focus more on keeping Windows from crashing so much?".
I am not one of those people.
I am that mythical user who would rather have Windows 98 or 2000 or 3452 crash more often if that’s what it takes to make my menus fade in or to have ever-cooler icons infest the operating system. And to those of you who wince at my admission, I have even worse news: I am not alone.
This little rant is inspired by my having finally gotten around to putting Windows 2000 on one of my computers. I am actually quite impressed with it; As I am fond of saying, we can’t compare a result to an ideal and say it is inadequate, we must compare the product to what exists and evaluate whether it is an improvement. And, by this more forgiving measure, Windows 2000 succeeds.
Being a geek at heart, I’ve always liked Windows NT, and this makes NT almost approachably friendly, at least by PC standards. And more importantly, it’s pretty. Menus fade in and out. Pointless animations abound. Some parts make the Mac smile look almost austere and professional in comparison.
If this be Windows for Dummies, then call me dumm. I like it.
And lots of end users I talk to like it, too. If I have to spend all day looking at something, (and a lot of us do) and its job is to serve me, not to be my partner, I’d rather it be pretty than smart. I don’t have to be politically sensitive to these machines, they’re not people. And I like ’em dumb and pretty. If I want intellectual challenge, I’ll boot up a human.
Anyone else want to come out, too? Who out there, when faced with the inevitable conflicts between form and function will admit to occassionally picking form over function? Of course it’s a matter of degree, (I’m not running dashes.com on an Amiga, no matter how elegant they were…) but isn’t there a place for mindless prettiness?
Please, let me know.