On my drive home yesterday, I heard on the radio about this being the big weekend to preview Microsoft Windows 7. One reviewer’s first impressions are available here.
While still focused on driving, my mind did start to wander about my history with Windows. Like everyone these days, the household does have a computer or two hanging around. Like everyone, we keep looking forward to the day when these things truly become appliances and just work. But, that hasn’t happened yet and so I continue to look for the closest thing.
Due to the nature of my work, I need to know about these things so that I can understand and assist folks who are working at home. So, it should come as no surprise that I have Windows, Mac OS, and Ubuntu installed and working at various places. But, today, it’s all about Windows.
I foresaw the end of civilization when Windows, version 1, was released. After all, real computer users worked with the command line. We knew about switches and pathnames and attrib and the lot. We actually knew where stuff was stored and how it worked. We knew the difference between batch files, .com files, and .exe files. A year earlier, I had attended the MACUL conference and saw a demonstration of the Lisa computer. Pfffft. It’s just a scam to get people who didn’t know about computers to buy one. Well… So, over the years, I was proved wrong over and over.
Windows 3 – it was here that I became convinced that I was wrong and perhaps this mouse stuff would catch on. Windows 3.1 allowed for some interesting graphical displays and working with computers did become interesting for the masses. Lots of breakthroughs. There was even the concept of networking with Windows for Workgroups!
Windows 95 – just a glorified version of Windows 3, they say. Well, there’s got to be more to it than that. After all, revisions going from 3 to 95 had to mean something. It really did. Windows 95 was actually an OS in itself and you didn’t have to buy MS-DOS to sit under it.
Windows 98 – my biggest and fondest memory of Windows 98 was that it became mobile with USB support. I still remember paying $128 for a 32MB memory key. It was cutting edge and the concept of carrying your data from one computer to the next was really exciting.
Windows ME – somewhere around this time, we bought a new home computer and it came with this OS. Had to install it, of course. You couldn’t foresake the latest and greatest. For my money, this was much to do about nothing. Maybe I just didn’t install it properly.
Windows NT – How could you make life more confusing and complicated? Why not take all of these machines and network them? Delving into this field with NT and Windows 2000 added to the learning curve. Properly configured, you could do some amazing things in terms of performance and also managing decent sized networks.
Windows XP – This still is the standard for our workstations in our schools. It’s a real workhorse and most developers have written or re-written their code so that it runs under Windows XP without hassles. For the first time, when you buy software, you really don’t have to ask the obligatory, “Will it run under…?” But, Windows XP is now eight years old!
Computer use has become so much more sophisticated and the hardware and software needs to take advantage of these changes and so we have Windows Vista. Is this eye candy or what? I seem to be one of the few people that actualy like and use it regularly. Of course, the “experts” won’t run it until at least service pack 3, if at all, and are very vocal about it. Heck, they even recommend taking a perfectly tuned new computer and putting Windows XP on it. They may not get a chance with Windows 7 on the horizon. It looks interesting and I’ll be waiting to hear the reviews about it this weekend during the official preview launch.
Will I be switching to Windows 7? Quite probably to stay on top of the latest and most current. So, it’s been an interesting haul. With all that I’ve messed with, there were even more versions of Windows that I missed. See the complete timeline here.
Along this timeline, the concept of numbers sure has gone astray. By my count, we’re beyond version 7 of this GUI interface, aren’t we? Oh, man…. just a quick review of the above reminds me that I forgot about Windows BOB and CE.
Thank goodness I am a lifelong learner!
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