Friday, September 7, 2012

A Touch of Madness Over Windows 8

Article first published as A Touch of Madness Over Windows 8 on Technorati.

A touch of madness over Windows 8

Change never comes without cost and it's usually exacted by chipping away at our comfort zone.   Like some tortured victim of Stockholm syndrome we'll  irrationally rise up against any threat to our routines.
So the coming release of Windows 8 might as well be a new red scare to many tech industry bigwigs and pundits. 

It began  with a dire prediction about the fallout of Windows 8 from game industry mogul Gabe Newell of Valve:" I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space. I thinkwe’ll lose some of the top-tier PC/OEMs, who will exit the market."

It continued with rumblings from industry pundits over changes to the way we'll be interacting with the Windows 8 interface.  From removal of the startbutton to optimizations for touch sensitive devices that irritatedindustry press it seems  those "in the know" are of mixedopinion at best.

It doesn't matter.

Think of all the convoluted keyboard shortcuts and permutations of pointing devices and it becomes obvious that we've hated our interaction with computers for years.  If the experience was ideal we wouldn't be trying to minimize it with ergonomic gimmickry.

Chances are pretty good that most of you have a Smartphone, tablet or both and you've become accustomed to getting your stuff with a tap or a swipe.   For many it's preferable.  So is it any surprise that Microsoft thinks you want to do the same on your desktop? 

If Microsoft is guilty of anything, it's of being a bit early to the party.  If touch interfaces weren't popular Apple would never have bothered with the IPAD and Microsoft wouldn't be getting into tablets in a big way with Windows RT and Surface. 

The way you work with your PC today will be very different from how you use it just 10 years from now.  That may sound like futurist prophesying but consumer preferences eventually permeate the workplace.
 Consumers have voted for touch with their wallets, just take a look at IPAD sales for proof.  They will come to expect it in all their digital interactions even if it involves a little pain at first.

That means touch on your desktop is in your future and you'll learn to like it, even if you don't know it yet.