Not very long ago my wife and I bought a new laptop. The new laptop is running Windows 8, although there are many things about it I haven’t figured out yet, Windows 8 is beginning to remind me of American politics. Let me explain.
Windows 8 is highly divided. The old familiar and functional desktop is hidden in the background and the start menu is now the start screen. The two no longer work in tandem, instead you either are working on the desktop or you working on the start screen.
The start screen sits in the forefront. It gets all the publicity and attention. It’s touted as the newest, latest, greatest, and trendiest. On the start screen are a multitude of apps running concurrently. Often the apps are less functional than going to the original in a browser on the desktop hidden away underneath.
The start screen is designed to imitate other devices such as smart phones and tablets. But it’s silly to have the more powerful computer imitate these less powerful devices by being less functional. Kind of like political leanings that want to imitate the programs and policies of less accomplished nations.
The apps appear to be giving you more, seeing headlines from facebook, twitter, and several news outlets all at the same time. But the individual apps are choosing for you which pieces of information in their arena they display. It’s no longer necessary for the user to take responsibility to decide what they want and work for it. Instead sit back and let others decide for you.
The operating system is also pushing me to use the start screen. Often when I start a program on the desktop they will give me a note saying I could have used an app. If I want to use some of old familiar programs I have to work extra hard to find them and make them work. They are hidden away in the dark recesses of the start screen.
So Windows 8 reminds me of our political situation—strongly divided, less functional, modeled after foreign ideas, propaganda driven and becoming mandated.