In the second series of the old BBC television series, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Reggie opens a store called “Grot”. Grot sells useless things—square hoops, undrinkable wine. Much to his dismay the store catches on, both as a curiosity and as the perfect place to buy a gift for someone you despise. If Philip Greenspun is to be believed, Windows 8 would fit perfectly into Grot’s product line:

Microsoft has had since October 2008 to study Android. It has had since June 2007 to study iPhone. It seems as though they did not figure out what is good about the standard tablet operating systems.

One thing that Android and iOS do not address is how to handle the requirement of offering a legacy Xerox Alto-style mouse-and-windows environment. Microsoft here integrates the tablet and the standard Windows desktop in the most inconvenient and inconsistent possible way. Due to the desperation of the average consumer to watch television at all times on all devices, the typical computer screen is fairly wide. One would think therefore that it would be possible to use traditional applications in the left-hand two-thirds of the screen while running a tablet environment on the right-hand one-third of the screen. Windows 8 does not allow this. It is either the old Windows XP desktop or the new Android-like tablet environment. As far as I can tell they cannot be mixed except that a tablet app can be set to appear in a vertical ribbon on the left or right edge of the screen.

A reasonable user might respond to this dog’s breakfast of a user interface by trying to stick with either the familiar desktop or the new tablet. However, this is not possible. Some functions, such as “start an application” or “restart the computer” are available only from the tablet interface. Conversely, when one is comfortably ensconced in a touch/tablet application, an additional click will fire up a Web browser, thereby causing the tablet to disappear in favor of the desktop. Many of the “apps” that show up on the “all apps” menu at the bottom of the screen (accessible only if you swipe down from the top of the screen) dump you right into the desktop on the first click.

I’m quite sure that Microsoft doesn’t care. It views its user base in the hundreds of millions as captives. We’ll go along whether we like it or not.

31 comments… add one
  • Well….I’m sure IBM thought that way too once.

  • I called that grotty little McSwine and told him that I could see no alternative other than driving to Houston and visiting the office.

    “I won’t be pleased, but sometimes we have to do things that aren’t much fun.”

  • Of course, I’d be entertained doing my Princess Diana shtick, but I doubt he’d like it much.

  • I was Molly in Mousetrap and Nerissa in Merchant of Venice when I about 21. After I hit the windshield.

    I thought acting would restore my self-confidence. It helped.

  • El Centro Jr. College in downtown Dallas.

  • i still have Uta Hagen on the bookshelf.

  • And Stanislavski. And Shurtleff.

  • Costume can make or break a production, don’t you think?

  • All right, I’ve finished the last jot of condo business, and updated all my bill and insurances, started a new savings account.

    Rock is standing on the path to my future. That’s a real bad place to stand right now.

  • Called him again and gave him two days. Time to pack to roll.

  • Rats! I have the Christmas Cabaret ticket for Fri night. Have to wait ’til Sun or Mon.

  • Just sent a letter of complaint to Investor Relations at Sunoco Logistics in Philly.

  • It was formal and courteous, but firm.

  • Andy

    Maybe it’s me and getting older, but I really hate it when software companies change interfaces. I still really hate the changes Microsoft made to office with the 2007 version and it sounds to me like Windows 8 is yet another example. Looks like I’ll be keeping Windows 7 ultimate for a long time.

  • Big, insensitive, unresponsive…how about BaseballHQ, comes through USA?

    Provides all sorts of info to fantasy baseball players. My boy was one, that’s how we met. Boy dies July 19, charge shows up in October.

    I might have kept records for the league for 13 years, but I’ve got other things to do now. I call to object and cut this subscription. Again, no one will call me back.

    That one I just turned over to the bank that handles the charge card.

    I’m a Mustang by alma mater. I kick down stalls.

  • USA Today

  • League auction — just a one day event. The boys kept records otherwise.

  • Every local business I deal with provides good to great service.

  • Real people doing real things. Or least something. They don’t lead me to suspect that they spend all day watching Internet porn.

  • So I talked to Donna, Dave and Dorothy’s daughter in Houston.

    Dorothy is 88 now, and as well as can be expected at that age. Some pain, some difficulty getting around, some short term memory loss due to dementia.

    She could take a visitor.

  • We all lose touch over time. My sister and brother were afraid to call. I get all the worst jobs.

    And the best rewards.

  • My brother said something funny many years ago.

    “I’m tired of beating my brains out. I’m ready to beat somebody else’s brains out.”

  • Kendo is really expensive. I can’t afford it.

  • “Are you feeling lucky, punk?”

  • Hell, if that’s the kind of employee they’ve got corporate, no wonder the damn business lost $700 mil.

  • Don’t be so f*****’ smug, Rocky boy.

  • I can afford a little of this and a little of that.

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