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The New World Is Flat

I read an article about how to make Windows 10 look like 7 yesterday.

It was a good article, and one that gave me hope that even though I'm about to get a computer upgrade at work with this particularly nasty obligatory OS upgrade on it, there are ways to have it retain the look and feel of the Windows I know and love the most. Windows 7, of course.

I know and love this particular variant of the Windows franchise not only for the sublime aesthetics, of which this one wasn't only a pinnacle but maybe the last of its kind, but also because of the rich functionality and lack of unnecessary features that bog you down. Like the additional splash screen, ribbons, and square shortcuts introduced in the new. With element colors that don't all contrast or shift, and thus make for a bland interface where it's not immediately clear where to click and where to drag, and what to do where. Not to mention the horrible new Paint program that seems designed entirely for touchscreen devices, and the telemetry/integrity issues there's little to do about.

I do understand that security, speed, and other functionality keep improving, but I do wish they'd only change what can be improved, and not everything just for the sake of... well, what is it? Why do they make the changes they do? Do they feel like sales will stagnate if they don't make drastic changes? And how did this diabolical block trend start? Minecraft? I still haven't figured it out.

Despite my resentfulness for this in-some-circumstances unavoidable system upgrade, however, this one article bestowed upon me a sense of hope and familiarity... until I made the mistake of reading through the comments below it.

I was hoping to find some additional tips on the article topic, but instead I found a bunch of Windows 10 fanboys ranting about how they couldn't understand how anyone wanted to switch back. On with the new, out with the old! On with flat design, out with the 'bubbly'! On with whatever's modern and out with whatever's passé!

There were commenteers there who appreciated the article though, and mentioned this. There were people who appreciated the design and functionality of the old, the lack of clutter and ribbons, the reliable, and tested, and intuitive - people much like me. They were met with heavy critique and comments like "Well why don't you just go back to Windows 98? Or 3.1? Now that was a ground-breaking OS!", and pretty much every single pro-Windows 7 comment was given a large amount of downvotes and harsh words, while even the most condescending comments praising Windows 10 as the epitome of betterment since the ugly OS's of old were voted up. There were hundreds. This on an article aimed at users who liked Windows 7. Talk about writing for the wrong audience.

It made it pretty clear what kind of audience likes the new, and which one likes the old. The old: the old? No. The functional. The humble. The designers. The knowledgeable. The respectful. The traditional and nostalgic, sure, those too. People of all types, except for maybe the immature, oblivious and resentful. Those people all liked Windows 10.

I doubt they know what the mere-exposure effect is, and that it applies as much to them as to the previous generation. The reason they like the new is in large the same reason that other people like the old, but I doubt bothering to explain that over there would've garnered anything but another condescending comment.

So to each their own. Let them enjoy their square era of gray and flat and boring, while I flourish in the traditional and old but equally wonderful, well-designed, well-working, well-tested OS with its abundance of 'bounce' - or if I can't keep that, then at least its apparitional appearance mimicked by tweaked settings on the new system and the useful toolset mentioned in the article.

Those comments... I'm even more anti Windows 10 now than I was before I went there and read them.

It's a bit like old architecture isn't it. They put an incredible amount of effort in the constructions of old; into the little details, building buildings that weren't only functional but also artistic and enjoyable to look at. Both inside and out. Now it's all made at the whim of supply and demand, for fast profit, all monotone easily manufactured blocks. Both frames and windows. Little boxes where we box ourselves in with our new boxes with boxy interfaces.

I don't like it, but until old becomes new again this is how it is. The new world isn't round, it's flat.


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