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I was surprised when I stumbled upon the news that Microsoft will release a new version of Windows in a few weeks. I don’t know, and knowing things like that is my job.
Not so long ago, a new paradigm of Windows software was a standout technological moment. Now, the launch of Windows is basically nonexistent. This shows that technology has evolved from a succession of Big Bang moments into something so entwined with our lives that we often don’t notice it.
The bottom line is that a lot of the technology didn’t become a big deal. And that’s a huge problem.
The final version of Windows as we know it is said to have been released in 2012. At that time, I was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and my professional life that year was dominated by the Windows 8’s launch – including its predictions, strategy, and eventual reception.
But it’s basically the end of an era. New releases of Windows have since gradually become less important. One important reason is that personal computers are no longer central to our digital lives. A new iPhone model gets a lot of attention – although it shouldn’t get as much – but an update to Windows doesn’t.
However, the supreme power of smartphones is an incomplete explanation. Windows starting around 2015 started to be tweaked regularly – just like Netflix, Facebook and every app on your smartphone and the software that runs the phone itself.
In other words, Windows is just changing in a constant trickle that most people don’t realize. Instead of waiting years to get a new computer, we’re getting a new PC with every tweak. The new version of Windows revamps the look and feel of the software and improves features like reordering applications. But as Microsoft gradually modifies Windows, new versions of the software are less important to most people.
This change to Windows is part of a remarkable transformation at Microsoft. The company’s obsession with Windows has threatened to send Microsoft into a state of inability to adapt to technology. Then Microsoft hired a new CEO in 2014, and suddenly Windows was no longer the beating heart of the company. That shows how much institutions can change.
But more than that, launching Windows transforms from something big into something a professional tech writer doesn’t see coming that reflects what technology has become. It is no longer a shiny new object that comes out of the box every now and then. Technology is all around us and it’s completely normal.
My colleagues and I write a lot about the downsides of technology’s impact on our brains, our towns, and the world, but I don’t want to forget that either.
I remember the magical feeling when I first hit the Uber app and a car appeared at my door. On my last major pre-pandemic vacation, I decided to change my travel plans now and book a room at a bed and breakfast while standing by a hiking trail. long in the north of England. Also, like many of you, I’ve been working from home since March 2020 and doing so will be much harder by the time Windows 8 is released.
We always have new versions of Windows and Netflix. We take a lot of this for granted and understandably as such. But sometimes it’s also worth stopping to appreciate the magic.
Before we go…
Short-lived censorship hints at a fight for internet freedom: A group of exiled activists advocating greater democratic freedoms in Hong Kong have temporarily taken down their website by an Israeli website hosting company after a request from Hong Kong police. . My colleague, Paul Mozur, writes that the case demonstrates that the police are using their new broad legal authority over online speech to try to silence dissidents in both countries. Hong Kong and distant countries.
What is the “worst” language in India? Google gives a definite answer to that search query, and people aren’t happy about it. The company apologized but the episode highlights pitfalls in Google’s infobox, which sometimes cause errors or wild opinions, my colleagues Mike Ives and Paul Mozur report.
Young people are obsessed with the keyboard? A keyboard app has taken the #1 spot on the App Store, as young people are using it to copy and paste spam to their friends. Gizmodo has a coherent explanation. Also, I just learned that some of The Young love to customize and create their own mechanical keyboards. The kids are fine.
This is four giant cats chewing on peas. (The person on the far left is the messiest and therefore the tastiest.)
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