Large shiny graphics seems what sells these days. Steve Jobs encouraged people to lick Aqua and now goes at length to show every little gratuitous animation in Tiger; new Longhorn prototypes have fancy effects and huge photorealistic icons. The emphasis shifted from productivity to attractiveness and joy to use. But is that necessarily a bad thing?
It is kind of like junk food. Companies like to sell it and people like to eat it but it isn’t good for them, and smart people know better. It wouldn’t be so bad except in this scenario everyone exclusively sells junk food because the companies don’t think anything else would sell.
I know some non-technical people that work in an environment that has mixed Windows 2000 Pro and Windows XP Pro computers. They refer to Windows 2000 as “professional” and Windows XP as just “XP.” This tells me that many people do realize that there is a difference.
Hmmm, wouldn’t licking Aqua cause some serious hallucinations? (smiles)
Speaking of the newer GUIs, what do you think about the upcoming incarnations of Mac OS X (Tiger) and Windows (Longhorn)?
I really haven’t been following either too closely. The new version of Mac OS X sounds cool but seems nothing earth-shattering. I stopped reviewing Windows pre-release for my site a long time ago because I felt it was just increasing the hype for a product that I don’t care for. I will, of course, review the final versions whenever they come out.
I hear that Longhorn is moving towards using 3D acceleration for rendering applications. A fairly sound move given the state of modern hardware and Apple seems to already do that, but I think it has some downsides. It is common for low-end video cards to have poor video drivers, and these may have problems with longhorn. Unlike Apple, Microsoft cannot control the quality of other vendors’ hardware or software. I also wonder how a move to 3D accelerated rendering for application would affect applications running under future versions of Terminal Server. Also, knowing Microsoft, they will probably get carried away with making the desktop environment 3D like a video game. Until the day comes we all have 3D holographic displays, we still see and interact with the the video screen as 2D (even if it’s rendered by 3D hardware).
I am a little worried about how they plan to leverage this technology. Most people these days just use their computer to browse the web, and people have this crazy idea that everything should be a webby application. Considering the web is mostly 2D documents, how is Microsoft planning to force people to use this stuff now?
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Resources: Toasty Tech GUIs
Interesting interview, but most of what Nathan has discussed and said about Graphical User Interfaces, Microsoft and Windows is fundamentally conflicting. First he says that the new user interfaces coming out from Apple and Microsoft (Tiger & Longhorn), are junk food and aim too much on simplicity.
Then at the same time, he wants complexity in his interface because simple interfaces spoil users. Windows is not bloated, it has added a tremendous amount of features over the years, but its only to enhance the user experience. Adding a web browser to Windows was a decision by Microsoft to make the Internet a fundamental part of the Windows user experience, to the extent that Windows cannot function properly without it. If I were to compare Windows to Mac OS, I would say OS X is more bloated than Windows, because of tonne of applications included.
Windows Longhorn is not 3D accelerated entirely, certain graphical elements of the OS are such as how windows are rendered, images, videos are taken care of by GPU instead of CPU. Yes, there won’t drivers supported on some older model computers to take advantage of the Graphical requirements of Longhorn. That is why Microsoft made a sensible decision to continue supporting the Windows Classic tier for older hardware.
Interesting interview, but a few non-sensical opinions by Mr. Lineback