I’m typing this on my brand new Laptop. Said Laptop came with the dreaded software bug, otherwise known as Windows 8. I HATE Windows 8. It’s clunky, it’s interface is designed for a touch screen (vs. designed for a full on computer), and it’s extremely unintuitive (I had to make a short cut to the control panel because it’s so buried), and it’s changed so many standards that we’ve come so familiar with (coughs – start menu!). A friend of mine said if Windows 8 were a movie, it would be Star Trek V: the – oh I can’t even remember the name of that crappy movie. Just that it was crap. Crap on a stick with butter and toast – but I digress…
For arguments sake, We’re going to lump all pre 95 versions into one version. They, just like Star Trek: The Motion Picture, have never been fan favorites. They had their merits, and to be fair, there wasn’t much to compare them to. Still, they were clunky and hard to operate. They probably would have been duds if there were any other options out there. But Trekies and computer users alike were forced to go with what they had, or not at all. Ok, computer users could have gone with a Mac, true, but that’s besides the point. In all honesty though, I look back at Star Trek: The Motion Picture with the same fondness I have for Pre 95 versions of Windows. It’s clunky, it’s stupid – but it’s also so nostalgic and despite the plot and memory holes, it feels like a simpler, more innocent time.
And then came Windows 95 – like a Genesis missile launching to a planet, giving new life to everything. I know this is going to make some people really upset, but if there was one single piece of software that changed the world, it was probably Windows 95. It became the standard pretty early on, and the OS that really made home computing a friendly experience. It even brought the internet to the forefront of technology. And a bonus feature – every time you got the BSOD, an “illegal error,” or whatever, you almost wanted to yell KAAAAAAHHHHNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!! Or maybe GAAAAAAATTTEEEEESSSSSS. So yeah, if you hadn’t guessed by now, Windows 95 is the Wrath of Kahn. It showed us what a computer could do, just like Star Trek II showed us what a Trek movie could achieve. Hmmm, does this mean JJ Abrams is going to reboot Windows 95? Suddenly I’m remembering how I had to reboot every single time I changed something. GAAAAAAATTTEEEEESSSSSS!!!
A few years later came Windows 98. To be fair, it wasn’t a bad OS. It fixed a few things in Windows 95. It tried to be it’s own OS as well. Having said that – it really wasn’t much more than a splash in a pan. There was no real innovation – just evolutions on the existing OS. It wasn’t really a dud, it just – was. I would almost see it as a filler OS, just like, The Search for Spok (only not quite as slow -www.instantrimshot.com).
Windows 2000, while never meant to be a “home edition” really shook things up for the Windows user. In a good way. To be honest, while I can’t name one physical thing that Windows 2000 did, I can say that when I upgraded to Windows 2000, my BSOD rate plummeted dramatically. I think most people would easily say their computers ran a lot better with Windows 2000. Oh, but what Star Trek Movie does this equate to? Well, we could go with Generations I guess. It was a bridge. A bridge between stability and lack thereof. I’m bored with this paragraph – moving on…
Enter Windows ME. The last two paragraphs might have been dry – boring in fact. Well, I had to save all the humor I could for this paragraph. Windows ME SUCKED. And not just in a metaphorical way. Windows ME sucked the life out of everyone that used it. Seriously, I think a better name would be Windows Vampire. But it didn’t just suck the life force from everyone who came within a mile of a computer running said OS, it also sucked the resources of the computer itself. BSOD jumped up 5000% from previous versions of Windows . It required as much RAM as you could give it – and then forced you to close down every program you weren’t using immediately – because evidently Windows ME didn’t believe in Multi-tasking. Oh, but what about the Star Trek movie? I’ve already used Star Trek V: Shatner’s revenge. That’s ok, Insurrection fits the bill quite nicely. Windows ME sucked the life-force of out of computers and their users, Insurrection was about aliens trying to get their life force back by sucking the life force out of the audience. I can’t believe I saw that movie twice on opening day! Just call me a sucker.
And then came XP……Would I compare XP to any Star Trek movie per se? Maybe Star Trek VI. Honestly, this is where the argument goes into that of apples and oranges as the comparison of the two are less than intuitive. Yes, the two can be compared on the basis that they’re both among my favorites of the Star Trek Series and the Windows series, but really that’s where the analogy comes to a screeching halt, much like Captains Kirk and Sulu halted General Chang’s plans to…..wait, I said the analogy halted. The point is Windows XP was a great OS. I ran XP on four different machines – more than any other windows OS to date. And to really stretch the analogy, I probably watched Star Trek VI more than any other Star Trek Movie. How can I resist Captain Kirk kicking that alien in the knee nards?
My comparisons of Windows versions have almost been sequentially parallel to the Star Trek Movie I’ve compared them to. This was an intentional thing, and even a throwback to an earlier version of this article. Having said that, it’s a really good thing I rethought this – because Windows Vista does not, in any way shape or form, equate to Generations. Yes, some people didn’t like Generations – but I did. I did not, however, like Vista. I did not like it so much, that when it came to buy a new laptop circa 2007, I intentionally got a laptop with XP. At the time of Vista’s release, I read articles where businesses were actually going to switch to using LINUX because of Vista. That never really transpired mind you, but the fact that these unnamed businesses were even considering this move speaks volumes. The main problem with Vista is that Microsoft focused on Security and forgot about usability. I think Sheldon Cooper said it best – My new computer came with Windows 7. Windows 7 is much more user friendly than Windows Vista. I don’t like that. It just made a bad OS altogether. So….if Vista is not Generations, then what is it? I’ve used up all the bad Star Trek movies thus far except for one – Nemesis. Vista had so much potential, as did Nemesis, but neither lived up to their respected potential. In fact, I would argue that both of them lowered the bar so much that the next version of Windows, the next Star Trek movie, HAD to be good because they were NOT the last crap fest Microsoft / Star Trek threw at us like so many zoo caged monkeys!
So, does that make Windows 7 Star Trek (2009)? That would make Windows 7 the equivalent to the very best Star Trek movie ever, First freaking Contact! The borg had invade with their inferior version of Windows – but did Picard and the crew of the Enterprise give up? Hell no! They freaking came back and took back the Enterprise, just like Windows 7 took Windows 7 and made it back into a decent operating system. I’ve had two computers that used 7, and I confess – I’m in love with it. I wish this computer had Windows 7. I wonder if I can downgrade…..
Reboots in movies are tricky. When things change, people get confused and are often times left in the dark. But if they’re done properly, they can add value to an established lore. The same can be said about total redesigns of computer software. Windows 8, if had been done properly, could have been Star Trek (2009). Instead, we get Star Trek V. As I’m typing this – I’m downloading Windows 8.1, and hoping to God it’s better than Windows 8. But I’m not holding my breath – too many flaws in 8 for it to be fixed. I know Microsoft want to give us “one experience for all devices,” but the way I operate a laptop is NOT the way I operate a tablet or a phone. And until Microsoft
drags Steve Ballmer to the guillotine realizes this, they’re going to give us crap.