Sunday, March 16, 2014

Assimilation Isn't All That Bad

Back in the late 1990's I used to jokingly refer to Microsoft as “Micro-Borg”. It was, of course, a reference to the Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation and their quest to assimilate any and all cultures they encountered. Back in those days, Microsoft was, well, kind of hated and being the dominant computer software company and their penchant for suing smaller companies for patent infringements or simply buying up their competition is what caused me to make the correlation between them and the Borg. The funny thing is, now I find myself being assimilated, as it were. Last year I used my tax refund to buy a new laptop that had Windows 8 pre-installed; this year, I bought a Surface 2 tablet, and I keep entering drawings to try to win different Nokia model Windows Phones.[1] Not only that, but last weekend I decided to subscribe to Office 365 (I’ve been an OpenOffice/LibreOffice user for at least a decade now).
It’s funny to me that anything that starts with a lower case letter ‘i’ is all the rage nowadays, and I find myself preferring Microsoft. It just seems to me that Apple has become the new Microsoft with the law suits and trying to control everything. In some ways I think Apple is worse than MS was in the 90s, but that’s just my opinion. Hell, MS even recently settled a potential lawsuit against them by changing the name of SkyDrive to OneDrive; the Microsoft of the 90s would’ve fought that and probably would have won too. That, combined with the fact that most “iDevices” tend to cost much more than devices running Windows or Android, just really turns me off. I don’t feel the need to pay that much just to have a certain logo on whatever device I’m buying.[2]
I’m in no way saying Microsoft is perfect. There are still plenty of things that I don’t like; Internet Explorer (or should I say Exploder) comes to mind for example. Still, though, I’m one of those sick bastards that actually likes Windows 8, despite some of its annoyances. You have to give MS credit for attempting to create an OS UI that spans three device models (PC, Tablet, and Mobile Phone). The only thing I don’t like (as of 8.1) is that I can no longer remotely access my home PC via OneDrive – I really don’t see why that was removed, frankly. I also don’t understand why the ability to be a host for remote access via a mobile app isn’t available without upgrading to 8.1 Pro (I’m just sayin’, it would be useful to be able to remotely control my laptop from my Surface or from my Galaxy Note 2).
So, yeah; “MicroBorg” has at least partially assimilated me. I use Office 365 on a Windows 8.1 based laptop and Windows 2013 RT on the Surface 2. I actually like the Metro UI (even with it’s annoyances, which aren’t that annoying if you take the time to learn the new UI). I like the direction Microsoft is going with the idea of a cross-platform OS and UI. I know there are many who disagree, but in the end, all arguments for or against Microsoft, Apple, or Android become subjective, in my opinion.
~ JC

[1] As much as I actually do like Windows 8.1, I’m still and Android user for my smartphone; the Metro UI is fine for tablet and PC, but the Windows Phones I’ve looked at in the stores just haven’t appealed to me, plus there are a lot of apps that I use on my phone that aren’t available in the Windows Store (yet?).
[2] I do have to admit, though, that in the case of tablets, the ones worth having (iPad, Surface, and Samsung Galaxy series) are all around the same price point.
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