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Why do software designers hate people?

Evidently they do. This is the only conclusion I can reach after enduring the horror that is Windows 8.

I used to run Windows XP. While it was not perfect – it was Windows, after all – it was easy enough to use. The creeps at Microsoft decided that being easy enough to use was a Bad Thing, so they decided  to create a system that was completely different from what people were used to, hard to understand, needlessly complex, and required much more disk space.  And so Windows 8 was born and let loose upon the world.

I was told that Windows XP was obsolete and I needed to upgrade to a new system. Windows 7 was due to become obsolete in the near future, so I was advised that my best option was to move to  Windows 8.

Yeah, I know – Windows is evil and I should know better than to listen to experts. My only consolation is that there are plenty of others who are suffering in a similar fashion.

Gone are the tabs and toolbars that enabled easy navigation. Instead, icons lurk in the margins and have to be summoned by moving the cursor to the margin and hoping they will appear.

Once they have appeared, you have to make sure you don’t disappear them by accidentally moving the cursor 5 millimeters in the wrong direction – which may cause other icons to appear - icons that you did not want.

If your mouse control is not perfect, you have to go through several steps to get to where you want to be. The designers of Windows 8 decided to make you use the mouse more often so you could get repetitive strain injury – extra spite points for them and chronic injury to add to your rage and frustration with Windows 8.

Take email for example. Once upon a time the toolbar was just there, all the time, and the names of the tools were on the toolbar. This was too convenient for users, so the Microshitheads got rid of it. They replaced it with a hidden toolbar that has to be summoned by the mouse. This toolbar is populated by cutesy little pictorial icons that are not named – you have to put the cursor on them for the name to pop up. Why? How does this benefit anybody?

Once you have managed to identify the icon you want, extra mouse clicks are required to do what you wanted to do – if you haven’t given up by now.

As for figuring out what the funny little pictures stand for – first on the left is a square something that could be an old-style disk, used in the 90s, or maybe the back end of a bus. Let the mouse hover over it, and you learn that it means “save draft”. Right.

Next we have an icon which can be identified as a clipboard and a lined sheet of paper – this represents copy and paste. Then comes AA, which stands for font – did you guess that from looking at it? Me neither.

The bold, italic and underline icons are familiar enough. Then we come to a circle with two chain links inside it. If you want to put a link to a website in your email, you have to use this. You can’t just copy and paste the link in the brave new world of Windows 8 – again, too easy to be allowed by the Microsoft minions.

Imagine if car designers decided, without consulting consumers, to completely redesign the way a car is driven. Say for example they got rid of the steering wheel and replaced it with a joystick which moved backward if you wanted to go forward and vice versa. Further inspiration leads them to do away with foot pedals for accelerator and brake, replacing them with hand controls which are located at odd places around the car and labelled with ambiguous symbols. There would be outrage in the media and chaos on the roads. This is essentially what Microsoft has done with Windows 8.

Taking the car comparison further, if you want to drive a car with old technology, like a vintage car, you still can. Microsoft has made sure you can’t use the older software that was familiar and did what you needed it to do.

Call this the rant of a pathetic technophobe if you like, but many people share my opinion of Windows 8 – even a computer expert of my acquaintance.

End of rant. Your comments, as always, are welcome.