Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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Tech Talk

Windows latest upgrade, a downgrade


One of the worst sins in rock and roll is singing your band’s name in a song. Nothing rings more lame or inauthentic, which is bizarre because in hip-hop, rappers are constantly saying their name. In fact, some of the biggest rappers of all-time made a name for themselves by building songs around their name, i.e. Eninem and the Beastie Boys. While there are exceptions, tech is much more in line with rock and roll than hip-hop. You’ll see banner ads, billboards and YouTube pre-roll advertisements for gadgets and websites, but television is generally the desperation move of tech relevancy. The most relevant example of the moment is Windows

The unwritten rule of no-television advertisement is not a tech commandment, but unless you’re up-and-coming or near untouchable, TV ads come off as simply sad. Microsoft was once one of those untouchable tech firms. In the 1990s, Windows was THE operating system. There were no real alternatives to Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Office was the most used software suite in the entire world. Today, close to all of those championship belts have been wrestled away by competitors, and Microsoft has become a bit of a laughing stock with consumers. Internet Explorer seems faulty, Microsoft Office is expensive compared to its free competitors, and Windows has been the gold standard operating system of security flaws, poor usability and general wonkiness in the tech industry.

In case you haven’t seen the ad, last week Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 to the world, and blaring the trumpet of its release was an ad talking about the new era of computing being ushered in. The ad boasts the children born today will have no tech concerns due to the awesomeness of Windows 10. No security worries, no need for passwords, no “How do I…” questions about their gadgetry, and the future will be so wonderful because they’ll basically live as one with their technology.

Right out the gate there are non-sequiturs with this method of advertising. First, it does not show you any of these things — it tells you about them. Would you buy a car without seeing it? Second, its liberal use of cute babies pushes for love and sentimentality that it doesn’t deserve because it’s a cold piece of software, and using small children is just manipulative. Come on Microsoft, you’re better than this.

But, of course, a piece of software is not its advertising campaign, no matter how ill-advised. Does Windows 10 deserve all that hype? Well, right out of the gate there were security and privacy concerns, so I’d vote “no.” Windows 10 is not a revolution; it’s basically a re-gifted version of Windows 8 or 7 (Microsoft decided to skip Windows 9 for some reason… must have had an even worse ad campaign). As soon as Windows 10 became available, two major issues were preposterously slow boot-up speeds and device Wi-Fi capabilities simply lost. Microsoft rolled out a security update almost immediately, and Wi-Fi fix instructions, but the public relations hit was already there. Anyone on the fence about embracing Windows has probably already decided to use something else.

Prep Iowa

Still, there are plenty of good reasons to upgrade to Windows 10. Microsoft has thrown all of its support system behind it, all windows 10 compatible devices will have the same look and feel (unlike Google Chrome/Android or Apple’s iOS/OS-X environments), and one magical word all consumers love: free. Microsoft is completely altering its business model and turning its golden goose into a free lunch. Anyone with a PC, laptop or tablet running Windows can get version 10 for free. So, even if there are security, privacy or boot-up concerns, Microsoft is sure to lure some knitwits with everyone’s favorite price-tag of $0. CV


Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. Follow him on Twitter @PatBoBomb.

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