The Macalope really has to hand it to Microsoft with the Surface. If nothing else, people are talking about the company again.
That’s not to say that all of it’s been good.
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes says “Windows 8 Pro on Microsoft’s Surface: A usability nightmare.”
Well, OK, but as Ed Bott rightly replies “I thought judging usability required that you *use* it.”
Which gets to a Macalope pet peeve that he likes to call “Whatever happened to qualifiers?” When did they fall out of fashion? Is there something we can do to bring them back into fashion? Release a sex tape of qualifiers or something?
That doesn’t sound very exciting.
Anyway, Kingsley-Hughes seems pretty set on this notion.
Not only has Microsoft’s insistence on cobbling together the “Classic” and “Metro” user interfaces resulted in an absolutely repugnant user experience, but a tablet is hardly the place to start hoping that things will work the same as they do on a desktop or notebook system.
With the caveat that we still haven’t tried the darn thing, that’s the Macalope’s thought as well. But if you’re Microsoft …
Well, if you’re Microsoft, God help you. Seriously. Sooo awkward. Just look at that sweater vest. Not to mention the flood pants.
But, if you’re Microsoft, what else are you going to do? Android tablets have, by-and-large, failed at the “Me, too!” strategy of what the next big thing will be. Which isn’t surprising, because when someone asks “Hey, what’s the next big thing going to be?”, saying “Me, too!” is not only not a good response, it’s just weird. Kind of creepy, actually. The only normal reaction to that kind of response is to smile and slowly back your way toward the door.
So, credit to Microsoft for trying something different. Here’s what the company has to say for itself:
“We believe that Apple has it wrong,” says [Microsoft’s chief operating officer Kevin] Turner. “They’ve talked about it being the post-PC era, they talk about the tablet and PC being different, the reality in our world is that we think that’s completely incorrect.”
Well, apparently. Of course, Apple’s been pretty successful so far with the way it’s been doing things, so ball’s in your court, Redmond.
And has been for more than two years.
Right … there.
No, further to the … no. Colder. Colder. Ice cold.
“We believe with a single push of a button you can move seamlessly in and out of both worlds. We believe you can have touch, a pen, a mouse, and a keyboard.”
And a toothpick. And corkscrew. And a paring knife. And an awl. And Jimmy Smits. We’re not sure how he got in there, but there he is.
The Macalope hates the “time will tell” aphorism, so he won’t subject you to it. Let us say, though, that however it turns out, he’s looking forward to whenever it is that the Surface arrives and people can actually use it and see if it’s a “usability nightmare” or “the best of both worlds.”
[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]