Here is a pic from the Windows Vista launch in Wellington today (courtesy of the Dom Post).
Now it is photos like these that come back to haunt in 30 years time with the caption “remember when…” or “blast from the past” and your grand kids will have no shortage of dumb questions like:
Jimmy – Granny/Granddad,what’s with the funny display? Why is it like an old painting?
You – Well Jimmy, way back then we thought we were clever because we had slimmed down from a huge CRT screen to a slim flat panel LCD screen. At the time we thought it was a big leap for man kind but I guess we had no idea of the possibility of the augmented reality displays you use at school today that makes life your visible canvas. They are more like the e-paper we get advertising the Warehouse and KMart except you cant zoom and pan with your fingers, translate it, fold it, or mark it as spam.
Jimmy – The big box the display is sitting on? Is that to raise the screen higher so you reduce the glare of all the shiny surfaces?
You - Ahhhh, yes, no that is the CPU/Hard drive, ahh its the processor and AI unit, except it doesn’t have AI. It looks hilarious I know but back in my day each computer took up the size of a couple of shoe boxes. All the circuitry and processors had to be hard-wired to the display, the keyboard, the mouse (I will tell you about this some other time) and all sorts of things. All connected up with somethings called “cables”. That box is the same as the wristcomputer/watch you are wearing now. Didn’t you get that from your breakfast cereal box?
Jimmy - What’s that black slab of plastic with all the buttons on it?
You - Ha ha yes that’s a keyboard Jimmy. This is something that evolved from a typewriter which was… ah nevermind… but a keyboard was an ingenious device that was primarily designed to give you arthritis slowly over time, and secondly as a way of “typing” in information. It’s kind of like your tactile gesture reader you have in your pocket there but much bigger and harder to use.
Jimmy - What is the old lady doing on the computer?
You - Playing solitare.
Jimmy - What is on the screen? There are boxes everywhere. What does the software do?
You - Well back then we had just started using personal computers to control our music, tv, home security and fridge.
Jimmy - Fridge? Isn’t that silly?
You - Yes it was. But after 10 years of thinking it made sense to have a similar OS that could control any electronic device with a processor we started to see it happening in 2007.
Jimmy - Ahh so is this the rise of OS X we have learnt about so much in school.
You - Not quite yet. That came in 2008. This was an OS called “Vista” as in “hasta la vista”, you probably wont have been told anything of this. It is referred to as the Bad Years and AppleOvernet doesn’t like anyone talking of these days.
Jimmy – If you couldn’t touch the screen or have AR then how did you interact with the programs, did you have to use the keyboard?
You - No there was another torturous device we all used back then called a mouse. It moved a pointer around on the screen and allowed you to click on one thing at a time. It also caused RSI and meant that my generation couldn’t open a jar of jam unassisted. They were banned in 2010.
Jimmy – Wasn’t it all very heavy to carry around?
You - Ha ha ha no Jimmy. Although they were called personal computers you didn’t take them with you. We had laptops which were similar but much much smaller that fit the size of your lap, except they found that the heat from the laptops was making everyone sterile. Did you know your father was grown in a test tube? I had an accident with a Dell laptop battery exploding in my groin that meant that Granny and I couldn’t make our own GoogleTube porn any more.