Let’s start at the start. I’ve been a Windows user since 1995, when I bought my first computer – a DX2-66 running Windows for Workgroups 3.11. I dabbled with OS/2 on that machine for a short while but went back to Windows so I could learn Photoshop 3, having taught myself how to use CorelDRAW 3 a year or so earlier.
In 1998 I was exposed to MacOS 9 and wasn’t overly impressed with it. In 1999 I had my first go at Linux, which I persevered with on dual-boot for a couple of years before finally giving up. It was about then that I realised that something Winston Churchill once said about democracy also applied to Windows – it is the worst possible OS, except for all the others.
I first used OS X at work in 2004 or so and didn’t find it a greatly improved over OS 9. Shortly after I came to the conclusion that OSes are largely unimportant, it is the software we run on them. Since then I have worked out that you choose your software applications first, then find the OS that best supports them. Unless you are tied to Final Cut Pro or Logic Audio, the only OS that makes sense under this philosophy is Windows.
Luckily, this epiphany came to me at about the time WindowsXP was released, so it wasn’t hard to convince myself that I was on the right track. XP was a revelation and in all the time I’ve been using Windows since then, I have only experienced one Blue Screen of Death (BSoD). Even that was due to an out of date driver and was easily fixed by downloading a later version. Applications still crash on me now and then but they never take the system down with them.
I don’t think of myself as an early adopter; I stuck with Win98SE for a long time, skipping WinMe and Win2000 altogether (although I did use Win2000 at work for a few years) and I didn’t get into Vista until SP1 was available and resisted Win7 until I bought a new PC that came with it pre-loaded. I don’t even particularly like Win7 – for every good feature there seems to be something that is worse than it was before – which is why my M4400 still runs XP.
So why have I been so quick to take up Windows 8? The answer is easy, it is because of the Metro design language MS have been using for some time now. I first experienced it when I bought a ZuneHD in 2010 and I loved it instantly. It was so intuitive that it was almost impossible not to over-think its operation. i.e. The obvious way to do things was too obvious and so simple that you wouldn’t think it could be so easy, so you tended to look for some way that required more effort, just because that’s how we are used to things being. After that I bought into WindowsPhone 7, which led to Windows 8. I was happy to follow because it appeals to me as a graphic artist. The aesthetic is clean and fresh, with the emphasis on functionality over fussy design. And it works.