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Windows XP


Mac versus Windows

When I was young, my family only ever used Windows at home, but my school had late 00s iMacs in the computer lab, and I got an iPad for my birthday when I was young to play educational games, so I always wanted a Mac. I eventually got a crappy HP laptop, and a couple of years later, a crappy Dell laptop, which pretty much turned me off of Windows, especially the later, which ran Windows 10 on a spinning hard drive. So yeah.

Nowadays I use Mac exclusively, and they're mostly great, though Apple have made some choices with the Mac recently which I'm not exactly a fan of. For example, I don't really like the new Big Sur interface which seems to be more and more iOS-ified. Windows 10 and especially 11 aren't really good either, but I don't plan to switch to Linux, mainly because Linux doesn't have iTunes or the Mac's mitosis'd iTunes apps.

(Update 11/3/2023: Honestly, my opinion on Windows has softened recently. I still miss the glory days of 7 and XP, and I still can't stand Windows 11 and it's so-called improvements, but I suppose I could see myself using Windows 10. And there'll probably be some hack eventually to get Windows 11 looking and working like 10/7/XP/whathaveyou anyways. Honestly, I feel like the main reason for my opinion changing is that I keep growing to dislike the Mac's post-Big Sur interface more and more, and part of me misses Windows's customizability. So whilst I'm not rushing to dump my Mac right this second for a Windows computer, when I buy my next computer I'll have to weigh my options much more heavily!)

Update 25/6/2023: I also want to quickly mention how good Macs used to be! Macs used to be easily the best computers on the market around the turn of the milennium compared to contemporary PCs, at least from what I've seen of both, especially in the hardware design category, and continued being especially beautifully designed even into the late 2000s and early 2010s. Today, they look nice, but boring, even the colourful M1 iMacs, and they're just a lot more boring. The same goes for the software once they switched from skeuomorphism to flat design with OS X Yosemite, and the current software looks cartoonish.

There's not much anymore that makes Macs stand out especially compared to PCs are a better alternative, besides the fact that the out-of-the-box OS experience is not as bad, though that can easily be changed for Windows, and that the build quality and trackpac are assuredly excellent. But modern Windows laptops have better connectivity, and a better potential user experience, in my view, though I'll admit to being out of practice with Windows.

Windows 11

What the hell has Microsoft been thinking? One of the commonly touted advantages (from my experience) of Windows PCs over Macs is the customizability, and now Microsoft has gone and completely axed a good part of that. At least with Macs the dock doesn't have to be at the bottom, it can be at the left or right side to, but the Windows taskbar is stuck to the bottom. It also has that new centred look, basically ripping off Chromebooks, and the horrid new Start menu. Seriously, you can't replace the recommended files with more apps?

If there's anything that we've learned with Windows 8, 10 and now 11, it's that Microsoft just refuses to leave good enough alone. Meanwhile, the Mac interface hasn't really changed much (besides aesthetically) in quite a while, which I'm personally fine with, since if it ain't broke, you don't fix it! Though I do prefer the Mac's older skeumorphism to the new flat design.

Windows 8.1

In my opinion, the last good, or at least decent, version of Windows. With a couple of minor tweaks (Classic Shell, etc) it was basically a faster version of Windows 7. Microsoft mostly left the desktop unchanged, and it still had the Control Panel and all of that, and even the modifications were bearable. Windows 10 claimed to bring the best of both worlds, but it just muddled the desktop with Metro-y crap. Plus, it seems to me that Windows 8.1 was the last version of Windows that didn't hoist its crap in your face, since Windows 10 forced itself upon Windows 7 and 8.1 user very literally, and forced Candy Crush and co. upon users. And then, of course, Windows 10 removed some customization options, and Windows 11 removed many more.

Windows 10

It brought Windows back in the right direction (i.e. Windows 7 and XP) at first, but started going away from that with all the weird crap they did, and didn't really go far enough in the first place. But then, of course, Windows 11 makes it look amazing by comparison.

Update 1/1/2023: I could (and maybe should) make a rant about Windows 10 sometimes, but yeah. At first glance, it was better than 8, but they screwed everything up, added some weird crap and added a bunch of spyware. All I can say for it is that at least it isn't Windows 11.

(Update 11/3/2023: Honestly, my opinion on Windows 10 has softened recently! I still miss the glory days of 7 and XP, and I still can't stand Windows 11 and it's so-called improvements, but I suppose I could see myself using Windows 10. I suppose it might be a case of "you never know what you've got until it's gone", or in this case replaced, because Windows 10 was at least usable and had many similar interface elements to 8 and 7. Windows 11, however, is just screwing it up entirely, making Windows 10 seem like the best OS of the past decade by comparison. I still don't like the telemetry and auto-updates, though, but I believe there's ways to disable those. So when it comes time for me to buy my next computer, who know? I might well end up switching back to Windows!)

Update 30/3/2023: I tried my old installation, which hasn't been updated since 2019 and hasn't been used since 2020, of Windows 10 on Boot Camp today! The main issue was that it refused to install a feature update, though other updates did fine, but I suppose that's probably because it'd be hard to update from a three-year-old update directly to a new one. Also, I don't know exactly to transfer my iTunes library from Mac to Windows, though that's not something I want to do right now and is a future Lizzie problem. Anyways, I might well switch! We'll see.

OS X Ventura

Since it's apparently coming "this October" (it's October 2, 2022 as I write this), I thought I'd give my first impressions of OS X Ventura. (I still don't want to call it macOS, fight me IRL Apple!) Continuity Camera, where you pop your iPhone onto your Mac to get a 4k ultra-wide webcam for Zoom meetings, seems pretty pointless to me, especially with the improved webcams on recent Macs, but perhaps there's some reason it'd be really useful to some people that I don't know about. I don't really see a need for Stage Manager, hen I already do pretty much the exact same thing (creating different window sets for different tasks) by creating different virtual desktops: one for my Neocities, one for my schoolwork, one for my writing, etc., so it seems like a slightly different way to do the same thing.

Passkeys seem useful at first, but I'm a bit wary that by using them, you'd be locked into Safari and iPhones or whatever, and if you have a secure, memorable password (which I think I'm getting better at), then you're pretty much safe on-line already. The updates to Spotlight seem much-needed, since it's been in a pretty sad state for a while. I also appreciate the better search in Mail, though it's more of a minor convenience. And the new layout in System Preferences Settings seems pretty nice, though I wonder where external modules or whatever they're called, like Wacom tablet settings, for example, will fit in. I will kind of miss the current layout, though.

Overall, I feel like this is quite a nice update, though once again, there's nothing groundbreaking. But there's more new stuff that'd be useful to me in this version to compare to Monterey, though that's not saying much. Overall, I might upgrade if I really feel like it, but I don't really plan to.

Microsoft Office

I mainly use Apple's iWork, which is elegant and easy to use. Microsoft Office is crap. I've used the most recent version on a library PC, and I've even used Office 97 and Office XP on Windows XP, and all the options are buried, and there's no easy way to find most things. The user interface is generally confusing, and it's just hard to find options. I'll talk more about this later.

Microsoft Edge

Of the Chromium-based browsers, I suppose that it's the best, but that's not saying much. It's barely customizable, and they all have the same little flat interface that I'm so sick of. But oh well. I trust Microsoft a little more than Google.

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