The top of my search history right now is “notepad alternative that won’t lose my shit when the power goes out.” I REALLY love Notepad–it’s simple, light-weight, and focused–except when the power goes out, and I lose all of my to-do lists and documents and other important things that I really shouldn’t store in Notepad.
Now, speaking of Notepad. Has anyone else noticed that Microsoft makes lumpy improvements to its products? That is, why can’t Microsoft make two good products in a row. For example, let’s just look at the last 15 years of products:
Microsoft Office – Productivity Software
- Office 97: Awesome
- Office XP: Buggy, awkward interface.
- Office 2003: Fixed the bugs, nailed the interface.
- Office 2007: Introduced the ribbon, and the other one-billion colors which did not exist in Office 2003. Increased sheet size from 100,000 lines to 1,000,000 lines. Unfortunately, Office 2007 is awkward and ugly.
- Office 2010: Fixed the bugs, made the ribbon awesome.
- Office 2013: Introduced new bugs. Reintroduced the original interface from Office 95, but flatter and with less color. Sheets are still limited to 1m lines, and equations can still only be nested seven layers deep.
Microsoft Windows – Operating System
- MS-DOS. Not too pretty, but gets the job done.
- Windows 1, 2, 3: Uuuh?
- Windows 3.1: Conjures Mac OS reasonably well.
- Windows 95: A great leap forward… into a massively buggy OS.
- Windows 98 (SE): Pretty durn good. A big improvement over Windows 95.
- Windows ME: God-awful.
- Windows XP: A decade on, still the preferred OS for many business environments.
- Windows Vista: Buggy, awkward interface.
- Windows 7: Fixed the bugs, made the interface work. Introduced the window “snap” feature–Microsoft’s second great innovation after the Start Menu.
- Windows 8: Eliminated the start button–Microsoft’s single best and greatest innovation. The one element of its OS which it can claim credit for. Made its interface sexy and completely unusable.
So, while Microsoft is on a huge losing streak with their current product line, I’m not too worried. I’m sure Microsoft runs two product teams–the team which “innovates”, and the team which then takes the feedback from one billion angry users, and turns it into a nice product. Windows 9 may not make any great leaps forward–but I sincerely believe it’ll be usable.