Friday, April 11, 2014

Microsoft Ends Support for Windows XP

Windows XP
My first Operating system
I am a technophile and unashamedly so. Technology has simplified human life so much that sometimes I am amazed at people who still hold on to the old ways of doing things, blissfully oblivious of just how easy life has become, especially in the first world, due to the astonishing progression in technological innovation. By leaps and bounds I can say.

Two people who have had such a significant influence on the modern technological world as we know it are the late Steve Jobs of Apple and Bill Gates of Microsoft. In recent years, Steve Jobs changed how we do almost everything. Honorable mention goes to my friends at Google, though when it comes to operating systems, they are very clever copycats of Apple. Unfortunately their Android phones are now way ahead of the iPhone in many aspects and I am sorry to say that I no longer even want an iPhone.
The Good Old Days

Just imagine the world about 7 years ago when there was no iPhone or Galaxy S4. Imagine a day in the life of a busy mid level manager who traveled to a city to attend a conference just 7 years ago. He gets up to the loud whirring of his alarm clock which he carries around at all times like a religious artifact. He calls the hotel lobby and asks for directions to the nearest Starbucks coffee shop and then grabs a city map and a newspaper, rushing to get a cup of regular coffee, while studying the map intensely for directions to the conference hall. He then pulls out his phone book with all his numbers, thumbs through and calls his boss from the payphone to tell him he is going to be on time. That was seven years ago.

Now imagine the same manager today in the same situation. He wakes up to the most pleasant alarm song he has programmed on his Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone with 4G. He browses through the Flipboard app on his phone to get the latest news. He then opens the Pandora app to listen to his customized 80s radio and listens to great music transmitted wirelessly from the phone to his palm sized portable Bluetooth JBL speakers as he jumps into the shower.

After he's showered and done dressing, he picks up the phone, hits the middle button at the base of the screen and says "Galaxy can you find me the nearest Starbucks?"

The phone replies right away and gives him a choice of several Starbucks in the vicinity of his hotel, while the phone screen shows him the map of the Starbucks locations. He then tells the phone to take him to one and the phone  map becomes a GPS navigational system that he uses in his car while continuing to listen to his 80s music through the car's Bluetooth speakers. He tells the phone to call his manager without touching it, the phone does and he tellsthe manager he will be on time for the conference, while the phone's GPS tells him that he is at Starbucks. He then browses through his online bank account to see whether the check he was promised has been deposited.
Hi Galaxy

This week Microsoft decided that they were no longer going to be providing support for the much beloved Windows XP. To me XP is the best Windows operating system I've used, matched only by Windows 7. It was my first operating system. When I came to America from Sierra Leone, I had never touched a computer, let alone know how to use one. Our education back in my country was basically with a notebook and a pen. The only technology that was available was a scientific calculator which had been extremely useful in confirming the answers to statistics questions on tests and exams. In Sierra Leone, we were prevented from using calculators in exams, and that's the truth! We used sliders.
My First Computer

When I got my first computer, a Dell Dimension 4550, the only thing I knew about computers after a Semester in college, was reading an email. I read my Dell computer manual from cover to cover. I made sure I followed every "do not" advice. Very soon I knew everything about the computer that was in the manual. So I bought a book on Windows XP. It was like my computer bible. By the end of the year, I knew everything a consumer was to know about a computer and became somewhat of a computer repair guy in my Sierra Leone community. I had discovered system restore! Lol.

I remember one day a friend of mine was having some serious problems with his computer and wanted to take it to Best Buy for repairs. Luckily he called me to take a look. I asked him when he had the problem, he said about two weeks ago. I set System Restore for three weeks and it worked like magic. I saved the poor fellow a couple of hundred dollars and I then also became an expert in HP desktops in addition to my Dell. Anytime he had a problem, guess who he called.

Then a great thing happened, YouTube came along and do it yourself people like me found heaven. YouTube is easily the greatest source of human knowledge that has been compiled in one place since the encyclopedia Britannica. There is almost nothing you will want to do for which you will not find a video on YouTube. Last Christmas I impressed a group of friends with some Hispanic food I made and everybody was really floored by my culinary skills. Guess what, I got the recipe and detailed instructions from a YouTube video! Don't tell anybody. Through YouTube videos, I was able to increase the memory on my computer from 250mb to 4gb and my hard drive capacity from 70gb to 500gb and I have never taken a single computer class.
Bye XP

Windows XP was such a great operating system for novices like me that when the hideous Windows Vista replace it, it became the most hated operating system ever, rivaled only by the equally horrible Windows 8, which is truly an operating systems disaster that has made us all tightly embrace our Android phablets. Now that Windows has released office for the iPad, Windows needs to really get its act together, otherwise it risks losing out to Google's Chrome OS and the always reliable Macs.
Bye XP, this African from Sierra Leone will surely miss you, you were a reliable system, teacher and friend!

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