I think we have all heard of the concept of ‘internet time’ , which is a sort of technological version of dog years, and we talk about how everything seems to progress much more quickly now, and take it as a given without thinking too much about it.
Today I made the mistake of thinking about it.I realised that the Windows operating system has been going for 28 years and is now up to version 8, while the Android operating system has only been going for 5 years and is up to version 4 already. (Actually it took Windows 27 years to reach v8 and Android 3 years to reach v4)
OK, I know it is more complicated than that. There have been more than 8 versions of Windows if you include 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000 and so on, and Android could be said to be on its 10th version going by the alphabetical naming. Also, Windows wasn’t even usable until v3.0, not useful until v3.1 and not good enough until Windows for Workgroups 3.11 in 1993.
As I can remember working on DOS and the huge change when starting to use Windows 3.0 it is a bit of a shock to realise just how long ago that was.
It is hard to argue that things are not better now. You can use a PC (or smartphone or tablet) straight out of the box and not have to play around with AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files, configuring and tweaking virtual memory settings. You don’t have to buy and install loads of extra programmes like extended memory managers just to keep a computer going either, but sometimes you do just want it all to stop for a bit of a breather.
I think that hardly a day goes by without the operating system or some program or app on at least one of my computers updating itself. Sometimes these are just invisible security patches but other times you open up a frequently used app and it looks or works nothing like it did the day before.
This is most obvious on the laptop because it hardly gets used so every time I fire it up I have to wait an age for Windows updates to install, but it was pretty apparent on the tablet and phone when I came back from holiday, turned them on and within hours there were notifications of updates to Feedly, Evernote, Play Store, Flipbook and a raft of other apps.
Is it a sign of age that you just want it all to stop?