yeah, it's friday.
Those were the days.
It was a patchwork of hacks, just to make Windows use IP over a serial line, so you could use Mosaic and Pegasus.
Still, it was a magical time.
(worth noticing: I was in South America back then, where the telephony system was less developed and a lot more expensive than the US)
But I get his point completely. When I think back to that time of using Win 3.1, I have fond memories of Encyclopedia's on CD-ROM, Solitaire, Paint and Minesweeper, but I don't really think about the early Internet experiences much - probably because there just wasn't much out there yet.
Berkeley sockets for Windows
Better yet - bring the proofs back in time and mine them before anyone else.
Cool little project. It's actually surprising to remember how intuitive Windows 3.1 was. Simple to use and got the job done.
But JUST when everyone was figuring out the UI, everything changed.
And to this day, when I'm teaching "mom/dad/grandma" to do something in Windows, she STILL asks where the "File" menu is because that's "where everything usually is".
Imagine how much LOVE MS Office would get if it went back to something like the early days of File menus and small-icon tool bars that you could enable/disable, etc? Well, I think it would be a win.
All you're saying is people hate change. Conversely, imagine if Office has always had the ribbon and then they switched to the toolbar menu UI.
Do you honestly think people would like it better? The obvious answer is that, no, of course they wouldn't because the ribbon UI is actually a better UI as it improves discoverability of features (and Office has hundreds if not thousands of features).
I for one make better documents with the ribbon. I think even my dad at this point has learned to be as efficient with the ribbon as he was in the old world. Realistically speaking though it didn't actually take him 7 years.
The world isn't going to improve if we optimize for older generations of people who are used to a certain way of doing things and dislike change. And that statement goes beyond software.
I think it's "unnecessary change" that people hate, well on some level. Current MS Office probably is no more of an effective solution than a very old version of Word/Wordpress/Lotus for a large proportion of the population - can you write a letter or CV with it? Yes, well there you go.
So why not give people what they want, familiarity, simplicity. For Microsoft I think the answer would be that then they wouldn't have sold so many copies of new versions of MS Office. It's largely sales/fashion driven rather than meeting further technical needs of users.
People actually love change - the fashion industry is built on that assumption. Shiny-shiny has probably sold far more tech and software than technical needs ever have.
FWIW for me the ribbon based UI paradigm is no better or worse than erstwhile standard of menubar+toolbars [but I've not spent long using MS's ribbons].
Office has probably reached a point where there's little you can do to actually make it more functional nor powerful, but it sometimes feels like a con when the revisions are essentially skin deep.
(I will accept that 2007 did cone with some major changes though, such as OOXML)
Having files autosave and autoupload after each save means that I never have to worry about losing stuff ever again, I also happen to be completely bought-into the MS ecosystem, with a WP, W8.1 laptop and W8.1 tablet.
I also dislike the way how the menu bar is hidden in explorer. The only reason behind that is aesthetics so I really resent having to press alt just to display it (I know you can enable it permanently but I get given a lot if laptops to repair due to being the family's "pc fixer").
Thankfully these days theres other decent alternatives to Windows and the importance of the desktop OS is also lessoned with the rise of cross platform browsers and web apps, so it's easy for me to run another OS instead of trapping myself on a platform I dislike and growing bitter about it. But I just wanted to make the point that some people found menu bats easier to use because, for them, menu bars just were simpler to use; rather than them hating something just because it's newer
On the other hand, it isn't going to get worse either...!
I'm also in the group who thinks that many of the changes occurring with software today are really only done for the sake of change, to create work, and not actually beneficial. I think the newest trend of hiding UI elements "because it looks better" or "for more screen real-estate" (when screen resolutions continue to get larger) almost borders on being offensively patronising.
The ribbon is garbage and still wildly less productive than the toolbar. Not even close.
This reminds me of the whole "web operating system" or "web desktop" trend . It was pretty hot around the mid-noughties, or at least that's the impression I got, but peaked in 2007-2008 without having produced a killer app (tellingly, nowadays Google Docs and the like still don't offer you a "desktop"). I tried quite a lot of web operating systems at the time -- mostly to see just what they could do within the browser -- but, frankly, couldn't find much of a practical use for them except to mirror my static websites on the free webhosting with high disk quotas that many generously provided. At least one, YouOS (YC W06), got venture funding but even their product didn't work out (they pivoted -- successfully ).
Come to think of it, the way those systems got around the limitations of the browsers at the time made some aspects of them pretty strange. One I remember in particular integrated a real office suite with their Ajax apps thus: it had a Java VNC client with which you accessed OpenOffice.org running on their servers.
If you're interested in the history of the subject try exploring http://www.crunchbase.com/tag/web-os.
 See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_operating_system and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webtop.
You'd have to tunnel the X protocol somehow to Ajax or Websockets, of course, but that should be quite easy.
Edit: I ran into this: http://blogs.gnome.org/alexl/2011/03/15/gtk-html-backend-upd...
That's over 214% more system resources! :p
Caveats: it's actually 3.0 and the mouse doesn't work... yet
In fact, my very first web server was going to be hosted by him. I recall sending him like $30 in the mail to host it way back when I was young enough to not even have a bank account yet.
Actually, this is pretty cool. Far more so, imho, than the "Web OS" or "Web Desktop" craze a few years back.
The real deal will be remote desktop inside the web browser. I shall be able to connect my PC (remote login) from anywhere in the world and use it's GUI.
But don't complain - it's still a funny thing to look at, right? :)
HN front page has seen many such implementations on JS to simulate OS in browser. For last one year people are pushing the capabilities of Web-browsers by demonstrating such examples. But now this is the time I expect remote-desktops should come (without any plugin/java support).
* Some DOS-based menu programs were really nice. I grew up using X-Tree Gold which had a menu but was also really fast for doing file system operations.
* Some DOS programs wouldn't work well in Windows (programs using serial ports, games), even if you set up PIFs.
* While in Windows, you couldn't use your TSRs (so you'd have to run the programs in non-TSR mode and set up different hotkeys for them and get used to the changes.)
OK, Now I'm curious.
One bug: Minesweeper is supposed to activate all non flagged tiles next to the mouse if you click with left and right mouse button at the same time. (see http://www.minesweeper.info/archive/MinesweeperStrategy/mine...)
(The problem is that this is so handy that once this reflex is wired in it's impossible to play Minesweeper without that feature)
Not sure if actual error or faithful representation of Windows software.
It's almost too perfect... Windows 3.1 only had window resizing via a thick stipple outline of the window border, and the included web browser reflows too quickly, although that's a function of the hardware performance. It would be interesting to run Win3.1 on a modern multi-GHz machine.
Awww come on!
okay so where is the github of this? I'd like to find some excuse to use this library.