Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Look, Ma, no Menus

Or, the more things change, the more they remain the same. The new version of Microsoft Office has done away with menus in an effort to upgrade and overhaul the now ubiquitous interface that involves clicking, pointing, dragging, and dropping. David Pogue, who double clicks through technology for The New York Times, discusses the changes with Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition.

SI: Where are they heading with this?
DP: There have been some interesting efforts. One clue is the rise of these instant search commands in both the Macintosh, and now in Windows Vista, where you type a few letters of what you are looking for, and up pops the thing, whatever folder it's buried in. And, if you think about it, that means that we needed a cry for help here because the folder thing was getting too unwieldy.

SI: Before mouses and icons and that sort of thing, people just typed a command into a computer. Might we eventually head back toward that system now?
DP: Well, that's what's cracking me up. That's what everyone pooh-poohs as the old stone age way of using a computer by memorizing and typing commands. But this is one of the most touted and beloved features of both the latest Mac OS and the latest Windows Vista, is you can start to do things by typing out little commands again. And the old timers are saying, 'Dude, didn't we do this twenty years ago?'

And what cracks me up is how The Next Big Thing is, more often than not, the same old wine in, if one is lucky, a slightly different looking bottle; little more than a forgotten and discarded leftover from the past, albeit reheated and touched up. Hooray for the shortness of public memory!

1 comment:

Theo said...

It's a lot easier to remember what something is called than to remember where it is. GUI's are lame.