Charles Petzold

Windows 8 Nervousness and a Trip in the Time Machine

May 30, 2012
Roscoe, N.Y.

Some computer-industry pundits and Windows old-timers evaluating Windows 8 have come to the conclusion that Microsoft has really — to use an expression common among early American astronauts — screwed the pooch.

Are they right? Or is this verdict solely the result of short-sightedness caused by the radical break that Windows 8 has made with the past?

Some of us with longer memories can remember similar attitudes in the mid-1980's about the radical nature of Windows when compared with MS-DOS, as Harry McCracken discusses in a recent column on the Time magazine web site.

In making his argument, Mr. McCracken quotes (rather extensively) from an article I wrote some 25 years ago for the June 9, 1987 issue of PC Magazine (starting on page 271 in the link at right). This article in ostensibly an introduction to reviews of some of the first available Windows applications, but I used the opportunity in part to catalog everything bad I had heard about Windows — some of it in print, and some of it expressed to me personally by people whose job involved accurately predicting the future.

Keep in mind that Windows had been available about a year and a half at this time. The first book about Windows programming (Programmer's Guide to Windows by David Durant, Geta Carlson, and Paul Yao) had just been published in May 1987, and my own contribution to the genre (Programming Windows) wouldn't become available until early 1988. The computer industry certainly moved a lot slower back then!

But here's a difference between then and now that has an immediate appeal: The paperback of the first edition of Programming Windows cost $29.95. The ebook of the sixth edition of Programming Windows is just $10 for the next two days.

Try coding some Windows 8 Metro-style applications and decide for yourself whether Microsoft has screwed the pooch or procreated another animal entirely, but one that is definitely not a dog.

Programming Windows, 6th Edition

Special Price through the End of May 2012!

For just $10, you get:

(1) the Consumer Preview ebook right now
(2) the Release Preview ebook in a couple months
(3) the final ebook in November

Programming Windows 6th edition
Programming Windows 6th Edition
Consumer Preview eBook