Brave new world ... Windows 8.
I really shouldn't be. I don't think I'm just scared of Windows 8 either, I'm scared of this whole post-PC (a move away from laptops/desktops to tablets/phones/other devices) business.
It's stupid to be scared. I've never been one of those "If it ain't broke" guys, and it isn't as though the desktop experience is perfect or anything. I love my iPhone and that is nothing like a traditional PC.
I like PCs. I grew up with PCs. Keyboards feel lovely. Using the same keyboard shortcuts I have used for the past decade feels lovely. File systems feel lovely. The entire overlaying windows/taskbar paradigm feels less like an operating system and more like a state of mind. When I'm really stuck into something on my laptop, writing an essay with a million sources or just browsing heavily, it doesn't feel like a computer at all. It doesn't feel like a device I am manipulating; it just is what I'm doing, it's an extension of my mind. I have never felt that with a smartphone or tablet.
I haven't even installed it, too scared. Too comfortable with Windows 7.
Microsoft knows I'm scared. They know a whole lot of people are terrified. That's why the traditional desktop is still very much a part of Windows 8. I know people criticise it but it's a good idea in my estimation: legacy support is essential for Microsoft. I just can't see myself using something like Photoshop or InDesign well with touch. They have built this entire new system while attempting to keep legacy users happy. A clean break is lovely and all - that's why people love iOS so much - but it isn't as though Apple has ditched OSX is it? I love the look and feel of the new Windows 8 interface too, it just doesn't feel natural at all yet. That is probably because it is new and different, but still.
My mother still can't use her netbook but manages her iPhone fine. More and more people in my lectures whip out a tablet rather than a laptop for notes. We are progressing toward this post-PC world faster and faster. It will probably be way better than anything I can imagine. It will seem like the difference between the internet in 1990 and the internet in 2012. Windows is still the most popular operating system in the world, and their half-step into the post-PC world is certainly telling. Windows 8 will provide a nice midpoint for some years, but it will be the last of its kind. It's terrifying, but also exciting. The PC has served us well. I know I will miss it, but only in the way I miss N64, not in the way I miss old Simpsons episodes.
Apologies for the ramble. Life will of course go on, and it's just code on a computer anyway. Are any of you installing Windows 8 in the coming weeks and a little scared too? Let us know in the comments.
Henry Cooke is a 19-year-old student/nerd who lives and breathes the internet - which he believes is mankind's crowning achievement. He blogs about the trends and technologies of the net, translating the babble and buzzwords so they make sense to regular folk. Read Henry's blog, email him or follow him on Twitter.