Archive for Change

Why is The Internet Losing Their Minds Over MS Paint

A picture of the sadness that is MS Paint.

Yesterday, July 24, 2017, Microsoft announced that it would be deprecating MS Paint for the Fall Creators Release of Windows 10. Immediately the Internet went crazy with grief. There were even petitions! The reaction to the rather nonchalant announcement that MS Paint would no longer be part of Windows was so strong that Microsoft had to announce today that Paint wasn’t going away at all. Instead, MS Paint would still be available from the Windows Store, though it would no longer ship with Windows 10.

Why?!

MS Paint has been around over 30 years. That’s four centuries in computer time. It hasn’t changed much in that time and is, let’s be honest, a pretty feeble program by modern standards. This is like weeping for the demise of the Ford Model T.

There are so many other simple drawing applications out there I can’t even count them all. Paint.net is better. GIMP is a hundred times better, free, and runs on everything shy of an MVS mainframe. Ask you grandpas about that one kiddies. Microsoft has also recently released an updated version called, unimaginatively, Paint 3D.

So why all the Sturm und Drang and gnashing of teeth? Nostalgia. That’s the only viable explanation. What else could it be? It’s like retro computing. No one really yearns for the days of DOS commands or thinks that a 25 year old Mac is better than a modern one. Yet, hobbyists fill their basements with ancient computers. MS Paint was, for many, the first graphics program they ever used, perhaps even one of the first programs they used. It’s not about the utility of a 30 year old piece of software; it’s about retaining a small piece of youth.

Give it up campers. If you want to regain the wonder of youth, listen to U2 or get a NES Classic. Crying for MS Paint is like trying to fit into that concert t-shirt from freshman year in college – a guarantee of embarrassment and sadness.

It might have helped if Paint 3D wasn’t, in of itself, kind of boring. Even so, embrace the new. Besides Paint 3D, Microsoft has also made Fresh Paint available from the Windows Store. Those are just the Microsoft offerings. The Windows Store and Internet are overflowing with low-end graphics programs. Use one of those.

But please, stop whining over an application from the Reagan era that should have been put down long ago.

The Windows 10 Creators Update is Meh.

The Windows 10 Creators Update just rolled out to customers and, frankly, it’s kind of boring. That’s probably not fair. I’m guessing there are plenty of people excited by these changes and there are likely many new features lurking under the covers. Still, for the average customer there’s not much to excite.

For example, there are a set of new 3D image creation features. A new app called 3D Paint allows a customer to create 3D images easily. “Easily” is pretty subjective; I found it just as hard as most other 3D image creation tools to create something meaningful. Microsoft has also created an online community of people, called Remix 3D, who want to share these images. This is clearly a stab at Apple and Adobe. Both of these companies have worked hard to bring animation and other creative tools to the masses. Still, this is not something that the average consumer will care about. Most will play around with it but it won’t have much impact on their computing experience.

The same is true for the Linux subsystem and BASH upgrades. As an aside, it’s never BASH Shell. BASH is an acronym for “Bourne-again shell” shell. BASH Shell, like NIC Card, is redundant. But I digress… The BASH upgrades are extensive and bring new, under-the-covers support for programming languages such node.js, python, and a host of less common ones such as Rust. The upgraded shell also brings an upgrade to Ubuntu 16.04. That’s not the latest Ubuntu distribution (Ubuntu 17.04 is the most up-to-date) but is quite common. There are other improvements across the board including better Linux – Window integration. All of this is lovely but only if you are a programmer or other form of computer professional. For the average individual who just wants to access the Internet, this won’t matter a bit. For most people, the BASH capability will never even be enabled. It takes a somewhat complicated process to activate the Linux subsystem on Windows 10 and most customers won’t even know it exists.

Speaking of the Internet, Windows 10 Creators Edition does come with a lot of upgrades to the Microsoft Edge browser. Edge is not yet ready to be the browser of choice for power users (read about that in my previous blog Microsoft Edge is Nearly Good). It is, however, fast and has improved enough that the average individual may consider it for everyday use. This is especially the case if they are currently using the ancient Internet Explorer. That piece of… software should have been buried long ago with the other dinosaurs of the early Internet era.

Everything else is small or plain ridiculous. Microsoft has added display changes that are supposed to excite us but (let’s be honest) don’t. Dark mode and Nightlight are just two examples of new feature that scream “seriously, who cares?” Dark mode changes the theme from a light one to a dark one. What this means is that the normally white background turns black and the normally colored text goes white. It’s supposed to be good for low light situations but how often is this a problem. Even more strange is the Nightlight mode. It reduces the blue light in the display for people who sleep with their computers. Yeah… That sounds like something in the movie “Her” that was edited out because it sounded too creepy. This has been in Linux desktops for some time where it is equally useless.

There have been some updates to Cortana that are interesting if not earth shattering. You can now write a sticky note with instructions for reminders for Cortana. That means it is now possible to write a note that reminds you to pick up something at the store and then have Cortana yell it at you. The basic purpose of a personal computer was to get away from having people shout reminders at us but it is suddenly better when it’s the computer doing the shouting.. Cortana can also spew more notifications into the Action Center. That’s probably something…

Microsoft has also added broadcast gaming features to Windows such as integration with Beam. Beam is a livestreaming platform for gamers who need to brag online. It’s been renamed Mixer because Beam is obviously not nearly as cool a name as Mixer. Yep. That’s it.

At its core Windows 10 Creators Update is a bunch of tweaks and small features for specific constituents. It is for developers, artists, and gamers but not the masses. The Edge updates are about the most useful to the vast majority of customers but those could have been rolled out on their own. This is a nice update but few will be truly excited by it. Considering the last major update was the Anniversary Update a year ago, everyone was expecting more.