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November 4th, 2000

What I Want in an OS

My wish list. Feel free to add as you see fit.

Stability. I want the thing to be able to run for a rather lengthy period of time, if need be; perhaps in a standby mode, doing housekeeping, while I’m not actively running anything.

Visibility. If I ask for it, the OS should tell me what it’s doing at any given time in plain English. ("Running Internet Explorer, IEXPLORE.EXE, click for details" versus "IEXPLORE.EXE".)

Compatibility. Obviously, things run under Windows. Until that changes – if that ever changes – I want to run Windows apps.

Portability. Not necessarily a new version of the OS – akin to Win 2000 v. Pocket PC – but perhaps a subset that the OS can spawn off to a portable device of my choosing (MP3 player, PDA, whathaveyou).

Voice Recognition. Yes, this tall order gets taller. This is still a few years off at best. I don’t yet want to dictate to the computer, but just being able to say, "Open Word with the document ‘Daily Ping World Domination’ and then run Solitaire" would be nice.

Consistent Keyboard Shortcuts. One of my only gripes with Macromedia Flash 5 versus 4 is that most of the keyboard shortcuts were removed or lobotomized. It’s a lot faster to keep your hands on the keys once they’re there. Moving to the mouse and back is a pain. In addition, these shortcuts should be consistent across all applications.

CLI or GUI, Your Pick. Some people like a CLI, and obviously a good number of my suggestions indicate that I like GUIs. I’m actually in favor of both. Doing disk-level stuff is far easier with a CLI than a GUI. Offer both.

No Stupid Names. This seems to be tough. "Windows Me". "Windows 2000". "Pocket PC". Can you see that most of this point is aimed at Microsoft? "Mac OS X" says it all. It’s for the Mac, it’s an OS, it’s version 10. Boom.

Anything you want to add that I’ve missed? -pm

Posted in Technology

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