Operating Systems 2021

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So it’s been over 2 years of using a Macbook Pro for work. I also have an Android phone, an iPad tablet, and a Windows desktop for the family. I am an avid beta tester, so literally every one of these is on the beta version. Here are some quick thoughts of each.

MacOS

This is my work computer and generally it works fine. The spaces feature is useful. It still doesn’t scale properly on my 4k monitor. I don’t program so I am not taking advantage of the Unix foundation. It crashes once in a while, especially if it gets hot. A cooling fan stand helps tremendously. There are some tools that are Mac only (like Sketch) but I don’t use them. I use Figma. So bottom line is that there is nothing special about this operating system for me. It’s fine, but I have never loved it. All Macs look the same. I added on stickers to customize mine, but I know, underneath, it’s the same thing as everyone else. It’s ironic that Apple was the company that made the Superbowl ad saying Windows devices were all the same. Now the shoe is on the other foot.

Grade: B

Windows 10

I honestly miss working on Windows. The snap feature to maximize windows is great. I miss throwing a window into the top of the screen and maximizing it. I miss the Start bar. (The mac dock is not a good replacement for me). I miss the compatibility with other kinds of software like games. I miss the variety of hardware. Windows has touch screens and 2-1 and all kinds of variety. In general, I wish I worked on a Windows device. I just bought my wife a new Dell XPS 13 9310 laptop. It works as expected right out of the box (and after tons of Windows Updates).

Grade: A-

iPadOS

I use the tablet for games, streaming video, and light work. Truthfully, this is one of my favorite devices. It’s light and simple and works quickly. I can not type for long periods of time on it, but for simple tasks, there is nothing better. It’s a brilliant form factor and I will likely get a new one in the next 2 years. Good job Apple!

Side note: Two of my kids have iPhones. They work fine, but I don’t see a big advantage over Android. They are nearly identical.

Right now, I am playing Genshin Impact on my iPad. It’s gorgeous and works smoothly.

Grade: A+

AndroidOS

I’ve been using Android for a while. Currently I have a Pixel 3 and have been updating them every 2 years. Phones have come a long way in my lifetime. From landlines, to Nokia bricks, to Motorola Razrs, to Palm Pilots, to Blackberries, to iPhones, to Androids, the progress has been steady and incredible. I use my phone for a variety of light tasks including games, messaging, email, phone, and lots of random apps.

However, in the past few years, I have noticed a distinct slowdown of progress. Cameras can only get so good. The small form factor limits ultimate usefulness. I have not upgraded my phone yet mainly because I don’t see the point. What do I get with a Pixel 5 that the Pixel 3 doesn’t have? Folding is interesting, but I am not sure it’s ready for prime time. In the end, I am waiting for a new wave of innovation.

Grade: B+

Summary

Operating systems used to be more different. These days, we use our hardware mostly to access the cloud. Zoom works the same on every OS including Linux. Slack is the same. GMail is the same. Everything is the same. Ina cloud world, the client doesn’t need much. Gaming, video, and sound editing is the last bastion of edge computing. I believe even that will eventually be in the cloud.

Are we leading to an era of cheap terminals? We have been predicting that for 30 years. I imagine it will still take a while. My guess is that by 2040, the local hard drive will no longer be required. Then again, I think my consciousness will be converted into a cloud by 2035, so what do I know.

NOTE: I titled this 2020 instead of 2021. Duh. Fixed it.

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