Damn You, Windows 8! (or, Change is Hard)

start-screen-win-8I got a new laptop at work. It is a beautiful machine! For IT geeks like myself, it really purrs! Apart from the fact it’s an Ultrabook, it has all the bells and whistles. Did I mention it has a touchscreen? Full HD Resolution? Dolby sound? Loads of memory? That’s the upside.

The downside is that It also runs on Windows 8.

I’m not a big fan of the latest Microsoft offering. I am quite attached to my Windows 7 desktop, the way it functions, the shortcuts, the icons, the “vibe” of its familiar environment that seems to make my work a lot easier.

Windows 8 isn’t the same. Tiles? Charms? Active Content? I wasn’t so sure it would do anything for me.

Then I downloaded the User Manual. And I read a few reviews. And I got a shortcut “cheat sheet.” And I started using the new laptop . . .


Who knew one swipe of my finger from the left side of the touchpad would instantly change the screen to the previous screen I had open? Who knew I could so seamlessly integrate my online life with stuff I do every day on my computer? Closing a program? A swipe from the top down takes me back to the Home screen. Lost something? A quick swipe from the right and the Search charm appears making it so easy to find a song, an app, a file, a website. . . .

I’m a big fan now. As a bonus, I can still have my Windows 7 look-a-like desktop and, with a quick download of Classic Shell, I have the old familiar Start button, but in a shiny new surrounding.

In all, it took me 9 months to come to a place where I actually saw the benefits of switching to Windows 8.

Change is hard.

From my first experience with Windows 8 when it first came out (on an Acer tablet) to now, there has been a lot of searching, reading, watching and using the actual system. (I actually gave up on it several times along the way.) Finally, understanding how it works, I can see a lot of the same functionality the old OS boasted–but with an intuitive twist. It certainly doesn’t look the same or handle the same but, once you get into it, it does much the same thing and more–just in a more slick, user-friendly way.

I wonder how many times we see something new as a thing to be feared, avoided or ignored? Change is scary because the unknown has a way of making our steps forward very hesitant and anxious.

We just don’t know.

If you asked me a year ago if Microsoft’s new OS would be a good thing I would have told you “No way.” Today–informed–my mind itself has changed.

Most often the perception of Change is negative until we begin to understand how the new system works, what the benefits are for us, where we can find the elements in the new that provided our stability in the old.

Let’s face it: If Change wasn’t, most of the time, positive and necessary, we wouldn’t have any of the modern conveniences we take for granted: wheels, washing machines and electric lights to name a few.

We shouldn’t fear Change. We should, however, fear ignorance and misunderstanding because that is what stalls progress in its tracks.

Once informed, we can then legitimately make a decision as to how valid and necessary that Change is for us and how much we will embrace it.

Seriously, though, give it more than a cursory glance or a once-over. Things and events that have the potential for great impact in our lives and our futures demand more than a simple answer or an opinion. Research. Read, Discuss with those who know. Sit with the idea. Surround yourself with its advocates and ask lots of questions.

Change is inevitable.

It will come as sure as tomorrow.

Not everyone will like it.

But if we want our lives to be impacting on others, relevant in our culture, productive at our work, and embracing of all that is possible in the world God has given to us, we will need to accept–embrace–it.

After all, where would we be today if at some point (or several points) in our life we ourselves had not changed?

Now that‘s a scary thought!

(And that, my friends, is precisely why I am not going to make such a rash and bold statement as, “But you’ll never see me give up my iPad.”)

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I am an ordinary man, living an extraordinary life with my wife and partner-in-greatness, Vicki. We have two amazing kids who are living incredible adventures of their own. I enjoy most things I do, but especially coffee, the beach and a good read. My opinions are my own.

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