I had an unusual (for me) reaction just now to being sent a link to direct download Microsoft’s Beta 2 of Windows Vista: Squeamishness and unease.
Why unusual? Because years ago I would have immediately gone into full-downloading frenzy, frothingly eager to get the latest iteration, whatever the consequences to my system stability. I remember when Windows 95 was in beta I downloaded almost daily builds on my production system, and I did it overnight via a dial-up connection. Madness.
Now, however, things have changed. The thought of installing binary software applications makes me uneasy, like a stranger wants to, however briefly, move into my living room. And the thought of installing an entire operating system just seems barking mad, like having a family of six move into the house permanently.
In pondering my unease I realize something: I have installed no material new software in over a year. Nothing. Nada. This is, I’m sure, the first this has happened in more than twenty years of computer use. Remarkable, and more broadly, a personal statement about how computing and software are changing beyond recognition.