Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Procrastinating the Centauri System

Another elephant in the room is the recent news of the discovery of a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B.  I keep meaning to make a video about it but am continually waylaid by various problems, such as losing my notes, being completely knackered or having my glorious offspring squatting the computer.  Or, in this case, installing Windows 8 and having to negotiate a slight learning gradient:


OK, so Windows 8 - why did i do it?  Why does someone who hates much proprietary software with a passion choose to install a new version of Microsoft Windows two days after its release?  You may well ask, and the main answer is that i like the fact, as i say in the video, that it doesn't use up system resources simply to look flash.  It hasn't got the glass feature that 7 had, it has a nice, low-maintenance Metro thing going on with two-colour icons and it doesn't do the glow thing when the cursor hovers over the buttons.  In other words, it isn't going to make as many people throw out their old devices so they can poison children in China and make them buy new ones which support the war in the Congo because of the tantalum just so they can run the new version of Windows, although of course they might do that anyway.  This is important to me because the main reason i dislike many software products is that they eat up resources and in doing so, exacerbate the current mass extinction.

The other reason is that the design has a visual appeal to it which is kind of classic and plain, which i like, though that's a superficial reason to like it in a way - pretty is not a top priority.  However, my son likes it for that reason and he's studying design, so i bow to his superior judgement.

There's another aspect to all this of course:  rationalisation.  I have in fact now got Windows 8, and having made that decision, my subconscious mind will now come up with all sorts of reasons why it might be a good idea.  This happens a lot, and the questions are:  how often does this kind of thing happen, how can it be avoided and is it even possible or desirable to do so?  I very often think that the mind works this way round:  one does something and later on comes up with reasons why one has done it.  The real reasons?  I don't know.