Sunday, September 5, 2010

What about Bob? I done Kaposted

About a month ago, Steven Hodson launched an experiment on his WinExtra blog:

I came across a new service called Kapost via a post by Alex Wilhelm over at The Next Web and was immediately intrigued by what it is offering; which as Kapost phrases it – a virtual newsroom.

Now as anyone who knows me can attest to, I don’t normally jump onto each new shiny thing that comes along but the thing that I really like about Kapost is that it lets you, our readers, participate. It is one thing for myself or any of the other writers here to post stuff about Microsoft and Windows but it is another thing for our readers to be able to add their thoughts and opinions to the mix. This is what Kapost allows for and by the looks of it fairly easily.

At the time, I commented (in part):

I’ve already exercised the feature a bit by voting on one of your recent posts. I’ll exercise it more when I have an on-topic contribution to make on one of your posts.

Now ordinarily the types of comments that I make on WinExtra are short, reactive, and not really worthy of a post all their own. But that changed today, when I read Hodson's post Priceless moments in Microsoft’s history – Microsoft Bob. Hodson opens the post with the following:

If there ever has been one unmitigated failure that continues to haunt Microsoft it has to be the infamous Microsoft Bob.

Over the years it's acquired a "Heaven's Gate" kind of reputation, but Hodson rightly points out that many people aren't really familiar with it. But if you go to Hodson'e post, you can see a video (not made by Hodson) in which someone uses the Microsoft Bob interface.

Perhaps I was in a contrarian frame of mind, but I was moved to use Kapost to write a response, Was Microsoft Bob truly a failure? Here's how I opened my post:

I never used Microsoft Bob when it appeared, so I took the opportunity to watch the video that Steven shared in his post on Microsoft Bob. And after watching the video, I'm not quite ready to completely consign Bob and his friends to the dustbin of idiocy.

First off, you need to remember where user interface design was in the 1990s. While most popular interface designs from previous decades consisted of command line interfaces, all of us were falling all over ourselves in worship of the dramatic new interface ideas being shared by Xerox, Apple, and Microsoft. What were the components of that revolutionary new interface? Two-dimensional file folders scattered across a two-dimensional desktop.

I encourage you to go here to read the rest. Oh, and I also encourage you to go to the upper left hand corner and vote for the post. (Nothing wrong with a little campaigning here and there...)

P.S. If you want to learn more about Kapost, go here.
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