Parallel Universes. google.com and live.com
I'm a Google guy. I use Gmail and G+ and all the associated bits and pieces. My "Stuff" is permanently embedded in that system and I am quite happy for it to be that way.
But lately I've been bumping into the Microsoft Ecosystem. I upgraded my 6 year old computer at home into a nice sparkly Core i5, Nvidia GTX660, Windows 8 machine. And though I have mocked Win8 in the past, I am slowly sort of getting the hang of it. While I still have criticisms of it, they're more constructive, than merely mocking now.
Setting up that machine has been an odd experience. I got myself an @outlook.com email address and I can see all the cool stuff that it lets you do with Skydrive, Calendar, Office 365 and Games. It is so spookily weird to see these services that are the same as Googles, but one step to the right different. Microsoft has built a lot of honestly good stuff, but I can't commit to it. You have to have a monogamous relationship with your Ecosystem. So my Windows install is going to go half used. It will be Googlified as much as possible but the core built in stuff is going to largely be wasted.
I had a similar feeling when I delved into the Apple world for a while. Sigh. Why can't these guys just co-operate?
And last night my brother-in-law got a Surface. He, unlike me, is firmly embedded in the Microsoft world. So that was fun. Boots and all into the world of live.com. Skydrive is now holding his photos and I think he is keen to use it for writing documents. The Calendar is getting filled up. (No "Fortnight" repeating option bugged us for a while, but the hack solution there is to use the live.com web calendar to setup events). He loves it. He is IN. He needed a bit of a tutorial on the various gestures to get at stuff. Metro is a new world to learn. But once he got the idea of swiping from different edges and seeing what happens, he was comfortable.
No big point here. Just wanting to throw out my brief feeling on it all. Perhaps just expressing my feeling that all these companies are doing pretty damn cool stuff, and maybe now I am a bit less onesidedly tribal.