Windows 8 is usable as a desktop OS. You can stay in the Windows 7 alike desktop and pin your apps in the taskbar, put shortcuts on the desktop, switch between them, use multiple monitors and never use metro apps.
Maybe it is the desktop that is not usable. The whole world is not yet ready for touch. We have the small form factor resolved for touch, and the big desktop casual computer usage is also fine, but working extensively in productivity apps in a touch screen has not been resolved. We can’t be keep reaching to the screen for everything, the screen needs to be closer to our fingers, maybe a tilted desktop, with palm detection technology like Star Trek TNG. Neither the hardware nor the apps exist yet for this. But Windows 8 is ready for developers and OEMs to jump in this direction.
Only a handful of websites are touch optimized, which is not a surprise, since it’s been 25 years of mouse. The New MSN that works in Windows 8 is touch optimized, it scales automatically, it rearranges in portrait or landscape in an optimal way, but go to other websites, your bank websites to see your statements; they are all mouse based, with tiny links, you have to keep zooming in to avoid mistakes if you try to use them with touch. That’s why Windows 8 dual nature is best for this transition, because while there are plenty of touch optimized applications for fun, the work/corporate world is still largely mouse based, and sometimes you just need a mouse.
Windows 8 is a transitional OS between two UI paradigms, a necessity while apps and hardware get optimized to the new ways.
Windows RT: is like an iPad, where you can only install applications available on the store and designed for tablets, but it does have Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Onenote in desktop mode, so you can use it without having to learn a new office. For a lot of people it can replace their laptop. But is a tablet OS. The tech media created this confusion. Nobody was confused because the iPad cannot run desktop OSX apps.
My 70+ year old dad has been using XP for ages. He bought a Windows 7 laptop last year, and last week he got a Surface. He assumes that he has to learn how to use a new OS, doesn’t expect it to be the same as XP. But incidentally, he is now asking to upgrade his Windows 7 to Windows 8, ‘so the UI is the same’. Because he’s been using a Windows Phone for over a year, he finds Windows 8 easier to learn than Windows 7. A better UI is easier to use and more welcoming to non-tech people; it empowers them to do more and they ask less questions. Everybody that is complaining are people that is used to the old Windows paradigm and needs to keep using legacy apps, on legacy computers. Don’t upgrade then, or just pin your desktop apps to the task bar and you never have to see the start screen. No big deal.
I really don’t get all this hate and ‘confusion’ with Windows 8.
- Tons of Windows users have switched over the years to OSX, and none of them are crying because OSX doesn’t have a Start Menu like Windows 7, and they have to dock their most used applications to the OSX dock to access them. But Windows 8 removed the Start Menu from desktop and everybody is crying, instead of just pinning the most used desktop apps to the taskbar. The Start Menu only showed a handful of what it thinks are your most used apps, all others are hiding in a hierarchical mess. Then you have 5 links to the same windows explorer in different locations (profile, documents, pics, music, computer), links to Default Programs, Devices and printers and Help (like we use these so much). Only Control Panel and Shutdown are usable.
- People criticize Windows 8 because you have to learn a few new tricks, like using the borders, the new location of control panel and shutdown, etc. But the same people have bought an iPad or a Mac or an Android tablet and nobody complains about having to learn the new UI and their tricks like the 5 pinch to home, the keys for Expose, how to ‘right click’ with just one button, etc.
- For years, MS was criticized for having a UI that is not touch friendly. With Metro, they delivered one of the most fluid touch UI’s, but now people insist in going to the desktop and criticize that is not so touch friendly. The desktop is for casual touch or hardcore mouse use. Metro is for touch. Sorry, but so far nobody has figured out a UI that is equally efficient in touch and mouse/keyboard: if you have a mouse, you can fit more stuff and do more precise selection and your fat fingers will never be able to do that. You use your hand to screw a water faucet and a screwdriver to screw a nail: different applications use different tools. This is nothing new and nobody should be ‘confused’.
- Windows 8/RT is the first OS that changed radically its UI in 25 years. Obviously, most of our existing applications will take more time to be ported to the new paradigm. But in order for this transition to happen, the OS needs to come first, even when it will lack apps, because without an OS, devices, and people that use them you can’t develop apps. It takes times and it will need adjustments, you can’t do a finish product when you are coming up with a new paradigm.
But touch is here to stay and Metro UI is a step in the right direction, and I’ll explain: newer generations of computer users will get introduced to a computing device through a tablet, a smartphone, a game console. In Microsoft’s vision, all these devices now share the same UI, you only have to learn it once and then you just use it, without worrying about learning a new UI when the form factor changes. Name any other UI paradigm that scales well from a smartphone to a big screen TV and can be used with equal ease with touch, tv remote, game controller, movement, mouse and keyboard. The old grid of colored icons over a colored desktop with tiny cropped names below needs to go, forever.
People are making the same scandal they did when Office dropped the menus for the ribbon, but after 3 years nobody missed the menus anymore, it’s just resistance to change from people that complain about lack of innovation and when they get innovation, they don’t want to learn a few new tricks.
8 days ago on Microsoft confirms Windows 8.1 as official name for 'Blue' update, free for Windows 8 users 5 replies 21 recommends
A person is good or bad depending on how he/she evolves over time and what they choose to do when they have power. A good person that ends up being a dictator is a bad person, regardless of how good did before, because we expect people to evolve, to mature, not the reverse.
So, Bill Gates is a good person then, because he could just have kept his money and spend it in drugs, in taking over companies, in frivolous stuff, in controlling the economy, like tons of billionaires do.
You guys choose to ignore history points selectively. Back in 2002 when Microsoft released the first tablet PCs the technology available was nowhere near what it was when Apple delivered the iPad eight technological years later. The touch screen technology did not allow for actual touch, it was just resistive and you needed a stylus to operate. And it was ridiculously expensive. So I would not call them badly made; they were as well made as technology and price allowed eight years earlier than the iPad.
Even when capacitive touch screens were mature enough to make the first iphone, let’s remember the actual price it came up to have, over $800 for a damn phone, most of which had to be subsidized by the carrier. No other CEO of any tech company could have stand by a board of directors to get approved such a ridiculously ambitious niche product, but Steve Jobs could because of the success of iTunes, because of his control over hardware and software and because he could subsidize most of the price. Microsoft on the other hand is always fighting with OEMs that refuse to get on with the program and delivered boring, cheap, underpowered devices.
It was this subsidy that allowed this technology to get into people’s hands, become popular and drive prices down so a few years later we had affordable capacitive screens for computers and tablets. You could say AT&T’s subsidy paved the way of modern tablet computers.
9 days ago on An emotional Bill Gates details his last visit with Steve Jobs 2 replies 16 recommends
Yes, indeed. The start menu was broken. Nobody will use it to launch apps, just to shutdown the computer.
The Start Menu people claim to have back so impassionedly would only show a handful of all the apps you have installed. It would inaccurately predict which are the most used ones and put them visible, hiding all the rest in an All Programs link, which required lots of digging through folders, while the Windows 8 Start Screen can use the whole screen to show them all.
Amongst the items included in the start menu there were links to set the “default programs” and see “devices and printers” and get help, none of which would ever be used by anybody. From the rest, there were 5 links to the same windows explorer app (Username, documents, pictures,music and computer). The most used where control panel and shutdown, which in Windows 8 are now one swipe and a tap away, instead of two clicks.
After years of tweaking it people still use the start menu to find the app and then immediately copy a shortcut to the desktop, maybe because people want to use the whole screen to see their installed apps, they hate to dig into a tiny menu. The Start Screen is the most elegant way to achieve this and it is more functional regardless of how organized or disorganized you want to be.