JorgeA

Windows 8 - Deeper Impressions

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Jacklass wrote about Bob:

Ow , comeon, I have been told to wash my mouth with soap after having uttered much less offensive sentences!

Everybody was making jokes about Bob until today.

Mind you, I was reading a website recently explaining what Bob was exactely and the concept was indeed a very good one.

Just look how many internet games are based on a room, on an interior, where kids have to feed puppies, dress a model, tidy up things, cook a cake... If you have kids you know what I mean.

Bob just created that 15 years before anyone else.

Mixing games with the desktop is a nice way to bring fun to your home computer.

The comercialization was terrible but that's another story.

Now with Metro, it's the same ludicrous mentality, without the fun, sadly ... well, austerity is hitting even OSes nowadays...

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Ballmer is climbing so high that it will make the fall even more funny to watch.

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You can have a Metro like interface on w98 and above with an HTA application launched at start-up, played in full screen mode or without without border and caption.

I could write a Metro interface in HTA in... what... 2 hours?

Give me one hour more and I'll do a thing that will fool anyone into believing it's w8! ;)

Huh, that does sound pretty cool. And YOU didn't even need a "reimagined" Windows to make it work!

Another way to Metro-fied pre w8 Oses is Active Desktop.

Not as close visualy, but it can be also very cool.

I once had the TV programs summarized on my desktop, so that I can easily record or watch them (on the same computer).

I never used Active Desktop on my Win98 system, there just didn't seem to be enough value in it to bother with. But I have to admit that if you found a way to watch and record TV on Windows 98 -- that's pretty neat.

More generally, you're right that MS has been pushing this basic concept of self-updating thingies on PC screens for 15 years -- without notable success. Why would it be all that different this time? (Maybe because this time they're "in your face" to the point where you can't avoid them?)

--JorgeA

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One of my favorite comments from that long MSDN post:

I can only hope they actually get Windows 8 working with a touch screen or a mouse, whereas the previous consumer and developer previews worked with neither. Have a mouse? Sorry, you can't efficiently use our operating system as it's touch based. Have a touch screen? Sorry, you can't access half of what you need to access to do anything worthwhile... and you have to spend a minute making enough gestures to shut down, despite the 3 seconds you spent with previous operating systems.

Perhaps Microsoft will push us on Kinect motions for Windows 9. To shut your PC down you have to rub your belly five times counter clockwise, pat your head four times, wave your hands frantically six times and follow up with your thumb on your nose and fingers wiggling in the air.

--JorgeA

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More bad news for the prospects of Windows 8: it looks like WinRT tablets will be entering the market already at a disadvantage vs. the iPad.

--JorgeA

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I was already saying that ;)

Build your own ARM CPU that's faster than everything else there is (included the on-die GPU) that is also low enough in power usage for the battery to last, 1GB of RAM, throw in an amazing custom made 3 megapixel (as in 50% more pixels than a HDTV on it) screen with a coating for fingerprints and a great touchscreen too, two decent cameras, the wifi chipset, audio codec, all the sensors including GPS, battery, a custom-made high quality case... We design and build embedded hardware at work and I know that this stuff costs real money (not counting engineering time, prototyping and such). Also, there's the OS license. A Windows CE 6 license (C6G) is ~$17 in qty of 100 and I don't see a "fancier" version of Windows costing less (I don't see them risking their desktop OS business for $10 tablet OS licenses either)

It's very hard to compete with the iPad hardware cost-wise. Some Apple hardware is overpriced, but some of it is spot-on. The Macbook Air is another example of that (besides the iPad). Some OEMs stated that they just can't produce something similar at that price point (so they're phasing out these products since they sell poorly). Look at android devices approaching the specs of the iPad and you'll see the price quickly get there too. And even if you disregard the price, lots of OEMs simply unable to produce something like the iPad. Even big OEMs like Dell just don't have the resources to do things like custom CPU design.

The other kind of Windows "tablet" devices being pushed are sucky laptop/tablet hybrids which cost more than the iPad. Like the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga with its super high TDP Intel i7 draining your battery and producing massive amounts of heat, which has double the thickless, double the weight, and has half the screen resolution of the iPad 3 while also showing all fingerprints, at a 1000$ price point. It's not a device I'd want to lug around everyday and it's too pricey as well. The iPad 3 also has 2 cameras, does 1080p video capture, has image stabilisation + autofocus + face recognition, etc.

Also, the iPad's UI is made just for tablets. It's a custom, no-compromises tablet OS unlike the all-compromises Win8 frankein'OS. There's far more software for iDevices (especially high quality software), and the developers' mindshare is much more on the Apple side (or even Android). MS is angering developers with their latest development tools, and no one seems to care about Metro there either. Combine that with the previous sales figures for the MS Zune/Kin/Phones which screams "this won't sell either", then why would you even develop for it?

Nevermind that saying "it has Metro on it" probably won't be a big selling point once people have tried it on a desktop (you might as well tell people it runs on Vista). Then again, the demand for Windows tablets is quickly dying. I've lost all interest in one too. Too little, too late. There's nothing it does that a iPad wouldn't do better for me. I just can't think of a single reason to buy one anymore.

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when the first time MS announce that Win 8 will support not x86/64 & ARM cpus,

I was hoping to see the new appearances of high-spec ARM based desktop computers for consumer markets..

but alas, the mandatory/obligatory/forced Metro interface is really unsuitable for desktop usages,

not to mention MS demands ARM based Windows OS must use Secure-Boots without any option to disable them.

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high-spec ARM based desktop computers for consumer markets

Honestly, I wouldn't see the point of that. Even a high-spec'ed ARM CPU is still fairly weak compared to basically all modern desktop CPUs. To illustrate the point, take the multithreaded linpack benchmark. Some of the highest-end ARM chips like the Tegra 3 score a bit over 100 megaflops. Meanwhile, some last generation i5 2500K's bench close to 100 gigaflops. That's roughly 1000x faster (admittedly that's just one very specific bench). The video performance is also a lot slower than any modern "onboard" video (even that of a CPU which has a GPU on the same chip), let alone any discrete video card. Nevermind that existing motherboard form factors (and layouts), current PC architectures (like having PCI-e slots, or CPUs typically having memory controllers on-die meant to connect directly to DDR3 memory sticks), power supply designs and so on really aren't suited to an ARM system. At best you'd have something completely different, with the usual commodities tacked on as one gigantic hack. Its niche is battery powered, low-power mobile computing devices mainly. Tablets, phones, MP3 players, ebook readers and so on.

Add to that the fact that it wouldn't run any single app or game you've ever run or that's ever existed for the PC so far (including all drivers for any hardware you might own -- having completely different instruction sets and architectures will do that), and you just got the slowest, lamest PC ever. One that's slow and that can't really do anything useful (Metro would just add insult to injury). I can't see those flying off the shelves.

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It's very hard to compete with the iPad hardware cost-wise.

CoffeeFiend,

You've written the best explanation of the situation that I've seen. I understand the problem better now than ever before. Maybe you should be writing for some of those tech sites! :thumbup

This was especially instructive for me because I'm one of those who's tended to view Apple's products as severely overpriced for what they do.

--JorgeA

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Maybe you should be writing for some of those tech sites! :thumbup

Thanks, but my English really isn't that great. I'd have to work on my articles quite a lot for them to be mostly readable and well structured.

This was especially instructive for me because I'm one of those who's tended to view Apple's products as severely overpriced for what they do.

In a lot of cases they are. Especially if what you want is a nice, fast and powerful desktop PC. If you're not looking for a laptop, their crappy overpriced and underpowered Mac mini or their my-monitor-is-my-computer iMac just like me, then their only choice is the Mac Pro. That is EXTREMELY overpriced for what it is (yes, I know it's a Xeon CPU in there -- I don't care about that, just give me raw performance regardless of the branding). Just a quick comparison:

I recently upgraded my work PC: I got an Antec Sonata III case and it's good quality PSU: an Antec 500W that's 80+ gold certified. An ASUS P8Z68-V LX Z68 motherboard (great OEM, great Z68 chipset, USB3, SATA 6Gbps, etc), a Core i5 3550 that benches @ 7660 (stock), 16GB of good DDR3 1600, a 128GB Crucial M4 SSD as a boot+software drive (it's enough, don't need more), a 2TB HD for storage and an ASUS 24x DVD writer. It's all good quality parts and not some 2nd rate junker. I kept my existing video card, so keep that in mind. That was $750 CAD total, which is $730 USD at the current rate. Not bad really.

A "decent" Mac Pro, with the middle of the road quad core 3.2GHz Nehalem CPU (I'm assuming it's a Xeon W3565) which benches @ 6069 (my CPU is ~25% faster), 16GB of RAM (4x4GB), a 2TB storage drive, the only SSD option there is, the basic ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB that's slower than my existing card, a ghetto 18x DVD drive and nothing else... Their store tells me it would cost me $5224 USD. That's almost exactly ten times what I paid for a faster upgrade. Even a ghetto iMac (you know, the my-monitor-is-a-PC thingy) with a similar-ish CPU, 16GB RAM, a 2TB drive and 256GB SSD (the only SSD option there is) and a Radeom 6770M 512MB card is still over $3000! Ok then, let's try a Mac mini perhaps? The one with the Core i7 2635QM which benches @ 6232 (slower yet again), half the RAM (8GB), a small 750GB storage drive and the usual only SSD option (256GB), crappy onboard GPU with no upgrade options... That's still $1750!

So other than their portable devices (laptops, mp3 players, phones, tablets) they're a pretty darn bad value IMO. And even when it comes to laptops, depending on your needs, they're not necessarily a good value either. You want a durable, well build business-grade laptop? Sure, no one is giving those away. But if you're just after any old laptop with a 17" screen then you're in for a surprise. You can easily find some laptops with a 17" LCD and a i3 CPU around $500 (I've even seen some going for $400, *if* an AMD E450 is fast enough for you). Apple's only option is a MacBook Pro that starts from $2500.

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Has there been any Metro product which has been successful? Windows Phone. Nah. Zune No. Zune Software maybe but it's still "simplified" - doesn't serve advanced uses like Media Player does, Xbox 360 Metro Dashboard - p***ed off many users and again removed functionality like true 1080p playback. Other products with Metro-inspired design and all the wrong decisions are also likely to fail - Visual Studio 11, Office 15, SharePoint and Exchange 15, Windows Server 2012. And yet they are arrogantly sticking to it. Way to repeatedly p*** off users when they are telling MS they are already getting p***ed off. :P

Edited by xpclient
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So other than their portable devices (laptops, mp3 players, phones, tablets) they're a pretty darn bad value IMO.

CoffeeFiend,

Thanks for the excellent rundown, I understand the situation with Apple much better now.

I'd suggest that even the iPod is way overpriced, for our purposes anyway. My wife bought one a couple of years ago simply to download some talk-show podcasts, and both of us found iTunes to be the most inflexible, opaque, and arbitrary program we've ever tried. The manual, though extensive, didn't help to clarify matters. The iPod is still sitting in its case, slowly getting covered with dust.

Shortly after that exercise in frustration, I bought a Sansa Fuze for like one-third the price of the iPod. I can drag and drop stuff into it at will and it will find and play the MP3s, no muss no fuss. It doesn't insist on "syncing" anything for me (thankfully), the transfer process works predictably, and it doesn't try to channel me into doing things one particular way. Best little A/V purchase I've ever made.

--JorgeA

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You won't be able to develop anything but Metro applications, unless you cough up the dollars.

Well, it's another bullet in whatever there is left of their foot. I won't be extorted to program for a platform, whatever happened to writing Hello World! in a console FOR FREE? Ubuntu/Eclipse, here I come.

I already posted this stuff twice ;) They made the VS Express IDEs completely worthless (Metro-only). Also, the VS Express IDEs cannot legally be used for commercial work anymore. They're also taking the C++ compiler out of the SDK. And no more compiling for XP... MS is quickly and utterly destroying all their very best core products. The whole situation is turning into one huge farce. It's as if they decided to get rid of all their users as quickly as possible. Basically nobody will willingly "upgrade" to the new trash they're pushing out.

I'd suggest that even the iPod is way overpriced, for our purposes anyway. My wife bought one a couple of years ago simply to download some talk-show podcasts, and both of us found iTunes to be the most inflexible, opaque, and arbitrary program we've ever tried.

Well, it's getting pretty hard to find to find anything besides an iPod nowadays in the first place, and similar devices from other manufacturers usually cost near the same. We all use cheap Sony mp3 players here, but the sync'ing with WMP kind of sucks (the smart playlists are really basic compared to iTunes'). iTunes does suck on Windows though, it's like they've made no effort whatsoever to make it run decently on that platform.

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