JorgeA

Windows 8 - Deeper Impressions

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Another Ars Technica article points to the conceptual hazards facing Microsoft with the introduction of Windows 8 and the Surface tablet: by trying to be all things to everybody, Windows 8 may turn out to be good for no one in particular.

Microsoft is telling both users and hardware manufacturers alike that to get the most out of Windows 8, you're going to need a keyboard and a pixel-perfect pointing device. Touch alone just doesn't cut it.

[...]

...Windows 8 exposes the great danger of Microsoft's vision: a software environment that forces you to go "PC" when all you want is the "Plus" bit. If the iPad has taught us anything at all, it's that there are a lot of people out there who are happy with pure tablets, and actively desire pure tablets. Windows 8 gets a lot right, but its PC side is still there, and it's inescapable.

The Surface covers are an attempt to make this as painless as possible. You'll be able to carry around that touchpad and keyboard with only a marginal increase in size and weight, and you'd probably want a screen protector for your tablet anyway. As ameliorations go, they're not that bad.

But if you want your tablet to be just a tablet and to never force you to opt for conventional input devices, the message from the Surface is loud and clear: Windows 8 isn't the operating system for you.

We know that Windows 8 isn't ideally suited for serious desktop and laptop use (at any rate, not as well as its predecessors). But if it turns out that tablet users buy tablets because (surprise!) they prefer that simpletonsimplified experience, then Win8 won't cut it for them, either. By swinging for the homerun, Microsoft could well end up striking out miserably.

Windows 8: a bird with fins? It seems to be trying to serve two disparate purposes. Time will tell if there is a viable market for this hybrid OS.

--JorgeA

Edited by JorgeA
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MS has been cagey about its intentions for the Desktop in versions of Windows after 8. Paul Thurrott offers this tantalizing report. Discussing the possibility that Windows versioning might be dropped in favor of rolling updates, Thurrott writes that --

The question, however, is what form these updates will take. (Service Packs? Feature Packs? Windows Updates?) Mr. Sinofsky announced this change to employees about a month ago in a heavily-protected internal memo that Im still trying to get my hands on. But based on the bits Ive heard about, everything is changing. Whether things get back to normal with Windows 9 is unclear, though theres a credible theory making the rounds that suggests that Microsofts real plan is to mature the Metro stuff enough so that it can relegate the aging desktop interface to maintenance mode, then move forward, NT-style, with Windows RT.
[emphasis added]

Analogies are seldom perfect, but here we go: Maybe Windows 7 will take on the role of Windows 98 as the last in its particular branch of development, with Win8 becoming the new ME in the role of getting the computing public used to Microsoft's chosen future way of doing things (recall that ME, though still built on DOS, made it impossible to exit Windows into DOS). However, whether the computing public will take as well to the successor to the transitional Win8 as it did to Windows XP (the chronological successor to the transitional ME), cannot be foretold at this juncture. (I do know about Windows 2000, but remember -- that OS was really intended for a business/professional market rather than the public at large, which is what I'm talking about here.) And so, in 2025 or thereabouts some of us might be found here on MSFN working on the newest Unofficial Service Packs for Win7. :)

--JorgeA

Edited by JorgeA
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MS has been cagey about its intentions for the Desktop in versions of Windows after 8. Paul Thurrott offers this tantalizing report. Discussing the possibility that Windows versioning might be dropped in favor of rolling updates, Thurrott writes that --
The question, however, is what form these updates will take. (Service Packs? Feature Packs? Windows Updates?) Mr. Sinofsky announced this change to employees about a month ago in a heavily-protected internal memo that I’m still trying to get my hands on. But based on the bits I’ve heard about, everything is changing. Whether things get back to normal with Windows 9 is unclear, though there’s a credible theory making the rounds that suggests that Microsoft’s real plan is to mature the Metro stuff enough so that it can relegate the aging desktop interface to maintenance mode, then move forward, NT-style, with Windows RT.

[emphasis added]

Analogies are seldom perfect, but here we go: Maybe Windows 7 will take on the role of Windows 98 as the last in its particular branch of development, with Win8 becoming the new ME in the role of getting the computing public used to Microsoft's chosen future way of doing things (recall that ME, though still built on DOS, made it impossible to exit Windows into DOS). However, whether the computing public will take as well to the successor to the transitional Win8 as it did to Windows XP (the chronological successor to the transitional ME), cannot be foretold at this juncture. (I do know about Windows 2000, but remember -- that OS was really intended for a business/professional market rather than the public at large, which is what I'm talking about here.) And so, in 2025 or thereabouts some of us might be found here on MSFN working on the newest Unofficial Service Packs for Win7. :)

Unquestionably true. I don't know if they are presently going whole hog into the Applesque Metro/RT store model just yet. Perhaps they are just getting their feet wet and to measure how much fuss is made. Nevertheless, they see every single independent author out there as a scab. They see them the way that billg saw Netscape and how Ballmer sees Google. They want to turn the desktop into a legacy CMD window that is buried in a pile of colorful tiles. Moving "forward" they want to funnel everything through the store. They'll say it is better for "security". They'll say it is "better for the children" (maybe billg will finally be awarded his nobel). Should they not receive a lot of blowback, the plan gets accelerated. With some blowback they simply slow down and say that they have learned their lesson and are listening (again) like with Vista. Slow cooking frogs.

IMHO, the best outcome for everyone (except Microsoft) is that Windows 8 crashes and burns. Actually, more needs to be done than that, but it would be a good start. Having benefited (like everyone else) from a standard OS on most of the world's PC's it pains me to believe I was wrong, but I was wrong. That monopoly was justified by many (me included) as being compared to having a common spoken or written language - 'you can't get anything done if there is no standard'. Perhaps it was necessary, but then this happens, they are outright planing on abusing that monopoly and converting it into their own private little Apple store. Well, this is what people should be angry about. This is the logical progression of a near 100% monopoly. It is positively Machiavellian. Somewhat related ...

How Microsoft Lost Its Mojo: Steve Ballmer and Corporate America’s Most Spectacular Decline

That Vanity Fair story has gotten a lot of press, the fanboys are having strokes. Fun read though.

Metrosoft Windows 8 : Stop calling it Metro! ( It was just a codename. Really. )

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Unquestionably true. I don't know if they are presently going whole hog into the Applesque Metro/RT store model just yet. Perhaps they are just getting their feet wet and to measure how much fuss is made. Nevertheless, they see every single independent author out there as a scab. They see them the way that billg saw Netscape and how Ballmer sees Google. They want to turn the desktop into a legacy CMD window that is buried in a pile of colorful tiles. Moving "forward" they want to funnel everything through the store. They'll say it is better for "security". They'll say it is "better for the children" (maybe billg will finally be awarded his nobel). Should they not receive a lot of blowback, the plan gets accelerated. With some blowback they simply slow down and say that they have learned their lesson and are listening (again) like with Vista. Slow cooking frogs.

I just read an editorial that speaks to this. Not exactly a disinterested source, but it makes you think anyway:

...[T]his move isn’t really about selling hardware – it is about projecting control. Control over search. Control over links to download apps, music, and written materials. Microsoft doesn’t envy the iPad – they envy iTunes. They want to start building their own silo to control the user’s access to applications and content and to control the gold mine of data pertaining to that customer walking around with that tablet in a backpack.

Interesting VF article about Ballmer and Microsoft generally. But note that the thread of one of its main critiques is that MS has been too cautious in innovating over the years, not too rambunctious. Still, Windows 8 could be described as the result of bureaucratic "design by committee"...

--JorgeA

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There is a discussion, in a suprising venue, of a method for booting into the Desktop in Windows 8 (RTM?).

Has anybody tried this, and does it work as advertised? The YouTube video on the second page is tantalizing!

--JorgeA

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You could try Skip Metro Suite (http://winaero.com/comment.php?comment.news.103) which is in my experience, the fastest at showing the desktop, even faster than Classic Shell or Start8. If you use autologon, the desktop shows for me just as the startup sound is playing. No trace of the Tiles. :)

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Windows 8 Pro to be priced at $199 following $69.99 promotional pricing ( The Verge - 2012-08-21 )

Microsoft's Windows 8 Pro software will be priced at $199 after a promotional price of $69.99 expires on January 31st 2013, according to one source familiar with Microsoft's plans. The software maker will also offer a Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro upgrade option at retail stores for $69.99 until January 31st when the price reverts to $99.99.

Microsoft previously announced its $39.99 Windows 8 Pro upgrade pricing for existing Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 users — a price available exclusively online for those wishing to download the software without a DVD option. Retailers will stock a $69.99 Windows 8 Pro option in stores, one that may be offered as a traditional full version of Windows for those without a previous copy. Both the Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Pro copies will be made available from retailers on October 26th.

If this proves to be true, it looks like the final nail in the coffin for Windows 8. There would be really no doubt that Microsoft management is completely unrealistic and beyond redemption. IMHO, Even Windows XP and 7 were way over-priced, and should have sold for about 50% of the retail sticker. But $200 for this steaming pile is just plain wrong.

Come next February when the promos end and the prices return to normal, you can stick a fork in this thing, it's done.

Microsoft Window 8 : We used to call it Windows, but why bother? ( No-one needs more than two snapped apps. )

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I personally wouldn't buy it even if it was just 1$

to me simply bad product don't deserve support

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I personally wouldn't buy it even if it was just 1$

to me simply bad product don't deserve support

Exactly. MS, I want all my removed Windows 7 features back. Period. :realmad:

Edited by xpclient
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You could try Skip Metro Suite (http://winaero.com/comment.php?comment.news.103) which is in my experience, the fastest at showing the desktop, even faster than Classic Shell or Start8. If you use autologon, the desktop shows for me just as the startup sound is playing. No trace of the Tiles. :)

xpclient,

That's a GREAT idea! :thumbup I can't wait to try it.

I imagine that it's possible to combine Skip Metro Suite with Classic Shell, or Start Menu X.

--JorgeA

EDIT:

IE10's SmartScreen Filter tried to discourage me from running the Skip Metro Suite, saying it was an "unsupported app," but clicking on more info gave me the chance to "run anyway."

It worked. :thumbup Stayed on the Metro screen for a couple of seconds and then I was in the Win8 RP Desktop.

The settings didn't work perfectly: Checking the box for disabling the Charms only, did not do that -- I was still getting the d*mned thing if the mouse cursor reached the top right corner and I happened to move it down along the edge. But checking the box for disabling all of the hot corners did work. B)

Oh, and it does work in conjunction with Start Menu X. :thumbup:thumbup

Edited by JorgeA
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Another article critical of Windows 8, again from a surprising source -- one of the founders of Neowin.net.

It also appears that desktop applications can no longer register themselves as default (even if you want it) or certain file types too. The only way around this is to open the Control Panel (or Start screen) and search for Default Programs, wait for all your installed software to load and appear in the left pane, then select your preferred program and click the Set as default option. An added bonus is that you can set different file types to open in different applications, but Windows will keep reminding you that "there are other apps that can open this file type" as well.

And gaming master Gabe Newell renews his assault on Win8.

One (further) annoyance I discovered today. In Internet Explorer 8, there is a tiny down-arrow in the upper left corner, just to the right of the Forward button. I have found this to be increasingly a major timesaver, as websites cram ever more ads into their pages and you have to hit the Back button a dozen or more times to get back to the actual last page you saw on the screen. By hitting that little arrow, you can skip back nine of these at a time.

Well, there seems to be no such arrow in IE10, so you can't skip several pages (or ads) in one step. Whatever time you might save by IE10's faster graphics processing or whatever, is amply made up by the need to keep hitting the Back button repeatedly to get back to where you were.

...After some experimenting, I discovered that I can do the skip thing by right-clicking on the Back button, but how many people will know that or think of doing it? I don't get the point of removing the visibility of functional elements and leaving no hint of their existence. Then again, that's the UI design fashion now, isn't it? :rolleyes:

--JorgeA

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...After some experimenting, I discovered that I can do the skip thing by right-clicking on the Back button, but how many people will know that or think of doing it? I don't get the point of removing the visibility of functional elements and leaving no hint of their existence. Then again, that's the UI design fashion now, isn't it? :rolleyes:

--JorgeA

Did you skip IE9? Its the same as that, the right-click is the way. In fact all other browsers I have (Firefox, Palemoon, Chrome) don't have an arrow and use the right-click option to go back history.

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...After some experimenting, I discovered that I can do the skip thing by right-clicking on the Back button, but how many people will know that or think of doing it? I don't get the point of removing the visibility of functional elements and leaving no hint of their existence. Then again, that's the UI design fashion now, isn't it? :rolleyes:

--JorgeA

Did you skip IE9? Its the same as that, the right-click is the way. In fact all other browsers I have (Firefox, Palemoon, Chrome) don't have an arrow and use the right-click option to go back history.

Tripredacus,

Yup, I'm still on IE8. I decided to pass on IE9 when I saw that there was no functional status bar (I rely on the real-time, visible info it provides as I surf the Web). ClassicShell has a feature bringing some of those functions back, but not all. (I'm using it in IE10, which is only on my various Win8 previews and not on any of my work machines.) Plus, I don't like the look of the Back and Forward buttons or the overall design. So I'll be using IE8 till it stops working.

My wife tried IE9 for even less time than I did. Her reaction was immediate and strong. After installing it and launching it for the first time, about five seconds later she asked, "Ewww -- how do I get rid of this sh*t?"

I've never understood the appeal of moving controls around from one version to the next -- what's the point? It's like having the next year's car models shuffle the location of the gearshift, the radio button, and the headlight and windshield wiper controls. Just leave 'em alone already, for Pete's sake: use your developing skills to come up with actual improvements, not things that make users spend time re-learning where everything is.

--JorgeA

P.S. Apropos of the practice of making changes seemingly for the heck of it, check this out.

Edited by JorgeA
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Microsoft: Fresh Paint is the "#1" Windows 8 Entertainment app ( NeoWin 2012-08-22 )

Microsoft Reimagines Paint ( Technet Blogs 2012-08-22 )

"Many people are familiar with Paint, an application that has been a part of Windows for as long as I can remember so when then Fresh Paint team told me that they’d set out to completely reimagine what painting in the modern age should be — I was intrigued. What I found was a painting application of the kind I (and probably you) have never seen before."

" ... but it wasn’t until my 3 year old daughter started playing with the app that I truly realized it is quite different from any other painting app I’d seen. It’s paint for the modern age, and has a simplicity and realism that is amazing."

Groundbreaking originality from Redmond! They better hope Disney doesn't see this. And if they do notice the possible 'look and feel' issue Microsoft had better hope their lawyers do a better job than they did with the Metro fiasco. Disney takes anti-piracy very seriously.

sN5C82q.jpg

The kids absolutely loved Magic Artist Studio, which has many amazing special effects. Those Disney characters in the screenshot are actually animated, and it doesn't begin to demonstrate the quality of that Disney program. In many ways it is practically a trainer for complex graphic design, the paint and crayons are just the tip of the iceberg.

Interestingly enough, Microsoft once threatened a lawsuit over the letter "E" ( NeoWin 2012-08-22 ) ...

e7KuNZz.jpg

EDIT: added a link, typos, updated image URLs

Microsoft Windows 8 : ReImagining The Future ( By Stealing from the Past )

Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot
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"Many people are familiar with Paint, an application that has been a part of Windows for as long as I can remember so when then Fresh Paint team told me that they’d set out to completely reimagine what painting in the modern age should be — I was intrigued. What I found was a painting application of the kind I (and probably you) have never seen before."

" ... but it wasn’t until my 3 year old daughter started playing with the app that I truly realized it is quite different from any other painting app I’d seen. It’s paint for the modern age, and has a simplicity and realism that is amazing."

Groundbreaking originality from Redmond! They better hope Disney doesn't see this. And if they do notice the possible 'look and feel' issue Microsoft had better hope their lawyers do a better job than they did with the Metro fiasco.

Amazing -- nothing new under the sun here, conceptually. Maybe the novel part is that, with the touch interface, now you can dip your fingers in digital paint and slosh it around.

Great, and now we can get treated to a Dumpsterful of trash painting in our inboxes and Facebook pages, just like so many of us foisted our musical genius on friends and family when inexpensive electronic keyboards first came out in the '80s. (I plead guilty to this sonic crime.)

Interestingly enough, Microsoft once threatened a lawsuit over the letter "E" (NeoWin 2012-08-22) ...

:rolleyes:

Even the MS lawyer must have thought it was idiotic, as nothing ever came out of it. Worth a shot, I guess...

--JorgeA

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