JorgeA

Windows 8 - Deeper Impressions

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When Surface came out, speculation was that ARM (Windows RT) was the future and that the new Microsoft tablet might bump off the iPad in the "BYOD" movement, giving MS a foothold in that growing market segment. But now it appears that they have shot themselves in that foot:

Businesses can't use Office on Windows RT tablets!?

One of the attractions of Windows RT tablets to business was to have been that it was coming with a baked-in version of Office 2013. And, so it will, it's just that you may, or may not, be able to use that edition for "commercial, nonprofit, or revenue-generating activities." Say what?

If sounded odd to me too, but Windows RT tablets will come with Office Home & Student 2013 RT and Microsoft expressly states that it is "not for use in commercial, nonprofit, or revenue-generating activities."

Add to that the apparent fact that these MS tablets can't join a network domain...

Thinking about using Windows RT tablets on your business network? You can't do it. Windows RT doesn't support Active Directory (AD).

...and it's not hard to visualize the initial appeal of these devices plummeting as office workers discover that the less expensive Windows RT tablets can't run the business software they use, so what's the point of getting one?

You can get an Intel-based Windows 8 tablet, but these are more expensive, which trades one kind of competitive disadvantage for a different kind. What's the compelling reason for getting any flavor of Windows 8-type tablet over an iPad or Android device, and what does that mean for their intended strategy of growth by making it in the tablet market?

--JorgeA

Edited by JorgeA
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Yes, it's a huge drawback when it comes to M$ Surface which itself seems to be a decent device... but its most important advantage over all other Apple / Android tablets is this Office. If you can't make the full use of it then paying so much money for Surface RT doesn't make much sense (unless you're a student a want to use it for several years then it may be useful).

Edit: It's not that bad. You can use Office RT commercially but you need to buy additional license.

By the way, three Surface reviews which I found interesting:

(general)

(reading oriented)

(hardware oriented) Edited by tomasz86
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The story behind the Windows Phone 8 Start screen ( Windows Phone Blog 2012-11-02 ) story via NeoWin

“How can we make Start even more personal?”

These before-and-after screenshots show how the designers and engineers here ultimately answered that question in Windows Phone 8.

bN1ju.jpg

Before and after: The redesigned Start screen in Windows Phone 8 (right) features resizable Live Tiles and other improvements designed to make it even more personal, fun, and informative.

( image saved from Windows Phone Blog )

So here we have the "clean" and "uncluttered" glorious interface that "lets us focus on the content". Yep. Sure. The blog post goes on about their tweaking of the number of columns and sizes of the tiles and some other stuff, and how the user can finally change a few of these things themselves. This is user customization. Be grateful. The only smart improvement I see is eliminating the dead-space margin on the right-side. Everything else should have been present all along. Users should always have access to customize not some of the GUI element parameters, but all of them Color, font, background, gradients, effects, padding, margins, text color, icons, shape, spacing, everything. That would be customization. Since the thing is really HTML-CSS rooted, themes should be style sheets with no locked-out parameters at all.

Of course their thinking is simply self-serving, trying to maintain a Microsoft Tiles look, discouraging users from changing it completely, and that is frankly the problem here. I suppose they'll say that they want to prevent things from getting too out of control, protect us from ourselves, maintain a clean and uniform appearance. Well let's see how that worked out, shall we? Yes, we shall. Here is another picture from the same blog entry ...

N4WPD.jpg

New hues: The new Windows Phone 8 Start screen comes in lots of new colors—and makes possible all kinds of new arrangements for Live Tiles.

( image saved from Windows Phone Blog )

I call that a FusterCluck plain and simple. I think what they are really afraid of is that with access to all the GUI elements someone could easily whip up a beautiful theme in 5 minutes flat that would put the duhfault appearance to shame.

Windows 8 and Metro is a visual abomination, on every device and form factor. Moving to HTML-CSS ( GPU and Direct-X accelerated or not ) is bad enough since the layout control is relatively constrained and limited compared to pure graphics programming, even if customization included 100% access to all screen parameters. Further crippling this with an insane 8-bit or 16-bit color depth and the horrific one-color, handicap sign icons is unforgivable. What we actually see here is a rough approximation of the GUI firmware present on countless devices from DVD, DVR, TVs to Cameras. And some of those that I've seen are much more visually appealing.

Here's what would have happened if I were in charge. After Vista/7 with Aero there would have been a move towards a sophisticated GUI engine similar to 3-D game engines like Unreal and Quake which could already render Direct-X or OpenGL transparency and effects by the time Windows 98 and it's barebones GUI was popular! I first remember thinking of this when noticing how smooth and reliable Quake 3 and UT had become by 1999. Transparent menus, interchangeable graphics and text, even a functional "~" command-lne console with primitive DOS-style file functions. How did they miss this? Instead of pursuing this they seemed to spend all their resources on snail's pace incremental improvements to the Windows GUI while advancing even slower on rudimentary Internet visuals like HTML 3 and CSS ( 1996 ) and HTML 4 ( 1998 ). Maybe John Carmack or Epic should have been developing an Operating System instead of just games. :yes: Had things moved in this direction all along, instead of the Microsoft's neutered inside-the-box thinking, we would have a Windows Interface with limitless options such as 3-D with true x,y,z placement and effects only limited by human imagination. As it went, the closest we ever got was with the tease of Flip-3d and glassy transparency. The successor to that brief foray into high-performance graphics is the Windows 8 playskool edition, designed for children by Seattle hipsters that wouldn't recognize beauty if it smacked them on their thick heads.

The blog author closes with this:

"By the way, here’s a look at my real-life Start screen. Trust me: No one else has a one like it. I can’t wait to see yours." ...

3Mcqd.jpg

( image saved from Windows Phone Blog )

Microsoft and Metro is to graphics, as Seattle grunge was to music.

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Neither of these stories is directly about Windows 8, but they are interesting in general ...

The Facebook phone is coming, but delayed, claims report ( NeoWin 2012-11-03 )

... the source says that the handset is being built by HTC and is presently known as the ‘Opera UL’, unambiguously adding that “it is the Facebook phone, made for Facebook”.

Hmmm. Intriguing. It would appear that Opera is collaborating with them after all. Hopefully the buyout thing was just a smokescreen and instead it has to do with creating their browser or maybe even the operating system itself.

HTC Opera UL May be First Facebook Smartphone ( Tom's Hardware 2012-11-05 )

More stories appearing like this now. No explanation at all for the codeword "Opera UL" though. It can't be coincidence, can it?

A world without Windows ( NeoWin 2012-11-03 )

Not a lot of meat to this story, just inane speculation about where we would be without Windows. These people inexplicably believe that Apple would be the majority player instead, proving their pro-Microsoft knee-jerk hatred of Apple which clouds their judgment. Apple and Microsoft have almost never competed head-to-head, unless you count Microsoft mice or keyboards. If Apple wanted to stir things up, they could indeed release the Mac OS to the general public ( perhaps with limited or no support ) since they have been developing for Intel x86 for quite a few years now since scrapping the Motorola and Power-PC architectures. Not that I would be interested in it ( I would probably install it on one computer only ) but if that ever happened, then they could truly compare Apple and Microsoft as competitors. In reality, Apple has been a huge beneficiary of Microsoft products and probably woudn't even exist without them. Porting Excel and Word ( among others ) to Mac helped to bring Apple credibility it was severely lacking. Until that time people and businesses would rather use DOS and it's huge base of applications than Mac and it's limited selection, GUI or not.

But the most interesting thing about that article is the link to a video of a commercial for Win95. I've been scratchiing my head trying to remember if I ever saw this. It is a 30 minute comedy infommerical starring the Friends Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry. Very strange.

P.S. Can anyone confirm that HTTPS does not embed?

EDIT: added link

Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot
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By the way, three Surface reviews which I found interesting:

(general)

(reading oriented)

(hardware oriented)

Thanks, they really were interesting. IMHO the guy who did the third one was the best -- easy to listen to. Did he take a single breath during the review? :)

One thing he pointed out that I hadn't heard before, was that the Surface RT uses a proprietary charging connector.

--JorgeA

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Edit: It's not that bad. You can use Office RT commercially but you need to buy additional license.

Sure, imagine that you need to buy a Photoshop CS6 License in order to be licensed to use a "MS Paint like" lousy program on your lousy tablet. :whistle: (or try to do some serious photoediting with your fingers instead of a pen).

"Not that bad" is relative.

And what if a company has a new, revolutionary, (BTW moronic) approach of only using Surfaces and "The Cloud" (which is actually what the good MS guys are pushing for)?

They don't even have the hardware to actually install one of the senselessly bloated "complete" Office suites, in order to be allowed to run the RT version on their tablets.

Additionally (and only slightly OT) using "seriously" Excel without direct access to Fn keys and without a Numeric Keypad is a lot like doing Muay Thai with both your hands tied behind your back and your legs tied together and to to the pavement...

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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But this Office isn't intended to be used by fingers. It's supposed to be used in a Desktop mode with either a trackpad or a mouse and a keyboard. Of course the experience will be much worse than on a real desktop but if you compare it to all other (non-x86) tablets it's still no comparison simply because the other devices have got no real Office at all.

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Does anyone noticed that GDI 2D graphics is sooooooo slow in Windows 8?

Here is what I get when I resize the engine selection Windows of ProcExp:

post-70718-0-70373500-1351799889_thumb.p

Do you mean it's worse than GDI 2D performance under Windows 7?? :o Then it's a serious issue!

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Does anyone noticed that GDI 2D graphics is sooooooo slow in Windows 8?

Here is what I get when I resize the engine selection Windows of ProcExp:

post-70718-0-70373500-1351799889_thumb.p

Do you mean it's worse than GDI 2D performance under Windows 7?? :o Then it's a serious issue!

This certainly qualifies as a "Deeper Impression."

--JorgeA

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@xpclient

have you tested the 2D perf? Do you also have those issues? Maybe it is an issue with my Radeon HD 5770.

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Maybe it is an issue with my Radeon HD 5770.

Possible. :unsure:

You should upgrade to some recent hardware :angel:whistle:

;)

jaclaz

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I was looking for the HD7770 but the improvement is too small. I'll wait for the HD8770 and see if this gives an improvement.

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Enable Flash websites in IE Metro Browser on Windows 8 and RT ( NeoWin 2012-11-05 )

If you read the thread you will see both an XML file edit of a whitelist and a separate method using the registry. Let the hacking begin. I love this. No, I don't love Flash or Adobe, but I hate restrictions. Go to it people! Since the good guys have all but conquered the Start Menu, I hope now that someone can tame the Metro GUI and do what Microsoft should have all along: and that is cram it into a portable, windowed application like Media Center was on WinXP and later. One that can be launched from a shortcut, and terminated at will. Since it is "nothing more than a full-screen launcher" ( according to the MicroZombies ) then it should be able to operate as such, just like all the thousands of other alternative program launchers available for many years. Of course we all know that Microsoft didn't simply create an alternative full-screen launcher at all, instead it is the prototype gateway to their Walled Garden Apple-ripoff.

Microsoft Expands Rebootless Display Driver Upgrade Patent ( Tom's Hardware 2012-11-05 )

The approach covers three separate steps - first, to stop a display driver from running; second, to activate the Windows default VGA driver (Microsoft Basic Display Driver in Windows 8); and third to start up the new driver that is provided by an independent hardware vendor (IHV).

Yes, the Patent system is a disaster. We know that. We would probably be better off if it was simply completely terminated and all Patents rescinded immediately. But what is curious to me is the question: Exactly who is Microsoft trying to prevent from using this "process" anyway? They are the owner of Windows, so is it an attack on Linux or Apple or Google from live changing a video display driver using what is a ( pardon the pun ) patently obvious procedure? I have another question. Does Microsoft get a Patent for their boneheaded procedure that creates a restore point if you download an updated display driver INF that is a few KB in size? Can a competitor ( as if :lol: ) Patent a process that does not create a silly restore point when updating a display driver INF? Inquiring minds want to know.

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