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Windows 8 - Deeper Impressions


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#251
JorgeA

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I just came across a review of the Metro interface. The article was interesting, but the real stars on the page are the commenters:

how many ppl have touchscreens at home anyway? i don't know a single person who has one at home OR work. I went to a great site i buy pc parts from all the time, guess what? they don't have a single touchscreen for sale. And heres the real thing, I have 2 24" screens an arms length away from me. even if i had a touchscreen, do they really think i want to spend all day with my arm stretched out infront of me? heck no. I DON't want to use a touchscreen. I want my lazy arm on my desk, with the mouse so sensitive that I barely have to move 2 inches to move the pointer across 2 desktops. windows 8 is trying to turn my killer machine into a mobile phone. this sucks! get the cell outta my pc!!!!!


What most people are not grasping is the division between Win32 and WinRT. If Microsoft has its way and Win32 is abandoned and everybody is programming for WinRT, we should all forget about windows in Windows. WinRT is a full-screen environment which also manages applications without user input. If this change takes hold, you should forget desktop computing for ever. Rich applications with rich output and capable interfaces using the desktop in an intelligent manner would be history for good. Is this what you want?? Is this what anybody wants?


On that page, the comment that appears just below this last comment sounds like an even more serious indictment of Metro, but I'm not a developer so I lack the expertise to assess it. I'll be thankful to any who do know what he's talking about and who will flesh out some of what he says in the first two paragraphs.

--JorgeA


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#252
CoffeeFiend

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The article was interesting

...and is often spot-on:

my personal view is that desktop applications need to be rewritten or modified for the touch environment

That. Non-touch apps don't work right for touch input. And touch apps suck with mouse/keyboard interfaces. And in lots of cases, very large parts of the code would have to be replaced (as much as 90%). This is why Metro doesn't make any sense, except on tablets. But again, it's not like we're given the choice of having the right kind of UI, everything is now a smartphone according to MS.

What Windows 8 needs is to go back to its roots and to become Windows again.

This. We'll wait it out for a while, but if Windows doesn't become Windows again then it just becomes a useless and irrelevant OS that I won't use on any device.

As for the comments:

windows 8 is trying to turn my killer machine into a mobile phone. this sucks! get the cell outta my pc!!!!!

+1 to that.

If this change takes hold, you should forget desktop computing for ever. Rich applications with rich output and capable interfaces using the desktop in an intelligent manner would be history for good.

Exactly. Almost all the software that makes using Windows worth it just doesn't and can't work with the Metro UI. It's just not suited to desktop computing. If MS pushes that aside then they greatly reduce the usefulness and relevance of Windows i.e. they're killing it.

On that page, the comment that appears just below this last comment sounds like an even more serious indictment of Metro, but I'm not a developer so I lack the expertise to assess it.

That's the same kind of stuff I've been saying all along, just with specific points and examples. It's far too limited, the apps are sandboxed (your access to anything is very limited), and yes, it's not exactly a mature development platform and things like the controls suck (and of course, everything is maximized now). That's why we don't plan on porting any of our software to Metro. Having to rewrite *huge* amounts of code at great expense, especially when most people believe Metro will be a complete flop, and that MS lately is quicker at killing or replacing their new developer tools? MFC (tech from 1992) still works today. But Winforms? Well, that's been replaced by WPF. Oh, wait, that's being replaced by WinRT. Silverlight? Forget that too, it's HTML5 now, and maybe WinRT. "Classic" ASP was replaced by ASP.NET, and that's being replaced by ASP.NET MVC. They seem to do this for all their recent stuff. They push hard for something then they just kill it off, and you end up having to re-learn how it works and by the time you're there they replace it again. So eventually you stop caring about the flavor-of-the-week stuff.

So yeah. Why incur the expense of porting existing Win32 apps that work great and already costed quite a lot to develop, having to re-think how every part of interface should work using touch, re-training all programmers for WinRT, writing all the new code (maintaining 2 separate code bases) and doing a lot of restructuring work so you can reuse parts of the old code. That's assuming that what you need to do can even be done in that sandboxed environment (in our case it can't be for most of our apps). Just so we can have a smartphone-like app which will only run on ~1% of our users' computers (those with Win8), only to see them use it with their mouse anyway? Most likely they'd hate it and just run the good old version on the desktop instead. It's just *so* not happening. You can imagine that lots of other companies, if not nearly all of them (except those who make smartphone apps), will do the same.
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#253
JorgeA

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CoffeeFiend,

Thank you very much for the explanation. Putting that commentary together with what you've been saying, it's starting to make sense to me now.

The May issue of PCWorld came in the mail yesterday, with Windows 8 as the cover feature. Editor Steve Fox likes the new look and the fact that MS has made a bold play for the growing tablet market. However, he's dubious about Win8's viability on desktop machines:

But it runs the risk of confusing, or even angering, mouse and keyboard users, who may find themselves staring at a screen offering few navigational cues, not even the familiar Start button.

After discussing "a potential user revolt," the lead editorial concludes:

I'm predicting a major hit this time as well. In 2015. With Windows 9.

--JorgeA

#254
Tripredacus

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At least that Metro app has an off switch! :w00t:

Anyways, just read a huge in depth article on Windows 8 at Ars Technica. You can see there are MANY improvements that are great for us techies, but it also points out the problems of course. I see that one is that the multi-monitor taskbar is configurable, which I hadn't seen in my tests. I made a complaint about it somewhere in this thread. :rolleyes:
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#255
jaclaz

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Speaking of games, I just coded a new one :w00t:, inspired by MS OS releases :ph34r:.
(See attached Excel worksheet) :)

jaclaz

Attached Files



#256
JorgeA

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Speaking of games, I just coded a new one :w00t:, inspired by MS OS releases :ph34r:.
(See attached Excel worksheet) :)

jaclaz,

Cute!

I "like" how the game is rigged. The object is to avoid going on red squares, but "you" (MS) play Green and I play Red; and then my pieces (starting on red squares) can actually only move one square diagonally, which means that they will always stay on red squares!

Loved that "difference" between the short-sighted bishop and the limping knight. :yes:

--JorgeA

#257
CoffeeFiend

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a huge in depth article on Windows 8 at Ars Technica

Nice article.

My take on the same points:
-Metro: full-screen garbage, a *gigantic* step backwards in every way
-Start screen: another huge step backwards
-New explorer: ribbons add very little, but the new file copy dialogs are nice (and perhaps its best new feature)
-Task manager: heat maps are nice but process explorer still offers much more (much like ISO mounting vs Daemon Tools)
-Multimonitor: some minor improvements but it's crippled by really screwing up basic stuff like hot corners and fullscreen-everything
-Hot corners and charms: suck on VMs, suck on multimonitor setups, unintuitive on desktops, poor discoverability, high learning curve

You can see there are MANY improvements that are great for us techies

Honestly, I'm not quite sure what you're referring to here besides the few obvious things.
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#258
jaclaz

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Cute!

The good (but also sad) thing is that - completely missing any kind of fantasy :w00t: - I did not invent anything, I simply faked the game basing myself on my actual experience in managing - all these years - to stay clear from crappy MS OS versions (yes, it means that I have been wise :), but it also means that I am around since toooo much time :ph34r:)

jaclaz

#259
Tripredacus

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You can see there are MANY improvements that are great for us techies

Honestly, I'm not quite sure what you're referring to here besides the few obvious things.


The Copy-To and Move-To are good. Also the CMD/PowerShell from anywhere also. These were always reg-hacks since forever ago, but now built in.
Show hidden files/extension on the ribbon (notice it was a lot harder to get to Folder Options in Vista/7)
Pause/resume on file copy
File replace for media files now has a preview thumbnail instead of the file type icon.
Task Manager including grouping processes by user.
Analyze Wait Chain.
Taskbar properties for multimonitor.
Multimonitor that allows for stacking, tiling.

Those are basically covered on pages 2 and 3 of the Ars link.
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#260
belgianguy

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You can see there are MANY improvements that are great for us techies

Honestly, I'm not quite sure what you're referring to here besides the few obvious things.


The Copy-To and Move-To are good. Also the CMD/PowerShell from anywhere also. These were always reg-hacks since forever ago, but now built in.
Show hidden files/extension on the ribbon (notice it was a lot harder to get to Folder Options in Vista/7)
Pause/resume on file copy
File replace for media files now has a preview thumbnail instead of the file type icon.
Task Manager including grouping processes by user.
Analyze Wait Chain.
Taskbar properties for multimonitor.
Multimonitor that allows for stacking, tiling.

Those are basically covered on pages 2 and 3 of the Ars link.



Yes, these are good points, and if they released all that as a Windows 7 Service Pack, I'd say that would have been a nice addition.

But is this the best a completely new OS has to offer? Subtract from that all that is wrong with it, and you'd still end up far in the negative.

The gist of the article is far from praising Windows 8, every bit that could be good, is almost countered every time by something that is broken, not intuitive or simply harder than it was in Windows 7.

Here's my response.

#261
JorgeA

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There's a discussion of Windows 8 over in the AVS Forum. One poster made the following excellent point:

One absolutely annoying 'feature' of Win 8 is that everytime I'm using Internet Explorer (Or any program actually) and need to do anything on the right side of the screen, like use the scroll bar, the Win 8 sidebar pops out!

He means the lovely Charms. Surprising that more reviewers haven't picked up on this, especially the ones who claim to have been working in Win8 exclusively. It's happened to me, too -- also, when in the Desktop, with the Metro app switcher on the top left. And if I want to get the mouse out of the way of something and am unlucky enough to leave it at the bottom right corner when in Desktop mode, then not only do I get the Charms, but my open windows disappear and I'm shown the desktop. That's never been one of my favorite Windows 7 behaviors, but Win8 doubles down on it. :realmad:

Who was the genius who came up with a system where the user needs to learn to AVOID doing certain things in the course of normal interaction with the screen?? A properly designed OS UI should carry out user-initiated actions ONLY when the user performs a deliberate act for the specific purpose of making it happen (i.e., by clicking), not as an accidental result of doing something else (like moving the mouse around or dragging the scroll bar).

That first observation above led to the following comment:

Interface elements that pop out just by mousing over them are a singularly bad idea, and that's been well known for over 30 years (How many OSes copied GEM's dropdown menus?). Making them an essential, primary part of operating the thing is insane, and making them completely hidden is taking craziness to a new level.

--JorgeA

#262
JorgeA

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Here's my response.

belgianguy,

That is a fantastic commentary! :thumbup

My favorite part is this:

It's my expectation that Sinofsky will have to descend from his ivory tower and accept that his product is flawed and make amends by listening to the disgruntled users. That or risk damaging the Windows brand in a way that Microsoft hasn't ever experienced before. Vista wasn't bad, it was released on hardware that could not bring forward its qualities and that doomed its adoption and gave it a bad reputation. On a capable machine, Vista did fine. Win8 is something completely different, as in this case it is the product itself that is inherently flawed. No future amends in hardware will alleviate this burden.

I agree with every single word you wrote there. (I'm on Vista!)

--JorgeA

#263
MagicAndre1981

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Analyze Wait Chain.


?

this is a Vista feature.
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#264
CoffeeFiend

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The Copy-To and Move-To are good.
Pause/resume on file copy
File replace for media files now has a preview thumbnail instead of the file type icon.

I considered those as the "new file copy dialogs". So I meant stuff besides that. IMO that's the best feature of Win8 and almost the only one I'd ever use.

Also the CMD/PowerShell from anywhere also. These were always reg-hacks since forever ago, but now built in.

That barely qualifies as a feature really... It's only worthwhile for power users which already know about the reg tweaks.

Show hidden files/extension on the ribbon (notice it was a lot harder to get to Folder Options in Vista/7)

Yes, but that's the kind of thing you only change once (if ever). Again, that's hardly what I'd call a feature (every version of Windows moves some settings around anyway).

Task Manager including grouping processes by user.

Which is very much inferior to process explorer's process tree IMO. Still better than what was there before.

Analyze Wait Chain.

As MagicAndre1981 said, that was in Vista and it's still in Win7.

Taskbar properties for multimonitor.
Multimonitor that allows for stacking, tiling.

Yes, the basic multimonitor changes I had already covered... But they're very much negated by all the other and far more important issues it created. If anything, multimonitor works worse overall than it did on Win7 without 3rd party utils, and it very badly loses to Win7 with some 3rd party utils. I can't say I care much for it.

TL;DR: nothing really.

He means the lovely Charms. Surprising that more reviewers haven't picked up on this, especially the ones who claim to have been working in Win8 exclusively. It's happened to me, too -- also, when in the Desktop, with the Metro app switcher on the top left. And if I want to get the mouse out of the way of something and am unlucky enough to leave it at the bottom right corner when in Desktop mode, then not only do I get the Charms, but my open windows disappear and I'm shown the desktop. That's never been one of my favorite Windows 7 behaviors, but Win8 doubles down on it. :realmad:

I fully agree about the whole thing, including Win7's annoying and very much useless corner button.

And yes, belgianguy's reply is a good read too.
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#265
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Jesus. If all this is where Windows is heading to, maybe it's time to start learning linux. Bleh!!

#266
JorgeA

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Windows 8 usage has skyrocketed from 0.11 percent to 0.13 percent, according to a new report passed along by Neowin.net.

The conclusion is a bit of a hoot:

it illustrates how a new segment can rapidly develop and become a true moving force in any market

Note that the percentages are for the various Windows flavors only. IIRC, the previously seen 0.11% share counted all desktop OS's and not just those from Microsoft. If we factor in the assortment of Linux distros and Mac OS's that are out there traveling the 'Net, Win8's percentage may be hardly any greater today than it was last month.

One could argue that this reflects people who tried it and then stopped using it. Although that alone should tell us something, remember that the two articles in question are trying to cast Win8 usage as growing, which would appear not to be the case.

Jesus. If all this is where Windows is heading to, maybe it's time to start learning linux. Bleh!!

My thoughts exactly!

--JorgeA

#267
Tripredacus

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Well OK Resource Monitor in Win7 is pretty cool. So they just made it look different in Win8 by (basically) adding it into Task Manager.
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#268
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@JorgeA

Please keep in mind that this ranking is very far from representative when it comes to the actual World usage of Windows:

http://marketshare.h...t.aspx?qprid=11
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#269
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@JorgeA

Please keep in mind that this ranking is very far from representative when it comes to the actual World usage of Windows:

http://marketshare.h...t.aspx?qprid=11

tomasz86,

Thanks for the link -- that's where the earlier 0.11% figure came from.

A true apples-to-apples comparison (that is, a comparison from the same source) will have to wait till Net Market Share releases the numbers for April. But their methodology (checking the OS running the browser that's visiting a Web site) appears to be similar to Chitika's, so on the face of it the statistics shouldn't come out all that different from each other. We would think, anyway...

--JorgeA

#270
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Jesus. If all this is where Windows is heading to, maybe it's time to start learning linux. Bleh!!

My thoughts exactly!


try the Precise Pangolin :thumbup

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http://releases.ubuntu.com/precise/
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#271
JorgeA

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MagicAndre,

How customizable is the Ubuntu look? Let's say,

  • Can I make it have a taskbar at the bottom, where it will show me the various windows I have open, like the Windows taskbar?
  • Can I combine such a taskbar with that black strip across the top that shows the volume control and the time, and place it at the bottom of the screen?
  • And, can I get rid of that column of icons on the left, and use something like a start menu? I don't necessarily want to see all of these choices diaplyed all of the time.
(If this sounds to you like I would like to replicate the classic (Metro-free) Windows experience, but in Linux -- you are correct. :yes: )

Your answers could have a major influence on my computing for years to come! ;)

--JorgeA

Edited by JorgeA, 27 April 2012 - 11:17 AM.


#272
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if you want the old Windows way (taskbar, Startmneu) try Cinnamon

Posted Image

http://en.wikipedia....user_interface)
http://cinnamon.linuxmint.com/

This will be part of next Linux Mint

http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Linux_Mint

If you really want a copy of Windows 7 UI try ZorinOS:

Posted Image

http://zorin-os.com/free.html

But they still use Ubuntu 11.04 a base. It will take some time until they release a new version which is based on 12.04.

http://zoringroup.co...out-zorin-os-6/
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#273
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Yet another incredibly stupid move by MS. Not only Visual Studio 11 doesn't compile for XP which still has a market share over 50% and that the interface is a step backwards (I wouldn't even want of it as a free update!), but they're severely crippling their free "Express edition" (free) IDEs. They won't compile traditional desktop or command line applications anymore. Visual C++ Express which was already far too limited (no MFC? ouch) ceases to exist altogether. You want to create desktop/command line/WPF or silverlight apps in C# or VB? Then you have to buy the $500 Pro edition now for the same amount of basic functionality that was free in VS2010. The only thing the new versions (all two of them) do now is web development (express for web) and Metro (express for Metro Windows). That's it. They might as well have killed the entire "express" product line as far as I'm concerned because they all became completely worthless.

MS just gave the finger (a GIGANTIC finger) to all hobbyist and open source developers. You used to make good quality software in C# (or VB)? Well, you're now a dinky phone app developer! They're also sending a strong message to the rest that desktop development is very much being pushed aside, and that Windows is quickly turning into a dumbed down smartphone-like appliance. The end result will be that people will move to other development tools and platforms. The useful editions of Visual Studio now cost between $499 for the Pro edition to $13299 for the Ultimate edition (which again supports less C++11 features than open source GCC does). Meanwhile, Apple's Xcode is $5 for the one and only edition (call it ultimate if you want), unless you're already registered as a developer in which case it's free.

Does Microsoft really want to push everyone towards Apple? First, you make your desktop suck beyond belief (Metro). Then you kill your free development tools, and force people to pay hundreds or thousands times more for developer tools than what Apple does. And Xcode at $5 actually lets you develop mobile devices that actually sell too: 172M iOS devices sold last year alone, over 300M total. GCC, Clang, and TONS of other tools, compilers and IDEs for most languages being free doesn't help their cause either.

It's as if Microsoft has a death wish.

Your answers could have a major influence on my computing for years to come! ;)

It really boils down to what do you want or need to run on your computer.
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#274
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if you want the old Windows way (taskbar, Startmneu) try Cinnamon

[...]
http://en.wikipedia....user_interface)
http://cinnamon.linuxmint.com/

This will be part of next Linux Mint

http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Linux_Mint

If you really want a copy of Windows 7 UI try ZorinOS:

[...]
http://zorin-os.com/free.html

But they still use Ubuntu 11.04 a base. It will take some time until they release a new version which is based on 12.04.

http://zoringroup.co...out-zorin-os-6/

Thanks for the links and the screenshots, Andre. Cinnamon looks very attractive.

Zorin OS was my first choice for a Windows alternative, but I had trouble registering for their forum, as the e-mails that they sent (I tried it three times) promised to send an activation link in the future, but it never came. If that's any indication of the level of support that that OS enjoys, it makes me wonder if I should go that route. I finally managed to get the membership activation link by registering via my laptop. :huh:

It's good to know that Linux Mint with Cinnamon offers a start menu and a desktop visual layout comparable to what we know in Windows. I will look into that one, too.

--JorgeA

Edited by JorgeA, 29 April 2012 - 02:10 PM.


#275
JorgeA

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It's as if Microsoft has a death wish.

CoffeeFiend,

This is unbelievable! I mean -- I believe you, but I can't believe what they're doing.

There MUST be some plausible explanation for all this.

Most disturbing is how they seem to be pushing desktop software development to the back of the bus, if not all the way off it. That makes for a strong rebuke to Win8 apologists who say we have nothing to complain about since there's still a desktop. If the trend continues, there may not BE a desktop in Windows 9 or 10.

Windows is quickly turning into a dumbed down smartphone-like appliance.

Apropos of what you said, check this out. It's a good listen.


Your answers could have a major influence on my computing for years to come! ;)

It really boils down to what do you want or need to run on your computer.

Hmm <thinking>... I dunno, I guess that, as a user, there isn't much that I don't do. I'm not a developer, so I don't need programming tools, but I do use office applications (word processing, PDF editing and creation, spreadsheets), system utilities, players, and media converters. I do like the fact that in the DOS/Windows universe I can simply download a little utility from any given website -- I'm not very familiar with how the Linux world works in this respect, but it makes me leery to see that they have "repositories" for these sorts of things. It makes me wonder if those are the only places where I can find Linux programs, instead of being able to go to a given website and download directly from them. OTOH, if it is possible to just download stuff in Linux, then it makes me wonder what the purpose of a "repository" is.

Enlightenment is welcome!

--JorgeA




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