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My thoughts on Windows 8


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eliehass

 
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I have been playing around with the developer build of Windows 8 for the better part of the day, and I have to say I'm intrigued. I've been a Mac user for almost 6 years now, and I don't think that's going to change any time soon.

OS X Lion is superior to Windows 8 in my opinion, as far as a desktop/laptop OS goes. Windows 8 seems like a poor fit on a system that uses a keyboard and mouse instead of a touchscreen. Yes, you can enter the "traditional" Windows interface and have an experience very similar to Windows 7, but Windows 8 tries as hard as it can, whenever it can, to shunt the user back into its Metro UI. On a desktop, at least to me, the Metro UI is infuriating. All apps are fullscreen, but unlike Lion which allows you to do things like toggle between fullscreen and windowed mode, and pull up the menu bar while in fullscreen mode, Windows 8 leaves the user with no such options (or at least no such clearly visible options.

On the other hand, I think that Windows 8 may be the best tablet OS I have seen to date. It looks to be better that iOS 5 (at least from what Apple has shown of iOS 5). I have had the iPad since it first came out, and upgraded to the iPad 2 as soon as it was available. I am a big fan of tablets and I believe that the iPad with iOS is currently the best tablet on the market. If Apple doesn't seriously step up their game, that will soon change. The Metro UI is extremely tablet/finger friendly. If you want, you can stay in the Metro UI and use a Windows 8 tablet much like an iPad, but if you need to do something within "regular windows" you have that option. (I think apple is moving towards this, especially since Lion seems like it would be very tablet friendly with all of it's multitouch features, launchpad, and fullscreen apps. They just need to unify the two soon, before Windows 8 can gain too much traction). I also really like how you can run two "fullscreen" apps in the Metro UI side by side, where each app takes up half of the screen. That's a feature I've been wanting in the iPad since the beginning.

Bottom Line: Microsoft is delivering an OS with all of the usability of a Tablet OS, but all of the functionality of a desktop OS (like I said before, works great on the Tablet, hate it as a desktop OS). Unless Apple steps up it's game (by allowing things like two apps running on a screen simultaneously in iOS and/or allowing users to run some form of OS X on the iPad if they choose too) my next tablet may run Windows 8...

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I got the dev preview too and I've noticed a few things. Now, I'm running it in VirtualBox - figured I would preface my comments with that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by eliehass View Post
Yes, you can enter the "traditional" Windows interface and have an experience very similar to Windows 7, but Windows 8 tries as hard as it can, whenever it can, to shunt the user back into its Metro UI.
This is excessively frustrating. The start button no longer exists other than to bring you back to the Metro UI and launch a few apps.

Also, logging out doesn't seem to work - it just hangs. So, I have to manually close the VB window. 90% of the apps on the Metro screen won't launch which is frustrating. I can change my settings though!

I installed Opera to see how it handled new apps and, as expected, it added a tile for it to the Metro screen. Unfortunately, clicking it brought Windows back to the "traditional" desktop which served as yet another subtle reminder that there are two desktop paradigms at work here which screams inconsistency to me.

I'm not sure what to think yet but I'm leaning towards thinking this is a step back from a UI design perspective. And, unless they change a few things, I'll probably end up strongly disliking Windows 8. Tablets and desktops/notebooks need two distinct UIs and it's a shame that MS is butchering both to appease both.

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I'm kind of confused right now. I've been reading about 8 having a LOT of problems with launching programs(I won't ever call a program an app unless it's on a Mac). Is this a problem within 8, or does it have something to do with it running on a Mac? I know this is still a dev preview, but still, I don't really ever remember Microsoft users so ticked as they are now.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by idrinorbarsaku View Post
I'm kind of confused right now. I've been reading about 8 having a LOT of problems with launching programs(I won't ever call a program an app unless it's on a Mac).
Not sure what the cause is but 90% of the Metro tiles don't do anything when clicked. I can't even get the weather app to open.

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I got the DP and burned it to DVD. Trying to find which computer to install it on and will report back with my findings. I bet I will come up with the same basic comments as Van did. Everything I have read everywhere backs what he reported.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
I got the dev preview too and I've noticed a few things. Now, I'm running it in VirtualBox - figured I would preface my comments with that.
This is excessively frustrating. The start button no longer exists other than to bring you back to the Metro UI and launch a few apps.

Also, logging out doesn't seem to work - it just hangs. So, I have to manually close the VB window. 90% of the apps on the Metro screen won't launch which is frustrating. I can change my settings though!

I installed Opera to see how it handled new apps and, as expected, it added a tile for it to the Metro screen. Unfortunately, clicking it brought Windows back to the "traditional" desktop which served as yet another subtle reminder that there are two desktop paradigms at work here which screams inconsistency to me.

I'm not sure what to think yet but I'm leaning towards thinking this is a step back from a UI design perspective. And, unless they change a few things, I'll probably end up strongly disliking Windows 8. Tablets and desktops/notebooks need two distinct UIs and it's a shame that MS is butchering both to appease both.
A large part of the issue could be because you are running it in a VM, I have heard that Windows 8 does not run well in a VM. I agree that Microsoft is butchering the desktop to appease both, but it seems like it would run decently on a device with a touchscreen.

I do believe that if there are two distinct UI's as there are in Windows 8, the user should never be taken from one UI to the other unless the user explicitly chooses to do so.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
Not sure what the cause is but 90% of the Metro tiles don't do anything when clicked. I can't even get the weather app to open.
You are running it on screen with a res. lower than 1024x768.
Metro apps are pure pixel matched apps like a webpage (they are JS+HTML), this makes things easy on the dev, they support 1024x768 as min. Ideal is 1366x768 (MBA 11)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonicjet View Post
You are running it on screen with a res. lower than 1024x768.
Metro apps are pure pixel matched apps like a webpage (they are JS+HTML), this makes things easy on the dev, they support 1024x768 as min. Ideal is 1366x768 (MBA 11)
Didn't know that, thanks! I just wish Windows would tell you this when you tried to open them.

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downloading now. Will report back with pisstakes soon.

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Van, Sonicjet is right. When 8 first installed, it defaulted to 800x600. IE would not even run. So I got suspicious and checked. Set it to 1024x768 and everything runs fine now.


I will mess with it a lot more and come back to this thread and post my opinion, but right now the GUI is so cartoon kid toy like.

I did post more in the 8 Vs Lion thread.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
Van, Sonicjet is right. When 8 first installed, it defaulted to 800x600. IE would not even run. So I got suspicious and checked. Set it to 1024x768 and everything runs fine now.
Same here. Set it 1024x768 and all is well in "Metro land." I can finally get my weather update because we all know weather apps aren't common.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
Same here. Set it 1024x768 and all is well in "Metro land." I can finally get my weather update because we all know weather apps aren't common.
No, not even that Lion has a Weather anything! Grin

Did the weather App make the UI jerk a bit on your end?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
No, not even that Lion has a Weather anything! Grin
Dashboard widget?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
Did the weather App make the UI jerk a bit on your end?
Oh, it sure did. I suspect it has something to do with the animated background which is entirely unnecessary.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
Dashboard widget?

Oh, it sure did. I suspect it has something to do with the animated background which is entirely unnecessary.
Thanks for that. My Notebook also has integrated graphics. Maybe a Desktop with powerful video card might fare better.

I was kidding about the No weather in Lion!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
Thanks for that. My Notebook also has integrated graphics. Maybe a Desktop with powerful video card might fare better.
Not only do I have a 3 year old integrated graphics chipset but I'm running it in a VM without 3D or 2D acceleration support enabled. So, don't use my poor experiences of the "fascinating weather background" as a sign of things to come. Haha.

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