Windows 8

Ok, so It’s been 5 days since I upgraded my mum’s laptop to Windows 8, and I’ve formulated some opinions on it.

It’s not ready. It probably shouldn’t — and I don’t think anyone would want to — be used your main computer.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Metro. I think it’s one of the first truly innovative UI paradigms in years. But, it’s not suited for where Microsoft has put it.

Most people don’t have tablets. And fewer would have one able to run Windows 8. Most people are still using a device with a Mouse (or Trackpad). And Metro is a completely sub par experience here.

Luckily, my mum mainly uses her laptop for Facebook, which means the only app she ever has open is Chrome, so the dichotomy between the traditional desktop environment and Metro hasn’t been felt much. A few times, traditional windows has decided to pop up an alert or notification or something (“your video card driver isn’t compatible”. Yeah, why didn’t the upgrade advisor tell me that beforehand?), which boots her out of Metro and back to the desktop.

Unfortunately, she then clicks on the Chrome icon on the desktop which, rather than taking her back to Chrome in the Metro environment, opens up a Chrome window in the Desktop. It didn’t take long for her to learn that she needs to press the Windows button first, then go to Chrome. But it’s an extremely frustrating little niggle.

There’s a lot of stupid little things like that. Little stupid things that you would have thought someone would have caught while testing.

Everything is hidden. To see the time, she must put her cursor in the top right corner, then move down. Why? Cursor to corner, fine, but why move down? It just adds extra confusion to the already complicated UI.

On the positive side, it does seem faster than Windows 7. The UI — particularly animations — are very fluid, so there’s that. And Metro is a really nice UI. Just not for keyboard and mouse.

If I was to get a Windows 8 device, I’d get something with Windows RT. But even that has the desktop, but there, it’s even more pointless, as nothing but Office can run on it. Why include it at all. Why can’t Office be Metro apps? They want developers to develop Metro apps, but they themselves cannot. Yet, somehow, they can make Office for iPad (reportedly).

Which brings us to Microsoft’s problem. It’s always been their problem. Try can’t cut off old ties. Rather than cutting out the old crap, they hold on to it, and it creates so many problems moving forward.

Microsoft paints Windows 8 as a no-compromise OS. It’s not. It’s all compromises. They’ve compromised the entire OS in order to keep legacy support. They’ve compromised ease of use in order to keep the desktop paradigm. They’ve compromised touch support by continuing to develop for the desktop.

And the worst part is, no one would want to use it with older, legacy machines with keyboards and mice because the new UI simply does not lend its self to that kind of input

The old ruins it for tablets. The new ruins it for desktops and laptops.

About Lewis Dorigo

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