01 January 2013

Windows 8

It’s now my desktop OS. 

I also have a Windows Phone that’s almost an 8 – and from what the geek press tells me I’m impatiently waiting for an upgrade that’ll make it not quite Windows 8, though close enough.

These posts are composed with Microsoft Live Writer, a pretty good program.

But don’t think I’m a Microsoft groupie – my browser is Firefox, my cloudy email Google.

Redmond screwed up a bit with their new OS. Lots of folks aren’t happy with the Start Screen. You can do your own binging about the brouhaha. It has to do with the touch interface when there’s no touch. The OS works flawlessly on phones and tablets, not so well on desktops and laptops with regular ol’ monitors and screens. Third-party workarounds are available – and I use them.

If I ever get a tablet or touchscreen laptop they’ll probably be Windows, and I’ll probably like them.

My HTC Trophy is simple, easy to figure out, easy to use, easy on the eyes.

Win 8 phones, tablets, and desktops are potent technologies for Baby Boomers, but you’d never know it by the ads and commercials.  The products are positioned as toys, not elegant and productive tools: 

Windows 8

Microsoft would be wise to fashion some advertising  for Boomers and older (and that tiny niche market known as the business industry).  Less flash, more substance. Once you get the hang of it, “Metro” isn’t that intimidating.  The email app is big and gorgeous, but lacks features at the moment. The weather app is great, the pic apps easy to utilize.  Thousands of other apps are likewise graphically pleasing and accessible.  My guess is that the next handful of upgrades will be all about making the OS more user-friendly.

And I think most people will be able to switch between a mouse/keyboard OS for serious business stuff and touch-based operating systems for accessibility and fun. 

Microsoft doesn’t seem to understand this:

Windows 8 wrestles with PC's legacyimage
On a traditional PC, Windows 8 Metro is a solution looking for a problem
Brooke Crothers
… Of course if you're one of the relative few who have a tablet like the Samsung slate or Microsoft's Surface or a touch-screen laptop like Acer's Aspire S7, yeah, then Metro is front and center, as it should be.

But on a traditional laptop it's problematic.

imageEver heard of Gorilla ArmRead about it.  Boomers and older have enough trouble with arms and hands and fingers.  And shoulders.  And necks.  On a phone or tablet, touch is great.  Not so with desktops and laptops.

Microsoft needs to upgrade the Windows 8 Start Screen with a few more navigational buttons, and in advertising spots show people being productive with mice, keyboards, and touchpads. 

Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but I’m not particularly interested in B-Boying with my Surface.  (Well, maybe once in awhile.)

Update 13 Jan 2013:

Two good pieces from The Wall Street Journal and Forbes:

Microsoft needs a Windows 8 fix now
11 Jan 2013|John C. Dvorak
Problems with operating system affect entire industry.

Microsoft Could Change The World With Windows 8
12 Jan 2013|Jonathan Salem Baskin
Even a budget north of $1 billion hasn’t changed the fact that they have expertly told us nothing compelling about what they’re selling.