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Windows 8 LiveChat: after hours

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Windows 8 LiveChat: after hours

Our one-hour Windows 8 RTM LiveChat has wrapped but there's plenty to discuss: what's been the best and worst bits, what should Microsoft do next, and is this really Microsoft's best shot at the iPad and Apple? Get stuck in with fellow Reg readers in our after hours Live Chat session here...

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Lots of enthusiasm for Win 8, but some tactical challenges:

Jason Beres told us some API's are missing (TypeConverters. some Method overloads), some have changed (Type names and access modifiers have changed for no apparent reason) so it's a mixed bag. It creates a problem for developers looking to 'port' an app to WinRT. Tim Anderson highlighted the weakness of documentation. Are these making things needlessly difficult?

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Late evening California time here.

Mid-morning Tuesday GMT ... No feedback at all over a day later.

I see no "enthusiasm" for Win8. Quite the contrary, in fact ...

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Windows 8 ( fudge sauce )

I’ve downloaded Windows 8 now and had a look at the preview version and it’s a total car crash of an OS, honestly is this what happens when you let the buzz word bingo brigade “dip their toe in the long grass” and attempt to design an OS?

Seriously? Although I’m not surprised it’s so clunky it’s like one of those big button single operation mobile phones you have to buy an elderly relative that isn’t technology literate. Ok it’s probably a great OS for a tablet but for anyone who wants a rich multi application Desktop and who might happen to want to use more than one application at a time it sucks. Instead of enhancing the desktop experience they have neutered it to the point it’s almost as if they are saying “look if you really must have a desktop here have this and count yourself lucky”.

It seemed for a while like they were going in the right direction with Windows 7 and desktop gadgets and they should have gone further and given us an advanced, dynamic, adaptive Desktop with a “tablet” mode for mobile devices that switched to the Metro or whatever it’s called. Instead we get the mutant love child of Windows 95 and Android honeycomb they should have called it fudge sauce instead of Metro.

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I think the most remarkable thing about even considering Windows 8 for the majority of users is the learning curve that is involved. Most people really resist change or leaving the comfort of the familiar. The new Windows 8 OS is a horse of another color most. However, given a little time to become familiar with the changes, it's really not that big of a departure from Windows 7 or any of its other predecessors. I've seen a lot of talk on here about how many users complain of being lost while trying to navigate between the familiar Desktop and the new Metro GUI.

Navigating between the two is as simple a taping the Windows key to toggle back and forth between the two. The ability to use Hotkey shortcuts to navigate your way around Windows 8 is really no different than it was in earlier versions of Windows -- not much has changed there!

The one change that does concern me a bit is the addition of the new SmartScreen feature. It seems a bit intrusive to me, but that's just me. The notion that Microsoft has the ability to monitor every new application you install, just doesn't "feel right" to me. If the monitoring isn't bad enough, this feature also reports back to a MS server to check what you are installing against a list of MS approved (compatible) applications using things like digital signature information. Oh, but it gets worse! Registry information from your system is then sent and stored remotely to be used to "Keep Your System and Compatible Applications Updated."

There is also the tracking feature used by the alternative sign-in option, where Windows 8 users can now use their Windows ID to log onto their computer as well as Live Tiles, MS Office, etc... That said, I trust Microsoft much more than I do Google, when it comes to privacy. However, these types of new OS features are starting to look alot like "Big Brother" to me.

The OS, itself, is great! Its faster, simpler (once you get use to it), and arguably more secure than earlier versions of Windows. It represents either the first steps or a really big push towards getting us to move our digital lives into the cloud. That means everything, storage, application, services, etc.... Gone will be the days of the old desktop and laptop pc, so we can focus more on improving our broadband infrastructure in America, which Google is currently doing with its Google Fiber project.

We need to stop being afraid of changes and tackle the learning curve head-on, which easier said than done for most people. Imaging the day when you can be just as productive at work using a tablet as using a desktop provides today. Spend some time to get familiar with Windows 8. You'll find the old adage, which says, "The more some things change - The more others stay the same" its quite true. I'm surprised that so many "Techies" are being so hard on the new OS. The actual Market version will be pretty different than the version Microsoft has released for us to test. Imagine the data they've been collecting from not just the error reports sent from pc's using the Beta version, but also from discussions like this one that are happening all over the web.

Relax!!! Take the time to learn what you can about this new OS, so you can better help your clients overcome their own learning curve with the new OS.

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@Rob G. (was: Re: Does anyone wonder if Microsoft knows how many users detest Metro?)

I was part of various panels of industry professionals MS brought in for input (large, medium, small and home) in the couple decades prior to 2000 (I was MSDN, et ali) ... After providing useful input for 10 years or more, after 2000 I could no longer be arsed. MS Marketing absolutely refused to listen to the folks in the trenches in the RealWorld[tm].

Near as I can tell, MS filters on what MS Marketing expects (and/or has forcast), not on what the enduser needs/wants. As a direct result, I no longer take on contracts that feature MS products. My income has changed for the better, and I don't miss MS-based product management at all.

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