back to article Paul Allen: Windows 8 'promising' yet 'puzzling'

Billionaire investor Paul Allen says he's bullish on Windows 8, but it seems even the co-founder of Microsoft has struggled with what he describes as some of the more "puzzling aspects" of the new OS. In an in-depth review posted to his personal website, Allen says he has been working with a preview release of Windows 8 for a …

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WTF?

Yep

Just started playing with Windows 8 in earnest yesterday, and there are some expected issues with software and environmental compatibility, but mostly I love it . . . except for the Modern (TIFKAM) interface. Overall, the OS is much more responsive, and the Explorer tweaks are minimal enough to easily adjust to. The Start screen, though, is a complete nightmare. By default, it's populated with loads of crap, which, fortunately, is easy enough to remove, but grouping applications (excuse me, tiles) is such a PITA as to be a total ordeal, there's no logic in how the tiles are laid out, and getting to many of the system settings takes at least three more actions than in previous Windows versions. It is utterly worthless as a desktop interface, although it might be slightly less awful on a tablet.

Nevertheless, I'm going to press on without using one of the third-party products which brings back the Start menu, just to see how long it takes me to adjust. I've been using the command line a lot more than I used to, since it's now easier to bang out a command to launch a Control Panel applet or other system command than it is to dig the location out of the GUI.

The other thing which leaps out at me about the Notro interface is how hideous and bland it is. Even a novice user would probably be turned off by it if they'd ever been exposed to iOS, Android, or, really, any other touchscreen interface. There are lots of third-party tools out there already to take care of the aesthetic issues, but the usability ones will be harder to overcome.

In short: nice OS, shame about the GUI.

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Re: Yep

Here's a crazy idea. You could always lay out your tiles in the order that works best for you? Just a thought.

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Re: Yep

I highly recommend classic shell from what i've used so far it's the best start screen replacement. It makes Windows 8 usable again.

For example.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yep

Likewise, I'm giving it a go and forcing myself to not install s Start menu replacement app. But I do use Launchy (www.launchy.net) which is one of the first things I install on any PC and which I couldn't do without. Much quicker and easier than dropping to a command prompt (which I will admit I often do as well).

What I have found is that TIFKAM is much more acceptable when running on a dual-monitor setup; TIFKAM on one monitor and the standard interface on the other is less jarring - and then hitting the start button isn't quite so intrusive as it's only appearing on one monitor.

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Happy

Re: Yep

Hmmm - Try Start8 from StarDock. Works much better, as some of the start menu functionality in Classic Start is buggered - I mean, not emulated correctly. And you will get a proper Start Orb, not a shonkily-drawn seashell!

Check it out - think it's still available for free in beta and works really, really well.

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WTF?

Tiles?

WTF is with the tiles on a workstation? I can understand why they might be useful on a tablet, but you'd expect MS to acknowledge that they are not a good fit on an office desktop. Perhaps they could even detect the type of hardware the OS is running on and intelligently configure the default UI accordingly?

IF I am ever forced to use Windows 8 on my desktop at work, the first thing I will do is disable the tiles and go back to the traditional desktop. I agree with Allen that the bimodal UI is confusing, and the hidden gestures required to move between the modes go against everything I was taught about UI design -- mode switching controls should be visible and obvious.

//evaluating Win8 in a VM right now.

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Re: Yep

But how did things work better on the Windows 7 start menu?

If you go to All Programs, you just see a long list of names, often categorised by company name rather than application name. Even if the Windows 8 start screen looks a bit of a mess, I don't see how things are better?

Of course once upon a time there was the ability to group the start menu into categories, but you had to do that manually yourself which was also rather awkward and time-consuming, as well as not at all obvious to most users, and I believe that ability went away with Windows Vista anyway.

The way I load programs quickly on Windows 7 is either to select it from the recent list, or just type the name to bring it up with search - and Window 8 works exactly the same way.

Seriously - I keep hearing comments about Windows 8's awful start menu, but having used it, I don't see it, and no one's yet explained the issue?

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Windows

Re: Yep

@Tom Maddox "and getting to many of the system settings takes at least three more actions than in previous Windows versions"

Try <windows key> + X

ttfn

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Stop

Re: Yep

@blackjesus: The point is that you have to individually drag each tile into place, which is a colossal hassle. On a classic desktop, you can select multiple icons and manipulate them, but with Metro, it's a tedious process of dragging and rearranging them, one by one, which is frustrating and inefficient.

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Re: Yep

"But how did things work better on the Windows 7 start menu?"

Since you've apparently ignored everything anyone has ever written on the subject, I don't expect that you'll actually read this post either, but here you go:

The W7 Start Menu bubbles to the top commonly-used programs, so if I open my Start Menu on W7, I get the applications I use the most. It is also easy to pin individual program icons so that they permanently live there. In short, it becomes very easy to see at a glance everything I care about most of the time; everything else gets popped behind All Programs. In W7, I have the choice of scrolling through All Programs, *which is alphabetized*, and finding my program *or* typing in the search box.

In Windows 8, every single program installed on my computer is shat all over the Start screen in an unorganized mess, and to organize them, I have to drag and drop *every single fucking icon* into order. Much as I do not spread every single physical document I have in life across my desk, I don't necessarily want every single application displayed at all times. Obviously, it's possible to hide applications, but having some sort of organization would be infinitely preferable to the big pile o' crap that is the Start screen. On top of that, things I might actually like to access by default, like the Control Panel, are hidden.

Also, the W8 start screen is hideously ugly. On the one hand, that a personal judgement based on my dislike of a bunch of bland, giant squares; on the other, many people prefer a less-cluttered desktop, and Microsoft has basically told all of us to go fuck ourselves.

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Re: Yep

"The point is that you have to individually drag each tile into place, which is a colossal hassle. On a classic desktop, you can select multiple icons and manipulate them, but with Metro, it's a tedious process of dragging and rearranging them, one by one, which is frustrating and inefficient."

Well for a start, things default to a set of groups that do have a rationale behind them. For example, all my Office icons fall together. Secondly, it's very easy to drag things to a new position. You just do it and the other tiles arrange themselves accordingly, making space. It's something which if you are unhappy with the default order, you have to spend a minute doing. And maybe update occasionally when you install a program if it pops up somewhere you don't like. It's no more onerous than dragging something in the Win7 Start Menu to pin a program. Seriously if a highly infrequent operation that takes a minute or less is "frustrating and inefficient" then I am quite frankly frightened of how highly strung you must be. This is no reason to reject a desktop environment.

"The W7 Start Menu bubbles to the top commonly-used programs, so if I open my Start Menu on W7, I get the applications I use the most"

And this might be fine if you use a handful of programs, but I am a power user and I may launch twenty different programs in a week quite frequently. It's slightly annoying to wonder whether something will be in the menu today or if I'll have to navigate down through sub-menus. And I don't want twenty different icons pinned to the Start Menu. If you think it's an advantage to have your most commonly used programs "bubble to the top" then logically you should welcome the Start Screen which allows even more of your most commonly used programs to bubble to the top. The Start Screen on my Desktop easily accomodates fifty programs and with column spacing between groups, it's very easy to know immediately where they are. Though I normally just hit the Windows key and type the first couple of letters. A process that is the same on both Win7 and Win8 (though slightly faster on the latter). So objectively, Win8 is better by the criteria you just gave.

"In W7, I have the choice of scrolling through All Programs, *which is alphabetized*, and finding my program *or* typing in the search box"

You can still type and search. Just hit Windows Key and start typing. It's my preferred method and in my experience, faster than Win7. I don't know about your Win7 but it's not alphabetised. It's hierarchical. So you might have to hunt for a program under its company name. And it's twice as many clicks to get "All Programs" as it is to get the Start Screen which has all the normally used programs (space for fifty tiles on the first page, remember?)

"In Windows 8, every single program installed on my computer is shat all over the Start screen in an unorganized mess and to organize them, I have to drag and drop *every single fucking icon* into order."

Firstly, this is not true. Not all programs are placed on the main Start Screen. You have to go into extended mode with an extra click to see all installed programs. Secondly, there is an order. E.g. all my office suite are columned together. All the communication stuff which has updates gets put on the left, etc. Alphabatised - which you praised earler - would be a terrible way to do it. E.g. Excel sits next to Fiddler2, Word is over next to Windows Media Center... Thirdly, re-arranging them should only take you a couple of minutes (unless you are staggeringly less capable at the task than I was) and needs doing only once and then occasionally if you install a program you might drag it somewhere else if you like. And those dozens of tiles will all stay where you put them too, without "bubbling" out of view.

"On top of that, things I might actually like to access by default, like the Control Panel, are hidden."

But 98% of users wont want to. Especially now that all the settings a user typically might need are accessible through the Charms sidebar. So if you're in the 2% that do want to use Control Panel frequently and you object to just hitting the Win key and typing 'co', then drag it onto you main Start Screen. That will take you ten seconds and is a one-time operation, Do you think the rest of the Windows using world should have a rarely used and confusing icon put on the main Start Screen because you wish to avoid that ten seconds of one-time activity?

"Also, the W8 start screen is hideously ugly"

Well the rest of your arguments were things I could objectively refute but this is a matter of taste so all I can say is that I like it. But regarding this:

"on the other, many people prefer a less-cluttered desktop, and Microsoft has basically told all of us to go fuck ourselves"

I just don't understand. With Win7, many people end up with program shortcuts all over their Desktop. In Win8, it's far more likely to be clean and free because program start icons all go onto the Start Screen.

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Re: Yep

"Well for a start, things default to a set of groups that do have a rationale behind them."

Wrong. Things that *Microsoft already knows about,* such as Office, do so. Most of the programs I have installed, which are *not* Microsoft products do not default to any sort of rational order. Also, it may be an infrequent operation, but it's a crappy implementation, and it ensures that I spend as little time in the Start screen as I can humanly manage.

"The Start Screen on my Desktop easily accomodates fifty programs and with column spacing between groups, it's very easy to know immediately where they are."

That's great if I want to visually sort through 50 totally disorganized icons to find the one that I want. Again, I don't spread fifty different folders across my desk so that I can pull the one out that I want; I have them filed and organized so that I can locate them. Also, why can't I grab a bunch of tiles at once and relocate them? Why do I have to pick through each tile of dozens and relocate it? That's poor UI design, and I defy you to argue otherwise.

"You can still type and search."

That much is true, and it is faster on Windows 8, so kudos for that.

"Not all programs are placed on the main Start Screen. You have to go into extended mode with an extra click to see all installed programs."

That's true. All the useless crap that Microsoft wants me to see, like Shopping and Weather, are on the main screen by default. Things that I might want to use, like the Command Prompt or Control Panel, are hidden away. But, typically, when a program is installed, it puts itself on the main screen in some totally arbitrary location.

"With Win7, many people end up with program shortcuts all over their Desktop. In Win8, it's far more likely to be clean and free because program start icons all go onto the Start Screen."

Again, wrong. I have put *more* stuff on my desktop and taskbar so that I don't have to use the Start screen, and I even wind up using the command line more frequently.

Anyway, I'm glad that Metro works for you. For the majority of desktop users, I suspect it's at best a useless change and at worst a significant impediment to productivity.

Actually, the funny part is that the "tiles" UI bears the greatest resemblance to the Lotus Notes desktop, an interface which is devoutly loved by a few fanatical fanboys and loathed by the majority of users.

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Re: Yep

"Wrong. Things that *Microsoft already knows about,* such as Office, do so. Most of the programs I have installed, which are *not* Microsoft products do not default to any sort of rational order. Also, it may be an infrequent operation, but it's a crappy implementation, and it ensures that I spend as little time in the Start screen as I can humanly manage."

Hey - you said there was no organization. I just pointed out that when you install the OS and a number of programs you install, do come with organization. If you want to modify your statement to "when I install a new program and if it's not got a category provided for it, it will end up just on the end of the list", then I'm fine with that. What I find very dubious is that you say having to take all of a few seconds to literally drag and drop it into the place you want as a one time operation when you install the program., is "crappy implementation" . Complaining about this and saying it's a reason you avoid "spending time in the Start Screen as little as you can humanly manage" just makes you sound incredibly sensitive. Are those literal five seconds that precious to you or are you just seeking reasons to criticize? And as to spending as little time in the Start Screen as possible, why would you be spending lots of time in the Start Screen? It makes a nice holding screen because it's informational, but for most of us it is a waypoint in launching something. If you think anyone is telling you you have to spend time sitting in the Start Screen then you're building a strawman.

"That's great if I want to visually sort through 50 totally disorganized icons to find the one that I want. "

But why are your icons disorganized? You've already conceded that there is a rationale behind their layout. Are you one of these people that just spreads icons across their desktop with each software install until they can't find anything? If not, why would you become one with the Start Screen. I do not accept that dragging and dropping something instantly to where you want it, is a barrier that causes you to be disorganized. If you are, then the problem is with you. Besides, the human brain rapidly learns where it leaves things. As things don't move around in the Start Screen (unlike the 'last used' approach of the Start Menu), it's very quick to get what you want.

" Also, why can't I grab a bunch of tiles at once and relocate them? Why do I have to pick through each tile of dozens and relocate it? That's poor UI design, and I defy you to argue otherwise."

You can. Just switch to Small View (the minus sign in the lower right, or just hold down Control and scroll-wheel down as you would if you want to change the font size in a web-page). Your icons go smaller and you can grab whole bunches of icons and shift them around as a block.

"All the useless crap that Microsoft wants me to see, like Shopping and Weather, are on the main screen by default. Things that I might want to use, like the Command Prompt or Control Panel, are hidden away"

Well unless you are installing the OS every five minutes, I fail to see the problem. Different people have different needs and MS have put by default things on their that they think people will want. It's customizable so if you're doing corporate installs, you'd have different defaults for example. Besides, you're just repeating the same things you said earlier now, about how Control Panel is "hidden away". Seriously, it should take you less than a minute to remove Shopping and Weather which irritate you so much and about thirty seconds more to put Command Prompt and Control Panel on the initial Start Screen. And thereafter they will always be in the same place just two clicks away from you which is on average faster than the Start Menu in Win7 because that has a lower capacity for how many things you can have just two clicks away from you.

"Again, wrong. I have put *more* stuff on my desktop and taskbar so that I don't have to use the Start screen, and I even wind up using the command line more frequently."

Well with respect, that's as a consequence of you choosing not to use the new interface.

"Anyway, I'm glad that Metro works for you. For the majority of desktop users, I suspect it's at best a useless change and at worst a significant impediment to productivity."

As I've demonstrated in numerous ways, most common operations are the same or faster to launch with Win8. So hopefully long-term, productivity should improve. I know that once I got used to Win8 on my desktop, I found it faster to use. The same principles should apply to other people. But I'm sorry that you find it bad for you. I had a bad reaction to Win8 initially, but decided to try and evaluate it using objective criteria (I actually started comparing mouse moves and clicks to get different tasks done between Win8 and Win7) and I found that despite by initial dislike, I could objectively show that Win8 was faster to use, so I re-evaluated and now I really like it.

Anyway, we're starting to repeat so I think we're probably done. I'm sure we both have other things to do.

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FAIL

IE x2...., "can't even share bookmarks"

Ouch.

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Facepalm

Re: IE x2...., "can't even share bookmarks"

This must mean that the two personalities are running completely different code bases. I would have thought the boffins in Redmond would have learned about Model View Controller by now.

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Coat

Re: IE x2...., "can't even share bookmarks"

But y'know dude... bookmarks wtf is that man? Der woz a toolbar for dat years ago... know one uses that stuff anymore. An if dey did... it would be in the cloud innit, synced in all da browzers. Word.

(That was really painful to write like that sorry!)

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Coat

@ Hi Wreck -- Re: IE x2...., "can't even share bookmarks"

Since MVC wasn't invented at Microsoft, there's no way they'd bother to follow anything that "standard"

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WTF?

Windows Store Internet Explorer and desktop version ... can't even share the same bookmarks.

That seems like product rawness of the "iOS 6 maps"-grade, ie why the hell wasn't it sorted out in the beta?

And it seems he concludes that with a bit of effort you can be just as functional as you were on Win7; hardly the stuff of upselling sales pitches...

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Anonymous Coward

What I've seen of metro its just reminds me of media centre, and that reminds me why I use boxee. The gui is just horrible, and designed to be used either from a distance by a visually impaired person or on a tablet by someone with deodorant cans for fingers.

I don't know if there is a way to increase the resolution of metro so tile become smaller, almost icons like the Android app drawer, but from what I've seen its like win phone where you get what your given.

I will eventually give it an honest try out of curiosity but I don't see it happening before Christmas, and seeing as my laptop doesn't have touchscreen I'm not overly optimistic about metro. Also, 80% of the boxes I support are still on xp, i can afford to wait.

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Angel

blah

Most people don't use more than handful of apps regularly.

Only angry techies have their panties up in a bunch over Metro.

Put your most used in the tiles, or live data tiles you want to get reminders of.

I'm not a fanboy, it works, I am just as productive as I am on Win7.

It will make more sense as we get Win tablets or touchscreen notebooks - which over the next couple of years will come as standard. All the current hysteria will die down, and we will wonder what the fuss was all about (just like we did when there were people getting all exercised when the Start Orb was added :) )

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Re: blah

The start menu isn't just for frequently used stuff. Its also good for organising stuff you don't need very often, but when you do need you really need. That sort stuff is best tucked out of the way, but with enough organisation you can find it even if you can't quite remember what its called. A bit like putting real stuff you use occasionally into drawers or storage boxes instead of leaving everything out on the floor or coffee table.

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IIRC, the tiles do intelligently scale down to fit more in, e.g., if you're searching through all the programs - e.g., see http://us.generation-nt.com/windows-8-start-screen-zoom-1150911,3180811.html .

"What I've seen ... but from what I've seen ... I will eventually give it an honest try"

Have you actually tried it, or are you just passing judgement before doing so?

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Anonymous Coward

Bimodal?

More like schizophrenic, from what I've seen.

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adjusting Windows' file type associations

Just the type of thing a typical Windows user would love to do...

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Devil

Windows 8

Is making me think more seriously of moving to Linux, Still a learning curve and pain, but I don't have to pay for it.

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Re: Windows 8

Every OS and user environment is a learning curve.

MacOS and MacOS X... OS/2... CP/M.... DOS... Linux.... SCO... Minix.... *BSD.... Windows NT.…BeOS... Syllable... Ohh, and in the Linux/Unix land: KDE, Gnome, XFCE, FVWM, OLVWM, TWM, CTWM, Awesome (what I'm currently evaluating), Fluxbox...

And yes, I've used each of the above at some point or another in my not-quite-3-decades existance.

Today I've been setting up a Windows 7 desktop and tried personalising it myself for the first time... basically a work-supplied VM that will be used for testing domain logins and running some Windows-only software.

I also have set up a Windows XP VM (as we need to support that too ... a lot of mining sites use it to run Citect 6, which won't run on anything newer). First thing I did was right click on the Start button, hit Properties, and selected "Classic" start menu. Then I dove into the display settings, turn off the Fischer Price^W^WLuna UI back to classic, set up the themes for something plain and bland (so as to not waste CPU cycles painting it) and turn off all the fancy animated effects.

Ahh... much more bearable... okay "My Network Places" is still a mess compared to "Network Neighbourhood" but at least I can find things.

Got Windows 7 running, tried doing the same thing. Well, I can turn off Aero, thank goodness, I now have some screen real-estate back... but the Start menu.... is next to USELESS. No wonder people kept pinning stuff to the task bar!

Alas it's what I'm stuck with... and what I need to support in my role as assistant network administrator.

One thing I'm learning with Awesome, is that hiding things such as the close button on application windows is not my cup of tea, but at least a simple keystroke achieves the same effect — the alleged rodent groping needed to instruct Windows 8 to perform the most rudimentary of windowing operations will not be welcome in this camp at all. I despise having to switch between several input devices constantly.

As for Windows 8.... it'll possibly be some time before we see any machines running this OS. As with anything, I try to keep an open mind when I come across new interfaces, but to me, a window manager that can only show one application at a time seems a retrograde step compared to, say, Windows 1.01 which could at least *tile* applications.

Seems what is old, is new again. I suppose Windows 9 will come with this new app launcher called "MS-DOS Executive" and the cycle will be complete. In fact, if the modern Start screen doesn't scream "Program Manager", I don't know what does.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows 8

@ Stuart Longland

Install Classic Shell on your W7 VM (other choices are available), & rather than pinning things to the task bar, create a 'Quick Launch' folder, it works just like the XP one, just MS decided not to create one by default.

HTH

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Re: Windows 8

Indeed... at least you can install your own shell. You still don't get quite the flexibility of what a Unix and X11 window managers gives you, but it at least meets you some of the way.

Just I need to support the standard environment.

In my case… it turns out that it doesn't like the license key it has, and so will commit ritual seppuku in a couple of days time (activation will time out).

So the exercise was more for the point of testing procedures for adding machines to the domain. I won't have the VM much longer than that. We will be purchasing some new hardware, so I've suggested we can add in some OEM licenses of Windows 7 64-bit to go with the new purchases, and put those on one side for VMs.

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FAIL

Yawn

Yet another version of windows, yet another tweak to the bumper bar, grille and taillights. Why even bother? And for businesses, where exactly is the ROI for all this?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: tweak to the bumper bar, grille and taillights

If only that was all they'd done. They've taken the steering wheel away and replaced it with handlebars to provide a more consistent experience with cycling.

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Re: a more consistent experience with cycling.

If only it were. But in fact the analogy for what has replaced the steering wheel is more like the mechanism of a skateboard.

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Re: tweak to the bumper bar, grille and taillights

May be more like added velvet or felt to the steering wheel and added a trick wheel for steering. Imagine how hard it is for most people to safely use a trick wheel, thus the illegality of their use in vehicles.

An anecdote

Seems ms went too far, too fast trying to differentiate the UI, possibly to not let Mac OS and KDE/Compiz/Plasma outdo win. Just look at that fiasco with vista and 7 and Aero. Heck, ms and the graphics chip makers would have the consumer buy souped up hardware, such as 8 GB of RAM, maybe a 1 GHz CPU, and more, just to get Peek and a few other things. Meanwhile, way back in 2006, or earlier, tho Linux is not mainstream, Metisse, Compiz, and other enhancements i would show off would wow most (except nonplused or irritated devs who would slight or question the utulity or value it it). And, that was translucency, fire, snow, wobbles, animated shring and maximizes, and more -- in 64 MB of graphics RAM and 1 GB of system RAM, and a celery system of around 800 MHz.

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Re: tweak to the bumper bar, grille and taillights

OS X was doing hardware compositing a la Aero back in 2002. Before that, back in 1985, the Amega used off screen buffer space for windows and then blitted them in place in the correct Z order. MS are well behind the curve on this one, and to make matters worse in Vista they did most of the work in software and reserved an extra 512MB of RAM to handle the buffer space.

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Go

Re: Yawn

"And for businesses, where exactly is the ROI for all this?"

You seem to be under the impression that Microsoft is trying to help you, when in fact they are only trying to make money for themselves by selling more stuff and they will do anything to achieve that. If you don't like it, don't buy it until they either tweak their product or reduce the price to overcome the pain.

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Re: Yawn

Not even close, it's more like they had an accident and got the cheapest possible dodgy repair shop to glue Windows back together and cover it in Bondo.

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Pint

Re: Yawn

All businesses are in the business of making money, hence the word er... business.

But childish Microsoft bashing is so 1980s.

There has never been an ROI for Windows, or any other OS.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: tweak to the bumper bar, grille and taillights

That's "Amiga". Also, the problem with early MacOSX is that it frequently was not hardware compositing, so the performance was utterly horrid on upgraded beige machines. It took some hardware and software upgrades before the interface of OSX stopped feeling like trying to poo through a sieve.

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Re: tweak to the bumper bar, grille and taillights

Be glad it's not Apple. They'd sell you a bike that's the same size and price as a car, with no steering wheel or handlebar, and call it a feature. And fans would love it.

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Holmes

Re: Yawn

> where exactly is the ROI for all this?

The ROI is that the future versions of exchange client will require it and keeping current on the server will require keeping current on the client.

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Re: a more consistent experience with cycling.

Its "push" technology, innit?

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Re: tweak to the bumper bar, grille and taillights

But if it's an operating system upgrade, they will only charge you £13.99 for it, not the £70 + that Microsoft do, and thats the buggered up mickey mouse version that won't even let you swap language support. Having just rejoined the windows world because i need to use Windows software, I am not impressed with the rapacious habits of the Redmond crew.

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If Paul Allen is puzzled ....

"... a short period of adjustment" for Paul Allen could well be a FAR longer period of reduced productivity for those who have to use Windows-based computing at work. Figure that out and you've got billions of hours of wasted time worldwide. How much longer can the world afford the continual disruption caused by M$'s need to create discontinuities to sustain its revenue?

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Re: If Paul Allen is puzzled ....

They're not going to bother. They are going to - sorry, are already switching to Macs instead. Yes, I have seen an unprecedented switch from PCs to Macs this year by both my business and residential customers despite the recession. The probable cause of this is the love that people have for their iPhones and iPads, followed by an assumption that a Mac will be just as brilliant. A new, difficult to adjust to and aesthetically ugly OS from Microsoft is likely to accelerate this trend IMO.

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Re: If Paul Allen is puzzled ....

I'm seeing more people switch from ios onto android and running windows on macs.

Being techie I have the joy of 24hr support for family and friends, which I guess a lot of us do. I've moved a lot onto mint now and the calls dry up.

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Re: If Paul Allen is puzzled ....

Whatever you may say about Windows (8, or in general), the idea that the disruption of moving to a new OS is solved by the disruption of switching to an entirely different platform, is odd.

At least pick something open like Linux. You're just jumping from one big company with a closed platform, to a another worse one that's even more closed and far more of a walled garden, not to mention supporting a company that uses patents on rectangles to shut down the competition. I do find it odd people who think they're hip to be against Windows, then you find they support Apple.

"The probable cause of this is the love that people have for their iPhones and iPads, followed by an assumption that a Mac will be just as brilliant."

Good luck with your last year tech, and oversized phone. The vast majority of people are out there buying Android devices. There is no brilliance, no more so than many other devices.

And Macs are PCs. Even if your anecdote were of any truth, I presume you mean switching from Windows to Macs. And I'd find that rather said.

Most the criticisms here are because of Windows trying to do things like touchscreen interfaces - where at least the upcoming tablets are mostly hybrids - and that some software can only be sold through MS.

Yet we're supposed to be happy if people switched to a company that wants us to do everything on dumbed down touch-only no-keyboard/touchpad devices, and wants all software sold only if it allows it? Sorry, that's a far worse situation. The idea that MS get criticised, whilst Apple praised, is mad.

"likely to accelerate this trend IMO."

People will move to ipads, because they don't like touch-optimised UIs? Sorry, makes no sense at all. And we've been hearing predicitons of Apple's dominance for years, and still, they're massively outsold by Windows on the desktop, and Symbian and now Android on mobile. I'm still waiting.

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IE Bookmarks and Desktop Links.....

Both of these have been changed in RTM. So much disinformation on what Win8 does is going around. IE shows the same bookmarks and if you open the links from the desktop they open in the desktop apps.

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Re: IE Bookmarks and Desktop Links.....

As Paul Allen said it I would assume he knows what he is talking about (though he does mention it was not the final version), but even if it has changed. However the fact you just said if you open from the desktop it opens in the desktop apps, suggest more complexity than is needed for the average user. Far more than I can be bothered with if everything has a split personality before I use it.

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Re: IE Bookmarks and Desktop Links.....

As I have been using Windows 8 for sometime now, I can confirm that whatever Paul Allen says in the article, it does work the way blackjesus says.

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Re: IE Bookmarks and Desktop Links.....

"However the fact you just said if you open from the desktop it opens in the desktop apps, suggest more complexity than is needed for the average user."

If I open IE on the Desktop, I expect it to open in the Desktop. It would be far more confusing for "the average user" if it didn't. And as I sometimes need to use a browser on the Desktop in conjunction with other programs on the desktop, then there is reason to keep it.

As it's clear from your post you aren't using Windows 8 yourself, why are you arguing about how something works with someone who is plainly talking from direct experience?

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Its a new paradigm

Its a very basic paradigm shift. Let your user become accustomed to and productive on a reasonably friendly interface and then change the whole damned Modus Operandi. It keeps the customer disoriented and a lot more sheeplike.

Never allow a customer to master the interface, its very bad for future sales.

Always add features that hinder productivity, we can use it as an excuse to sell training.

Just give us the option to switch back to the menu buttuon that we know how to use efficiently and everyone will be happy.

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