back to article The Windows 8 dilemma: Win 8 or wait for 9?

News has started to circulate about the next version of Windows 8.1 – namely update 2 – and even "Windows 9". Whether or not it bears the name Windows 9, the next major "wave of updates", codenamed Threshold is due to land on our desktops and mobes later on this year. The upcoming refresh, we’re told, will see lots of new …

Anonymous Coward

Boring

Windows 7 works fine.

If you really have to have Windows 8 - just get one of the many Start Button programs and then it's okay - but really, why did you ever want to upgrade from Windows 7 in a business environment?

Oh dear, more time wasted talking about Windows 8.

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Joke

Re: Boring

Half the people here seem to be complaining that MS have changed stuff.

The other half are complaining that they've not changed stuff.

No wonder they're confused.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Boring

Windows 7 works fine.

If you really have to have Windows 8 - just get one of the many Start Button programs and then it's okay - but really, why did you ever want to upgrade from Windows 7 in a business environment?

It struck me that most of the "improvements" heralded in the article was making things work like they did before.. However, this is exactly the problem MS has: why would you buy a new OS and inflict a lot of pain on yourself and company if what you have just works? That's why they couldn't get rid of XP either - Vista was just so tragically bad that it broke the mindless upgrade cycle.

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Re: Boring

What we need is "upwards-compatible". Windows 8 has a kernel that's probably an improvement on Windows 7, but only techies ever notice it. It could have had much the same UI as Windows 7 as "legacy mode" and that ghastly not-Metro interface as "new mode" with a choice between the two made every time one logs in (one click). But oh no - they had to tear up everything that went before, and force everyone to start over. F*** them.

It's not just a user issue either. Talk to someone who writes programs with Windows GUIs about it. If Microsoft cared about its customers, anything that prevented an old MS windows GUI program displaying on a new Windows platform would be called a BUG, and fixed asap.

In the Linux world, things work differently. The Gnome team actually did the same as Microsoft - foisted a radical new UI on their "customers" that they didn't like or want. But it's open source, so someone forked the old source and gave it a new name (Mate) and someone else took the newer version and re-skinned it to be less unlike the old version (Cinnamon - which is now also a complete fork). And there were several longstanding alternative UIs out there in the first place - no monopoly on our desktops, thank you!

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Mushroom

Re: Boring

@AMBxx

and the half that complain that MS have changed stuff, then go on to criticise Android, because they can't get the changed stuff on their 6 month old device... There is no pleasing some people. ;-)

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Re: Boring

It is not just the Kernel, the desktop has been improved as well. Especially if you use multiple monitors. That was worth the upgrade for alone on my laptop, which is docked to a 24" external display.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Boring

You wouldn't want to. But Windows 7 isn't easy to purchase anymore, if at all.

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Re: Windows 7 isn't easy to purchase anymore, if at all.

ebuyer - I bought a copy of 64bit Pro from them 2 weeks ago.

PC Specialist will also happily sell you a machine with 7 preinstalled.

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It could have had much the same UI as Windows 7

Beta Windows 8 did have that feature. Just had to change a registry entry and you got your desktop back. But the people who though Metro was a good idea had it stripped out for the final release.

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Re: Boring

This is not boring, it is a very interesting article. I run windows Vista, it cost me £200, I don't think it's as bad as people say and would happilly keep using it for 3 more years. However MS decided not to support VS2012 on windows Vista, as a software developer I need to be able to use that (especially as work computers are rubbish and I want to get my much more powerful home computer compiling our code).

So I need to upgrade, question is do I upgrade to win 7 for probably about £100, and have this problem again in about 2 years time, or pay what's likely to be about £200 to jump to 8 now it might be usuable, and kick the can a bit further down the road.

This article contained useful information for me, though I'm still not sure now the spectre of a win 9 has be dangled in front of me - damn that last paragraph.

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Re: Windows 7 isn't easy to purchase anymore, if at all.

so will Dell. Tiger Direct in Canada seems to have plenty of copies in stock.

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Holmes

Actually, the last Windows OS that was probably justified by new features was Windows 95

No, you're getting confused by the two sides of the same coin. One side is the meaningless changes that create user confusion and lost productivity. The other side is the lack of meaningful changes that would justify the upgrade.

Sorry, but I don't count "We're pointing a gun at your head" as constructive justification.

Microsoft's monopoly has become quite destructive to the entire industry. No significant change is permitted without Microsoft's blessing. Meanwhile, their monopolistic position has destroyed their competitive edge and made the company lazy. There really are lots of new things that could be added at the OS level, but that would be hard work.

Considering problems without solutions is pointless, so here's the solution. Cut Microsoft into three to five pieces. Each new company starts with a complete copy of the source code and an equal share of the employees. I suppose they should use a draft system to make it as fairly competitive as possible. Then the new teams compete. One of the daughter companies may focus on security, while another pushes the OS towards higher performance and a third focuses on compatibility--and the market gets to decide which is best. The new competitors can even share as much information as they want (especially for standardization), as long as they share it with the rest of the market.

The shareholders would NOT suffer because the most important result would be faster overall growth. Even if one child company does poorly, that would be offset by others that flourished. Of course, a shareholder could hurt himself by selling off or buying the wrong shares, but that's always true. Or maybe that's only the second most important result? More freedom from meaningful and unconstrained choice is important, too.

Sadly, this model of non-cancerous growth won't happen. American law requires each large company to grow like a cancer just to survive. That's what happens when the rules of the game are written by the most cheaply bribed politicians working for the least ethical and greediest businessmen. (The 99% of nice businesspeople just don't matter anymore.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Boring

Then maybe Microsoft should just focus on getting new hardware sold to replace older machines in the enterprise. Many companies use the 3-year cycle for machines. Typically they are out of warranty by the 3-year mark and many companies just use that as a time to replace hardware. New hardware = new OS money to Microsoft. While MS makes less per machine that say someone buying an upgrade, Microsoft could reduce their costs by removing the various version of Windows. Do they really need 32-bit and 64-bit versions; do they really need a standard version and a pro? In the past they have had even more different versions like home, ultimate, etc. Dump 32-bit and just sell one version that does it all; they would save a lot of money on development and support. Intel released 64-bit processor a decade ago; it is time to move on from 32-bit architectures. The hardware is old and many systems had RAM limitations and Windows is just pathetic with less than 4GB of RAM which many 32-bit system can't even address and only sees 3.2GB of it. While some of the more recent Atom processors were 32-bit but even they are getting a bit old.

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Re: Boring

I've been running 8.1 for a couple of weeks. It is just a games machine, but I have some observations:

1. Things move. It isn't just different, its inconsistent. If I want to power off/sleep from the desktop I have to go bottom left, click on windows start-screen button. Then I have to move to the opposite corner (top right) for the power icon, then scroll down for the option I want. There's far to much movement.

Worse, sometime I've noticed that the power button comes up on the bottom right bleed-in panel.

2. pin to taskbar / icon on the desktop is a workaround for the start screen. I use this a lot. I did on Win7 too.

3. Start screen is full of MS rubbish. You have to delete all the MS junk from the start screen one at a time (no multi-select of icons appears to be available): select an icon, from somewhere on the screen, then click on the delete menu which just appeared (so you couldn't see where it was earlier and plan your mouse moves) at the bottom of the screen which is far too much mousing. There isn't even a rubbish bin shown to drop stuff straight into.

Then you have to replace the icons with useful stuff - control panel, explorer, Firefox :) and your other real apps. I shouldn't have to clean my environment on a fresh install - that just looks bad like pre-installed OEM crud. It's also tedious to remove and oh how I hate live tiles. It's like looking at a facebook page.

4. PC Settings. You'd think this might be the control panel. It isn't, it isn't that useful and it doesn't appear to have a link to the control panel. Where are my £$%^&* network settings? PC Settings is at the bottom on a right-side auto-hide panel along with some other stuff.

5. Menus/results. Right-side panel (lower) for some things, left side "start button (lower) on the desktop, almost top right for the start screen menu and search results. The menu's are all over the place with no apparent reasoning.

6. Going along with the theme. Click the start screen button (bottom left) and your apps appear not in the bottom left where your mouse is, but all over the screen - again far to much mousing. If I have a lot of apps and start typing in the application name, my filtered list appears in the opposite corner to where my mouse was. Yes I could use keyboard shortcuts but it's supposed to be a WIMP environment.

Or rather it isn't. This is a touchscreen, not mouse environment. Things are organised for fingers on opposite hands to be used in a coordinated fashion on a tablet-sized screen. It's rubbish for mouse-based operation on a 27' monitor.

Here's the difference between how Apple introduced IOS and how MS introduced Win8. With Apple, I was never left thinking "I don't know how to do X." Perhaps because it is an inherently simpler environment. With Win8 I'm constantly having to think how to get past the GUI to my applications or data.

Maybe its just my personality but I like structure, organisation and predictability. Search is a last resort when I've forgotten everything else or misplaced it. I don't want to be forced to search visually through a large screen of icons and neither do I want progressive search with its shifting icons and dynamic lists to be my main mode of access. Win7 search was fine, KDE search is fine, both attached to the start menu (and alt-F2 for kde). It feels like a desperate attempt to make windows cool by making it look as though "Windows just knows where everything is" rather than "I installed my app in that location and stored my data in that location."

MS needs to get over itself and concentrate on what it knows. By the time it's ready for mobile, mobile will be saturated and the market gone. Get some better local caching in Outlook so my laptop talking to the corporate mail server on the other side of the world doesn't spend ages trying to update its social media integration data. That would be nice.

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"Windows 7 isn't easy to purchase anymore, if at all."

Yes, but there are ways to find a copy if you're willing to put in the effort. Try this plan:

1) Go to obscure online retailer www.amazon.com.

2) Search for "Windows 7" in Software - the site search engine should automatically recommend this department.

3) Buy the item at the very top of the page.

It gets slightly more complex if you want Pro or Ultimate. Then you have to perform an intermediary step where you scroll down to find the specific item you want, as it is further down the first page.

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Pint

Re: Boring

"I run windows Vista, it cost me £200 .. do I upgrade to win 7 for probably about £100, or pay what's likely to be about £200"

Since you still run Vista, I'll make a few assumptions and guess your PC is just an appliance/tool, rather than used for gaming or a hobby. So your PC is working but possible showing its age?

If that is the case, wait for Windows 9, then buy yourself a new PC with an OEM version of Windows installed! You'll be able to pick up a reasonable system for £300-400.

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Bronze badge

Re: Boring

@ Will28. Will MS REALLY release a new OS next year? Even if they do would you jump to be the 1st to install it or wait for SP2. If I HAD to change from Win7, on the strength of this Reg article, I probably would go to 8.1 with the latest patches.

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Re: Boring

@Pedigree-Pete

I expect a new release next year as MS seems to be keeping with the 3 year major cycle. Vista went live late '06 followed by 7 in mid '09 and most recently W8 in October 2012. It seems reasonable to expect that sometime in the second half of next year that W9 will be splashing across desktabs everywhere well before X-mas '15. Either way there's probably time to get knocked-up and calve before we start seeing a preview edition if there are any. Will it be better than W8.x? As always the answer will be, yes and no. Many rumors to follow, undoubtedly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Boring

Windows XP worked just fine. M$oft is just greedy; they are not satisfied with having the most used OS in the world. They want the entire world to roll over and abandon a perfectly good OS on Lord Redmond's command. It might have worked had Windows Vista worked, but it didn't. Windows 7 launches a denial-of-service attack on itself if you have not started it for a couple of weeks. Windows 8 is about to be an even bigger bellywhop.

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Re: Actually, the last Windows OS that was probably justified by new features was Windows 95

"Considering problems without solutions is pointless, so here's the solution. Cut Microsoft into three to five pieces."

Been there, done that, burned the stupid T-shirt. AT&T is far more malignant now!

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Re: Boring

> If I want to power off/sleep from the desktop I have to go bottom left, click on windows

> start-screen button.

From the desktop, go to the bottom right to get the Charms bar, then Settings, and Power is in there.

Or install Classic Shell (freebie), which puts it back in the Start menu where it should be...

> (no multi-select of icons appears to be available):

There is a multi-select of bits on the Start screen in 8.1 Update 1. I'm on the work Windows 7 machine so I can't try it, but it's probably holding down Ctrl or Shift. A little tick appears in the top-right of the panel.

> PC Settings

You're right, that is so annoying. You can get a list of network adapters, but clicking them gets you nothing.

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Silver badge

Re: Windows 7 isn't easy to purchase anymore, if at all.

Whether you can still purchase Windows 7 depends on your relationship to Microsoft.

If you are an ordinary customer, it is now *impossible* to buy Windows 7 in accordance with the strict Microsoft terms and conditions, unless you come across a supplier who has remaining stock of retail licenses.

If you are a Business Associate, there are a number of things that Microsoft will allow you to do to ship Windows 7.

Many system builders (like Dell) bought Windows 7 OEM licenses upfront (remember all those stories about MS claiming that Win 7 had a fast uptake rate because of counting these pre-purchases as shipped systems), so have a stock of licenses they can use to put on newly built machines. As I understand it, MS are no longer allowing OEM Win 7 licenses to be purchased, so they will run out at some point.

One of the interesting options is that Microsoft allow what is called a Refurbished Machine license. These are mainly for companies in the corporate refurbishing business, who can install Win 7 on systems originally sold with Win XP or Vista before selling them on. There are some suppliers who sell these licenses on to end-users or small businesses, possibly against MS's business guidelines. But I have seen at least one missive from MS that they tend to turn a blind eye to this practice.

So while it is still possible to get Win 7, it's becoming increasingly more difficult as time goes by!

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Silver badge

Re: Windows 7 isn't easy to purchase anymore, if at all.

Sorry, just purchased a brand new system with Win7 Pro included.

I went for Win7, because the user was very familiar with XP. Also the user tends to upgrade s/w and h/w at the same time, so given 5 years on-site support, this machine shouldn't need updating until circa 2019 when Win7 will becoming to the end of its support life-cycle and Win 10 will have been around for a year or so. Plus we can expect the Linux and open source offerings to be much more mature. As for Win8?, well I was tempted but then I thought that I would firstly have to upgrade it to Win 8.1u1 from 8.0/8.1 and then in a few months I would then have to upgrade it to 8.2 or whatever and if 9 is a free give away for those on 8.2 then another pointless use of my time (and waste of client monies) to implement yet another upgrade. At least with Win7 I know all that will be coming down the line from MS are security fixes...

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Re: Windows 7 isn't easy to purchase anymore, if at all.

??

Read what I wrote.

Many system builders (like Dell) bought Windows 7 OEM licenses upfront (remember all those stories about MS claiming that Win 7 had a fast uptake rate because of counting these pre-purchases as shipped systems), so have a stock of licenses they can use to put on newly built machines. As I understand it, MS are no longer allowing OEM Win 7 licenses to be purchased, so they will run out at some point.

So you have one of those pre-bought licenses on your machine. The only reason you have to apologise is for not reading my post.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows 7 isn't easy to purchase anymore, if at all.

I just bought a brand new, factory-sealed copy of Win 7 Professional 32/64 Retail version (not OEM, but Retail). Reasonable price too. Hopefully.... ...we'll see what it actually is when it gets here. As the seller has steller reviews, it's perhaps not as high risk as it seems. But we'll soon see.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Windows 7 isn't easy to purchase anymore, if at all."

@jedit Amazon.

Would that be the 'OEM' or 'Retail' version? If I understand the difference, the retail license is slightly easier to move from an old broken PC to a new PC. When installing on a used PC with unknown lifespan, I'd prefer the Retail license so I can more-easily move it around.

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Re: Boring

You couldn't have said it better. From me, who worked for the Help Desk, which did not need more 'frills' to cause headaches, when Win 7 was already doing the job.

Someday, the majority of organizations are going to revolt and stop using Windows anything.

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Re: Actually, the last Windows OS that was probably justified by new features was Windows 95

I would say Windows 7 justified new features as we moved from a 32 bit to 64 bit environment. Soon the hardware will be 128 bit and I expect the software to evolve maybe 3 to 5 years later.

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Re: Boring

No Microsoft upgrade to keep up with the hardware technology changes somewhat. XP is 32 bit almost exclusiviely. MS releases products based on the industry as a whole. MS doesn't make touch screens, graphics cards, Hard drives, Motherboards, printers or processors. They just make an OS that runs those things. Like someoneposted Intel has been making 64 bit processors for 10 year and AMD even longer. yet you want to stick will a 32 bit OS? The whole industry evolves with new technologies. Soon we will have 128 bit hardware.

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Re: "Windows 7 isn't easy to purchase anymore, if at all."

Retail versions are a thing of the past because of the Windows store. The new model will have all upgrades being available on the store and the old fixes and small updates that were service packs will be delivered through updates. New installs will be available as OEM through system builder and personal usage licensing.

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Anonymous Coward

"Now the Power button is clearly on display in the Start Menu. Something like this shouldn’t have been made so hard to do, so kudos to Microsoft for giving this back."

Kudos? Don't agree with this at all. They shouldn't have removed it in the first place.

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MJI
Silver badge

Power buttons are easy to find, they are on the front panel of the PC

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Holmes

yes, under the desk, behind someone's handbag.

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for those of us who live in an RDP / Teamviewer world, either to remote PCs or remote servers, a physical button doesn't really help.

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"Power buttons are easy to find, they are on the front panel of the PC"

I believe he was describing a clean shutdown rather than a crash and all the problems that can arise from such behavior. Some switches can take you into a software shut down prompt but by no means all.

Why not take it further and tell him to throw the main switch on the circuit breakers.

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Meh

"Power buttons are easy to find, they are on the front panel of the PC"

Normally I'd agree with you - I always use the power button.

But... Ever since Vista, the power button defaults to 'sleep', because the failed promise to boot faster than XP failed so miserably that they had to cheat. For the past seven years or so, one of the first hacks I have to do to any new laptop is go to the Power applet and restore the power button's correct behaviour. Because a well-sorted lappie should boot in ~60 secs with all add-ins (Skype, et al).

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Power buttons are easy to find, they are on the front panel of the PC

yes, under the desk, behind someone's handbag.

Or two PCs stacked on top of a filing cabinet. You press a button and realize 0.1 seconds too late you've just shut down someone else's PC.

Or four PCs connected to a KVM switch. Tip: coloured cable ties are very useful. Cable ID you can see from any direction.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Linux

Why would you ever need to turn a computer off???

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@Truth4u

Re:Why would you ever need to turn a computer off?

Energy saving/fire risk/noise even.

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Anonymous Coward

> Kudos? Don't agree with this at all. They shouldn't have removed it in the first place.

Especially since they didn't give it back anyway; by default "power off" on a Windows 8 machine is actually a suspend state.

To actually turn the thing off you have to do a 'shutdown /s' from the command line...

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Coat

re: Why would you ever need to turn a computer off???

...because it's windows, and therefore requires its semi-regular hard reboot ?

(yes, yes, I'm already leaving...)

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Huh? Why do you need the power button of you are RDP'ing?

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Silver badge

Time for some truly revolutionary GUIs?

Mice, touch, start menus ... how traditional ... how old-fashioned .... how computer-centric.

And by computer centric, I mean just that: having the computer: be it a PC (a "proper" computer) a phone or a tablet, at the fore of the operations.

Instead, how about putting the person or the user in the spotlight? So instead of us having to press the buttons and direct the machine to perform what we want it to, shouldn't IT be asking US what WE want. So instead of having a menu or GUI that says: these are your options: pick one, the interface asks one simple question:

What do you want to do?

So the user can write, speak or draw their request: I want to write a letter, I want to watch a film, I want to continue reading my book, I want a command line, I want to search the internet, I want to know what this (holds summat up to the camera) thing is for ...

After that, it goes away and works out how to fulfill our requests. Obviously if it is unable to do so, it should respond in a calm, cool and not-quite-remote voice to the effect "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that" Though I suppose we'd all have to change our names (or at least our accounts) to make this happen. A small price.

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Unhappy

Re: Time for some truly revolutionary GUIs?

@Pete2. Agreed. Why voice control is not the goal of the next level of PC and tablet UI design I don't know. Natural language processing has improved to the point it should be feasible. But then, M$ tried helper agents producing much rancour instead. And sites like DamnYouSir still indicate even Apple have issues. However, M$ application GUIs have become worse IMNSHO. Is this a sign of a generational change or another example of a failing education system ?

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Re: Time for some truly revolutionary GUIs?

Microsoft tried that with BOB years ago.. And it was spectacularly bad!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3chib6dGO4

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Re: Time for some truly revolutionary GUIs?

Voice control, are you mad? My office is already noisy enough. The ads turning on Xbox ones should be warning to everyone. Just no. At home in your quite room sure but not in a standard enterprise setting.

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TRT
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Re: Time for some truly revolutionary GUIs?

"Computer... Computer? Computer. Ah, a keyboard and mouse... how quaint."

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Silver badge

Re: Time for some truly revolutionary GUIs?

There was a reviewer many years ago (Dragon type era?) who defined the problem with voice input perfectly.

At some point there will be an amusing misinterpretation of what you have been saying and your voice will change slightly because of the incipient smile which means there are more misinterpretations until it reaches the point where it is laughter in and garbage out.

A secondary problem is that in order for the computer to have a chance at working out what you are really asking (in type you can see the difference between two, to and too but they have the same sound) you require the person speaking to roboticize themselves.

This is a project much easier to describe in words than to implement.

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TRT
Silver badge

Re: Time for some truly revolutionary GUIs?

Ha ha ha! Just saw the post above mine about a "standard Enterprise setting".

:D

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