back to article FIVE Things (NOT 10: these are REAL) from the WINDOWS 10 event

Microsoft offered a teaser of its work across its three main platforms yesterday, enough to give us an insight into how well Operation Relevance is going. It’s very much a work in progress. Here are the five key points on Windows 10 and the accompanying strategy. 1. 'Please come back to Windows 10 – for free' The challenge is …

  1. dogged

    Nobody talks to Cortana

    I use Cortana a lot on my phone but I only talk to Cortana in the car. The rest of the time, I type my questions/instructions. Obviously, I don't want to do that while driving but I find it's by far the best option.

    Cortana's added-value searches are pretty good and I get to control them precisely with my text rather than have a back-end on Azure try to guess what I wanted or get it wrong if I happen to sneeze or be eating a mint or whatever.

    I can see typing to Cortana becoming useful on the desktop, especially given the extra bells and whistles they're giving it. That thing about searching for a restaurant on Maps and getting not only the location but also (optionally) opening times, contact details, reviews and menus? Handy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nobody talks to Cortana

      >> a back-end on Azure try to guess what I wanted or get it wrong

      >> if I happen to sneeze or be eating a mint or whatever.

      "Azure!"

      Bless you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nobody talks to Cortana

        Driving in the car and wanting to find a restaurant on the spur of the moment doesn't seem to be a common occurrence for most people. Even when it does happen I've always managed to find something by looking out of the windows and it's fun to take pot luck once in a while.

        To be honest I've never really wanted to interact with my phone while driving. Most of the time the radio is on and occasionally the sat nav. Often there's Mrs AC and the young ACs creating hell in the back. So I doubt Cortana would hear me or that I would be able to hear the answer. Quite honestly I just want to be left alone.

        The only times I talk to the computer are to hurl insults when it doesn't do what I want, I don't need a reply from it as well, that kind of escalation is only going to end in tears.

        1. dogged

          Re: Nobody talks to Cortana

          > Driving in the car and wanting to find a restaurant on the spur of the moment doesn't seem to be a common occurrence for most people.

          But driving in the car and replying to an urgent text is a very common situation.

          Nice try though.

          1. cambsukguy

            Re: Nobody talks to Cortana

            And reply to unimportant texts, and carry on entire text conversations.

            Not that you need Cortana for that, it has worked well since the WinPho getgo.

          2. Szymon Kosecki

            Re: Nobody talks to Cortana

            Not sure if there's such a thing as an urgent text message. If it's really urgent, you call...

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @dogged

            "Replying to an urgent text" - tell me you're joking. If you really do text and drive, god help anyone near you.

            Do you send those urgent tweets - you know, the ones the world is so desperate to read - as well?

            1. dogged

              @SRS

              > tell me you're joking. If you really do text and drive, god help anyone near you.

              No, Cortana reads the text, asks if I want to ignore it or answer it, if I choose to answer it I do so by voice.

              All handsfree, all via voice.

              Are the 32 downvotes for that post strictly a result of poor reading comprehension?

              1. Tchou

                Re: @SRS @ dogged

                Sir, you rationalize too much on votes.

                It's El Reg, not the parliament.

                Have a down vote from me too.

                Cheers.

                1. dogged

                  Re: @SRS @ dogged

                  Normally I don't even look at them but 32? For having your texts read to you? Man. That's crazy.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Nobody talks to Cortana

            Windows Phone has driving mode, when paired to a bluetooth unit in the card (head unit etc) it can be set to auto-reply to people that you are driving.

          5. DanceMan

            Re: driving in the car and replying to an urgent text

            I hope you're not driving anywhere near me.

          6. dogged

            Re: Nobody talks to Cortana

            32 thumbs down for stating that having a text read to you in the car and replying by voice is both common and useful?

            Wow.

        2. Pascal

          Re: Nobody talks to Cortana

          > The only times I talk to the computer are to hurl insults when it doesn't do what I want, I don't need a reply from it as well, that kind of escalation is only going to end in tears.

          Hah, just had a vision of how many monitors I'd puch through if my computers talked back to me when I vent at them :)

          1. Sebastian A

            Re: Nobody talks to Cortana

            When I see terms like "Tightly integrated" in regards to a feature I don't want, it just makes me shudder. That thing's gonna pop up every time I try to search for anything anywhere, isn't it?

            Definitely going to be adding some Microsoft addresses to the firewall as well. I don't need every word I say anywhere near my PC to be in an NSA-queryable database.

        3. JDX Gold badge

          "never ... interact with my phone while driving...the radio is on and occasionally the sat nav.""

          My Lumia phone IS my sat-nav.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Nobody talks to Cortana

      Exactly dogged, Cortana is a virtual assistant, not a voice assistant. She can also respond to the spoken word, but it isn't the only way to interact.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Nobody talks to Cortana

        "Cortana is a virtual assistant"

        So was that paper-clip.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "So was that paper-clip."

          ...and so was Bob. This isn't going to end well.

        2. N2 Silver badge

          Re: Nobody talks to Cortana

          And the dog,

          'My dog has died, come and revive it while I make tea' one memorable support call

    3. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Nobody talks to Cortana

      "This means Microsoft needs to get business users upgrading again – 85 per cent of installations run Windows 7 or earlier – but without unnecessarily pissing off the minority who are happy with the 8.x Sinofsky’d Windows 8.0/8.1 design.

      Microsoft is going to do this by writing off next year’s Windows upgrade revenue. "

      Rubbish - this has nothing to do with business users. They generally pay maintenance and can upgrade for free anyway. And this offer doesn't even apply to business versions!

  2. Tsung
    Meh

    I don't get Cortana either!

    How is it going to work in an office? Even if you choose to use it, Cortana will need to know the person talking to her/it is the right person and not an overly loud person sitting near them or indeed someone going thro' the office saying "Cortana shut down PC".

    Even in the home environment I think it will have limited use, maybe we just need to get use to talking to our computers. Again, really needs Cortana to be intelligent enough to accept direction from the correct person. (So someone on voice comms/skype or a TV in room cannot trigger it).

    However, for people who have difficulties typing it might be a godsend. So include it, just allow people to disable it.

    1. WP7Mango

      Re: I don't get Cortana either!

      You don't need to talk to Cortana. You can write to her too, and as you're writing she automatically tries to pre-empt what you want to do with intelligent suggestions, exactly as Microsoft showed in the demo. It looked pretty good IMHO.

      Also, Cortana does things in the background for you - it's not just about having a dialogue with her.

      1. Annihilator
        Alert

        Re: I don't get Cortana either!

        "You can write to her too, and as you're writing she automatically tries to pre-empt what you want to do with intelligent suggestions"

        "It looks like you're writing a letter. Would you like help?" <shudder>

      2. Mephistro Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: I don't get Cortana either! (@WP7Mango)

        You can write to her too, and as you're writing she automatically tries to pre-empt what you want to do with intelligent suggestions

        Hmmm... Some of the probable effects of such text pre-emption programs on the way people writes are quite terrific. Users would end up writing like Cortana, in subtle -or not so subtle- ways. The effect could be weaponized by including subliminal messages in the list of suggested words, and making access to 'sensitive' words slower or more prone to errors, so as to make it more difficult to write/express dissenting opinions. Sorry, excuse me for a minute while I change my underwear.

        The first thing I'll do if/when I install a Windows 10 machine at home will be to disable that bitch for good!. And I'll advice all my family, friends and customers to do the same.

    2. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: I don't get Cortana either!

      " Cortana will need to know the person talking to her/it is"

      Henece the reason for MS pushing the need for an MS Live account when logging in to your machine.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: I don't get Cortana either!

        How does she respond to "Cortana! Command. Del star dot star"?

        Just askin'...

        On a more serious note, I suspect this is not for me if only because wide-ranging AI interraction requires rather more contextual information that I am comfortable allowing. The thought of a speech-to-text possibly accidentally running all day strikes me as a potentially very serious security hole.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I don't get Cortana either!

          Err, Cortana is an "it", so is "Siri" ; just like Clippy was.

          anthropomorphizing them may not be such a good idea longer term

          ( sorry, feels like I just said Santa Claus doesn't exist )

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: I don't get Cortana either!

            "anthropomorphizing them may not be such a good idea longer term"

            Ably demonstrated in The Big Bang Theory when Raj "falls in love" with Siri, for a recent reference.

    3. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: I don't get Cortana either!

      "Cortana will need to know the person talking to her/it is the right person "

      In an office you generally use a headset / microphone for Lync, etc anyway.

  3. Wade Burchette

    Microsoft is still not listening

    I put in a request for Aero to return several times. Many other people did too. Is Aero back? There are two reasons why I'm sticking with Windows 7 until the bitter end, and maybe beyond. First, Aero, because that flat square look is hard on my eyes and I have a hard time finding anything on the screen. Second, Windows 10 still has that "cloud first, mobile first" strategy. Doesn't Microsoft get it? A tablet is a different tool than a laptop. You don't put a screw in with a hammer, you use a screwdriver. This touch UI design needs to confined to tablets and phones only. Windows 7 focuses on the laptop and desktop, and it also doesn't have built-in cloud/Bing/advertisement integration like Windows 8/8.1/10. Just because you put a start button back doesn't mean you fixed the problem. Listen! Stop trying to make a desktop a tablet!

    1. cmannett85

      Re: Microsoft is still not listening

      "This touch UI design needs to confined to tablets and phones only."

      No it doesn't. A touch screen is just an another input device, and an increasingly popular one on laptop screens and standalone monitors, so an OS that that pretends they aren't used is hardly something that should be praised.

      There's no reason at all why an OS cannot have a touch compatible interface that doesn't hinder mouse interaction.

      1. Craigness

        Re: Microsoft is still not listening

        Touch UI is fine, they just need to change the cursor to a circle to mimic the positioning/shadow of a finger. The Asus Transformer tablets do that and it works.

        1. jason 7 Silver badge

          Re: Microsoft is still not listening

          I have to say I was handed a 24" Windows 8.1 all in one PC to work on a few weeks ago.

          Touch screen the works.

          Whilst I'm a big "no touching my screen bitch!" type I decided to try the whole thing as it was intended for an afternoon.

          To be honest it worked really well. Side swiping news articles and other such stuff was a pleasant experience and switch back and forth between worlds was pretty slick. With an open mind it did work, possibly more as a domestic interface rather than a hardcore user interface.

          I also must admit the screen didnt suffer too badly from smears and fingerprints either. Light swipes and prods were all that was needed.

          Back to sitting at my Win7 Pro workstation thinking Windows 10 might be nice for a change. I've got 10 on it as a VM by the way.

      2. Jess

        Touch screen on a laptop

        Asking for RSI, as far as I can see.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Touch screen on a laptop

          Where is your medical degree from Jess?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Touch screen on a laptop

            Where did you pick up such an attitude that an observation has to be backed with a specific degree JDX?

            You might be surprised to learn that MS could benefit from listening to some real people not just those swinging their believed credentials or position.

            1. JDX Gold badge

              Re: Touch screen on a laptop

              Yeah, nobody at MS uses computers for their job. They don't count as 'real people' when it comes to knowing about computer use-linked RSI.

        2. Law

          Re: Touch screen on a laptop

          "Asking for RSI, as far as I can see."

          Actually I don't use my touchscreen on the laptop enough, sort of forget its there until I realise I'm struggling with the trackpad and a simple point and drag on the screen would do.

          Touch definitely worked better on win 8, even in the non metro bit, but I still installed win 7 over the top because 8 had shotgunned its settings all over the place, scattered between both legacy and metro settings panels. Drove me nuts.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @cmannett85 - Re: Microsoft is still not listening

        I can travel with my mouse across my 24in screen by barely moving my hand for 2 inches and I could do better than that. Now tell us again how does your touch screen swipe looks like in this scenario ? Popular ? Let's not be silly, shall we ?

    2. Kunari

      Re: Microsoft is still not listening

      I'm with you that Windows 10 is too "cloud first, mobile first" in that it's being so tied to MS cloud offerings and I too can just see the pop-ups for their "cloud/Bing/advertisement" every time I boot. Plus it begs the question, How soon before the subscription costs come into play?

      Touchscreens are getting more popular, so I'm not opposed to Windows 10, or any OS, having a touch UI design instead of bolted-on as an afterthought.

    3. Col_Panek

      Re: Microsoft is still not listening

      Two dozen Linux desktops aren't enough for you?

  4. Stuart 22

    The Business Legacy

    Win8/8.1 - mostly consumers will probably be well advised to do the free upgrade. Win7 - consumers with recent hardware might find it a good move too with '7' support ending within its lifetime.

    Guess Microsoft are betting nearly all its Win7 business users will be unable to take advantage of the free upgrade. 12 months is just too short for any significant operation to evaluate, decide, test and deploy a new operating system. They will just hang on grimly until 2020 when it will, hopefully, be someone else's problem.

    1. Alan Bourke

      Re: The Business Legacy

      Business won't be taking advantage simply because the 'upgrade for free' offer doesn't apply to the professional variants of Win 7 and Win 8.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Business Legacy

        "...the 'upgrade for free' offer doesn't apply to the professional variants..."

        Citation?

        1. David Neil

          Re: The Business Legacy

          "It is our intent that most of these devices will qualify, but some hardware/software requirements apply and feature availability may vary by device. Devices must be connected to the internet and have Windows Update enabled. ISP fees may apply. Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1 Update required. Some editions are excluded: Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise, and Windows RT/RT 8.1. Active Software Assurance customers in volume licensing have the benefit to upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise outside of this offer. We will be sharing more information and additional offer terms in coming months."

          http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/about?ocid=WIN10_0_WOL_Hero_Home_Windows-10_Null_01

          Bottom of page

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The Business Legacy

            That doesn't say anything about the professional versions only the enterprise versions and they are normally on a rolling Volume Licence Agreement. The pro versions are widely used by businesses and allow domain access.

            So it would appear that the comment about business users and professional version is incorrect.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: The Business Legacy

            "Some editions are excluded: Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise, and Windows RT/RT 8.1"

            Oh goody, my Asus EeePC Netbook with Windows 7 Starter edition isn't excluded. I wonder if it will be capable of opening more than two browser tabs without thrashing the swapfile?

            1. Col_Panek

              Re: The Business Legacy

              Put Peppermint OS, Puppy or Lubuntu on it.

  5. theOtherJT

    Doing Something Stupid...

    "For three decades, Microsoft has responded to competitive pressure by panicking, and then Doing Something Stupid."

    This... is about the most perfect explanation I have ever heard for the entire history of that company.

    1. mrbawsaq

      Re: Doing Something Stupid...

      You are forgetting the 2 stages before panic - ignore, followed by deride.

      1. theOtherJT

        Re: Doing Something Stupid...

        "You are forgetting the 2 stages before panic - ignore, followed by deride."

        I like to imagine them as "We're too busy swimming in our HUGE VAT OF MONEY to listen to you!" and "Well, yes, ok, so it is a real thing but LOOK AT OUR HUGE VAT OF MONEY! It doesn't really matter that it's a thing."

        I actually basically like a lot of Microsoft's products, but they really do need a lot of provoking before they finally get things right a lot of the time. Presumably because they keep getting distracted by how phenomenally much money they're making. I mean, if we're this rich, we've got to be doing everything right, no?

        1. fruitoftheloon

          @theOtherJT: Re: Doing Something Stupid...

          tOJT,

          likewise, I quite like most MS stuff, I will actually be spending my own hard-earned on a surface pro 3 shortly.

          The whole shenanigans at MS reminds me of a quote from Winston Churchill: "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else".

          Cheers,

          jay

    2. John Sanders
      Holmes

      Re: Doing Something Stupid...

      "For three decades, Microsoft has responded to competitive pressure by panicking, and then Doing Something Stupid."

      """This... is about the most perfect explanation I have ever heard for the entire history of that company."""

      I do not think so, how can it be explained then their massive over-influence over the rest of the industry?

      All those stupid decisions led to +90% market dominancein the PC space, and if it wasn't for the Free Unixes its control over the IT industry would have been 200%

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Doing Something Stupid...

      Three decades? for most of the time they've had no competition. Or at least none which stood any chance of stealing their business.

      Office suites to rival MS Office appeared and were nice but didn't open Office docs correctly or had some glaring omission (such as a toy Database like Access).

      OSes appeared too, but they didn't run Windows apps at all or not very well.

      Only mobile and the shift away from the desktop has rattled Microsoft.

  6. Simon Davidson
    Big Brother

    Cortana Always Listening?

    Do you remember the Xbox One Kinect "Always Listening" privacy concerns? How long before its announced that Cortana will always be listening for your prompts and the anti Microsoft brigade start screaming "think of all the children".

    1. Handy Plough

      Re: Cortana Always Listening?

      It'll more likely be the EFF with their Open Source Stasi...

    2. MissingSecurity

      Re: Cortana Always Listening?

      Why would the Anit-MS brigade need to say anything? They may criticize the fact that there are privacy implication in the MS product if this happens, but there not the ones using it (per say). The XBOX debacle was MS fault over "Always On" and the added FUD after it. MS did not by any means use logic.

      Your most likely voices are going to be from sys admins, security professionals, and general consumers because you know, their interests actually lay within the confines of protecting privacy, IP, and other such things.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Cortana Always Listening?

        not the ones using (per se) but often the ones required to support/interoperate with it.

        Some of these sys admins and security professionals are also in the above group. I've also seldom heard general consumers (exluding enterprise) particularly concerned over their privacy and certainly not IP (assuming you don't mean IP address).

        The Xbox debacle was not just over 'always on' but also 'phone home', and there was hardly any need to sow any artifical fear, uncertainty and doubt, the general consumers were already surfeit already.

    3. Old Handle
      Childcatcher

      Re: Cortana Always Listening?

      Microsoft has already banned children from using Cortana hasn't it?

  7. Khaptain Silver badge

    Pricing

    What will be the pricing structure once the initial "free" year reaches it's conclusion ?

    1. dogged

      Re: Pricing

      Nobody knows how much it will cost to upgrade to Win10 after a year from release.

      Everyone knows exactly how much it will cost to continue to use your Win10 box after a year - nothing. there is no subscription.

      That's just FUD.

      1. Kunari

        Re: Pricing

        "Everyone knows exactly how much it will cost to continue to use your Win10 box after a year - nothing. there is no subscription"

        No subscription YET, that'll come with Windows 10.1

      2. Fungus Bob Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Pricing

        "Nobody knows how much it will cost to upgrade to Win10 after a year from release."

        Same as during the free period - just your sanity.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Pricing

      This is a perfectly good question. One that a lot of people would like to know the answer for.

      Yet it gets a downvote?

      Would the person who downvoted the post care to explain why they did this?

      Or will they just downvote this one as well out of spite?

      1. dogged

        Re: Pricing

        I did not downvote. However, Terry Myerson stated at the event that once you've installed Win10 it will be updated free of charge for the lifetime of the device (just as it is now with Windows Update) so therefore, this is an irrelevant question instigated by lousy reporting.

        I note that my response containing the facts from the event has also been downvoted, presumably by people who want you to think it's a subscription you keep paying for. Who those people work for, I leave to your imagination.

        1. Chris Evans

          Re: Pricing Confusion

          Not sure if it's bad reporting or bad communication from MS

          "Terry Myerson stated at the event that once you've installed Win10 it will be updated free of charge for the lifetime of the device" how does that work if they: "upgrades from Windows 7 to Windows 10 will be free, for a year."

          The only way I can see both could be true is: "If you upgrade in the first year then it is free"

          "... free, for a year." sounds like there is a charge after that.

          1. WP7Mango

            Re: Pricing Confusion

            Free for a year...

            This means that you have a year from the launch of Windows 10 to move from Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10 for free. If you don't move to Windows 10 within a year of launch, then it will COST you to move from Windows 7 or 8.1 to 10 thereafter.

            Basically, Microsoft are offering a FREE migration path for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users, for a period of 1 year. XP users will therefore have to pay to migrate to Windows 10.

            1. JDX Gold badge

              Re: Pricing Confusion

              Really very similar to the super-cheap W8 upgrade they offered (£25 IIRC) except it's totally free this time rather than almost free during the promotional period.

            2. Khaptain Silver badge

              Re: Pricing Confusion

              "Free for a year..."

              If Wp7Mango is correct in his interpretation then I consider the choice of words "Free for a year" to be a bad choice of words, to say the least it is a very vague statement given the context.

              If they had said "Free to install during the first year of launch if you update from a previous version" then it would have been obvious.

              "Free for a year" to me sounds like you get to try it free for the 1st year and then you have to pay if you want to keep it.

              I can't believe for an instant that MS are willing to give an OS away for free... Something doesn't quite colate here. If everyone with 7 or 8 migrates within the 1st year of launch what revenue can MS expect for the next 5 years ? Will the Service Packs become that catch, will they release a 10.1 vesion that has to be paid for that includes 'extra' features..... I smell fish

              1. Kunari

                Re: Pricing Confusion

                They'll pull the "R2" version trick like they do with Server OS.

            3. Chris Evans

              Re: Pricing Confusion

              Thanks for clarifying it. That is what I thought and what I though I'd written but as I've been thumbed down it would appear I wasn't clear. Though why anyone would thumb down what was effectively a question I do not know!

              EDIT: Just spotted at: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/01/22/windows_10_cortana_and_spartan_and_xbox_oh_my/?page=1

              "Once the offer period is over there may be upgrade charges – Microsoft ducked questions on this – but analysts don’t think this is likely."

              It seems I'm in good company if ElReg journalists aren't sure of the situation!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pricing

          Updated maybe, "for the lifetime of the device" (however long Microsoft decides that is), but he also clearly said "We think of Windows as a Service", which implies subscriptions at some point

  8. BasicChimpTheory

    @win8.x haters

    You know the current thing has a desktop mode that is faster and more stable but otherwise interchangeable with win7, right?

    The start menu was always fairly clunky anyway.

    Run commands.

    *cue downvotes*

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Pascal

        Re: @ BasicChimpTheory

        > Oddly enough, running commands is something the Windows shills usually insist is a negative Linux attribute.

        There's a genuine difference between "typing the first 2-3 letters of the app you want to run once you open the start menu" (which most users have been doing since the start menus have had a search/run box) and command-line management of a system.

        "hit the start button, type WORD" is actually the quicker route but it's pretty dishonest to compare that to command-line management of OS features.

        I like Powershell; I understand that most armchair admins only do it part-time and prefer point-and-click. I don't insult them and call them shills if they state that preference.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ BasicChimpTheory

          Hit start button, type the first part of the name of the app.... ***

          Or ?

          re-enable 'Quick Launch' and place icon of the app in toolbar.

          Then starting the app is just a single click away.

          Well, I know which one I prefer. No need to go full screen Metro either.

          *** ok if you know the name of the executable. How many can you remember? I certainly can't especially as the main Application I use has 20+ executables that all start with the same 4 letters. Most are command line and not GUI app anyway. Yes I know I'm an awkward old sod!

  9. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    OS upgrades?

    Observation leads me to believe there isn't much OS upgrading going on in the Windows world. Usually it's "I need a new computer, this one is old." or "Away with you Great Satan, have some Linux love my faithful box."

    1. Craigness

      Re: OS upgrades?

      That's because upgrades were expensive.

  10. herman Silver badge

    Siri/Cortana/Bob/Clippy

    They are all about equally useful.

    Presently I use a Mac as my main machine at home and I used the speech functions once, to see if it could be useful - and - well - no - it isn't really and I never tried it again and I don't know anybody that use it either.

  11. Handy Plough

    I'd love for them to drop the asinine differing SKU's and have just 1; Windows.

  12. gsk

    This might be a silly question/observation but if using Windows Update is a qualifier for getting Win10 does that mean that win 7 users can only upgrade as opposed to clean installs?

  13. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Dear Microsoft:

    I've actually enjoyed using some of your products for years, generally abandoning them when the Hunt For Sales brought Unnecessary Sweeping Change.

    Outlook and Word are now rendered largely unusable to the casual or occasional user who doesn't have the time or budget for formal education in the new version of what used to be a reasonably intuitive product line. True, I needed help occasionally, but I was always able to recognize when this was the case.

    Now I waste time trying to use the things before once again going to Google to find out how to do something I once considered trivial (the official Microsoft help is about as much use as hiccups are to a glassblower). Guess which product line is not allowed on my personal computer equipment any more?

    You need to know something: I am never, repeat: never, going to own a Microsoft tablet computer. Designing your software to the assumption I will eventually See The Light will only result in hastening my switch to non-Microsoft-originated operating systems.

    I do not need touch control, nor do I applaud your drive to make everything look and feel like I should be poking it with a finger. Tiles are ugly wastes of desktop that have no utility for me whatsoever. Foisting them on me is phenomenally bad in PR terms and a dead cert sales killer.

    Please pass the word to your partners. I recently tossed out a very well known anti-virus/firewall package I'd used for years because they replaced the attractive and easy to figure out user interface with a bug-ugly tiled nightmare with less functionality.

    Said package vendor is still mailing me under the impression I simply "forgot" to renew - against the evidence that my system no longer pings Vendor Central using the stealth "notifier services" that stayed around after I'd run the uninstall process. Azathoth bless Sysinternals for cutting the search and destroy process to only half an hour. Now there is a package of stuff with "We Get It" design.

    I write stuff using my computer. For that I need a keyboard that doesn't either consume screen real estate or come packaged in such a small form factor my hands are pressed together while typing.

    I draw stuff using my computer. The single advantage of doing so is that the drawing itself is never occluded by the drawing instrument. If I had one thing to say to Mr "no stylus" Jobs it would be "YOU CAN"T SEE WHAT YOU ARE DRAWING WHEN YOUR HAND IS IN THE WAY, F*CKHEAD".

    Mr Jobs is sadly no longer with us, but the point still stands. Having the drawing instrument, be it a pen-and-tablet or mouse, off to the side well clear of the work being created is such a massively useful thing I'm staggered that people honestly can't see that for themselves. Ten seconds with a tablet computer and a drawing app should demonstrate it nicely to anyone.

    One can only conclude that the people still foisting a "no mouse, touchy-touchy" model on me never use these products, and the less said about the suitability of such people for designing tools for my use the better.

    So, at the risk of stating the bleeding obvious I'll sum it up:

    1) What people like me want from the operating system is that it look and interact with them much like Windows XP. When thousands of people are telling you that they want to use your software bugs'n'all despite your screaming that they are being dense for doing so, perhaps it's time to stop using "they're stupid" and concede that perhaps you have been. Concentrate on refitting the engine and making the door locks more secure and stop f*cking about with the knobs and dials.

    2) What people like me want from an Office Suite is that it be as easy to use as possible and that the thing that are broken under the hood be fixed, not the baby out with the bathwater chop'n'channel you keep giving us. I'm already done with MS Office for my own use. Your fault.

    Just think: If you'd spent all that money educating people that even though Windows Whatever looked much the same as Windows Oldhat it performed better and was much safer to use, you'd have probably maintained that fantastic market share you won with clever and timely UI design (and a fair bit of clever marketing) in the first place. Now the sand is washing out from under you and your core business is a collection of products more and more people don't want to deal with.

    Me included, and I *like* Windows 7, mostly.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      I agree with everything you said

      Shall we start a Curmudgeon's Club ?

    2. wdmot

      Re: Bah!

      I recently tossed out a very well known anti-virus/firewall package I'd used for years because they replaced the attractive and easy to figure out user interface with a bug-ugly tiled nightmare with less functionality.

      Bitdefender, perchance? Or are they all doing that now to be "compliant" with MS' design guidelines? (Even on non-8/8.1 systems!) I'm not renewing my Bitdefender license because of the change to flat UI and because of how its affect on system performance has worsened over the last 2 years.

    3. GX5000

      Re: Bah!

      Thanks for saving me tons of time buddy.

      I actually worked for the bums during the ME to 2000 then XP releases and you rather nail it.

      But one thing needs to be said.

      Society is getting rather immersed in itself (social media, cells etc..) and may want what these guys are offering. We are the older Gurus (Maybe you're just enlightened, whatever...) trying to warn the masses

      of the dumbing down process in effect. This I'm afraid might be inevitable.

      This is not the TechWorld I remember, and I guess that's why I might need to up my golf game.

      Cheers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bah!

        The downward spiral has been happening for a while. One need only look up the history of literate vis-a-vis iconerate to 'get it.'

    4. fruitoftheloon
      Pint

      @Stevie: Re: Bah!

      Stevie,

      amen brother....

      Cheers,

      j.

  14. Haro

    The world needs Microsoft

    My experience with large companies is that MS hastens old-company disease. It starts when the key to internal advancement is to learn every trick in making a Powerpoint presentation to the Big Bosses, and sending the perfect email to everybody on Outlook. The last few years have been kind to these companies, since everybody got up to the same level. Now, they will be hit with the huge upgrade cycle and features galore. Can't wait until the really smart ones send Cortana Outlook spreadsheets. :)

    Like IBM going down, this clears the road for young upstarts.

  15. Erik4872

    They are still not listening

    As much as Microsoft might like it, they are not Apple and they're not making iPads and Macs. There is still a sizable community of "utility" PCs used in businesses. For those users, familiarity is key, and that's why I think they should bring back the ability to use classic or Aero themes in the OS.

    Think about it -- if you're an enterprise, and 70% of your PCs are used by cubicle drones cranking out various tasks, you want to keep things as static as possible without getting hacked or losing support. Now Microsoft comes along and says "all is forgiven, have a free Windows 10 upgrade." Wouldn't it be great if a business could swap out the user's OS, and it would mostly look like and work like the Windows 7 they were used to? I could see that as a huge selling point for non-consumers.

  16. GX5000

    Windows 10, we hardly knew ye !

    Quite frankly, if I wanted a phone OS on my PC.......

    After playing around on the technpreview, I just can't stop thinking about how it's inviting in the salespeople and services right onto my lap. Not thanks.

    I know the future of (PC, laptop, pad etc) computing is a toaster that even a newbie can master, but after twenty six years in the Biz, I think it's time to switch off the MS boxes and upgrade the Linux (not that they actually need the new hardware...).

    I'm not one to let them dumb down everything so they can sell me films and music.

  17. croc

    It would have been nice to have seen an analysis of what Win 10 actually is bringing out new to the preview. I guess I should have looked to see who the author was before I started (hopefully) reading the article.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Putting voice activation into a Microsoft product is going to end badly. Any such that I end up using will spend much of its time attempting to perform physically impossible acts of self impregnation.

    I suffer from computer activated Tourette's and MS products seem to bring it out quickest and hardest.

  19. Planty Bronze badge
    Megaphone

    Don't think I will be upgrading.

    WIndows 10 seems to be all about turning back the mistakes of WIndows 8.

    Windows 10 seems to be Windows 7 with Metro, if you want to use it (insanity?) and loses the Aero interface, and aload of guff that means I can talk to an imaginary assistant, and have a browser than is a good now as Chrome was 3 years ago.

    I think i'll pass....

  20. David Gosnell

    1. 'Please come back to Windows 10 – for free'

    Like Vista to 7, they mean? Where "free" meant anything up to a £40 admin fee to the OEM, ostensibly to cover media costs but clearly just a licence to extract money from the unfortunate?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Their strategy need to be "Progressive steady predictable improvements with a clear use case."

    Not "Try and do what Apple are doing, but glue it onto the side of the classic Windows OS".

  22. Yugguy

    I'll be sticking it on our laptop

    Purely because the damn thing came with Windows 8 and it's detestable. 10 can't be any worse.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't want my phone dinging and beeping and chatting. El Reg is damn right. Why would I be excited by Cortana? I'm similarly unexcited by the voice assisted offerings from Apple and Google. Each time I try out these services I get ridiculous results, and decide to leave it a year or so. So I'd be amazed if Microsoft miraculously managed to leapfrog the competition. Microsoft has a very weak pedigree in digital assistants (Clippy, Bing anyone?), so why trust them now?

    1. calumg

      Listen to your customers!

      Windows could be so much better if Microsoft actually listened to their customers instead of foisting all this nonsense on us. For example:

      Do users want to touch their monitors? No, no they don't.

      Do users want to lose the Start menu? No, no they don't.

      Do users want to talk to their PC or phone? No, no they don't.

      Do users want lots of colourful Duplo blocks all over their screens? No, no they don't.

      Do users understand or want to confirm security privileges ever? No, they don't.

      Do users want software to ever install spyware and mess up their browser settings? No, they don't.

      Do users want to fear opening documents or emails in case they get a virus? No, they don't.

      Do users want to use their PC as a second monitor for their Xbox? No, they don't.

      Do users want Bing by default? No they don't.

      Do users want Internet Explorer by default? No, no they don't.

      Does my mother go into a panic each time Metro pops up? Yes, she does.

      Do customers like the idea of another Clippytana? No, they do not.

      Do customers want a big blocky menu covering over the thing they were just working on? No no no.

      So Microsoft, as you clearly struggle to come up with sensible ideas, just listen to your customers.

  24. Black Road Dude

    Who needs windows?

    So a company had a monopoly on the entire market. A captive market that was really happy with windows and was just looking for a small evolution maybe a pretty skin on the next version, maybe crash less, maybe hog less memory, maybe more secure. And managed even with no real competition to balls things up repeatedly and attempt to push features on the users, push mobile UI's onto desktop PCs even when they had no real mobile market is just unbelievable. You literary could not make it up. Im personally glad as its been sub par software all along in my opinion. And the free yes read that again FREE alternatives are now so much better who needs windows. ??

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