Windows 8 Quick Look

I’ve spent some time with Windows 8 over the past week and have my brief thoughts to share below.

What I Like:

  • Windows 8 natively looks to connect to my total digital world including Twitter, Gmail, LinkedIn, Exchange and Facebook.  This is very similar to what Palm OS did several years back which I *loved*.  Palm seemed to pull off the execution better, perhaps because they didn’t have a horse in the race (i.e. MSN).  I would also like to connect to XMPP servers (i.e. Jabber), but Microsoft doesn’t seem to be too willing to share their playground at the moment (more on that in my summary).
  • Dynamic Tiles – this feels like Unified Inbox from Cisco on the Cius which I’m a big fan of.  The Cius version is a bit unpredictable, hopefully that improves and Windows 8 takes cues on algorithms to make it feel very active and predictable.
  • Connectivity to cell phones – LOVED this concept.  If I lock my home computer and can’t remember the password, I can use my cell phone to help reset my home PC’s password.  I expect this is leveraging my MSN account and SMS out capabilities in MSN.  EXCELLENT example of blending of PC’s and mobile devices in real life ways.  Kudos Microsoft. Below is a screen shot.

Dislike:

Disclaimer on the dislikes.  I don’t really mind the technical issues.  This is a preview, and I commend Microsoft on hanging their laundry out on the clothesline before it is completely dry.  I mention them simply to caution – Windows 8 is clearly not yet ready for prime time.

Technical issues.  Clean install wouldn’t work for me with Fusion 4 using 32 bit.  Neither would the 64 bit version which I just attempted.

For those keeping track, here are the two errors I saw on the 32 bit.

And the error seen on 64 bit.

 

Also while adding my Google account the wizard initially failed and required a server address.  Are you kidding – I have NO idea of any google server address!?  After canceling process and trying later it finally worked.

 

UI Issues:

  • No clear search from home “tile screen”? – There should be clear icon (spotlight in Mac anyone) that is visible at all times for search.  My data is far too unwieldy at this point to not use search as a primary and most efficient function.  As it stands, if you hold the mouse (and I assume your finger on a touch screen) in the bottom right – you are rewarded with a search icon.
  • ESC should be a universal “back up one level” button.  I’m actually unclear on what it does, it seems to be sometimes back up one level, and other times akin to Alt-Tab.
  • Likewise, the Windows key seems to be a toggle button which is confusing – I prefer it doing one thing only regardless of where I am.
  • In the mail app – Pressing Delete on a message icon doesn’t delete it.  I have to use the Trash icon.
  • Also in the mail app – there is no “All Mail Accounts” view.  /cough – Microsoft – we are in 2012, not 2007!
  • Also in the mail app (which appears to need lots of work) – there is no “move message to folder” option.

Summary Observations:

  • Windows 8 feels very “consumption” focused.  The tiles update with information about what is happening, there doesn’t seem to be a focus on tiles to create content.  When I sit down in front of a Windows or Mac desktop, I’m doing so to create content.  When I sit down in front of a tablet or mobile phone, I’m doing so to consume content.
  • My final word – As I mentioned above, Microsoft seems to want to force consumers into using their products.  This was cute back in 1997, now it is just stupid and annoying.  The result of the lawsuits Microsoft has suffered have trained consumers that equal choice is expected – trying to now not show common messaging platforms (Google, other XMPP, etc.) and force users into MSN is just begging for another anti-trust lawsuit.

Bonus Tips: (they are tips because they are not obvious in the UI)

  • Right-click on main tiles page brings up “All Apps” at the bottom.  This seems to be essentially the equivalent of the Start Button – without a command line or search still.
  • Hitting the “Desktop” tile – brings you back to “Windows 7” mode

Get the Windows 8 preview for yourself at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/home

 

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