Windows 8: The convertible OS

Some say PCs are a dying breed. That’s a little hyperbolic for me, but it’s absolutely true that the size of the herd is thinning relative to other devices. The share of the personal computing pie captured by desktops and notebooks is shrinking as people spend more time surfing the web, checking email, watching movies, playing games, and Facebook stalking on so-called mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. PCs still can’t be beaten when it comes to productivity, but for media consumption and other casual computing tasks, touchscreen devices like tablets can offer a superior experience.

Microsoft seeks to combine the best of the PC and tablet worlds with Windows 8, and PC makes have followed suit. For the new OS, they’ve concocted all manner of convertible designs that can switch between touchscreen tablet and keyboard-equipped notebook within seconds. The potential for these dual-personality devices is huge, and we’ll soon have a better idea of how the various hardware implementations stack up. Work on our own review of Asus’ VivoTab RT has already begun.

After using that system for about a week, there is one thing I can tell you with absolute certainty: a Windows 8 convertible is in my future. It probably won’t be the VivoTab RT, but my time with that device has made plainly clear that Microsoft’s fusion recipe has immense potential.

I should probably qualify that statement by pointing out that the VivoTab RT runs Windows RT, a cut-down version of the Windows 8 designed for ARM-based devices. I’ve used the full-fat version of Win8 on desktop systems, but I haven’t had the chance to check it out on a convertible with x86-compatible hardware under hood. Seems like those devices are coming in November or later.

The big deal with Windows RT is its lack of support x86 desktop applications. The OS has a desktop environment, but the only apps that run there are a handful of Microsoft’s own. Third-party apps have been banished to the Metro environment, where they’re available only through the Microsoft Store. That’s kind of a big deal if you want a hybrid device capable of masquerading as a true notebook.

There are other restrictions, too. Windows RT can’t join domains, and it lacks both Windows Media Player and Media Center. (Don’t worry, Metro has its own media player apps.) The bundled Office suite, Home & Student 2013 RT, has also been diminished in various ways. Macros aren’t supported, for example, and you’re not supposed to use the included versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote for business purposes. So, yeah, I’m writing this in Windows RT using Notepad.

While Windows RT is somewhat crippled, it still provides a good sense of how Microsoft’s new OS paradigm behaves on convertible devices designed to morph fluidly between consumption and productivity modes. Based on my time with the OS, Microsoft is definitely onto something, even if its fusion recipe could use further refinement.

Metro, the user interface style Microsoft designed for touchscreens, is a big part of Windows 8’s tablet appeal. The large fonts and tiles feel clumsy and dumbed down when navigating with a keyboard and mouse, but they’re well suited to finger taps and swipes. I like the overall look of the UI, too; it’s bold, different, and the color options offer a dash of customization. Live tiles provide an interesting twist on widgets, although they almost detract from the stylized UI.

Even on a relatively low-power machine like the VivoTab RT, the interface feels smooth and responsive. There’s a certain lightness to it, with visible hitching striking only when swiping through multiple applications. The animation starts chugging after the fourth or fifth app is swiped across the screen, so it’s not something I encountered frequently.

Navigating is aided by the Charms bar, which I loathe on the desktop but quite like in a tablet context. The UI gestures are largely intuitive, too, allowing my vaguely tech-phobic girlfriend to find her way around the OS without having to ask for assistance. The only thing I’m still getting used to is closing items in the list of currently running apps, which requires threading the needle between similar motions that invoke app switching and split-screen sharing.

The split-screen mode seemed a little gimmicky when I saw it for the first time, but it makes a lot of sense for certain kinds of applications—and for widescreen displays with plenty of horizontal real estate. I’ve spent a decent amount of time web browsing, writing, and emailing with the display split between my primary application and a side order of Twitter, instant messaging, or YouTube. The sidebar seems particularly ripe for social media interactions but is pretty useless for desktop applications. Part of me wishes users could set the size of the sidebar themselves, although that kind of flexibility would surely be a compatibility nightmare for application developers.

Dragging applications to share the screen feels natural, as does swiping in from the left edge to switch the primary app. Windows RT’s multitasking seems solid overall. Blessedly, unlike iOS, Remote Desktop Connection sessions maintain the connection to a remote PC even after you’ve switched to other applications for extended periods. The fact that the app-switching gestures treat Win8’s desktop as a single application is a a little annoying, though. To switch between multiple apps within the desktop environment, you have to tap the icons on the taskbar, the windows themselves, or resort to Alt+Tab. That keyboard shortcut can hop between any running applications, whether they’re in Metro or on the desktop.

Alt+Tabbing switches apps almost instantly on the VivoTab RT. Swiping between Metro apps and the desktop is quick, too. Even when the transition animation hitches, the speed of the switch seems unaffected.

Apps and, um, applications

Most of the time, I’ve been switching between the Metro version of Internet Explorer and other applications. IE works pretty well. The VivoTab RT’s page load times feel snappy, and sites seem to render faster than on Android tablets with similar Tegra 3 guts. Like Safari for iOS, IE zooms in on text columns intelligently, a valuable trick Chrome has yet to master. I’ve gotta give it to Microsoft’s ClearType HD team, too, because IE’s text looks very crisp on the VivoTab’s 10″ display, despite the relatively low 1366×768 resolution.

That said, I miss Chrome for Android’s ability to sync bookmarks and tabs with the desktop version, which is the main browser on my PC. I also miss its quick tab switching gesture. In IE, switching tabs requires swiping from the top or bottom edges of the screen and selecting one of the tab preview windows that pops up along the top edge. Reaching for that top edge is a little awkward when browsing in my preferred portrait orientation. IE already transitions between tabs quickly, but a two-finger swipe from the right or left edge would make the process much easier.

Incidentally, TR’s content management system doesn’t work right in the Metro version of Internet Explorer. Windows RT’s desktop environment features its own, separate version of IE, which doesn’t have any problems with our backend. I’d rather edit posts and articles with a keyboard and a precise pointer in desktop mode, anyway.

I’m still getting used to Metro’s Mail app, which lacks a desktop counterpart. It does a serviceable job of managing multiple inboxes but comes with a few annoyances. There doesn’t seem to be any way to flag messages, for example. The way the app deals with attachments is also a little cumbersome. Tapping to download puts files into an obscure AppData folder. After the file is downloaded, you have to tap it again to move save the file to a specific location. The biggest benefit Windows 8 and RT bring on the email front is connected standby, which allows new messages to populate your inbox while the system remains in an ultra-low-power state.

For me, a good Remote Desktop client is essential for any mobile computer. The ones that come with Windows RT (both desktop and Metro versions are included) work as well as Win7’s version but don’t really compare to Jump Desktop of Android and iOS fame. The Windows RDC app is limited to the client’s native resolution, but Jump isn’t, allowing users to pan around larger desktops with the flick of a finger. Squishing my dual 1920×1200 desktop into 1366×768 means a lot of window re-arranging when I come back to my main PC, and I hate having everything mashed together in the first place.

As the creator of Windows, Microsoft controls the RDC experience from both the client and server sides, and it should be able to come up with a better touchscreen client. Heck, Jump even has the more finger-friendly mouse pointer. At this point, I’d pony up the $10-15 Jump Desktop costs on Android and iOS to get a version for Windows.

To be honest, I haven’t spent nearly as much time with the other Metro apps. They all seem to work, but nothing has really stood out for me yet—well, other than the fact that I much prefer Google Maps to the Bing equivalent. I’ve yet to use a Bing service more attractive than its Google counterpart.

The selection of apps in the Microsoft Store is certainly more limited than what you’ll find on Android or iOS. That’s more of a problem for Windows RT than for Windows 8, which can already draw from a massive stockpile of x86 applications that should run perfectly in desktop mode. For me, that compatibility is a huge part of the appeal not only for productivity, but also for entertainment. The stack of casual games sitting in my Steam folder seems ripe for a Win8 tablet—especially one paired with a USB gamepad.

Even without the aid of x86 applications, Windows RT’s desktop provides a comfortable, familiar fallback for basic tasks like file management, network sharing, and settings tweaks. All your favorite built-in Windows apps are there, including the Command Prompt, Task Manager, Control Panel, Event Viewer, and Resource Monitor. Even Paint makes an appearance. The desktop environment is surprisingly usable with touch input, and I love how pinch zooming in a File Explorer window slowly takes you from detailed views to massive thumbnails. The desktop really shines when combined with the precision of the VivoTab’s keyboard and touchpad, though. No wonder it’s where the Office apps reside.

Those apps are remarkably receptive to touch, even if it’s not ideal for productivity. You wouldn’t want to write anything of length with a touchscreen keyboard. Windows 8’s on-screen input options at least provide plenty of variety. There are three distinctly different on-screen keyboards: a pared down QWERTY layout like most tablets have, a full-fledged notebook imitator complete with things like backslash and directional keys, and a thumb-friendly split layout with a numpad in the middle. The variety is nice, and it’s easy to switch on the fly. However, I wish the auto-correct suggestions popped up just above the keyboard, easily within reach, instead of next to the word being typed.

I’ll forgive that transgression because I rarely use auto-correct. Also, I want to move on to another input option: handwriting recognition. In addition to three keyboards, there’s a pop-up stylus pad capable of transforming even my crude, finger-drawn letters into usable text with few errors. No wonder we’ve seen so many stylus-equipped Windows 8 convertibles announced already.

Bumps along the road to Nirvana

As much as I like the multiple input options, the on-screen keyboard provides a hint that the OS is still a work in progress. I’ve had the split keyboard option disappear on several occasions, only to see it return after selecting a different keyboard or after a reboot. There are other issues, too. The Photos app didn’t zoom images correctly until an update was applied a few days ago, and if the app stays in the background for too long, switching to it produces a blank screen instead of the picture that should be shown.

YouTube playback has been a little finicky in Metro, both in Internet Explorer and in the official app. The YouTube app has actually crashed on me a couple of times already, and so has the Microsoft Store. Those crashes haven’t affected other applications or the OS as a whole, as far as I can tell. It’s also worth pointing out that the Android tablets I have floating around the house haven’t been immune to occasional app crashes of their own.

Occasionally, Windows also trips over its split personalities. On the VivoTab RT, touching an on-screen text input area brings up the software keyboard regardless of whether the convertible’s keyboard dock is attached. The on-screen keyboard disappears if you start typing on the real one, but it shouldn’t appear in the first place. Also, the VivoTab’s vertical touchpad scrolling is inverted in desktop mode, emulating the touchscreen gesture rather than traditional touchpad behavior. And horizontal swipes don’t scroll at all in Excel, which is an epic failure for spreadsheet junkies like me.

Folks who have been around the Windows scene for a while will point out that you shouldn’t jump on a new version of the OS until the first service pack comes out. Windows 8 and Windows RT may need a little time to mature—and for developers to release Metro-compatible apps.

Right now, I think Windows RT is a tough sell for tablets, even convertible ones. The selection of Metro apps is limited, the included version of Office is unsuitable for serious work, and while convenient, the desktop mode serves as a reminder of all the x86 Windows apps that won’t run on the OS. Windows RT straddles the line between tablets and notebooks and seems to shift its weight effortlessly between them, but it never puts more than a toe down on the notebook side. Convertibles based on the full version of Windows 8 should be more firmly rooted in the PC camp, ideally without compromising Metro’s tablet appeal.

Ultimately, it will be up to device makers to capitalize on Windows 8’s convertible potential. They must to create systems that switch between tablet and notebook modes as smoothly as the OS does. They may need to resort to low-power Atom CPUs to match the battery life of traditional tablets, but they also have the option of conceding run time in favor of more potent hardware. And, for better or worse, they’ll have to compete with Microsoft’s own vision for a Windows 8 convertible: the Surface for Win8 Pro.

Based on what we’ve seen thus far, Windows 8 convertibles—especially the more exotic ones—will be pricier than even premium tablets based on Android and iOS. That will be a tough pill to swallow for some, but I think I can choke it down. You see, I’ve been using a tablet in addition to my notebook for quite a while. There’s no way a device based on Android or iOS can replace my notebook right now, but a convertible running Windows 8 could effectively replace my notebook and tablet in one fell swoop. That’s why one is undoubtedly in my future. The only question that remains is how long I’ll wait. Intel’s upcoming Haswell processor looms large on the horizon, and it seems perfectly suited to convertible designs. We don’t expect Intel’s next-gen CPU to debut until around the middle of next year, though. Perhaps, by the time it arrives, the first Windows 8 service pack will be out.

Comments closed
    • Geistbar
    • 7 years ago

    Great write-up, but what’s with the over-use of the word ‘app(s)’ ? MS Office isn’t an ‘app’, nor is the control panel.

    MS has gone truly overboard with calling things ‘apps’, and everyone else is following suit. I wish my moderate rage could accomplish anything to stop it.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      If I could +1 million you I would. I really dislike how every program is now an ‘app.’

        • Voldenuit
        • 7 years ago

        If you think that’s bad, what about the overlap of meanings ascribed to WinRT? It can refer to:

        Windows RT, the ARM version of Windows 8
        WinRT, the API for Metro/ModernUI apps
        The Metro/ModernUI interface, seen on both Windows RT and x86 versoins of Windows 8
        Metro/ModernUI/WindowsStore/WhateverMicrosoftFeelsLikeCallingItThisMonth apps
        Windows RT devices

        Yes, we could (and should) probably be more exact and descriptive when describing the various components of the Windows 8 ecosystem, but it doesn’t help when MS themselves like to conflate the term or are unable to come up with sensible alternatives.

          • Geistbar
          • 7 years ago

          It’s hate for the word ‘app’ (which just makes my ears bleed, despite the fact that I’m reading it instead of hearing it), not the ambiguity over what it means or confusion of such. It’s become a word that companies use because their marketing departments say to use it, irrespective of why. Just like web 2.0 or synergize.

    • Voldenuit
    • 7 years ago

    My biggest problem with Windows 8 is that WinRT (the Modern UI subsystem) feels tacked on. It reminds me of Windows 1-3.1 (and to a lesser extent, Win95 and Win98), which were just shells tacked on to DOS. In the old days, you booted into windows for a pretty GUI, but to do any serious work or gaming, you booted into DOS to play your games or load up Wordperfect or Lotus 1-2-3.

    Similarly, you boot Win8 and are greeted with the WinRT interface, which hosts a collection of limited-functionality apps. To do any serious work, you have to exit to the desktop, and the two systems don’t seem very well integrated – charms don’t work on desktop, the Start page itself is not accessible from hitting ‘back’ in apps, some system controls are WinRT apps and others are desktop apps (even some WinRT settings are desktop apps from what I’ve read).

    In addition, the lack of interprocess communication (IPC) between WinRT and the desktop, and the severely limited IPC between WinRT/Metro apps themselves is very worrying, and feels like a giant step backwards.

    And don’t even get me started on Microsoft [s<]tying free Visual Studio to WinRT[/s<], or having a publishing monpoly on WinRT apps and not allowing sideloading (a term that before this didn't even have any meaning for PCs). EDIT: Looks like I was out of date on the restrictions to Visual Studio Express, Microsoft [url=http://www.crn.com/news/applications-os/240001856/microsoft-drops-metro-only-approach-for-visual-studio-express-2012.htm<]reversed its decision to limit free development to Metro apps in June[/url<].

      • Airmantharp
      • 7 years ago

      I’ve just gotten 8 Pro installed on a couple of systems; I’ll be looking into how to integrate it into single monitor and multi-monitor use.

      For my desktop, I’m wondering if charms or tiles or whatever will be of any use; I currently have five monitors hooked up to it (three are smaller 20″ panels).

      But it does feel a little tacked on.

    • Anarchist
    • 7 years ago

    problem with RT is that at near $500 it’s too expensive.
    problem with pro-tablet is, people who need it are likely to be better served by ultrabook or traditional laptop.
    problem with windows-8 is that it sucks on desktops where people are more likely to use keyboard and mouse.

      • funko
      • 7 years ago

      win8 doesn’t really suck on desktops from my experience. win7 is old hat. the improved stability alone without performance penalty is worth the $40 IMO. and i’m using a triple monitor setup to boot.

        • Adaptive
        • 7 years ago

        What stability issues did Win7 have exactly that Win8 improves upon?

    • glynor
    • 7 years ago

    Great little write-up, Geoff. Thanks! This is one of the most well-thought-out and reasonable articles I’ve seen on Windows 8/RT so far (with Peter Bright’s on Ars running a close second).

    I must say, though…

    I’m [b<]not[/b<] as convinced on the utility of a convertible tablet. I can see how it might fit into some use-cases, for some users, but... It just isn't solving a "problem" that I have, and it seems to require too many compromises to achieve a goal I'm not sure I have. With a separate tablet and laptop, I can choose a best-of-breed laptop without worrying so much about extremely long run-times or super-portability. In other words, I can get a 15" notebook with a good quality high resolution screen, a Core i7 class CPU, and plenty of IO. And I can get the best tablet I can without worrying about having to deal with docks or all a UI full of compromises. With a convertible, I feel like I'd be forced to pick something less powerful and capable, in order to achieve the all-day-long runtime and multiple-week idle time (not to even mention instant-on and never, ever, EVER shutting it off). And then, is it really a very good laptop? Admittedly, that is colored by what I do professionally, though (video editing), which requires specialized applications, massive storage, and high-end CPUs. My current nice-laptop + tablet setup just hasn't been a problem. I [i<]very[/i<] rarely find myself in a situation with my tablet where I wish I could snap it into a dock and use a "real computer". And, frankly, when I do encounter these situations, I'm able to switch back and forth easily with a combination of Dropbox and open tab syncing. In most of these cases, I'd really prefer to switch to a "real desktop" anyway... I'm very concerned with the usability compromises made in Windows 8 in order to enable this convertible tablet "future" that I'm not sure I want. We will see, of course. But, I completely agree with the general tone of: What Microsoft did here is neat, but it isn't done yet. Perhaps later in 2013 it will improve to be something more capable. But I'm just still unconvinced that it is solving a problem that I have in the first place.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      You’re a self-proclaimed laptop power user, so you’re right, convertible tablets probably aren’t the best choice for you. But you’ve got to admit, when you’re using your tablet there are times when you’d love to have a keyboard, for less power-hungry users that what convertible tablets are about.

        • glynor
        • 7 years ago

        No, certainly. It is rare, but it does happen occasionally.

        The main instance is when I start writing an email on my iPad and I realize I’m getting more in depth than I’d planned.

        But I just hit close on the email, and it asks me if I want to save it as a draft. I do. I walk to my laptop (same as walking to wherever you left the dock/keyboard), open the lid, open Gmail and continue the draft. Is it [i<]quite[/i<] as seamless as it "could be"? No. But I wouldn't put it past Apple and Google to improve this further before too long, and it is pretty darn seamless as is. That's about it. Now, I'm not suggesting I can do everything on a tablet (by no means), I'm just suggesting that... I don't know. Everything has its right place. When I want one thing, I want one thing. When I want the other, I want the other. I'm not sure I want a compromise that isn't quite good at either.

      • glynor
      • 7 years ago

      Hey, one other thing if anyone sees this…

      While I’m unconvinced for Tablets-cum-Convertibles-or-Hybrids (or whatever they’re calling it this year), I’m much [i<]more[/i<] convinced about Windows 8 on my HTPC. I think that could be pretty good! It is nice and big and 10' friendly. The Metro UI is arranged in a grid anyway, and I think IE10 (or Metro Chrome or Firefox in the future) will be better than what I've got now on the big screen, especially with a big magic trackpad sized trackpad (maybe AirMouse). But... The Start Screen and Metro in general doesn't seem to work very well with Up/Down/Left/Right/Enter/PageUp/PageDown (all of which I have easily with my remote already). Does anyone know if there are any accessibility features or anything I can use with Windows 8 to improve the keyboard-only (remote control) behavior? I need to play around with it in my VM more, but I haven't gotten it "good" yet.

        • moog
        • 7 years ago

        Win8 is perfect for HTPC. Faster, long lasting, and fully loaded

      • gnodeb
      • 7 years ago

      “Asus Transformer Book” looks promising…

    • derFunkenstein
    • 7 years ago

    I’m confused. Page 2 refers to Windows RT’s desktop environment (in the context of TR’s CMS) which I didn’t think it was supposed to have. Do you mean Windows 8’s desktop? I know it has a different IE10 version than the Metro version.

      • Dissonance
      • 7 years ago

      Nope, I mean RT’s desktop environment. It has one, too, just no apps there other than Microsoft’s own. All the screenshots are from RT.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        OK, thanks for clarifying. I could have sworn there wasn’t supposed to be one, but the fact that there is one is pretty nice. If we get other apps from 3rd parties, that is.

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          it supports no third party apps. it’s for file management, and office, mainly.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 7 years ago

            Sideloading for WinRT hacked in 3…2…

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            i’m sure. sideloading what though? homebrew apps?

            • MadManOriginal
            • 7 years ago

            True…it would be kind of wierd. Piracy? If the dev tools are out there isn’t that all that matters.

    • yogibbear
    • 7 years ago

    *Waits patiently for SP1*

      • Airmantharp
      • 7 years ago

      This is SP2…

      …of Vista.

        • Airmantharp
        • 7 years ago

        Also, that’s not a bad thing. Outside of the Modern UI, it’s a better OS.

        • ludi
        • 7 years ago

        SP3, actually. Win7 is already at SP1.

    • moog
    • 7 years ago

    I think thousands of apps are coming within 3 months. Both from iOS/Android ports and because Win8 will support WinPhone 7.x apps.

    [url=http://seekingalpha.com/article/931921-search-will-it-deliver-for-microsoft<]Search: Will It Deliver For Microsoft?[/url<] It went on to state that Mimvi is "in the process of migrating thousands of Apple iOS and Google Android apps to the Windows 8 mobile platform." Of equal significance, the listing states "Mimvi is currently working closely with Microsoft in relation to releasing mobile apps that utilize the Windows Azure cloud services platform. " [url=http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/81626<]Microsoft's magic trick: Making 100,000 Metro apps appear[/url<] Microsoft is on record as saying that Windows Phone 7.x apps will run on Windows Phone 8 without requiring a recompile. Also, Windows 7.x apps are written to adjust their screen size, so they aren't locked to one resolution. Have you ever run an iPhone app on the iPad and saw a small, 3.5" app in the center of that 9.7" panel? That won't happen on Windows 8 tablets. Once you port to Windows 8, that's where the fun begins. A developer told me that since migrating his WP7 code to Windows 8, he now has one code base, and Visual Studio 2012 generates a separate app for Windows Phone 8, Windows RT and Windows 8-x86. He also said the migration from 7 to 8 was trivial. So this could be Microsoft's key to getting such an ambitious number of apps so quickly. It is counting on existing Windows Phone 7 apps to be quickly ported to 8 and then quickly across all platforms. So long as developers target the Windows 8 platform and libraries and not the underlying hardware, Visual Studio will handle the rest and one code base can cover the entire ecosystem.

      • moog
      • 7 years ago

      I was curious so I dug it up right from the horse’s mouth:

      “We are in the process of migrating thousands of Apple iOS and Google Android apps to the Windows 8 mobile platform.”

      [url<]http://www.mimvi.com/corp/about_careers.html[/url<]

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    [list<][*<]Interface win [/*<][*<]App availability/compatibility issues for now [/*<][*<]Pricing is bad but will become reasonable eventually.[/*<][/list<] The main thing that this confirms for me is that Windows8 is a great tablet interface, which just highlights even more the total kludge Microsoft have made trying to shoehorn it onto a desktop.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      he does say it will do both jobs. he wants a windows convertible, not a windows tablet. obviously, he thinks it’s a decent desktop/laptop OS.

      • moog
      • 7 years ago

      How do you know?

      You should actually try a desktop/laptop machine that has a touch screen and Win8. I’ve become used to using my fingers when it’s more convenient (than the mouse/keyboard).

        • Chrispy_
        • 7 years ago

        I’ve been running Windows8 for several months. My job involves ensuring that the company I work for stays up to date with technology trends, and moves with the times. I have to make our office Windows8-ready if it offers any kind of advantage, or if it follows usage trends better than Windows7.

        I spent the first month trying to use it with a mouse and a keyboard, which I didn’t really like, but forced onwards anyway. After a month I couldn’t get past some of the stupid interface choices for non-touchscreen interfaces, so I installed it on an IBM X-61 tablet. It’s not perfect (stylus, and no multi-touch) but it was enough to give me an idea of what the W8 interface team was trying to accomplish.

        Your point is a good one, Windows 8 is a good touch-based interface.

        However, you are missing a rather gigantic problem: Very few devices have multitouch screens. I see the only people who will actually benefit from W8 [i<]upgrades[/i<] to be those using one of the all-in-ones that was lumbered with W7 and some nasty, imperfect and limited vendor-provided touch-interface addons.

          • moog
          • 7 years ago

          What do you think are the stupid interface choices? I really don’t think a hierarchical Start menu is really all that better than the Metro menu. Finding an app can be a pain in Metro scrolling with a mouse but we’ll see how users deal with typing to search and pinning their favorite apps. The workflow should actually be faster in Metro.

            • Chrispy_
            • 7 years ago

            Oh, I dunno there are too many to list, and I’ve started to forget how stupid they are and just tolerate them, but the lack of a start menu is not one of them.

            Maybe my top three gripes are:

            [list<][*<]The way buttons and drop-downs have become sliders. One click has become a click, drag, release. Great for fingers on a touchscreen, cumbersome with a mouse. It's all over the UI and it needs to be replaced if no touchscreen is detected. [/*<][*<]The way edge swipes work with a mouse. On a 10" panel they're great, but they don't belong with multi-monitor setups, and they sure as hell don't feel intuitive, time-saving, or comfortable when you're using 6MP of display. [/*<][*<][s<]Metro[/s<] Modern UI Inconsistencies. You can use the mousewheel to 'swipe' in some places, other places you need to edge-pan, other places you need to use the scrollbar. The whole mouse-driven interface of [s<]Metro[/s<] Modern UI feels like it was made by five people locked away from each other and not allowed to communicate.[/*<][/list<] And yes, I hated Metro when I first saw it, and whilst I have become used to it, I really don't think it's any [i<]better[/i<] than the start menu. With a mouse and keyboard (navigating, rather than WinKey+type) it's as cumbersome and incomplete as 7's default start menu, but without anywhere near as much flexibility. I think the biggest issue with such a big change is going to be getting all the IT-illiterate users to handle the switch. Again, it's not just me - most of the printed IT publications I read in the UK are pretty clear on the issue; W8 is a great touchscreen interface but it has practically no value on the traditional desktop over W7.

    • drfish
    • 7 years ago

    Windows RT has been fairing a lot better than I expected in reviews so far – its still not for me – but its not as alienating as I thought it would be. Granted x86 is out but a lot of the creature comforts of Windows are still around, simply seeing screenshots of Task Manager and Windows Explorer make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

      • brute
      • 7 years ago

      i bet you arent evne a real doctor

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        i bet you arent evne a real brute

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          i bet you arent evne a real madman

            • MadManOriginal
            • 7 years ago

            i bet you arent evne a real sweatshopking

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID.

            • Thatguy
            • 7 years ago

            I am, however, thatguy.

            • Laykun
            • 7 years ago

            What the fuck am I?!

            • stupido
            • 7 years ago

            I was asking the same question myself… for some time… but then I discovered that my (nick)name fits me… since then, I know who I am…

    • RickyTick
    • 7 years ago

    Gone to watch Fatty Boom Boom. Be right back…

    *update*
    Curiosity is not always a good thing. 🙁

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 7 years ago

      I actually do want to watch it (certainly not at work). Antwoord’s videos are usually pretty funny, and his lyrics have that interesting mix of “wtf” and “that was actually pretty clever”.

      edit: You put this video at 99% “wtf”.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        are they? are vagina jokes still considered clever? i found that video completely uninspired.

        • RickyTick
        • 7 years ago

        Don’t want to get off on a tangent about music, but I’m glad that I’m an old fart and completely not interested in modern music. That just sucked incredibly. I found nothing “entertaining” in that at all.

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          I’m not old, and i thought it was stupid too.

      • My Johnson
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, LOL on the Fatty Boom Boom video. Enter the Ninja is good too.

    • sweatshopking
    • 7 years ago

    FIRST POST ON THE FIRST BEST OS

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      You found the first best OS? Where?

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        [url<]http://www.windows.com[/url<] oh, and Geoff, [quote<]I miss Chrome for Android's ability to sync bookmarks and tabs with the desktop version [/quote<] it should sync between any pc with your MS account login. desktop, and metro mine does, across my laptop, and desktop.

          • chuckula
          • 7 years ago

          OK! I went there but I sure didn’t see anything about the Best OS on that site. Is there a hidden link I have to click to find it?

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            [url<]http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/meet?ocid=GA8_O_WOL_Hero_Home_Intro8_Null[/url<] it doesn't actually SAY it's the best os, but the reviews do. pretty much every site scored it higher than mountain lion, and well, linux sucking goes without saying.

            • TEAMSWITCHER
            • 7 years ago

            Better than Mountain Lion? Um……..hell no. The biggest missing feature is something like OS X’s “Mission Control.” Its an awesome multiple desktop, application switcher, and windows manager. Until Windows provides something (anything) close to it – Microsoft will take a silver medal in the desktop and laptop OS events. Sorry.

            My impressions on Windows 8:
            The new Start Screen is nothing more than a billboard to direct witless users to Microsoft web services – helping Microsoft compete with Google. The only major new feature is a UI that can be driven by a touch screen – allowing Windows tablets to compete against Apple’s mobile devices. Windows 8 doesn’t do anything for desktop and laptop users. And I’m not surprised – no one EVER asked Microsoft to graft a tablet interface onto Windows 7 – they did that themselves.

            Final Advice:
            Windows 8 is worthless – spend the $40 on beer instead – you’ll be much happier.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            cool story. too bad most reviewers don’t agree. for example, the verge, a well know apple stronghold gives ML an 8.7, and win 8 an 8.8

            talk to them about it. maybe they’re interested in being corrected? geoff certainly disagrees with your 2nd paragraph. he wants a hybrid laptop with it, and says it “makes sense”

            You think expose is the single most important thing in an os? you’re crazy. I like you man, but you’re crazy. if you die without it, just get this [url<]http://sourceforge.net/projects/mcsoft/[/url<] it does the same thing. i guess it's kinda handy to have, but i don't find window management to be an issue with windows. anyway, i'm seriously getting tired of pretending i actually care about an OS. I need more to fill my day than TR 🙁 damn boring classes!

            • End User
            • 7 years ago

            Then go away.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID.

            • bthylafh
            • 7 years ago

            One neigh for yes, two for no?

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            LOLIRL

        • bcronce
        • 7 years ago

        FreeBSD

          • chuckula
          • 7 years ago

          Good to see somebody got the gist….

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          sure, if you like all 6 programs it can run, it’s great!

          honestly, i don’t dislike bsd, it’s solid, there’s no question. It does let me down in the program dept. it’s great for servers, and super power users on the desktop, but i, personally, am not that nerdy.

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