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TMFPostOfTheDay (< 20)

Doubting Windows 8



July 06, 2012 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: MSFT

Board: Macro Economics

Author: WatchingTheHerd

The trouble, to me, is that it seems like Metro UI was designed specifically for a touch based interface. It may have been a colossal mistake to think that would translate well to a desktop screen. For me, I never use the mouse unless there is absolutely no way to do something on the keyboard, and if they didn't preserve this keyboard-centric operation with Windows 8 (as they have since the WFW 3.1 days), I will never, ever adopt it.

True story.

About two months ago, my company consented to have Microsoft come in and set up an all-day "user technology" demo where employees could wander in and out at their leisure to see and touch the latest MS technology for PCs, phones and tablets. Trying to keep an open mind, a buddy and I trekked down to the giant conference room to look around, me being most interested in Windows8 and the metro UI.

I was almost run over by a Director or VP level employee from Microsoft's "evangelical" department who pulled me towards a table to demonstrate the "seamless" transition of the metro UI from desktop to tablet. He spent an INORDINATE amount of time demonstrating how the tight integration between the tablet graphics hardware and the Windows8 OS allowed you to (imagine him flipping violently with a finger back and forth across the tablet screen) switch between all these open apps SO MUCH FASTER than an iPhone or iPad. I watched him for about 30 seconds as he continued flipping back and forth between 10-12 apps open on the tablet but noticing that while the graphical hardware acceleration was impressive, thinking to myself "why would I ever need to FLIP BACK AND FORTH LIKE A BANSHEE BETWEEN 10-12 OPEN APPS LIKE I WAS SPINNING THE WHEEL ON WHEEL OF FORTUNE?"

After he continued doing this for a bit more, I became annoyed enough to ask the question out loud. "Why would I ever need to scroll through open apps that quickly and how would that user interface experience EVER translate and be productive in a desktop setting? Do I have to take my hands off the keyboard and mouse which I need for editing documents and drawings to FLICK BACK AND FORTH LIKE A BANSHEE to switch between my inbox and Word and Visio and PowerPoint and an SSH window into a remote server?

His response?

(Take note, youngsters considering a career in sales and brand management...)

But that's what you don't get! You're thinking about this all wrong! This is better! See? You can't do this on an iPhone or iPad. They can't TOUCH this performance?

Besides committing the first cardinal sin in sales of insulting your potential client, he compounded the sin by being WRONG. He completely missing the point that no one is going to try to edit a Visio diagram or create a web service on a remote UNIX server through their iPhone or iPad. In more technical terms, these interfaces and smaller tablets and smart phones may be fine for CONSUMERS of content, but they will remain COMPLETELY UNSUITABLE for CREATORS of content where content creation involves words, drawing or other "fine motor control" manipulation of some sort of "control" like a fader on a virtual mixing board for recording music.

For those that haven't switched from older Microsoft operating systems to Windows7, you're volunteering to continue incurring a sizable amount of daily annoyance and frustration you may not even perceive anymore because you've acclimated to the flaws in your current OS. If you have a big archive of Microsoft oriented documents and mail files that you want to continue using in a Windows environment, Windows7 is pretty close to flawless. Perhaps the best thing is the Sleep function which allows you to put the machine to sleep in about 10 seconds and wake it up in about 10 seconds instead of rebooting. For corporate PCs with lots of extra security bloatware, this can easily give you back 5 minutes every morning. Vista (and maybe XP) had this but it didn't work as well.

For Windows8? I think Microsoft may have screwed the pooch on the new OS. It's the operating system equivalent of what they did to Office users starting with Office 2007 -- completely re-arranging the visual user interface without adding a SINGLE useful function, doing nothing but alienating old power users. (I've used Word and all of its advanced style sheet features, etc. since 1986 and DESPISE Office2007 and beyond.) My firm has zero interest in switching users over to 8 and at home, there's no way I would migrate to it or buy a machine with it unless I was doing free-lance consulting for someone whose project needed it.

(Disclaimer: Long time holder of MSFT stock but beginning to have doubts...)


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