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Astonishing reason Microsoft built Windows 8 (IMO)
Old 02-27-2014, 02:10 PM   #1
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Astonishing reason Microsoft built Windows 8 (IMO)

I am using Win 8.1 now and while there were some things I despised about it, after a little more than a week there are other features that have some appeal. And the traditional desktop was never more than a click away, users were never actually stuck with the Metro start page as was alleged. You can even default to the desktop version now if you like.

But you quickly find that all the Metro apps are inferior to their desktop counterparts, Metro apps are dumbed down, which confused me. Then I read this - astonishing to me...we'll see if this lowest common denominator approach plays out as Microsoft expects.
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Metro is the antithesis for power users. To put it bluntly, "Metro is **** for power users." Those are the words of Jacob Miller, a UI designer for Windows 8. To be clear, Miller's intent was not to pile on the Windows 8 hate, but to clarify why Metro exists.

To sum it up, Miller said Metro exists as a content consumption space. It's for casual users who are really only interested in doing things like updating their statuses on Facebook, viewing photos, and "maybe posting a selfie to Instagram." He tossed out examples of your computer illiterate little sister and your mom who only wants to look up recipes.

"That is what Metro is. It is the antithesis of a power user," Miller explains. "A power user is a content creator. They have multiple things open on multiple monitors -- sometimes with multiple virtual machines with their own nested levels of complexity."

"So why make Metro the default? And why was there no way to boot to desktop in Windows 8.0? The short answer is because casual users don't go exploring," Miller said. "If we made desktop the default as it has always been, and included a nice little Start menu that felt like home, the casual users would never have migrated to their land of milk and honey." [the Metro UI]

The good news for power users is that the casual crowd now knows about their new home, so now Microsoft can "start tailoring." Miller admits it will take some time for power users to see the benefits and that there's a lot of work left to do, but over time, the desktop will become more advanced and have things added to it that Microsoft couldn't add before, perhaps even multiple desktops like OSX and Linux have.
Windows 8 Designer Offers Candid Explanation of Metro and Why Power Users Hate It | Maximum PC
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:15 PM   #2
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My thinking is that Windows 8 is just an overreaction to "rush" to the convergence of technologies like smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop PCs. My long-term belief is that these technologies and operating systems *will* all converge, and probably will do so seamlessly (or mostly seamlessly) in the next 5-10 years, but PCs are not ready for a smartphone OS and a smartphone is not ready for a desktop PC's OS.

We'll get there, I predict, but Win 8 is a case of trying to force it too soon. That said, 8.1 fixed a lot of the "forced Metro interface" of the original Windows 8. My wife just got a new laptop from our church to work from, and I recommended that she get a machine that had Windows 7 on it with a free upgrade path to 8.1 included... which is what she found. The original Windows 8 (i.e. not 8.1) was mostly garbage with PCs and laptops without touch screens.
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:18 PM   #3
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Microsoft knows best. Quit your whining.
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:22 PM   #4
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Microsoft knows best. Quit your whining.
I'm guessing Steve Jobs would have been amused at Windows 8...especially if the MS insider quote above is accurate.
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:57 PM   #5
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"Your computer illiterate little sister and your mom who only wants to look up recipes".

Sexist, much?
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Old 02-27-2014, 03:00 PM   #6
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"Your computer illiterate little sister and your mom who only wants to look up recipes".

Sexist, much?
Part of my astonishment...
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Old 02-27-2014, 03:13 PM   #7
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emph mine -
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there's a lot of work left to do, but over time, the desktop will become more advanced and have things added to it that Microsoft couldn't add before, perhaps even multiple desktops like OSX and Linux have.
wow - maybe, after a lot of work, they might have what OSX & Linux have had for years?

The multiple desktop feature (workspaces) is what I love about my Linux installation. It is implemented soooo much better than OSX (which I found almost unusable).

I've never viewed 'power user' and 'casual user' as mutually exclusive. Compared to those who mostly browse and email, some of what I do could be considered 'power user', but I still want things to be easy. I think they can co-exist, if the UI team is smart about it.

One example that comes to mind in OSX (might have changed since the last time I looked) - if you want to email some photos, a very easy to use dialog box appears and asks if you want them small, medium, large, original size or 'more options', with easy to understand, plain English non-techy descriptions for each of those sizes. No more snapshots from Grandma that take up four screens worth of space!

[preemptive edit: My use of Grandma isn't sexist, well at least not misogynistic. In our family, the Grandpa never even used email, so the Grandmas were ahead of the curve!)

But the 'power user' can choose 'more options', and specify all the goodies they want - resolution, compression types and conditions almost ad infinitum. That doesn't get in the way of the causal user, and the power user has everything they need as well.

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Old 02-27-2014, 05:16 PM   #8
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Oh, is that what they call it, "Metro"? I didn't know it had a name that was repeatable in public.

I don't spend any time there. I created a very large icon/app there, which takes me directly to the desktop, and put that right at the top. So, if/when I accidently go there once a week or so, I just hit the icon/app and I am back.

I am probably the only person on earth who loves Windows 8.1 . I love it mostly because Windows 8 seems a whole lot faster to me than Windows 7. Now that I know a few of the Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts (like the Windows key + C in order to access the charms, and that kind of thing), it is just as fast and convenient for me to operate as Windows 7 was.

But yeah, I wouldn't mind a bit if they dropped the "Metro" interface. I haven't actually USED it even once.
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Old 02-27-2014, 06:07 PM   #9
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They fact that they call functions charms reeks of 8th grade !
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Old 02-27-2014, 06:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
I am using Win 8.1 now and while there were some things I despised about it, after a little more than a week there are other features that have some appeal. And the traditional desktop was never more than a click away, users were never actually stuck with the Metro start page as was alleged. You can even default to the desktop version now if you like.
Windows 8 did not allow you to default to the desktop. Due to user feedback several things were added to 8.1 which made it easier to get to the desktop.

Like some others mentioned I would much prefer Linux, but it is easier to play most modern games like Skyrim on Windows. So my new gaming laptop is Windows 8.1. Still not sure how I feel about it.
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Old 02-27-2014, 11:16 PM   #11
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...

Like some others mentioned I would much prefer Linux, but it is easier to play most modern games like Skyrim on Windows. So my new gaming laptop is Windows 8.1. Still not sure how I feel about it.
You could set up dual-boot. I'm not a gamer, so that problem isn't an issue for me.

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Old 02-27-2014, 11:37 PM   #12
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One very smart Millenial recently said that America has become the Microsoft of countries. Not interjecting politics, just thought it was an awesome analogy.
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Old 02-27-2014, 11:48 PM   #13
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One very smart Millenial recently said that America has become the Microsoft of countries. Not interjecting politics, just thought it was an awesome analogy.
Could you refine/explain that analogy? Microsoft, with all its sham drudgery and broken dreams is generally considered a good thing. That's not what the analogy sounds like
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:02 AM   #14
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You could set up dual-boot. I'm not a gamer, so that problem isn't an issue for me.

-ERD50
I stopped doing dual boot and started using Oracle Virtual box to run virtual machines on my desktop system. Doing this I can have different OS versions on demand when I want them. Obviously there is a performance hit when you run an extra OS under your current OS. But it has some really cool advantages. For example, I can clone a clean copy of a VM, run the clone VM isolated and then test out software to investigate possible maleware or potential fatal kernel hacks that I am messing with. When I'm done, I just wipe the clone VM like nothing happened. I keep clean copies of Windows 7, Ubuntu, Fedora, Windows XP, and DOS. Sometimes I get all nostalgic and need DOS to play the original Duke Nukem. You can also save the VM to a flash device, and move to a new computer and start it back up with all the software still running like nothing happened.
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:53 AM   #15
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I'm mostly a Mac person and I have a dual boot with Windows 8.1 on my computer (OS X 10.9.2 on one hard drive, Win 8.1 on the other), but usually if I'm not gaming I'm just running Windows from the Mac using VMWare Fusion. It's perfectly adequate for most applications that are not extremely CPU or graphics intensive, *almost* as snappy as natively running them in Windows.
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Old 02-28-2014, 11:50 AM   #16
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One very smart Millenial recently said that America has become the Microsoft of countries. Not interjecting politics, just thought it was an awesome analogy.
Just as long as we don't start stack-ranking the citizens. I'd hate to think of what would happen to citizens in the bottom quintile...
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:31 PM   #17
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I bought a windows 8.1 with a touch screen . I wanted to love it but I just dislike it intensely .The apps & I love apps are useless .I will be in the middle of something and a bizarre screen pops up . Sorry windows 8.1 but you are going back . I keep my computers a long time and you do not make the cut.
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:41 PM   #18
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I bought a windows 8.1 with a touch screen . I wanted to love it but I just dislike it intensely .The apps & I love apps are useless .I will be in the middle of something and a bizarre screen pops up . Sorry windows 8.1 but you are going back . I keep my computers a long time and you do not make the cut.
I'm a skeptic when it comes to the touchscreen integration, but after being so angry I wanted to return it one day one , once I got the hang of it, it wasn't so bad. There were even a few nice features, nothing substantial though.

And you can pretty much run it in desktop mode at all times even at startup now with 8.1, same as previous desktops, so how is it functionally inferior to Win 7? There are rumors that the upcoming Win 8.1 Update 1 will be even more desktop centric, less Metro, and that'll be a free upgrade for Win 8.x owners. And presumably support for Win 8.x will go on longer than any earlier version. That's why I decided to keep it after all since I needed a new PC anyway.

I'm still surprised the Metro apps are notably less useful than their desktop counterparts, and the Office apps are desktop only anyway. As noted above, the whole Metro thing was evidently dumbed down for casual users

Not trying to tell you what to do, just sharing my experience after just over two weeks in FWIW...
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:51 PM   #19
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I haven't seen Win 8 yet but I keep hearing about touch screens. I sit at a desk with my hand on a mouse and the screen is about 3 feet away from me. Do they actually expect me to keep constantly standing up and lunging forward to do with my finger tip what I have always done with a mouse? Like scroll a page or click on a link?
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:00 PM   #20
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I haven't seen Win 8 yet but I keep hearing about touch screens. I sit at a desk with my hand on a mouse and the screen is about 3 feet away from me. Do they actually expect me to keep constantly standing up and lunging forward to do with my finger tip what I have always done with a mouse? Like scroll a page or click on a link?
You can get it on a computer without the touchscreen. No problem!
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