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Microsoft Windows Christmas Cheer Technology

Windows 8: a 'Christmas Gift For Someone You Hate' 740

Posted by timothy
from the not-keeping-it-all-bottled-up-inside dept.
zacharye writes "Microsoft is no stranger to criticism these days, and the company's new Windows 8 platform is once again the target of a scathing review from a high-profile user. Well-known Internet entrepreneur and MIT professor Philip Greenspun handed Windows 8 one of its most damning reviews yet earlier this week, calling the new operating system a 'Christmas gift for someone you hate.' Greenspun panned almost every aspect of Microsoft's new software, noting that Microsoft had four years to study Android and more than five to examine iOS, but still couldn't build a usable tablet experience..."
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Windows 8: a 'Christmas Gift For Someone You Hate'

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  • by elabs (2539572) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:55AM (#42204227)
    I've been using an Android tablet after I switched away from the iPad. It was TERRIBLE. Android is definitely the worst of all tablet UIs. Windows 8 is far superior on the tablet than Android or iOS. It's so much more usable. I think this Prof has an issue with Win8's discoverability, which could be improved. I do admit that Windows 8 on a mouse-only desktop isn't as useable as on a touch-device.
  • The guys is wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tatman (1076111) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:56AM (#42204239) Homepage
    While Im not an advocate of Windows 8, miss information makes me mad too. In the article it said "Some functions, such as ‘start an application’ or ‘restart the computer’ are available only from the tablet interface". I took this to mean the Metro tiles, which if that's what he meant, he is completely wrong. The command prompt is still there. The standard desktop is still there. "Old style" shortcuts still exist. Of course, he complained about that too.
  • Re:That bad? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:12AM (#42204413)

    I installed it on my ancient Inspiron 640m laptop (bought it in 2006). This is a laptop with no touch screen and no multitouch gestures. Personally, I really don't see why people are so up in arms over Windows 8. A simple Windows+D keystroke takes you into desktop mode and you can choose to remain there as long as you wish. I do hate the removal of the windows launcher in Desktop mode, but there are alternative options out there to get back that functionality.

    What I do like is going into the Metro interface when I'm not looking to do intensive work on my laptop. Things are quite snappy, and some of the metro specific apps are quite nice. It isn't a game changer, but I don't get what the hate is about. If my laptop had a touchscreen, I'd probably appreciate the metro component of it a lot more. I also like the limited multiwindow (only 2 really), multitasking in Metro (for a tablet OS...IOS is hopeless, and Android doesn't allow side by side apps either unless you have some heavy duty manufacturer customization a la the Galaxy Note), and the gestures and charms bar, and pretty much all of it works reasonably well even with a mouse (though I can see it being much snappier and more fun with a touch screen).

    I agree with the sentiment of many people that it doesn't feel like one cohesive OS...and frankly, I don't think it can or should ever be that. It seems like a great OS for laptops/tablets with touch screens where you can use it like a tablet with the Metro UI and also be very productive on it in your traditional desktop mode. The OS itself is reasonably lightweight (by Windows standards) and seems to run quite well on my ancient laptop.

    I do see Win 8 as being very appealing for HTPCs and I am considering installing it on mine. The tiles really lend themselves to HTPC use, and with the introduction of Windows 8, you now have dedicated streaming apps like that from Netflix that are easier to use on an HTPC in comparison to having to resort to a browser and the Netflix website to stream movies/tv shows. So imho, Win 8 seems great for newer touch screen laptops, HTPCs and tablet-laptop hybrid devices. For traditional desktops, there seems to be very limited value in upgrading to Windows 8.

  • by mcspoo (933106) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:14AM (#42204429) Homepage

    I think there is also an expectation that Microsoft will fix the Windows 8 flaws... because they have shown in the past the ability to react to negative feedback (i.e. Vista = BAD, Win 7 = GOOD, now Win 8 = CRAP, therefore... Win 9 = teh aw3s0me)

    Windows 8, even in release mode, smells like beta testing. The general reaction has been very "ME/Vista"-like. So we expect them to improve it. Will they? That's the real question...

  • by bemymonkey (1244086) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:15AM (#42204447)

    It's a big honkin 27" all-in-one touch-screen desktop computer... so pretty much a big tablet. If you can't get the full Windows 8 experience on that, you'll never get it on a dinky little tablet.

  • by davidbrit2 (775091) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:32AM (#42204667) Homepage

    It seems like the number one complaint so far is "It's different, and I don't like to think". That's just lazy, and I tend to discount it immediately.

    There are two fairly valid criticisms, however. The first is that by moving functions into various gestures and hidden panels, the discoverability is quite poor. I'm constantly forgetting that the search feature is buried in that "charms" bar, and instinctively look for a search field on the screen somewhere. I'm sure the Microsoft knee-jerk approach to "fixing" this will be to print tips and reminders on the display bezel, which of course won't make any sense when the screen is rotated some other way. Going back to the drawing board and completely re-engineering a concept doesn't seem to be their thing.

    Second, the weird desktop/tablet UI dichotomy is baffling. Functions that were previously confined to a small number of places - chiefly the Start menu and Control Panel - are now spread across two "control panels", a hidden "charms" bar, a "Settings" button in that charms bar, and many of these functions bounce back and forth between the tablet or desktop UI, or even duplicate features of one another. Key functionality has also been removed entirely. Where does one view, edit, and reorder the entire list of saved wireless connections? Nowhere, unless you want to use the netsh command!

    So while I can appreciate making finger-friendly design considerations, the way they've done it is disjointed and nonsensical. If I had to fix it, I'd allow "Metro" apps to run windowed instead of only full-screen, make it easier to scale up UI elements of "desktop" apps for touch use, get the Control Panel consolidated into a single point of access, and put some of the most common features of the old Start menu directly on the new one, without hiding them off-screen or in menus (Control Panel, Devices and Printers, Run, Computer, Documents, etc). If you change the window manager to act more like the Metro mode when a window is maximized, then you've got a reasonably successful marrying of the two concepts.

    For traditional desktop use, it's not at all horrible for an advanced user, and does have some nice performance and usability improvements here and there. For casual home users, it will probably be overly confusing, and leave them shopping for iPads even more than they are already.

  • Re:That bad? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by SirKveldulv (1073650) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:40AM (#42204775)
    RE: Start menu Do you know you can type the name of the program, or area of the settings you're after? Geeks should love this, since it's much easier to operate with the keyboard than previous versions of windows. Searching by typing a few letters vs hunting through menus is easier, period. Win-Q for Apps Win-W for settings > metro I'm not a huge fan, so I don't use metro apps. I have played around with a few from the app store, and the potential for great software is there. IF you don't like metro, don't use it. Personally I think windows 8 is fantastic. Yes some things have changed, get with the program. The huge performance improvements and streamlining of the OS make up for any discomfort. Like someone else has said, it's a shame the underlying improvements are lost in all noise from people whinging about some GUI changes.
  • by tuppe666 (904118) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:09PM (#42205227)

    No people are not complain about different, ios is different..Andoirsd is different, people seen not only to like these interfaces they LOVE them. I'm pretty much tired of blaming the users for bad UI choices. Its not just a windows 8 thing.

  • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:12PM (#42205251)

    They seem to fail every other version.

    ME - awful.
    XP - usable.
    Vista - awful.
    7 - usable.
    8 - awful
    9 - usable?

  • by King_TJ (85913) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:15PM (#42205311) Journal

    Since I've recently passed the 40 year mark, maybe that puts me in that "old dog" category now? But I still work in I.T. supporting multiple platforms and systems, and I think I'm still pretty good at figuring out new UIs and upgrades to applications.

    Nonetheless, I absolutely agree with Greenspun's blog on this. It's not so much a debate on whether the old START menu or the new tiles screen is more useful. It's a design issue/problem, where the radically new tiled UI feels like it's crudely bolted onto the traditional desktop UI. I feel like in Windows 8, I'm really running two different operating systems in tandem on a desktop machine, except the integration between them isn't even as tight as recent versions of a product like Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion for Mac OS X gives you when running virtual Windows 7 sessions inside them!

    For example, the tiled UI happily displays icons for apps like MS Office, which actually install and run from the Windows 7 style desktop side of things, yet it's possible to install web browsers which act completely independent of each other in the two UI's. To access them from both the tiles and the desktop side, you have to install them twice!

  • by Gordo_1 (256312) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:48PM (#42205695)

    Microsoft had a great little OS on their hands. It works better on the same hardware than the rock solid Windows 7 and incorporates real performance and useability improvements.

    All they had to do to have made Windows 8 a great success on both existing and next-generation devices was:
    1. Default to the desktop on systems that don't have a touchscreen.
    2. Bring back the start menu.

    Simple! Yet, they but on the blinders, and said to themselves 'we can be like Apple too' and proceeded to completely alienate their existing user base in favor of a user base that hasn't been proven to exist (touchscreen device users who prefer Metro to Android or iOS).

    For what it's worth, I happily use Windows 8 with the free Classic Shell utility that resolves Microsoft's blunders.

  • What is pathetic is that every one of us who did the testing on the DP and CP told MSFT repeatedly this was a BAD move, and if you'd have asked any of us retailers we'd have been happy to point out why. As of this moment less than 2% of the X86 units are touch screens and Win 8 just sucks balls without touch, also the metro UI is so obviously designed for tablets and NOT for desktops that it hurts. For example the left right swipe, which makes sense on a tablet you are holding like a book but its a royal PITA to deal with on a non touch laptop with a touchpad.

    In the end I think this little anecdote about my personal experience with Win 8 pretty much says it all. I had Win 8 running in my shop on a NICE AMD mini-tower, we're talking triple core Athlon with 4 Gb of RAM, 500Gb HDD and DVD burner, all wrapped up in this very sharp red and black case with silver accents, just really great looking. For the nearly 7 months I had that unit out on the floor running Win 8? I got not ONE offer to buy the unit, not a single one. When Win 8 RTM was released and I saw they didn't do a damned thing to fix all the points I had been complaining about I wiped it and put Win 7 HP on it...it was sold just 4 days later. Hmmm...7 months with NO sale with Win 8, Win 7 sold 4 days. yeah...really not hard for me as a retailer to see its a turkey.

    So just like with Vista this is a Windows OS that won't be getting sold on units in my shop, I'll make sure to buy only Win 7 laptops and all my builds will be Win 7 as well. MSFT may be able to afford to throw sales down the shitter but I can't and the people have spoken. ironically my sales have gone up since Win 8 was released because people come in and say "Have you seen that new Windows? its awful! Can you get me something with the real Windows on it?" and sure enough when they see my systems are running "the real Windows" its another sale for me, thanks MSFT.

  • Re:That bad? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PlusFiveTroll (754249) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @02:03PM (#42206517) Homepage

    In windows 8 it works more like this...

    You poke at the bottom left corner for the square to pop up and click it.
    You look for the app you want to open it's not there???
    You ask a friend about it...
    You now know to right click.
    You right click on the desktop
    You drag your mouse from the left side of the screen to the right side of the screen to click all apps.
    You click all apps.
    The app you want is closer to the left side of the screen now, so you drag your mouse back to the left side and
    click it.
    You make a shortcut on your desktop so you don't have to deal with that shit again.
    You also make a batch file on your desktop containing 'shutdown /r /t 0' rather then poke around to get the shutdown menu to show up.

    I'm guessing you are using a different product then I'm running. 'Cause I just described the Windows 8 I am using.

  • by Ironhandx (1762146) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @02:47PM (#42207159)

    I run windows 8. I installed startisback... I'm not entirely sure why its not an improvement over windows 7 anymore.

    Metro UI, the main part of it that is essentially a tablet-only UI, is garbage. The rest is basically good, and in most cases drastic design improvements over windows 7. Some of the easy functionality of windows xp has even been restored.

  • by Darinbob (1142669) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @05:43PM (#42209795)

    The Windows 8 as a gift does more though. If you give dog poop in a bag then the person knows that you hate him or her. However if you give out Windows 8 then the person may be fooled into thinking that you care. Windows 8 is not an impersonal gift like a gift card. If you give this to your mother-in-law she will be glad that it's not the same old basket of bath products.

    Here's the best part. If the person actually uses Windows 8 and loves it then it will prove that your hatred of the person was well founded. If the person uses Windows 8 and is constantly annoyed by its UI then you will have a small measure of schadenfreude (it's someone you hate afterall). If the person sees it and immediately recognizes it as a hate gift, then this will merely be your subtle way to say "I hate you".

    Windows 8 as a gift is the modern version of the white elephant.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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