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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 MpVpRb (1423381) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:50AM (#42204163)
    Not some blog that quotes the article
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:44PM (#42204841)

        Yay, another article telling us a microsoft product is going to murder your children, drive us off the fiscal cliff, bomb Iran, and infect everyone else with AIDS... because it doesn't have a button where you'd want it. The horror.

        • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @03:08PM (#42206583) Journal

          Yay, another article telling us a microsoft product is going to murder your children, drive us off the fiscal cliff, bomb Iran, and infect everyone else with AIDS... because it doesn't have a button where you'd want it. The horror.

          Arguably, having buttons where you want them, that do what you want them to do, is a UI's purpose in life. If it can't manage that, We Have A Problem.

          It's especially problematic because of the relative lack of useful under-the-hood-upgrades. Selling "Windows 7 Compulsory Tablet UI Edition" on devices that don't even have touchscreens is just a bad joke.

          • by Yvanhoe (564877)
            But Windows is not just a UI, it is an operating system. I wonder if it finally copies file correctly, and if it is possible to pause/resume this operation. A feature I have waited for decades now.
        • by Darinbob (1142669) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @06:29PM (#42209619)

          Just read the damn thing instead of a knee jerk defense of a broken product.

          What is funny I think is that so many responses to the original article essentially say things like "you'll get used to it after bit" or "here's how to do what you wanted to do", etc. This is analogous to telling someone "oh grow up, prison isn't that bad, you'll get used it it, here let me show you how to make a shiv." In other words so many of those responses are from people that appear hardwired to defend a bad design instead of just coming out and admitting that MS screwed up.

          In many articles I've read I've never seen a response that says "I know it's bad and it sucks, but I have figured out how to work around it." Instead they all seem to put some bogus positive slant on it, like "Here's show you're supposed to do it." That's like telling people that they're holding the iPhone wrong.

          How can people actually defend the schizoid nature of Windows 8? Does anyone really think that it's better to have the desktop and metro swap places so often? Do they really think that a missing menu bar on the desktop is a positive improvement because they get a half inch of task bar freed up?

          The ultimate problem is that Windows 8 is two products mindsets in a single product. It has a smartphone/tablet style designed for passive consumers of media, which is distinct and separate from the desktop intended for active producers and workers. The Metro part is for people who just want to touch things with one finger and think that's enough to do everything they'd ever want to do in life, they'll read documents and scroll through them but that's the closest they'll ever got to working. Metro is for the sorts of drooling people who think an app store full of wannabe programs written by interns is a great idea. Windows 8 metro is every bit the TOY that a smart phone is a TOY. The desktop part is for people to actually do stuff; write documents instead of just reading thing, swap back and forth between different tasks that must work together, interface with other systems, etc. This is fine to have two separate products for two completely separate types of users. But Microsoft screwed it up by crippling those two products when they were forced together; metro without desktop is crippled (at least without some unreleased fixes and apps), and desktop without metro is crippled (at least w/o lots of extra utilities).

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968.gmail@com> on Thursday December 06, 2012 @02:35PM (#42206171) Journal

        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.

        • by scubamage (727538) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @02:46PM (#42206283)
          Sadly nothing is going to change until the board gets rid of Ballmer. The guy is absolutely pathetic as a CEO, and has no sense of direction or vision. All he sees is what everyone else is doing and trying to keep up.
        • by WheezyJoe (1168567) <fegg.excite@com> on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:35PM (#42207931)

          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.

          So what focus groups were they listening to? And do they listen or do they just make up whatever conclusion they want to hear?

          What is most irritating is if you like Windows 7, but have noticed little bugs, UI inconsistencies, or other irritants, well, Windows 8 means you're out of luck. No more Service Packs, no more Desktop Gadgets, Aero, or other Windows 7-type stuff, no more non-critical bug fixes, security updates only, end-of-life has been scheduled.

          They did the same thing to XP with Vista. Granted XP was 10 years old, but by SP4 it did what it did really really well. Vista came out and wasn't close to being a reasonable replacement, but with a stranglehold on OEM's and massive PR, Microsoft was set to steamroll over XP. Once again, the focus groups all loved Vista, and you will too! Everybody upgrades, massive profits.

          Didn't quite go as planned.

          With Windows 7, you would think they learned their lesson. Decent OS, still in its infancy but an honest improvement over XP, seemed to have a decent future up to about a year ago. Imagine regular incremental upgrades for the next 5-7 years, re-establish a solid hold on desktops and laptops (particularly in the work space). But Microsoft is cutting it off to... what? Push developers to create tablet apps? for a late-entry tablet in a market already covered by iOS and Android? How is that a reason to upgrade, except that Windows 7 is now a dead platform just like XP?

  • link to the article (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:51AM (#42204177)

    http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/philg/2012/12/05/christmas-gift-for-someone-you-hate-windows-8/

  • by HPHatecraft (2748003) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:52AM (#42204191)

    way of expressing said sentiment?

    I've always found Dog Crap in a Box(TM) to be both economical AND effective at communicate feelings of loathing and hatred. It's really easy to get book rates on the postage, too.

    • by virgnarus (1949790) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:56AM (#42204237)

      I think the Windows 8 approach reminds me more of a tribe in Africa that praises killing their enemies by first 'fattening them with friendship'. With Windows 8, they will think the gift was an act of good will and will continue to use it under that impression, never realizing that they're slowly dying in the process.

    • nah, the 'crap' is instantly informative and likewise instantly thrown away.

      The stench of Win 8 will linger for literally years...
      • by bobstreo (1320787)

        nah, the 'crap' is instantly informative and likewise instantly thrown away.

        The stench of Win 8 will linger for literally years...

        Nah Windows 9 will be better, Windows 10, thats the one that will replace Windows ME as worst MS OS evah.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        They seem to fail every other version.

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

        • by catchblue22 (1004569) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @01:32PM (#42205535) Homepage

          They seem to fail every other version.

          ME - awful.
          XP - usable.
          Vista - awful.
          7 - usable.
          8 - awful
          9 - usable?^c^c^c^c^c^c irrelevant?

          FTFY

        • by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @02:47PM (#42206301)
          They become more stable when you mix them together...

          CE
          ME
          NT

          CEMENT!
        • by rwa2 (4391) *

          I think it's really that they're always compared to the last thing they put out.

          ME released: Ick! Stability sucks!
          XP - Sucks, but at least it's not as bad as ME!
          Vista - Ick! WTF did they do to the user interface!
          7 - Sucks, but at least it only bugs the user half as much as Vista!
          8 - Ick! WTF did they do to the Start Menu?
          9 - Sucks, but at least they put the Start Menu back... .Meanwhile, no one has really seen many stability problems since Vista or so.

          I jumped from XP to 7 without ever running Vista unt

    • by jkrise (535370) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:33PM (#42204685) Journal
      Dog Crap can be composted to yield useful manure. A Windows8 DVD, on the other hand....
    • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @02:08PM (#42205875) Journal

      Why bother finding a dog?

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:53AM (#42204203)

    “Suppose that you are an expert user of Windows NT/XP/Vista/7, an expert user of an iPad, and an expert user of an Android phone you will have no idea how to use Windows 8,” Greenspun wrote.

     

    “Suppose that you are an expert user of Windows NT/XP/Vista/7, an expert user of Windows 8, and an expert user of an Android phone you will have no idea how to use an iPad,” Greenspun wrote.

    Seriouslt, playing around with settings,etc is frustratingly hard in iPhones atleast. The basic stuff is on the surface, the rest is 5 km below the surface

    • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:02PM (#42204305) Journal

      I think you hit one of the key issues with that article on the head. Of those listed, I found the iOS the be the hardest to work with, and even it was fairly simple.

      Windows 8 has some good ideas from the tablet perspective, but they do some idiotic things (the UI context switching the author mentioned, as well as the 'auto-hide' stuff that works better with a mouse than a touch interface). Are they as bad as the author was saying? No, but sensationalization gets clicks!

      Not saying I recommend Windows 8 (even with the difficulties, I'll take an iPhone over Windows 8 RT, and all the non-RT tablet hardware looks to suck). Fortunately, there's Android about.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcspoo (933106)

      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 Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:27PM (#42204599)
        Vista = BAD was largely a result of bad marketing, poor drivers, and large internal changes at the last minute.
        Win7 = Vista + SP2.
      • 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...

        Its not the real question. I barely care but to put Windows 7 in context its Vista released on time; covering up its worse excesses; on hardware that could cope with it better. It still does not look 10 years better than XP [or at least SP2]. Microsoft cannot do that with Windows 8 because the problem is "Metro" on a tablet designed with "Office" in mind, that is a strategy, which you cannot fix with software.

  • by mapkinase (958129) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:54AM (#42204219) Homepage Journal

    We do not even pretend to be impartial now?

    The title obviously should be

    > Greenspun: Windows 8: a 'Christmas Gift For Someone You Hate'

  • The guys is wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tatman (1076111) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @11:56AM (#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.
    • He is referring to needing to swipe from the corner of the screen in order to find the restart option. This definitely fits within the "tablet interface" definition for me. Restarting and shutting down seem to take people a while to find in Windows 8. If you don't know the shortcuts and you have only ever done it via the start menu, you won't find the option anywhere obvious.

      As far as Windows 8 being a failed tablet experience -- I don't understand how he could have ended up at that conclusion. I don't have

    • by Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @01:02PM (#42205149)

      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.

      WRONG. WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG.

      The old desktop IS still there. HOWEVER, many of the things which used to be on the desktop ARE NO LONGER.

      MANY THINGS HAVE BEEN MOVED TO METRO AND CAN NO LONGER BE ACCESSED OUTSIDE METRO, INCLUDING SYSTEM FUCKING PROPERTIES AND RESTART THE COMPUTER.

      The review is absolutely correct, and you're completely misinformed. Just because you have a command prompt doesn't mean that everything else from your desktop still works or is still there.

      I have to switch from metro to desktop to use half my apps, but I have to switch from desktop to metro to use system properties? Worst design ever.

      You don't seem to understand his complaints. Its not that shorcuts work. Its that metro shortcuts kick you to the desktop, and the desktop kicks you to metro. Why can't you just use one? Why can't everything be done in both? Its a clusterfuck.

      • Ummm.... yeah, you're full of shit. Very aggressive shit, by the look of it, but still shit.

        Right-Click in the lower left corner (where Start appears), select Control Panel. Behold, the control panel appears (you can do this from anywhere, but it's typically something you'd do on the desktop since it's a right-click). There's a ton of other stuff on this menu too, including some that are harder to reach in Win7, such as an Admin command prompt or the Programs and Features (add/remove programs) control panel. It can also be used to jump straight to the desktop from any app, incidentally.

        There are so many ways to shut down the computer it's crazy. Alt+F4 on the desktop. The Ctrl+Alt+Del screen shows the Power button. Lock screen shows the Power button. If you are an "expert user" like this idiot in the article is ranting about, you'd know how to use the Shutdown[.exe] command; you can call it from the Run dialog or add shortcuts to it (on either the Start screen or the desktop, of both if you want). In fact, you can even add a shortcut key chord (Win+Ctrl+S, perhaps) to trigger those shortcuts. If you can tolerate the presence of the Charms bar and just don't like the ever-so-offensive concept of a tablet-like gesture to display it, try Win+I to display Setting immediately, at which point Shutdown or Restart are two clicks away.

        Seriously, did your brain calcify or something, resulting in frothing at the mouth without even *trying* to look for the things you claim "ARE NO LONGER" present?

        Other things that your so-called "absolutely correct" review got, in fact, completely bone-headedly wrong:

        The closest thing to a full-time Home button in Windows 8 is the “windows” key on the keyboard (but the whole idea is that the keyboard is not always available/required).

        Let's start with this beauty, from near the top. First of all, Microsoft requires the presence of a hardware Start button on RT devices. Call it a "Home" button if it makes you happier; I've heard even a few Microsofties do so (I live in Seattle; there's a lot of them here; I'm not one myself). Second, you can always access Start from anywhere with at worst a small gesture. If you're using Touch, swipe in from the right side of the screen and tap the Start button that probably appeared right under your thumb. If you're using the mouse, move down to the lower-left corner (where the Start button would be on the desktop) and lo and behold, a Start button appears!

        The Windows 8 tablet interface lacks this [context-sensitive] interface standard.

        Perhaps it slipped this... enlightened gentleman's notice, but the App Bar (that thing that appears on the bottom of the screen when you swipe from either the top or the bottom) is context sensitive. It's intended to be a more graphical and touch-friendly replacement for context menus. I don't think it's as good an implementation of a context-based interface, personally, but it's not missing.

        Some functions, such as “start an application” or “restart the computer” are available only from the tablet interface.

        We've mostly been over this ground already, but I wanted to point out that starting a program totally doesn't require using a tablet interface. If you like icons, put some on the desktop or put them on the taskbar (exactly like in Win7). If you prefer the keyboard, tap the Start key and type the first few letters of the program name, then hit Enter; you can be launching the program (and back on the desktop) before that oh-so-offensive tablet interface finishes its half-second fade-in animation. You can also use Run from the desktop, via Win+R (as before) or right-clicking the Start button or hitting Ctrl+X to bring up the menu, then selecting Run. You can certainly use the command line interfaces too.

        Conversely, when one is comfortably ensconced in a touch/tablet application, an additional cli

      • Re:The guys is wrong (Score:4, Informative)

        by atlasdropperofworlds (888683) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @04:13PM (#42207561)

        MANY THINGS HAVE BEEN MOVED TO METRO AND CAN NO LONGER BE ACCESSED OUTSIDE METRO, INCLUDING SYSTEM FUCKING PROPERTIES AND RESTART THE COMPUTER.

        Really? Alt-F4 on the desktop, Winkey+X, right clicking the lower left corner (instead of left clicking which brings up Start). Since I actually have Win8 installed, AKA I've used it, which means I can actually say something about it with authority, every single desktop control panel item is there. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. There are some new Win8 features that you access via the metro system settings link from the charms bar on the left, the main one being the system reset function.

        I know it's a new /. thing to just hate on windows 8, and being critical is certainly your right, but at least please know wtf you are talking about so you don't look like another loud-mouthed buffoon.

  • by elabs (2539572) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:00PM (#42204293)
    At the end of his "review" he said he was using Windows 8 on a desktop, not a tablet. "This article is based on using Windows 8 on what may be the best current hardware: Dell XPS One 27 computer with a quad-core i7 CPU, 16 GB of RAM and a solid state hard drive accelerator ($2600). " Well there you go. We all knew there were usability issues on the desktop.
    • by bemymonkey (1244086) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:15PM (#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 Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Thursday December 06, 2012 @01:15PM (#42205313) Homepage Journal

      At the end of his "review" he said he was using Windows 8 on a desktop, not a tablet.

      The guy is clearly a dumbass for reviewing Microsoft's latest desktop OS offering on a desktop.

      We all knew there were usability issues on the desktop.

      So you feel that should make it immune from bad reviews, even though it's the OS now shipping on consumer desktop machines?

    • by Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @01:23PM (#42205405)
      "Well, there you go! We all knew this OS was an absolutely terrible OS for desktops, but hey guys it works for tablets sorta so its not that bad"

      I'm lost.

      "We all knew there were usability issues on the desktop" sounds like conceding "This is a shitty operating system", or at least "This is a tablet only OS".
  • by concealment (2447304) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:05PM (#42204335) Homepage Journal

    What use would it be to invent something that duplicates iOS or Android?

    People would just keep using the original and deny the copy.

    It's smart to take features from these systems, but useless to repeat them. Technology is forged by people who find new ways to do useful things. That doesn't mean imitation, it means re-invention.

    Microsoft also has a long legacy of Windows products and users to uphold, and has to merge these two.

    I realize that liking Windows around here is about as favorably looked upon as non-ironically liking Bruce Springsteen at a hipster party, but demonization for not being a clone is undeserved here.

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:31PM (#42204653) Homepage

      What use would it be to invent something that duplicates iOS or Android?

      Let's see ... copy what people have done successfully and make a useable product, or create something which is getting panned by reviewers as a bad hodge-podge of features that don't work together. I see which choice Microsoft made.

      Technology is forged by people who find new ways to do useful things. That doesn't mean imitation, it means re-invention.

      Only if you do it right, otherwise you've made the "dogs breakfast" the reviewer mentioned.

      Microsoft also has a long legacy of Windows products and users to uphold, and has to merge these two.

      How? By pissing off both desktop and tablet users?

      Yes, slavishly copying how other people do stuff isn't innovation. Producing something which is unusable is just incompetence, and it sounds like they'd have been better off just ripping everybody else off.

      Sometimes, Microsoft just misses the mark by such an extraordinary amount that you have to conclude that either they're out of touch with the rest of the market, or live so much in their own echo chamber that they actually believe they've made something totally awesome.

      When a company as big as Microsoft comes to market 5 years too late, with a product offering people can't make sense of, you have to assume there's some real problems going on.

      Sucking at both target markets is a lousy strategy. And, to be honest, I'm hard pressed to think of anything which Microsoft has innovated recently -- even things like the Kinect they bought.

      I am not sure I could name even 2-3 products which Microsoft created first, and that everybody went "wow, I need one" and that everybody else later copied. In fact, I'm having a hard time coming up with one (though I'm sure there has to be some examples).

  • by Mattsson (105422) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:12PM (#42204395) Homepage Journal

    I converted my main workstation at work to windows 8 a week ago, mostly in order to learn and get used to it.
    While there indeed is a bit of a hassle to change some of the habits from xp, vista and 7 to fit 8, and I really dislike the start panel that has replaced the start menu, it's not really a big deal.
    I've put my 20 or so most used applications in the taskbar and pinned my most used folders and files into the respective taskbar icons and changed my "click start menu and open the file or folder"-habit into a "right click the taskbar icon and open the file or folder"-habit.
    Also, I've installed regular windows applications as replacements for all the standard windows 8 applications, like vlc instead of the full screen windows 8 movie player, acrobat reader instead of the full screen windows 8 pdf-viewer, etc.
    To be honest, I haven't used the start panel at all this entire week, except for going to the desktop after logging in.

    On one hand, I've not really seen any of the horrible downsides with windows 8 that everyone talks about. On the other hand, I haven't seen many improvements over windows 7 yet. The new task manager and the new file-copy graph windows are awesome though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:14PM (#42204437)

    He's not a professor; far from it.
    He's an "MIT affiliate" (search People on the MIT home page), which is the loosest form of connection to the Institute.
    Note also that the blog he's posted on is at Harvard Law, which says:
    "Weblogs at Harvard Law is provided by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University as a free service to the Harvard community. Anyone with an email address at harvard.edu, radcliffe.edu, or hbs.edu can sign up instantly and be blogging in minutes."
    If you search his name in the directory at Harvard's home page, there are no hits.

    In other words, he has no significant connection to MIT, doesn't show up at all on Harvard's staff list, and maybe for some reason has a Harvard email address.

    The poster was just quoting the blog, which pointed to the original blog, but hey, is 30 seconds worth of fact checking too much to ask?

    An Actual MIT Professor.

  • by davidbrit2 (775091) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:32PM (#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.

  • by Aphrika (756248) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:48PM (#42204921)
    First time I saw Windows 8, I was horrified. It looked utterly awful and I couldn't imagine myself using it on a day to day basis.

    However, due to a drive failure, I installed it and thought I'd give it a shot. Once you get past the Start Screen/Page/Menu thing - which is what 99% of the fuss is about - it's not all that bad at all. It is a dogs breakfast though, and does need some refinement. However I haven't had as much fun finding out new stuff in an OS since I got my first OSX box in 2002.

    Firstly, I'm currently using it for development on a multi-monitor setup - 3x 24" monitors with one in portrait mode. Windows 8 handles multiple monitors in desktop mode much better than 7, no question about it. The ability to have the Taskbar setup to display programs running on that monitor is a great change.

    Secondly, The desktop environment is much cleaner and I'm glad the huge hive of junk that was the Start Menu has gone. The number of times I aimlessly trawled through it to find some obscure program I needed wasted way too much time... Now, I can just pull up the search and find whatever app, then either run it or pin it to the Start Menu/page, or the Taskbar.

    Performance is better too. Simple stuff is a lot faster than 7, and running the whole OS from a new 256GB SSD means I can boot in around 12 seconds. Even spindle to spindle file transfers are a lot faster.

    You might notice I haven't really mentioned Metro, well that's because I hardly use it. In my view, it feels like a 'fun layer' that you can almost shut out completely when using the desktop for serious stuff. Today I've used it precisely once as I pin all my apps to the Taskbar in pretty much the same way I use the OSX dock. That said, the live tiles are very nice and some of the news and informational apps are good. Overall though, the ecosystem is lacking in content and I really can't see any point when I'd use a Metro app alongside the desktop.

    As far as shutdown goes? Simple, I just map the power button to shutdown and don't have to fiddle around in Metro for it.

    So, while not a 'fan' of the extreme changes in Windows 8, I am glad I can shut them out to a degree, and can benefit from the underlying changes made to the desktop. It's by no means a Vista though. While I may not like Metro, the underlying OS is solid and works better than Windows 7.
  • by smartin (942) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:56PM (#42205033)

    They have a habit of missing the boat on things and then when they realize it, they compensate by embracing it and over doing it. A perfect example was the Web. They completely missed the boat on it in the mid 90's and when they realized it, they reacted by reworking everything they could to be based on http/html and the result was a mess. This time they completely got it wrong on smart phones and tablets and now they are over compensating by trying to turn a desktop into a tablet.

    Apple seems to be getting it right by moving the best features of the tablet to the desk top but doing it in a way that makes sense. For example, gestures are great on both, but when it comes to the desktop, you should use a proxy surface such as a touch pad rather than the screen itself. The first fucker that jabs his finger into my monitor to move a window is going to lose it :)

  • by Brickwall (985910) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:56PM (#42205049)
    Microsoft is no stranger to criticism these days

    Regardless of what anyone thinks of MS products, (and I use Win7 everyday, and think it's perfectly fine), my candidate for understatement of the decade.

  • by selex (551564) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @01:24PM (#42205429)
    Why for god's sake is Metro UI on Server 2012? I will never install this onto a tablet, and you can't pass tablet gestures through RDP. What the hell were they thinking? Praying that 2012 R2 removes this crap.

    Selex
  • Hate train. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MaWeiTao (908546) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @01:31PM (#42205525)

    I see the Windows 8 hate train is making daily stops here.

    I wonder how many have actually used the damn OS. I installed it well over a month ago on a 5+ year old Dell. My impression has been that it's a fabulous OS. It does away with a lot of the clutter and performs extremely well. I think gesture control has been implemented very well, not once have I felt like lacking a touchscreen has compromised my experience. I like the tile interface and don't find it cumbersome at all to switch between apps, it's certainly a lot better than Apple's attempts at full screen mode.

    For your average consumer who doesn't do much more than browse the web, check emails and maybe use Office it's going to offer a clean, intuitive experience. One of the biggest turn offs for Windows has always been that users feel like they're fighting the OS, that the inner workings rise to the surface far too often. It's been one of the appealing attributes of OSX and definitely iOS. So Windows 8 runs with that concept and offers great online integration. Even your average office worker who spends their entire day with Outlook or Office is going to get a better experience with this OS. And given that you can clear out the start screen of everything except the essentials, it will make things even easier for them.

    The nature of my work, however, demands that I work in a windowed environment. Being constrained to full screen mode is cumbersome. Windows 8 does offer desktop mode, and for anyone so repulsed by the tiles, you can use your start screen strictly as a glorified start bar, if at all. But I do agree that there's a bit of a disconnect between the two modes. Transitioning between the two isn't too bad, but there really should be a way for those metro apps to jump switch to windowed.

    I'm not suggesting anyone needs to like the new OS, but at least look being the Microsoft bias and appreciate what they're trying to do. The problems are there, but it's not the sort of thing that's going to be evident in a cursory review.

    While the integration is nice, it also turns things into a bit of a mess. I've ended up with a lot of duplicated contact info which I've yet to sort through. And the problem is that linking accounts is dangerous because it's far too aggressive in looking for similarities. Sometimes it will link accounts merely because two individuals have the same first name. And if you have a lot of contacts it gets overwhelming trying to fix it all. My Android phone did a lot better job with this.

    Messaging and Skype is a bit of a mess. I'm currently in a situation where the few Messenger I still have and I see each other as offline regardless of our actual status. And the rampant linking of accounts makes it difficult to sort things out, especially if you've got stuff like Facebook tied into it. You can link Skype to your account but once you've done so it's permanently link. To separate it from your Microsoft account you actually have to get in touch with customer support.

    Early on I had an issue where despite being logged into Xbox Live games weren't seeing this and wouldn't log in. The problem there is that instead of spitting back a message the games would just crash. Eventually it all just started working; I'm not sure what I did, if anything, to fix it.

    The way bookmarks are handled in the metro version of Explorer is a joke. It gives you this impractically long band of bookmarks you're supposed to sift through.

    If you're going to complain about Microsoft at least find a target that makes sense. I think from a fundamental UI standpoint Windows 8 is great. It's in the details and always have been in the details that Microsoft stumbles. My overall experience is great, but then I run into an issue, or some intuitive hiccup and there's this creeping sense that there's an insurmountable mess just hiding under the surface.

    But then, I fire up GIMP on my Mac and am reminded of how miserable an experience open source can be. And I'm running one of the more highly recommended packages. Sure,

  • by Gordo_1 (256312) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @01:48PM (#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.

  • by bryanbrunton (262081) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @01:58PM (#42205777)

    So they took away the start menu: the simple list of programs you have installed.

    So in Windows 8, how do you find the program you installed 6 months ago, but you forgot the program's name?

    This use case, finding an old forgotten program, is the only thing I use the Start Menu for.

    • by Shados (741919)

      Click the search button. Dont enter anything, just click it once. By default the search on both the tile screen and the desktop screen will show you all your applications in alphabetical order. Alternatively, right click the tile screen and click All Apps to do the same thing.

  • by udippel (562132) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @03:14PM (#42206677)

    Until recently, being a rather old /.-er, I have spun fun about and around W8. I know too well what it takes to be a nerd, and a member of Slashdot (aside of the few who try to post reasonable stuff, paid handsomely by the evil empire).

    Finally I took the leap, and actually installed an original version (not OEM, neither pirated) on my box. My partner started a row with me, when after a few hours, I seemingly unmotivated exclaimed OMG! while she was in deep concentration. Done. Finished. Whatta crap!
    From now on I can honestly state 'been there, done it, useless'. Okay, not totally, it actually installs fast, boots significantly faster than W7. But that's the end already. Being a CS person, I could even navigate the two disparaging screens. And still, no need I would ever want to again. I don't miss a 'Start'-button (my KDE is configured to do totally without), I love screen edges (my interface is configured to let me do most stuff with edge events). The time - bang-bang - comes in like I was visually impaired, the address bar of IE looks likewise. The logon screen is okay, fresh and inviting. But the two non-unify-able interface constructions, with a bit of toggling switches left and right and a bit of traditional radio-boxes; no, OMG!

    If it was free (of charge), I'd discourage using it, because 'there are better interfaces'. But someone paying actual money for a rabid mixture of unfinished substances ought to have her head examined.

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