Friday, March 09, 2012

Bright and Shiny! Bright and Shiny! Windows 8 Preview

Microsoft has just come out with a preview of the basic version of what they hope will be their game changer, Windows 8.  This is supposed to combine all the great things of previous windows and at the same time blast everyone with a PC into the future.  This will finally secure Microsoft as our eventual corporate masters.  So let’s go through some new features that may lead to Microsoft becoming our benevolent overlords.

First of all if you have a Windows phone this is gonna be pretty familiar. The big square tiles in a dazzling array of calming colors are a big theme of this version of Windows.  This is what people are now supposed to use instead of a start icon. It’s all right at your fingertips/mouse so that you can click around with ease. Their “metro” screen is completely integrated with your social media, after you put in all your social media info. a couple of times.

Just to let you know that on their Windows 8 dream board their buzzword “ease”. Everything must be where you can get at it easily and everything is integrated together so that you can go from your Facebook, to twitter, to your cloud media with a few clicks. If they strapped a bomb to your chest and said if you don’t upload that picture of you at that Dave Mathews concert to all your social media in the next ten seconds you’ll explode. You should be fine, unless you sneeze.   

In all honestly you can tell this was made for tablets and not for computers or laptops unless they are touch screens. They see the tablets as the future and it’s hard not to agree at least in some sense.  But at the same time having the stuff available on the screen does get a little grating when you are trying to read or look at something. You have to scroll in, scroll out, and sometimes it gets a little confused as to what you are doing.  Also it does a fussy if you start clicking all over the place and don’t wait for other things to open and close.

Then you get to the desktop, which is a little harder to remember what you need it for after the start menu.  It has an orangey fish on it, which is in some way is supposed to make you think desktop.  This will let you go back to the old windows configuration which is a little boring after all the fancy that you have just seen but it’s also less confusing. It is nice because I know how to make old windows my bitch.  And you can easily get back to the cool stuff by heading over to the right or the left side of the screen where the “charms” appear. Charms are very similar to your old toolbar which has where you were and your most used applications. So you can click on that at any time and head back.  

        The other exciting thing about this is Windows is finally learning what Apple and Google figured out two years ago.  They seemed to have now learned that people want they’re webpages clean and easy to read.  I want to be able to go in, search for a good Thai place, and get out without being bombarded. The current internet explorer is almost the exact opposite of that; it would pull you in fifty different directions and all of them useless.  But this internet explorer is much quieter, cooler, so I am unlikely to destroy it with my laser vision, or my hammer.
I’m sure there are tons more things I could talk about but I think I’ll hold off until I see the full version later this year. Overall I would say that this may not be the game changer that Microsoft is looking for.  It is interesting and simple to use but is it enough for me to throw away all my IPod and get a Zune? No.

  I think this makes Microsoft finally even with Apple when it comes to content and usability and what they do after this will be the real test. Apple, Google, and Microsoft are a version of the arms race to see who will finally come out on top.  This is great for consumers because they will do anything and everything to get your business, and continue to innovate for the same reason. This is I believe Microsoft’s John Glenn, something that will spark people’s imaginations but won’t cause them to truly overtake.