Microsoft has had us sitting on pins and needles awaiting version 8 of their historic Operating System. They have revealed tidbits of information about it over the last months, but now the cat is out of the bag. The 2011 Build Conference in Anaheim from the 13-16th September put Windows 8 into the hands of developers, and of course gave the world a glimpse of what is to come.
Windows 8 gives the user two modes to use it. The first is centered around touch control, especially designed for tablets. The second is the traditional desktop mode. Supposedly, you will be able to easily flip back and forth between the two.
The first cool thing you run into is at the unlock screen. You can use a password or you can use a custom picture combined with three personalized gestures over the top of that picture. Now this is a leap forward. The other shock is that there is no Start Menu and there are no longer any icons. You are faced with the Start screen after logging in.
They are dumping the Aero look of Vista and replacing it with the phone design of Metro. However, at this stage, the desktop looks like a piece of crap. Let us all hope they will get their act together in time for the real launch.
Internet Explorer 10 will support plugins in the desktop version, but not in the touch tablet version. The reasoning goes something like this. “The web has come a long way from the early days of plugins. HTML 5 has finally matured and there is little reason to open up security issues and performance issues with a browser that is stuck on providing plugins.” Wow! What universe do they live in? Plugins are what make Firefox rock! They give the user the flexibility to add functionality the OS manufacturer either has overlooked or did not have the resources to provide. So now the good old Microsoft Gestapo has reared its ugly head once more.
There isn’t a lot more to tell, except the quick boot time and the ability for admins to run multiple OS’ at once. Oh, there is an app store, but who cares! Only Microsoft and software vendors care about that, not the end user. To us it’s just another snag in the freedom of using our own computer.
Along those same lines, they adamantly stated that they would like consumers who are still using Windows XP to get rid of it and get up to date with Windows 7. Yet, they do not realize that Windows XP was the only actual operating system Microsoft ever did correctly, once they patched it up two or three times. But living through the patches of a Microsoft OS is like going through war in your hometown. It makes you rather attached to it and unwilling to go through this same Hell yet again, with say, Windows 8.
These changes are significant in the new OS, but whether you want to make the leap or not depends on your previous experience with Microsoft. Young adults have always been more willing, while those from 30 up, know too well what is in store.