Depending on your affinity for different technology in today’s cultural environment you will have a different take on Windows 8.
If you like using windows day to day I think you will either laud it as a more usable and accessible set of features or be left wondering what happened to your beloved Windows desktop.
There is actually a lot to like about Windows 8 and the “metro” start panel, but it is *quite* disorienting for those not up to speed with the “latest advancement” in Windows.
Gartner/CNet/ZDnet have all published articles to echo this sentiment, like This Story.
Split Brain Syndrome
The massive change for Windows stems from the fact that Microsoft has finally figured out it’s strategy for the “post PC era” of computing with release of the recent Surface Tablet.
You see Windows 8’s start panel is much easier for those of us who use tablets, or desire to, as the primary computing device in every day work as the moniker “post PC era” is meant to convey. Then Windows 8 also has the ability to deliver to those users who need it a windows desktop, use the explorer, etc. On top of those two integrated interfaces there is sort of a third interface which is the window/task management methodology which also has two possible methods of access. This can leave some users wondering what those at Microsoft were thinking but if you consider the touchy/feely interface of a tablet, this makes a lot of sense (no pun intended, but probably should’ve been).
All this tablet-ready integration is great but one thing Microsoft is also trying to accomplish is to push their methods of access in one direction, to the tablet.
They’re surrounded by challenges, enemies if you will, all eating at their precious PC base. It’s a beat ’em or join ’em kind scenario but microsoft has employed the one thing they are really good at when “joining them”, their “embrace and extend” mantra. It remains to be seen if this will be sustainable in the long term, but for now, Microsoft is trying to at least get to the playing field to see how level it already is without their participation. They’re still climbing in my opinion.
Ease Your Transition
One thing I have experience that really helps transitioning into Windows 8 is using a multitouch trackpad such as Apple’s Magic Trackpad. This one thing alone can greatly increase the usability because it helps consolidate the functionality of the touchy/feely interface to help reduce the Split Brain interface problems I outlined. I have found that using a multitouch interface makes everything much better. One problem though is certain kinds of power users and games which also require a mouse. So in order for a standard PC to truly take advantage of things you now need 3 interface devices, a Keyboard, a mouse, and a multitouch surface.
So, what to do?
1. Go with the “Surface” or add hardware?
2. Jump ship (get a Mac and thereby upgrade hardware, UI, etc.)
3. Wait and see
Good luck everyone.
Let me know how you like Windows 8 and your experiences with it in the comments!