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10/18/2012
09:03 AM
Kevin Casey
Kevin Casey
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Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?

Keyboard and mouse users have little reason to celebrate when Microsoft's new OS rolls out. Does that make me a dinosaur?

This post-PC era we've embarked on sure seems to have a lot of PCs in it.

That's what I think every time I'm in a shared space where people do work--coffeehouses, airports, co-working offices, and so forth. Take the coffee joint I visit a couple of times a week. Unlike some spots, people seem to go here to work. Good luck finding a seat if you arrive much after 9 on a weekday morning. They're occupied by salespeople, developers, designers, entrepreneurs, students, and navel-gazing writers. It strikes me as a fairly representative sample of the modern mobile workforce. And although I'm generalizing, they're all using laptops. (Plenty of the laptops are Macs, but that's a different story.)

Sure, there's a smartphone on the table next to every laptop. There are also iPads, though they're less ubiquitous than phones. Yet people are still hunting and pecking, pointing and clicking. The laptop is where people get stuff done.

I find this reassuring. I happen to like the laptop, and that's one of the main things that makes me a little itchy about Windows 8. Microsoft's reboot seems to relegate the keyboard-and-mouse crowd to the cargo hold, while upgrading tablet and other touch device users to first class. Microsoft is not hiding from that, either. The system requirements for the Windows 8 Release Preview say the OS "works great on the same hardware that powers Windows 7." True enough, but a few bullet points down you'll find this note: "To use touch, you need a tablet or a monitor that supports multi-touch."

What about folks more inclined to use a touchpad than a touchscreen? (And what about a mouse? They still make those, right?) I'm not old enough to be a dinosaur, am I?

[ Is it suddenly Apple's turn to catch up? See Windows 8 Beats The Mac, Appsolutely. ]

I actually think the Windows 8 UI looks good. While the app-centric design is a little too consumer-oriented for my tastes, there are many potential business uses in changes like SkyDrive integration. And I'm sure (or at least hope) more business apps will come in due time to balance out the less productive apps. Beyond the UI, InformationWeek readers have also pointed out some compelling reasons why they're excited for Windows 8, such as improved dual monitor support, Storage Spaces, and under-the-hood improvements.

The UI--a major change--is going to cause user disruption in organizations that adopt quickly.

But people can learn a new UI. That's a solvable problem. What's less clear is why I would use an OS that is clearly designed for tablets and other touch-screen devices when I'm not using one of those devices. Maybe that does make me a dinosaur, but it's nice to know I've got some company. "Windows 8 is designed for tablets and smartphones. Makes no sense for a desktop PC to behave like that, sticking with Windows 7 which I am very satisfied with," says one reader, "RichMNY". "BTW, I have a smartphone, happy with this type of interface for this type of device."

I agree. I like the touch interface on my phone; it also makes sense on tablets. I don't get it on the PC. I'm sure over time, more and more people will use touch-screen PCs or laptop-tablet hybrids that include keyboards, particularly once retail stocks are replaced with Windows 8 hardware. But I'm reasonably skeptical that touch PCs will have the same sweeping impact as smartphones and, to a lesser extent, tablets.

You can indeed use Windows 8 with a keyboard and mouse or touchpad. And, as plenty of people have pointed out, you can even roll back the UI to include the familiar Start button if you simply can't bear to live without it. But that indicates to me that the QWERTY crowd is better off sticking with Windows 7 for now.

Responding to Paul McDougall's recent piece on why Windows 8 beats the Mac, reader "JPolk" says: "Microsoft jumped the gun on touch. The bulk of the PC world simply can't use it in the workplace and that's where most of the computing is done." Reader "Paul987" echoes that perspective: "I need a UI that best facilitates that work. And despite the inability of people who presumably don't do that type of work to understand, touch simply isn't optimal for those tasks." Other readers respond with what they are missing with a touch-centric UI on a PC. It's an interesting discussion to check out.

The pre-launch marketing for Windows 8 effectively weighs in with Microsoft's position on that debate. A decidedly consumer-centric video on the Windows 8 release preview site begins with the tagline: "All you need to stay in touch."

It's a nice pun, but I still don't think I get it.

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JPolk
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JPolk,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/19/2012 | 1:57:33 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
Wow! Thanks for the quote!
Mattrock
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Mattrock,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/19/2012 | 2:34:06 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
My desktop PC has an AMD FX-8150 processor (8-core, 3.6 GHz), 16 GB RAM, a 256-bit, 2 GB video card, 192 KHz/ 24-bit sound card, a 256 GB SSD, a 2 TB HDD, blu-ray and DVD-burner drives, a 27" LED monitor, and for input devices, I have a Logitech G500 mouse, G510 keyboard, and Saitek X52 flight control system. Granted, as one friend put it recently, my PC was outdated by the time I finished typing those stats. But why all that horsepower? Because I love games, and I edit audio on my home PC. It would take a whole lot of tablets and smart phones to play Battlefield 3 as smoothly as this machine does... and at least two Macs ;)

As tablets and smart phones get stronger, so will PC's. I think anyone that states the PC is dying out isn't worth listening to any further, if I'm honest. You can't write software on a smart phone or a tablet... not comfortably, anyway. Desktops will always be the front line of personal computing might, followed not far behind by laptops. Why? Because there will always be guys like me out there, that want a whole lot more than what tablets and phones can provide.
JPolk
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JPolk,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/19/2012 | 3:52:23 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
I think in time some other interface will win out. I would venture it will be touch and speech. We're not there yet, at least not for heavy work. I think it's a mistake to make the kind of leap MS is making right now.

In its current state, touch is unable to facilitate the bulk of input. I edit audio files and have to move them between applications. There is no application that can bring together all of the necessary functions that I need to perform. I can't even completely script these processes. And scripting is another thing. "Post-PC" devices are terrible multi-taskers. Yes, things can happen in the background. But what if I want to take data from app to app?

There is no post-pc era yet. As exciting as tablets and smartphones are they simply aren't up to the task of but a percentage of what workstations and desktops do. I think what we're seeing is a move from the home PC to a mobile PC but even so, I'd suspect that most people have a PC at home for manipulating serious data. Even if that data is just the family budget.
GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Ninja
10/19/2012 | 6:01:08 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
I'll have to respectfully disagree - the bulky CPUs in the desktops will ALWAYS be more powerful than anything you can get in a tablet - just like the desktop/laptop issue. Mobile CPUs will always lag behind. Will the future tablets do what PCs can do today? Sure, but the PCs at that point in time will do 100x what our PCs can do now.
Hiajay
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Hiajay,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/19/2012 | 7:16:32 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
I completely disagree with you. Why are PC sales falling every quarter if there's no post-PC world yet? And that too after the tablet market was jumpstarted by the iPad 2.5 years ago. You can't miss the correlation. Yes, desktops are still required for the "heavy lifting", but that's increasingly becoming niche. Touch-centric devices are performing most of the common computing tasks for most people. And these devices are getting more powerful with every new generation. Traditional PCs won't go extinct anytime soon, but they've already been pushed to the backstage of the computing landscape.
Les Moor
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Les Moor,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/19/2012 | 2:46:27 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
Kevin, I am in your camp. I see the value in MS continuing with a PC-centric OS, even if they are trying to make it more touch-based. Tablets and smartphones are well suited to certain tasks, but until voice control is as granular a control as a keyboard with the ability to enter and edit large amounts of text quickly, a laptop/desktop is the way to go for "real" work. Ever run a spreadsheet, presentation, or word processing program on tablet/smartphone? Not saying it isn't possible, but part of the problem with running them on tablets/smartphones is lack of keyboard, part of it is lack of screen real estate. Since I can't buy OS X to run on my PC, the answer is still Windows.
melgross
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melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
10/19/2012 | 4:30:32 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
There's no doubt that Microsoft jumped the gun on this. They have no presence in the tablet market, the fastest growing segment of the computing market. They have almost no presence in the smartphone market either.

This was a way to quickly force people into using a UI they apparently don't care much for, going by the failure of the Zune HD, and the failure, so far, of Win Phone. I would bet they only did this because they could see no other way to get people to use the UI.
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/19/2012 | 5:25:08 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
Mel, I disagree with you on a couple of points.

No, MS did not jump the gun. They have little presence (thus far) in the table/phone market and the way to get there is NOT to force Win7 on a tablet or even on a smart phone. The market has already weighed in on that idea.

If you actually take an objective look at Win8, you will see that in the long run a unified UI and OS platform for apps (native and cloud) across all devices is where the industry will end up. Apple will be next to make this leap and will combine iOS and OS X. I also predict that Google's vision (ala Chrome OS) will also be realized in time as SaaS will become the dominant way we use software.
ANON1238069211759
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ANON1238069211759,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/19/2012 | 5:20:01 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
I agree with the laptop thing. I LOVE my XPS laptop and would never give it up to a tabet. People complain to me that their brand new Latitude is too heavy at time... Really? Where were these people 10-15 years ago when people could not believe they could take their work home with them or work anywhere outside their cubicle while "lugging" home a 10 pound computer. While iPads do have a purpose (yes, I have one) they are great for web surfing and quick emails, but I could never work on one. Now, when the world is totally in "the cloud" maybe then I can give up my DVD/USB/multiple monitor loving laptop.
eric1972
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eric1972,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/19/2012 | 5:33:47 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
Mobile is where everything is headed, and touchscreens are the future until we get to more advanced ways of working our computers and tablets. (eye movement tracking works better than speech or gestures and is much more practical in an environment where there are other people around). Tablets and phones will be a popular way to access the internet for a generation, but it will mostly stick to email and video on the run. Need to watch the news while on the train/bus? You have your tablet. Need to work? You have your laptop where touchscreens will eventually become ubiquitous making the mouse obsolete. I expect that to happen by the early to mid 20's. For now, Win8 is about five years too soon.
msimko110
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msimko110,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/19/2012 | 5:47:29 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
I agree completely that it makes no sense for desktops. It's harder to use on a desktop because of the split personality of the OS.
As far as learning to use it, the horizontal swipes with the mouse feel unnatural. The extra movement and time involved in moving the mouse to a corner and waiting for widgets to pop up is frustrating. tiles winking on and off as content updates is distracting.
Win 8 is not a productivity OS. It is lots of eye candy and has no place in the business world. That will become evident quickly. Using it for business will be like trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. You may succeed, but it will be hard, messy, and cause a lot of damage.
Just what the hell were they thinking?!
msimko110
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msimko110,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/19/2012 | 5:50:07 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
I see a lot more Macs around too. They don't always play nice on Windows networks. But Mac users are more frequently former Windows users that got fed up with the maintenance, slowness, and failures of Windows.
That's why I went to Ubuntu years ago. Now, using Windows is frustrating to me.
GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Ninja
10/19/2012 | 6:03:16 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
I don't understand all the angst - the Live Tiles are really nothing more than big icons that you already click on. I have used Win8 and the interface is a dramatic change, but nothing that can't be overcome in a few hours of usage.

Win8 can be BOTH mobile and desktop friendly. It doesn't have to be one or the other.
Mark532010
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Mark532010,
User Rank: Strategist
10/20/2012 | 5:58:04 AM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
While that is true, and probably for teens it will be trivial, for the existing non-expert people who use Windows to get their work done it will be a nightmare.

I have people who put in trouble tickets because the "email" icon is "hidden" inside of the "Microsoft Office" menu. having a big picture menu of apps will help them, but then try and explain to them how to find a file, if they are in Word they will use one system, if they are in the OS they will use a completely different system. I don't even know if you can see a mapped drive from metro, certainly I don't know how to tell them to browse it looking for a file. and explaining how sometimes they have to look on the taskbar at the bottom to see the running programs and sometimes they have to mouse down from the left side to see them... it will be quite difficult for me as a support person
GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Ninja
10/24/2012 | 3:40:09 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
I can't argue with that - I too do end user support and those who can barely use the computer now will have the same problems with Win8.
PWHITE000
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PWHITE000,
User Rank: Guru
10/19/2012 | 6:18:54 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
What most people seem to be missing, or have missed, is that a certain aspect of PC computers have always been irrelevant! From day one, the basic computer has been capable of delivering power and features suited to a place of business. For decades even the low-end home computers have not been totally relevant to many, many (can I add another many) home users who have had no need whatsoever of the full capabilities of the device they have purchased.

For twenty-five years I have cringed at computer-store salespeople who have no clue what their buyers actually need, and instead sell them on power and features which they personally find attractive. How many times has my aged mother brought home the latest computer which the salesperson convinced her was what she needed, only to find it frustrating to use and eventually giving it to one of the grandchildren who could use the dang thing!

There are multitudes of people who really don't have the same personal needs as what a company or business has with a computer.

Now here's the clencher... and this is one which I have not seen mentioned very much... the cost of the apps!!! I paid several hundred dollars for Photoshop which I use on both a Mac and on a PC, it's a great app. I paid almost three hundred dollars for the music app which I compose my compositions on. But for the past year and a half I use my iPad for doing the majority of what I used those two apps for. Besides the purchase of my PCs/Macs, I have literally spent thousands of dollars on software over the years. I spent $4.99 for the incredible little iPad image app, and $1.99 for the music scoring app used on my iPad. Can you fully comprehend this difference? Perhaps $7 compared to $700 is not that important to businesses, it is quite important to the casual at-home user. (Microsoft... pay very close attention to what I'm saying here, it could make or break your latest toy.)

Yep, if PC people cannot grasp that their needs, and their financial means are not the same as everyone else's then yes, those folks are indeed out of touch.

We will see if Microsoft is in-touch with the average person. We will see if a whole new Windows 8 app store opens which offers some incredible little $2 and $4 apps which are designed specifically for their device.
Tom P
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Tom P,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/19/2012 | 7:15:56 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
The "post-PC world" is about as relevant of a phrase as the paperless world we were supposed to have been in many years ago. Didn't happen.

PWhite has a point about people buying more power than they needed, but now that everyone is editing and managing video, there's no such thing as too many cores or too much memory when it comes to video editing.

Windows 8? If they hadn't mucked up the UI, I would've been one of the first to buy it.
Hiajay
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Hiajay,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/19/2012 | 7:34:24 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
Kevin Casey,

There are plenty of scenarios where navigating a laptop with touch is superior to the conventional mouse & trackpad. For example, imagine you're sitting somewhere with the laptop on your lap. Navigating with touch will be much more easier and faster than trying to use the trackpad in a cramped space.

Now, imagine you're showing off your powerpoint slides or something similar to one or two friends on your laptop. Again, it'll be much easier to touch & swipe with your hand than pointing and clicking with the trackpad.

With Windows 8 there'll be touch-centric Windows 8 apps and games, such as Fruit Ninja. Cutting and slashing the fruits with the fingers of both of your hands is way more fun than doing it with a mouse pointer!

How about zooming in & out of maps? photos? scrolling through a very large document or webpage? It's so much faster and enjoyable to do that with your hands than point & click.

Over time, many third party apps will take advantage of touch in a way that mouse & trackpad will look outdated and out of place.
pjellison
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pjellison,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/19/2012 | 8:58:48 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
As I read and comment on this using my PC running dual screen monitors giving me 42 inches of horizontal screen. I am wondering how exactly I am going to have my email open, A web browser on a budget app or capital app, be VNC'd into a remote machine I am doing something on, While I talk on my wired phone (or skype)? While skimming a word doc! I can do any ONE of these things on my Ipad or my Iphone at a time. But not all open for a quick glance! Tablets are a tool, they have their place, but they wont come close to letting me work as efficiently as on a PC. Mobile is maturing, but it has limitations and one is screen size. Be it a PC or what ever you want to call it. This platform is going to be tough to duplicate mobile. Until I can get a verbal or thought powered interface the PC is presently the most efficient way to operate. I might add about every "manager" in our operations uses this same arrangement.
KWierso
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KWierso,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/20/2012 | 12:44:04 AM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
I call shenanigans on the "not keyboard friendly" bit. Microsoft has added dozens of new keyboard shortcuts to Windows 8 that help with the new interface AND the traditional desktop.

I've been using Windows 8 as the primary operating system on my non-touch-capable laptops and desktop (with three monitors, I should add) throughout the various development builds since the first developer preview released last year in September, and I've had no trouble using it with "just" a mouse and keyboard.
Samir Shah
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Samir Shah,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/20/2012 | 7:43:41 AM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
Yes.
daflory
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daflory,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/20/2012 | 12:34:08 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
I think the main advantage of Windows 8 is that it is a single OS that can work effectively on both tablets and powerful desktops.

Windows 8 is well suited to a future where the technical lines between the higher-end tablets, laptops, and desktops will become increasingly fuzzy.

Apple, by comparison, must eventually deal with technical abyss between iOS and OS X. What OS will a future high-end iPad run, and how will Apple bridge the gap between handy iPad apps and full-featured Mac applications? If I eventually buy a Win8 tablet, I can use many of the same programs and switch freely between, say, Onenote and Onenote MX depending on which interface is better suited for the interface I am using at the moment.
jconnor34101
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jconnor34101,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/20/2012 | 1:22:54 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
I have been using WIN8 since day one. If I don't like "Metro' (I know the name is changing) I can just click to get out of it and I am in a "normal" desktop. I use MAC OS X 10.8.2 daily and i feel they both have strengths and weaknesses - but mostly it is where something is placed. Now that WIN8 starts up faster - a full blown OS X 10.8.2 with 50 startups is up and going in 2-3 minutes on my MACBOOK Pro. WIN7 on an HP i7 2nd gen could take me 5-6 minutes and now WIN8 puts it on par with my MAC. The Windows Ball that used to be on the right side is no big deal just a different place bnow to get the same things - left side and then the settings popup. It is mostly a placement game for the UI. The big deal is under the covers - speed and stability.
JimC
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JimC,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/20/2012 | 3:54:55 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
Microsoft worked out a deal with hardware manufacturers so desktop and laptop computers could be shipped with Win7 already installed, plus an option for WinXP mode. Can't something like that be done for new PCs/laptops, i.e. pre-installing Win8 with an option for Win7? There are lots of individuals and companies needing a hardware refresh that can do without the touchscreens for now. What's so bad about going about your business using a 2009 monitor, keyboard and mouse with a 2013 computer that came with Win8?
KingBolete
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KingBolete,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/23/2012 | 3:27:07 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
It's deja vu all over again. When the web first started to get hot, MS had the brilliant idea of making the PC desktop look like the web. Why anyone, other than a clueless marketeer, would think that putting a severely handcuffed UI framework onto a PC would be a step forward, I do not know. It sounds like MS is again trying to shoehorn an interaction framework for a specialized platform onto the PC and is likely to be about as successful as the last time aroundGÇöthey don't seem to learn from their mistakes. The only bright spot for MS is that Win8 might be a step forward for tablets and smartphones, but the hue and cry from PC users is going to significantly taint any buzz they get from mobile platform.

The ugly rework of MS Word in 2007 drove me to LibreOffice; will Win8 do the same for Windows? If you have to invest significant time to regain the ability to use a piece of software then you have to decide whether that time is best spent on the existing software or something entirely different.
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/23/2012 | 9:01:13 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
Well, the good news is you get the old familiar desktop right along with that newfangled touch interface. Problem solved for you.
bperrin34601
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bperrin34601,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/23/2012 | 10:21:04 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
I have been using Windows 8 both as a Beta and a pre-release and I have to express puzzlement. The interface is different and took some getting used to but I find that the performance of the operating system and the speed with which I can access the apps I use most are both compelling reasons to retire Windows 7 and move on. In a short time, our company will be rolling out about 500 virtual desktops and I intend that Windows 8 be the operating system of choice throughout the company. Even the steep learning curve we expect to encounter from some of the users will be well compensate with the obvious increase in productivity we have seen with the pre-release versions of the OS.

I was looking back at some of the comments that I encountered during previous releases of Window's operating systems and, although I cannot attest to it, I would be willing to bet many of the same people are complaining now as then.

Regardless, I see the upgrade as inevitable so why not do it now when the interest is highest and the resistance is lowest. Get it over with and get ahead of the crowd.
DudeWhoCodes
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DudeWhoCodes,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/24/2012 | 4:03:16 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
This is simple. Content creation is done with a full PCs (be it Windows, Mac or Linux... laptop or desktop). Content consumption is done with touch-centric devices. There most people who produce also consume content, but there are a lot of people who only consume content. Prior to the iPad, content consumer only types had to purchase production machines when they didn't need to. Now that they have a choice, it is only natural for PC sales to fall a bit. There will be no "post-PC" era because producers will always need a real machine for their work.
StygianAgenda
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StygianAgenda,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/28/2013 | 8:22:07 PM
re: Windows 8: Are PC People Out Of Touch?
I tested Windows 8 about 3 weeks before the RTM was released. At that time, I found that the OS felt like a toy made for the average-joe-consumer.

A few months went by, and I decided that I'd go ahead and upgrade my Acer Iconia Tab W500 (x86 tablet). In the time in between my initial testing, and my purchase of my license, Acer had published a complete driver and application suite for Windows 8 to replace the set that they had released for Windows 7. This made my transition a breeze... with one exception... one which was alleviated as soon as I picked up a copy of "Start8" by Stardock, the makers of Window Blinds (the skinning app for earlier versions of Windows). Start8 gave me back my Windows 7 style start menu, and allows me to login directly to the desktop, rather than to the NUI (Metro).

I've now been running Windows 8 Pro on my Iconia W500 for about a month, and I'll admit that it's a much better fit *as a tablet OS* than Ubuntu 12.04, which I keep a 16GB USB-stick installation of with me at all times as part of my gear for tech support on the road, where I need power and versatility at all times. Between the 2 OS's, I'm able to do the greater majority of tasks I need to perform. Now, I can see where most people are coming from when they say that their tablet isn't up to doing production work. The majority of tablets out there today are based on ARM chipsets, or something equally underwhelming. The reality is, nothing has changed... either you do your research before hand and get the machine that fits your needs, or you forego all of that and get whatever you end up with, based on whatever popular trend the sales staff are riding at the moment. If you buy an under-powered tablet, expecting to do production work on it, don't be surprised to find that you've totally wasted your money on a trendy piece of garbage. On the other hand, if you do your research and locate a system that meets your hardware needs and works with the OS code that you want to run on it, then you may very well come away with a tablet that rivals many people's desktop PCs.

In my case, with my Acer Iconia W500, I did my research up front. First, I had to guarantee that the system would run Ubuntu and other comparable Linux OS's [check]. Second, it had to be bootable off of every drive interface (SD-Card, internal SSD, USB) [check]. Thirdly, it had to support multi-touch, because I knew that several touch based initiatives were in the works when I started thinking about this purchase (10 months ago now) [Check]. Once I had enough data to make an informed decision, I bought the Iconia W500, and have been happy with it ever since. There has been little, if anything at all, that I haven't loved about this little machine. The fact that it seamlessly upgraded to Windows 8 was a bonus. The W500 originally came loaded with Windows 7 Home. As soon as I got the system out of the box and verified that it came with restore media in case I had to return it during it's warranty period, I formatted the machine and replaced windows 7 home with Windows 7 Enterprise, and then built out an Ubuntu USB stick for it as well. Now, after having integrated Start8 into Windows 8 Pro, I don't foresee wanting to change the OS on my tablet for a couple of years.

Granted, there was a bit of a learning curve... and until I installed Start8, it was irritating the crap outta me to have to go digging down into the file system to create desktop shortcuts to the legacy apps and functions I use regularly (Windows Run Box, MSTSC, UltraVNC Viewer, VMWare Infrastructure Client, and several others), but once Start8 was installed, that was no longer an issue.

Now, I understand the feelings of those that believe that Start8's functions should have been a part of the base-OS-installation, but this isn't the first time this has happened... if you think back... way back, you'll probably remember an old adage from the MS-DOS era, "Bill makes the OS, Peter fixes it", which was a reference to Bill Gates (MS) and Peter Norton (Norton Utilities, Norton AntiVirus, etc). Microsoft has *always* sold a 'just good enough' solution, then left the extensive cosmetics to 3rd parties. With so many people complaining about the new interface in Windows 8, I would think someone within the vast numbers of tech savvy people out there today would have mentioned Start8 in more places and more of these discussions. Basically, it fixes everyone's #1 complaint about Windows 8. It costs $5 (USD), and has a 30 day trial before it either has to be purchased or removed from the system. I've used it for a week now, and can't find a single flaw with it, so I'll be buying my license for Start8 tomorrow night after I get home from work.
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A high-scale relational database? NoSQL database? Hadoop? Event-processing technology? When it comes to big data, one size doesn't fit all. Here's how to decide.
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