re: Windows 8: You Can Handle The Learning Curve
For the most part I agree with you though your hammer example doesn't match up because in fact most carpenters have replaced their hammers with a fancier tool that took time to learn it is called a nail gun. Like your OS though they would not have replaced it unless it did at least some part of the job better, which it does, though only if you have a lot of nails to drive. If you need to drive only one nail, then you still carry and use a hammer.
As for the ribbon in Office, personally I think it does do the job better. Was there a learning curve yes, but once I had it down I found it easier to use. While I do not spend a large portion of my day in Office I do use it frequently. The question then is when Microsoft puts out a new version of Office do they try to cater to the casual users like you, the intermediate users like me, or the power users. Obviously they are going to cater to the more advanced users because those users will upgrade more often and thereby make more money for the company. In addition as new users come along that have never used the old office, should they be forced to use an old interface just because you donGÇÖt want to learn a new one?
The question then for Windows 8 is does it do the job better for casual users, intermediate users, power users, or no one? I think the jury is still out on that. Was the new UI in Windows 8 the best option, I donGÇÖt think so but for Microsoft to be able to create and offer fixes for their old products they have to have new products, which support new hardware and new ways of doing things. We can't all just keep using plain old hammers forever.