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Windows 8.1 is a good improvement - makes charms bar seem like a bad idea


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#31 +ians18

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 01:59

For me the charms bar is a central Windows Action Hub like the ribbon on office, it allows you to search the system universally, access/change settings of the app, change WiFi, sound, and brightness, etc. It also is the place for you to print and mirror a screen.




#32 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 02:33

For me the charms bar is a central Windows Action Hub like the ribbon on office, it allows you to search the system universally, access/change settings of the app, change WiFi, sound, and brightness, etc.

Search is fine on the Start Screen; WiFi and sound were best in the system tray; brightness isn't needed by desktop users; settings can be changed within apps. There simply isn't any reason for desktop users to use the Charm Bar.

 

That would break what Microsoft is trying to accomplish with the Charms bar.

But that's exactly the problem: Microsoft is trying to force a new system upon users when it's not an improvement upon what came before. The Start Screen improves functionality by giving customisation options, displaying more information, providing live information, etc. The Charm Bar just gets in the way. I'm sure it's quite practical on a tablet but on the desktop it's a mess.



#33 zhangm

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 02:35

My main problem with Windows 8 - something that hasn't been addressed in 8.1 - is that while the OS is speedy and fairly intuitive, the apps are...retarded.

 

One example is the Mail app (I'm not differentiating here between versions since they all suffer from the same thing): whoever is responsible for designing the app wrote it around the Windows Live ecosystem without acknowledging that Hotmail and EAS are not the only systems that exist. There is no address lookup through LDAP - a feature that was in Outlook Express, and is in Windows Live Mail, Thunderbird, and Outlook. If a user needs to communicate in an enterprise setting that uses Outlook, they cannot look up any addresses. Microsoft's solution? Switch to EAS. User response? **** that. Another usage scenario: want to find and delete all messages that match particular search terms? You cannot select all results from the search and delete them in one go - the faithful CTRL+A shortcut has been disabled for search results. You need to select each result individually and click Delete.

 

Photos? Can't open just any old file: this app won't believe in the existence of any image file that is not in your Photos library or on Skydrive. Skydrive itself? The app constantly believes that it needs to sync more files, despite the fact that all items in its Download list are marked Complete already.

 

The OS itself is nice. Definitely feeling more refined at every turn. 8.1 does feel like an SP release, but the Metro environment is a part of the user experience, and those responsible for coding first-party apps seem to be treating it like a sandbox.



#34 Dot Matrix

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 02:42

Search is fine on the Start Screen; WiFi and sound were best in the system tray; brightness isn't needed by desktop users; settings can be changed within apps. There simply isn't any reason for desktop users to use the Charm Bar.

 

 

But that's exactly the problem: Microsoft is trying to force a new system upon users when it's not an improvement upon what came before. The Start Screen improves functionality by giving customisation options, displaying more information, providing live information, etc. The Charm Bar just gets in the way. I'm sure it's quite practical on a tablet but on the desktop it's a mess.

How is system unification not an improvement?



#35 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 02:58

How is system unification not an improvement?

But it's not system unification, as it only applies to Metro apps. It's just a clunky add-on to the desktop environment that does nothing to improve productivity. Desktop features have been shoehorned into it with no regard for functionality. The network manager is the perfect example, as the Metro-fied version is useless and clashes horribly with the desktop.

 

If Microsoft really had tried to unify system functionality then I could understand forcing it upon users, as Microsoft did that with the Office ribbon to great effect. But instead Microsoft moved a bit of functionality from the Control Panel into PC Settings and forced Network Connections to be handled via the sidebar, while the rest of the time you need to use the system tray or Control Panel. It's the same with the Metro app switcher which is separate to the taskbar - there's nothing unified about it. In fact I'd argue that moving to Metro has made the operating system LESS unified.



#36 +ians18

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 05:21

I think Microsoft needs to refine the charms and rename it to sometime useful. Search is useful the way it is in 8.1  with a few tweaks like adding the ability to individually search apps. Desktop settings should be added to the charms instead of to PC Settings unless it applies to the entire OS. Rewriting regedit, device manger, and msconfig in the Modern Ui would be useful too, as well as a utility section (defragment, disk cleanup, etc) in PC Settings. For Devices it should be should be merged under share because you share by printing and sharing screens.

 

 

They should add a new option like a snap charm, to snap the app, restart, close, snap horizontally, and suspend an app, taskmanager should be under this charm.

 

Then the quick access settings (wifi, brightness) should be able to be customized to other settings important to the user and they should be able to pin settings to Start.

 

Finally charms should be a hidden button (like I have said before) that should be clickable like the start button in the lower left, or the app in the top left.



#37 PGHammer

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 09:44

warwagon - isn't the primary reason you don't notice due to functions that you DO use that are on the Charm Bar - such as global search - aren't JUST on the Charm Bar?  Multiple paths to get to something are a necessary with hardwar4e that offers multiple ways of doing something, simply because there are multiple ways of using the hardware (docked tablets, AIOs, etc.)  That's something that I in particular have noticed - and I'm on an old-school desktop.  (For example, 8.1 also added QuickTask links to Start/Shutdown/Sleep/Restart, yet didn't take them away from the Charm Bar.  The reason for that is because my mouse cursor isn't always on the same side of the screen - and especially not on a desktop!  The adage is old-school - the one about there being more than one way to skin a cat - and Microsoft has been applying that to Windows, and especially NT, for years.)

 

I think that the real issue is that we have been taking Microsoft's multiple-path approach for granted - in the sense that we EXPECT Microsoft to do that.  Few other software companies do it (yes - I am including Apple and Google) - most are tied to one way of doing things.  However, the multiple pathways approach is not something that is necessarily a fan favorite - there are some folks that simply prefer only ONE way of doing things.  It's a user preference - the user wants a clearly-delineated way of doing things.

 

That, from what I have observed, is the real reason the criticism of Windows 8 and 8.1 has been as loud and vociferous as it has been - lack of "structure".



#38 PGHammer

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 10:09

theyarecomingforyou - it sounds like you would prefer that there be fewer ways of doing things.  The lines are blurring and you detest it.  I have news for you - that isn't Microsoft's fault.

 

The "trend" of multiple methods of accessing information has been something that humans have sought, if not outright worked toward, for not merely years, or even decades - it has, in fact, predated all of IT.  Thew same trend has been, in fact, rather prevalent in communicating with our fellow humans - merely on an in-person basis.  As humans, we aren't big fans of "stovepipes" and "structure".

Microsoft - as both company and as culture - has reflected that need very well - despite the same company also doing well in terms of building "stovepipes" and "structure" (their development tools are all about construction of "stovepipes" and structure for the most part, though they can and have, been used to end-run those same two items).  Microsoft is NOT IBM - which has been, historically, very much a stovepipe/structure business.  And as much as Apple and Google may protest the comparison, both companies are very similar to IBM - very much about structure and stovepipes.  They aren't obvious about the control aspects of stovepiping OR structure - they are smart enough to realize that such obviousness is a Bad Thing.  However, that doesn't - and won't - stop them from seeking that aspect of stovepiping OR structure, simply because it's far easier to fence in sheep.  Android -- and iOS - represent "safety" - you can't wander off the reservation.  While that used to be the case with desktop Windows, Windows 8 is a sea-change - and a massive one.  We've seen superset operating systems - and from Microsoft - before; however, Windows 8 is the first such case of the "superset" being the default.  Prior to 8, superset OSes were outliers.  Now, it's not.  Suddenly, the superset OS is the norm.  Of COURSE the structure freaks would freak. Of COURSE the stovepipers would panic.  Oddly enough, we likely COULD have accepted it if another company had done it - Apple, for example.  (Didn't no less than the late Steve Jobs promise exactly this with Next?)  And we saw what happened with Next - they were acquired by Apple and basically "tamed*.  And the warning went out - don't leave the reservation.

And that is why Microsoft is getting sledged - it's left the reservation.



#39 Ulpian

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 10:26

Any 8.1 rtm vs 8.0 benchmarks?



#40 Luiz Siqueira

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 17:18

I agree with Jonathan Marston, by the way great solution for the Charms Bar replacement.  :woot:

 

This is my clarification about why Mac OS X have menu on the top of the screen.

 

tumblr_mxeamweFOl1qiet27o1_1280.jpg

 
GUI evolution
 
X - Menus were introduced quite a while before the graphical interfaces. Was usually at the top. At that time only one application could be executed at a time. Some applications were able to open multiple documents using windows for that.
 
A - Apple followed to the letter the original idea presented in the “X”.
 
B - Apple updated the system so that it can run multiple applications on the same screen. The solution is to overlap the top menu according to the application in focus. Unfortunately this turns the menu to something confuse.
 
C - An acceptable solution to this problem comes only with the “Mission Control”, Applications and their windows now can exist alone in their own desktop bringing multitask in a clear way to Apple systems.
 
1 - Microsoft carries the application to a window, bringing the idea of multiple virtual monitors. Hence the “Windows” name.
 
2 - Applications with more than one window has to use the concept of MDI (Multiple document interface), windows applications are contained within a main window. Unfortunately this turns the window to something confuse.
 
3 - The solution was the extinction of the MDI. Each window of the same application behaves as a standalone application, some aplications share a hidden process, others run a new process copy for each window, this approach consumes a lot more system resources.


#41 Atomic Wanderer Chicken

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 22:40

I think the solution for everything is, if you have a Windows 7 license not being used and are using Windows 8 and really, really hate it, just go back to Windows 7. I have gone back to Windows 7, and I haven't noticed anything significant I lost going back, and feel more of an upgrade if anything personally. Remember, Windows 7 will be supported until January 14th 2020 anyways, so all is good if you go back :)



#42 PGHammer

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 00:14

I think the solution for everything is, if you have a Windows 7 license not being used and are using Windows 8 and really, really hate it, just go back to Windows 7. I have gone back to Windows 7, and I haven't noticed anything significant I lost going back, and feel more of an upgrade if anything personally. Remember, Windows 7 will be supported until January 14th 2020 anyways, so all is good if you go back :)

AWC - I have been pointing out exactly that since the Windows (8) Developer Preview; Windows 7 hasn't gone anywhere.





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