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The return of the Start menu in future Windows 8.1 update: Thoughts?


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#316 +DConnell

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 14:09

One thing I don't see improving that needs to happen, is an intuitive, productive, capable, file management UI in Metro. When you can duplicate Win32 File Explorer in Metro, things could get interesting. Modern UI, unfortunately, was designed for a mouse-less, keyboard-less world. And File manipulation/management is something that just doesn't seem to translate well ... Even selecting a video to play, or picture to view in the Modern UI is a cumbersome chore.

 

As much as I like Metro on both portable and stationary machines, I have to agree with this. File management in Metro is very bad. Even on my SurfRT I hit the desktop to use Explorer for management.




#317 PGHammer

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 15:37

On the surface it appears that way, but once you cut into it you realize that fundamentally it is very different this time around...

 

Microsoft isn't interested in only adjusting Windows, as they have in the past, they are working hard to redefine computing. Again, on the surface this seems good and to be applauded, but once you cut into it you see the guts aren't as pretty. Apple started a trend in computing that is still working its way through; computing as an appliance. Windows is being re-imagined in this paradigm where computing is an appliance. The hallmark of a power user is to alter their computing environment to match their vision, not the vision espoused by the vendor...

 

The current generation of complaining power users are complaining so loudly due to not only seeing themselves marginalized and unwanted, but also the fear of there being no future power users. Metro only devices offer users very little customization power and even developers working in those environments are severely handicapped. The OS is to be considered complete and "apps" are adding incing onto an already completed cake. If you don't like the OS overall you are to adopt something else... You aren't supposed to hack it to enable you to alter the stuff you don't like while keeping all that you do.

 

For now, Microsoft seems to be throwing power users a bone which is good, but the overall fear still remains. What does the future of computing look like in the MS space?

Thing is, computing IS different, and it revolves more around changes in hardware this time; however, the OS (Windows in this case) has not really tracked with the hardware changes.

 

Worse, a lot of users of Windows (despite the hardware changes) don't want to change how they USE Windows.

 

The OS has to fit the hardware AND how we use it - Windows, however, while it fits how we use it, is a poor (and getting poorer) fit for portable hardware.

 

Windows may be a great fit for the desktop formfactor - however, how well does it fit non-desktops?

 

Tablets, slates, etc., exist for a reason - regardless of what operating system is on them; it's called demand.



#318 PGHammer

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 15:43

As much as I like Metro on both portable and stationary machines, I have to agree with this. File management in Metro is very bad. Even on my SurfRT I hit the desktop to use Explorer for management.

DConnell, that is because there really has been no alternative to the basic tree/twig/leaf file-exploration structure - not even on portable hardware that doesn't run Windows.  (Look at Android or iOS hardware, and not alone tablets - how is file navigation handled, if it is at all?)

 

it's not a Metro/ModernUI problem - it's a problem on every operating system known.  Nobody has solved it - and i have the nasty feeling that nobody WANTS to solve it, either.  It's almost the Ultimate Third Rail of all GUIs - mess with file navigation at your peril.



#319 George P

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 15:43

As much as I like Metro on both portable and stationary machines, I have to agree with this. File management in Metro is very bad. Even on my SurfRT I hit the desktop to use Explorer for management.

 

Seeing how there's little file management to do in a pure metro environment they put the need for a file manager low on the list I bet.  That could change of course, if you're going to take the desktop out of future SKUs then there needs to be something to do management.   The OneDrive app will let you do some but nothing advanced.   There's also nothing stopping 3rd parties from making a file manager app and there are a few in the store right now.

 

If MS makes File Manager for Metro though then that'd be great, heck if they can do touch/metro version of Office apps without much issue then they can do File Manager as well.



#320 PGHammer

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 15:52

Seeing how there's little file management to do in a pure metro environment they put the need for a file manager low on the list I bet.  That could change of course, if you're going to take the desktop out of future SKUs then there needs to be something to do management.   The OneDrive app will let you do some but nothing advanced.   There's also nothing stopping 3rd parties from making a file manager app and there are a few in the store right now.

 

If MS makes File Manager for Metro though then that'd be great, heck if they can do touch/metro version of Office apps without much issue then they can do File Manager as well.

George P - the issue is not unique to ModernUI; how well is file management (or even mere exploration) handled outside of Windows?  File-management applications largely take their cues from one of two overlong-in-the-tooth applications - Windows Explorer (which itself is a revamped File Manager from the days of Windows 3.x) or Apple's Finder.  OneDrive Explorer has basic (very basic) file management capabilities - however, to do the serious stuff, you still need Windows Explorer (which CAN be used with OneDrive - I use it with OneDrive today, as I did with predecessor SkyDrive).

 

However, the fear of the pointing-device-centric is that if Microsoft makes OneDrive Explorer better, it will obviate the need for not merely Windows Explorer, but it will be the beginning of the end for the desktop as a whole.



#321 Dashel

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 17:54

Funny dot, you didn't mention the 101+ keys on a keyboard when you were comparing 5pt touch with mice.  So, somehow a mouse (and UI) is archaic, but a keyboard isn't.  That the Surface is sold without a keyboard is proof enough of his claim.

 

A great example of this is the new Samsung commercial, where they dis the Surface for being too 'laptop' like.  The point remains that instead of flamebaiting your betters here, you should be in the slate threads making a case against dumb slates that have only the most rudimentary support for non-touch.

 

The problem with Metro and file management, is that MS has done another 180 on good computing habits (like they did with application management).  While most power users launch off the file association, they've now heavily favored the app open approach.  Once you remove that, the need for a granular file manager falls away (as the location of data is less important when its in the cloud).  OneDrive is the Metro Explorer, local data is an archaic remnant of Desktop computing. ;)



#322 Salgoth

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 18:07

Have to keep the discussion current. We're at 8.1U1. Not 8.0 RTM. Corporations could have gone with 8.0 as many primarily develop their own in-house apps and definitely restrict the desktop footprint. Many huge corporations are actually single-tasking as far as the majority of desktop users go. Government on the other-hand, are the same until you get into State and Local government with smaller budgets and staff, with the same computing and support needs. 8.1U1 is much closer to 7, and the reasons to not upgrade are getting slimmer. 8.1U2 with the return of the Start Menu should eliminate the only major hurdle in that sector preventing upgrading.

 

The only other thing that really needs to be done to open the flood gates is total control of the Start Page (should you choose to boot to it) and maybe the ability to prevent it's launch completely, via GPO.

Agree.  The learning curve and employee training (i.e. lost productivity) is a major killer as the OS stands now.



#323 Salgoth

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 18:14

OneDrive is the Metro Explorer, local data is an archaic remnant of Desktop computing. ;)

I disagree.   Everyone I talk to is seriously reconsidering "cloud storage" in light of everything disclosed by Snowden, etc.  At this point businesses especially are probably looking at how fast they can reverse course and get control of their data back because the reality is that the only truly secure storage IS local storage.



#324 Dashel

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 18:22

I disagree.   Everyone I talk to is seriously reconsidering "cloud storage" in light of everything disclosed by Snowden, etc.  At this point businesses especially are probably looking at how fast they can reverse course and get control of their data back because the reality is that the only truly secure storage IS local storage.

That is FUD.  Office365 carries full privacy protection for businesses and meets privacy standards (like HIPPA).  MS has also reversed course on the 'scanning' of unshared personal files.  A search order of the data by the Feds would be valid regardless of where the data is held.  The Snowden leak isn't really apples to apples here.

 

Smart companies are implementing a hybrid approach, not one or the other, if they are that concerned about a subset of highly sensitive data (which is more of a backup/archival concern than a privacy one).  That's really beside my point though, as the OneDrive app also looks locally too.



#325 Dot Matrix

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 18:31

Funny dot, you didn't mention the 101+ keys on a keyboard when you were comparing 5pt touch with mice.  So, somehow a mouse (and UI) is archaic, but a keyboard isn't.  That the Surface is sold without a keyboard is proof enough of his claim.

 

A great example of this is the new Samsung commercial, where they dis the Surface for being too 'laptop' like.  The point remains that instead of flamebaiting your betters here, you should be in the slate threads making a case against dumb slates that have only the most rudimentary support for non-touch.

 

The problem with Metro and file management, is that MS has done another 180 on good computing habits (like they did with application management).  While most power users launch off the file association, they've now heavily favored the app open approach.  Once you remove that, the need for a granular file manager falls away (as the location of data is less important when its in the cloud).  OneDrive is the Metro Explorer, local data is an archaic remnant of Desktop computing. ;)

I'm not sure I follow what you're trying to say.



#326 Salgoth

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 18:37

A search order of the data by the Feds would be valid regardless of where the data is held. 

Except if they showed up with a court order at your place of business at least you could call your lawyer and see the warrant.  A FISA order comes with a gag so the provider CAN'T tell you they have surrendered your data.  Equally as troubling to me is that I'd bet dollars-to-donuts that every ToS agreement for cloud storage contains blanket provisions prohibiting lawsuits in the event of a data breach. 

 

Call me a Luddite, but I'll keep my important data locally thank you!  For me the cloud is an option for only casual data i.e. vacation photos, recipes, etc.



#327 Dashel

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 18:47

That's still not apples to apples though, and more fallout of the larger issue of safety trumping liberty politically.  In fact, I would say that businesses should be less protected than individuals in such cases.  Again though, that is more of a political argument than a technical one, which as you say, its your choice at the end of the day.

 

For your average user, cloud storage is safer than relying on them to actually protect their data.  On the other hand, few if any business have anything to fear from the Feds sampling their data worst case, so risk there is nominal too.  A data breach can occur anywhere, that's simply legal protecting them from liability, which has always been boilerplate on the EULA. (Much like revenue lost due to downtime)

 

The kicker is, your vacation photos are more likely to get you in trouble than any other type of data with Big Brother.  What exactly is your main concern, litigation or privacy?

 

Per the topic though, they only need to do a couple simple things to fix OneDrive to more closely approximate Explorer for simple users. 1) Add more views and 2) make it easier to move files/folders.  Sadly, its another example of the website still being better than the modern app.  Until that trend changes, all this talk about competing with the Desktop is simply absurd.

 

Luckily, judging from their Mail app among others, they are making progress figuring out a good touch-centric way to 'drag and drop'.



#328 PGHammer

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 20:50

Funny dot, you didn't mention the 101+ keys on a keyboard when you were comparing 5pt touch with mice.  So, somehow a mouse (and UI) is archaic, but a keyboard isn't.  That the Surface is sold without a keyboard is proof enough of his claim.

 

A great example of this is the new Samsung commercial, where they dis the Surface for being too 'laptop' like.  The point remains that instead of flamebaiting your betters here, you should be in the slate threads making a case against dumb slates that have only the most rudimentary support for non-touch.

 

The problem with Metro and file management, is that MS has done another 180 on good computing habits (like they did with application management).  While most power users launch off the file association, they've now heavily favored the app open approach.  Once you remove that, the need for a granular file manager falls away (as the location of data is less important when its in the cloud).  OneDrive is the Metro Explorer, local data is an archaic remnant of Desktop computing. ;)

Most tablets are sold without keyboards for reasons of meeting price targets - that's regardless of OS.  (In other words, the OS on the tablet is irrelevant.)

Where - in terms of price - are tablets that include keyboards?

While most tablets have keyboards available as options - in the case of the iPad, from third parties, not Apple - few at all, and none at the low end - include them.

While x86-based tablets are largely derived from Ultrabook designs (and some of them do include keyboards), where are they in terms of price?  If you need a keyboard - included, mind you - you purchase a tablet with one, and pay for it.  (The OS is irrelevant.)

 

Further, WindowsRT DOES include Desktop Explorer - which even supports OneDrive - as does the 8.1 flavor.  (How is file navogation on Android handled?  Same question applies to iOS - how is it done there?)  Bashing ModernUI due to lack of Explorer-equivalent file management is one thing - however, the tablet competition - Android and iOS in particular - lacks even the equivalent of the OneDrive app, which IS better than any third-party Android or iOS app when it comes to file management or navigation - until they come out with OneDrive for Android and/or iOS, that is.)



#329 PGHammer

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 20:53

I disagree.   Everyone I talk to is seriously reconsidering "cloud storage" in light of everything disclosed by Snowden, etc.  At this point businesses especially are probably looking at how fast they can reverse course and get control of their data back because the reality is that the only truly secure storage IS local storage.

If security is that big an issue, that is true - and was true prior to Snowden, as any CSO (corporate security officer) with a clue could tell you.  If a CSO said otherwise, they are either clueless or cuckoo - full stop.



#330 MorganX

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 00:07

That is FUD.  Office365 carries full privacy protection for businesses and meets privacy standards (like HIPPA).  MS has also reversed course on the 'scanning' of unshared personal files.  A search order of the data by the Feds would be valid regardless of where the data is held.  The Snowden leak isn't really apples to apples here.

 

Smart companies are implementing a hybrid approach, not one or the other, if they are that concerned about a subset of highly sensitive data (which is more of a backup/archival concern than a privacy one).  That's really beside my point though, as the OneDrive app also looks locally too.

 

I'm not sure but the Secure services may be a different tier. Security isn't always about if MS' datacenters can be hacked, but, the security of having your data in a private companies hands as well. HIPAA isn't the only security rule and regulation organizations have to contend with.

 

Bandwidth is also a big issue, and keep in mind, for applications, you're really looking at Azure services.

 

I do agree, most wise organizations are looking at a hybrid solution.