Another Windows 8 Start menu alternative offered via Pokki

We have seen our share of Windows 8 applications that offer alternatives to the Start menu, such as Stardock's Start8 and Samsung's application for its upcoming Windows 8-based PCs. This week, SweetLabs enters this mini-genre with a new version of its Pokki application.

SweetLabs states in its press release:

The Pokki Menu provides users a central point to easily find and launch programs and apps, access folders and files, search their computer and the web, manage settings, and shut down. In addition, the Pokki Menu enables Windows 8 users to boot directly to desktop as well as configure or disable hot corners.

In order to get their point across about the need for such an app, SweetLabs got Chris Pirillo, the guy who famously posted a video of his father struggling with Windows 8, to see how other people reacted to Windows 8 and its new UI on the street.

The new version is available to download for free. SweetLabs adds, "As a unique startup that loves the PC and cares deeply about making the PC experience better, we hope this new version of Pokki makes the Windows experience better, whether it’s helping to make the new Windows 8 experience easier and more fun to use or helping Windows 7, Vista, and XP users enjoy a modern app experience on their PCs."

Source: Pokki blog | Image via SweetLabs

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The thing that bothers me about the video is that. When you install Windows 8 you will get a nice overview on how it sort of works. with a little tutorial about the screen corners and the charmbar.
when people dont see this there is no possible way for them to know.. Ohh i need to go to the right upper/down corner of the screen to see some settings.

Johrie said,
The thing that bothers me about the video is that. When you install Windows 8 you will get a nice overview on how it sort of works. with a little tutorial about the screen corners and the charmbar.
when people dont see this there is no possible way for them to know.. Ohh i need to go to the right upper/down corner of the screen to see some settings.

back when the CP came out, I knew about the carms menu, and I still had to google how to restart / turn the computer off.

Sorry all but I really dig this one. Reminds me of SLED and Mint Menu (how it's SUPPOSED to be). I far and away prefer this to the others (sorry, Classic Shell -- you're a good one!).

I'll be using this, as it's exactly in my comfort zone.

Dot Matrix said,
Looks like they shoved Android into a small window. Yuck. Doesn't at all match the OS.

See? that's how the start screen it feels, just like you have described it.

Arceles said,

See? that's how the start screen it feels, just like you have described it.

Once again, haters gonna hate. I wish there was a "hide all pointless off-thread topics" button. Innovation is good, this is an attempt to restore the familiar Start Menu and it does a pretty good job.

I assume the people who liked it were left on the cutting room floor...

There's nothing wrong with learning something new... Just as learning Windows 95 was new, and burning CDs, recording on DVRs, using iPhone etc.... Big deal, wow, some people would have to sit and learn the new things for 30 min before using it...

Plus, NO ONE who can't figure out Windows 8 would be able to find about, download, install and configure a third party start menu replacement... All I can see are lots of IE toolbars installs, and maybe some future malwares dressed as a Start Menu.....

That start menu design is really bad. If your going to do one then match the look and style of the OS and not make something that does not go with it.

Downloaded this a few minutes ago, as the screengrabs look kinda cool. I noticed it didn't give
me an option to choose where to install it. As I feared, it'd installed itself automatically into a
sub folder of C:\Users\Greg\ rather than C:\Program Files\Pokki ... where it should've been
installed. As soon as I spotted this, I uninstalled it. It is now BANNED on my network.

Notice to all third party software makers ... sub folders within C:\Users\ are NOT meant to be
used for software installations. There's a standard folder called Program Files specifically set
aside for software installations on Windows since 1995. STOP deviating from this standard!

DJGM said,
Downloaded this a few minutes ago, as the screengrabs look kinda cool. I noticed it didn't give
me an option to choose where to install it. As I feared, it'd installed itself automatically into a
sub folder of C:\Users\Greg\ rather than C:\Program Files\Pokki ... where it should've been
installed. As soon as I spotted this, I uninstalled it. It is now BANNED on my network.

Notice to all third party software makers ... sub folders within C:\Users\ are NOT meant to be
used for software installations. There's a standard folder called Program Files specifically set
aside for software installations on Windows since 1995. STOP deviating from this standard!

As a QA Engineer I fully appreciate where you're coming from. However this paradigm is broken since Vista as the user needs Administrator rights to install to Program Files. As a small software vendor one of our utilities is for Joe User. We know that installing to Program Files is the right thing to do, but we know our average Joe User doesn't want to get their IT bod in to install the app (especially since our target market is SBS and they frequently outsource their IT). Result - we install to Users as you don't need Administrator rights to install the app. You'll find a lot of other vendors are following this model - Google Chrome for starters. I don't think flat-out refusing applications that take this approach is necessarily the right way to go about things.

That is fine and all, but developers need to come to a consensus about where to install. Even free to play games usually have the courtesy to install to C:\ and not C:\Users\Username. Oh you're putting app data in my documents? THANKS I'M SO GLAD. There's not an app_data folder for that or anything.

jamieakers said,

As a QA Engineer I fully appreciate where you're coming from. However this paradigm
is broken since Vista as the user needs Administrator rights to install to Program Files.
As a small software vendor one of our utilities is for Joe User . . .


This method of allowing users to install software to non-standard directory locations
not meant for software installations, allows any user to install software applications
on PC's upon which they don't have admin rights. It's potentially a security risk,
especially if bundled malware starts to take advantage of this.

If you use a computer upon which you do not have admin level privileges, then you
should NOT be allowed to install ANY software of ANY description at all, PERIOD.

Any application that automatically installs to a sub-folder within C:\Users\ is totally
banned on my network without question. The only exceptions I'll usually make are
for "portable" applications that are designed to be installed to a USB pen drive,
which must be anti-virus scanned before it is used on my network.

The default installation of Google Chrome is also banned on my network. The only
exception here is that Google offer a standalone enterprise installer that actually
installs the program to the standard location of C:\Program Files\ .

DJGM said,

This method of allowing users to install software to non-standard directory locations
not meant for software installations, allows any user to install software applications
on PC's upon which they don't have admin rights. It's potentially a security risk,
especially if bundled malware starts to take advantage of this.

If you use a computer upon which you do not have admin level privileges, then you
should NOT be allowed to install ANY software of ANY description at all, PERIOD.

Any application that automatically installs to a sub-folder within C:\Users\ is totally
banned on my network without question. The only exceptions I'll usually make are
for "portable" applications that are designed to be installed to a USB pen drive,
which must be anti-virus scanned before it is used on my network.

The default installation of Google Chrome is also banned on my network. The only
exception here is that Google offer a standalone enterprise installer that actually
installs the program to the standard location of C:\Program Files\ .

Must really suck to be on your network huh?

DJGM said,

This method of allowing users to install software to non-standard directory locations
not meant for software installations, allows any user to install software applications
on PC's upon which they don't have admin rights. It's potentially a security risk,
especially if bundled malware starts to take advantage of this.

If you use a computer upon which you do not have admin level privileges, then you
should NOT be allowed to install ANY software of ANY description at all, PERIOD.

Any application that automatically installs to a sub-folder within C:\Users\ is totally
banned on my network without question. The only exceptions I'll usually make are
for "portable" applications that are designed to be installed to a USB pen drive,
which must be anti-virus scanned before it is used on my network.

The default installation of Google Chrome is also banned on my network. The only
exception here is that Google offer a standalone enterprise installer that actually
installs the program to the standard location of C:\Program Files\ .

"USB pen drive"

*cringe*

Yeah you sound like a pretty hardass network admin. Thankfully, at all the jobs I've held, I've been an admin of my (and others') computer.
Cheers!

That looks a hot mess. While I like Metro, I would use Start8 to launch desktop apps while I was on the desktop, instead of clicking on Start and launching from there.

Besides, Chris Pirillo is recommending this ish. Enough said.

Windows 8 is a weird mix of UI elements and several show stopping design element flaws..I realize some of you are in the tank for it no matter what, but man its a mess

rhianntp said,
Windows 8 is a weird mix of UI elements and several show stopping design element flaws..I realize some of you are in the tank for it no matter what, but man its a mess

haters gonna hate.

rhianntp said,
Windows 8 is a weird mix of UI elements and several show stopping design element flaws..I realize some of you are in the tank for it no matter what, but man its a mess
You should make a few more comments about how much you dislike Windows 8 in the same thread...

rhianntp said,
Windows 8 is a weird mix of UI elements and several show stopping design element flaws..I realize some of you are in the tank for it no matter what, but man its a mess

I wish there was a way to disable search categorization because that's useless. I also want them to have a single control panel... apparently that's asking too much.

Pretty pathetic that users have to turn to 3rd party solution in order to operate their new computer in a way thats remotely familiar...we have several win 8 computers in store right now.. each vendor has some kind of program you can run from within the desktop app that approximates the functionality we have lost... the problem is each vendor will do it differently.. no consistancy ... what a disaster

rhianntp said,
Pretty pathetic that users have to turn to 3rd party solution in order to operate their new computer in a way thats remotely familiar...we have several win 8 computers in store right now.. each vendor has some kind of program you can run from within the desktop app that approximates the functionality we have lost... the problem is each vendor will do it differently.. no consistancy ... what a disaster

Desktop mode seems the same to me. Start menu is not full screen, not hard to get used to after 10 minutes.

rhianntp said,
Pretty pathetic that users have to turn to 3rd party solution in order to operate their new computer in a way thats remotely familiar...we have several win 8 computers in store right now.. each vendor has some kind of program you can run from within the desktop app that approximates the functionality we have lost... the problem is each vendor will do it differently.. no consistancy ... what a disaster

It's not pathetic at all. How can people pick up an iPad for the first time and expect how to know how to use it? How about a customized Android device? Windows is changing with the times. Better get used to it.

Dot Matrix said,

It's not pathetic at all. How can people pick up an iPad for the first time and expect how to know how to use it? How about a customized Android device? Windows is changing with the times. Better get used to it.

The thing is, the iPad has used the same method for getting to the home screen since its inception.

Windows changed what people knew; drastically.

You don't change how things have worked since the beginning, people don't like that.

It's like unveiling a new car where you have to tap it five times on the roof to open the doors. Does that method work? Yes, but it will take people time to learn. It's changing something just for the sake of change, and not offering as an option something people have known about the products function from the start.

this perfectly shows how useless the start menu and those start menu replacements are:
- the apps in left could be easily pinned to the taskbar
- the folders on the left could be easily accessed by right clicking on the explorer on the taskbar
- in the middle: live tiles are offering the same amount of information
- search could be accessed from everywhere by just hitting the win-key or push at the lower left
- just same examples

-> so: what do i need this thing here for?!?!

yves707 said,

what are u trying to tell me?!? that it's better to search for something and have a way to filter the results?!? -> win 8!
that pinning every app to the taskbar isnt a good idea?!?!

What i'm saying is the most common response in that thread, was "No we never say to do that":

yves707 said,

what are u trying to tell me?!? that it's better to search for something and have a way to filter the results?!? -> win 8!
that pinning every app to the taskbar isnt a good idea?!?!

Wtf is up with all the "?!?!?!?!?!"?

Hey Chris, where is the minimize button on an Ipad app? Hey Chris how did your dad find the home button on his Ipad, did you hide it from him and then film it for kicks? Hey Chris why not give people a simple primer like, tap an app and then explore it a bit, then if you get lost, tap the home key. Then start rolling film.

I started following Pirillo on Twitter at 8am one morning, and I hit the Unfollow button by 4pm that afternoon. Because my feed was so clogged that I couldn't find anything useful. I should have filmed that.

jimmyfal said,
Hey Chris, where is the minimize button on an Ipad app? Hey Chris how did your dad find the home button on his Ipad, did you hide it from him and then film it for kicks? Hey Chris why not give people a simple primer like, tap an app and then explore it a bit, then if you get lost, tap the home key. Then start rolling film.

I started following Pirillo on Twitter at 8am one morning, and I hit the Unfollow button by 4pm that afternoon. Because my feed was so clogged that I couldn't find anything useful. I should have filmed that.

Pirillo is such a narcist it seems...
20% of what he says is a side sentence reasoning why or reasoning something due to his success.

GS:ios

jimmyfal said,
Hey Chris, where is the minimize button on an Ipad app? Hey Chris how did your dad find the home button on his Ipad, did you hide it from him and then film it for kicks? Hey Chris why not give people a simple primer like, tap an app and then explore it a bit, then if you get lost, tap the home key. Then start rolling film.

I started following Pirillo on Twitter at 8am one morning, and I hit the Unfollow button by 4pm that afternoon. Because my feed was so clogged that I couldn't find anything useful. I should have filmed that.

Except that everyone who has used an idevice knows that a click of the home button takes you home no matter what. Which is probably why apple isn't getting rid of the home button anytime soon, even though gestures would work just fine, if not better.

Binary said,
Except that everyone who has used an idevice knows that a click of the home button takes you home no matter what. Which is probably why apple isn't getting rid of the home button anytime soon, even though gestures would work just fine, if not better.
First-time iOS users don't know about the home button (OS X doesn't have such a concept, nor did Windows until now).

Windows 8 is the successor to Windows 7 rather than a sister product as iOS is to OS X, but the learning curve is the same. Following the Pirillo method, sit someone down in front of iOS (or Android) for the first time, and instead of helping them just nod and feign ignorance when they are lost or confused; you'll get the same results.

Arkose said,
First-time iOS users don't know about the home button (OS X doesn't have such a concept, nor did Windows until now).

Windows 8 is the successor to Windows 7 rather than a sister product as iOS is to OS X, but the learning curve is the same. Following the Pirillo method, sit someone down in front of iOS (or Android) for the first time, and instead of helping them just nod and feign ignorance when they are lost or confused; you'll get the same results.


Not kidding:

I had my mom take a seat in a local Apple licensed retailer and had her play with an iPad.
I saw her opening, interacting with and closing apps in no time.

She's 60+ years old, I do have an iPhone and a Mac, she never really touched them though apart from me obviously showing her a picture, a video or those things a couple of times.

She's not very good at computing, but she knows her way around in Windows for the daily tasks she needs.
After having played with the iPad for about 5 minutes she knew the most important functions by trial and error.

Why? Having basically just one button that you need to get around in the OS makes things way too easy to figure out by trial and error.
The rest it basically just touching what you want.
Now I agree there's the notification center which is a gesture only, but it's not a core feature.

She now owns an iPad together with my dad who is rather savvy in technology, but absolutely new to iPad or any other tablet.
I haven't really showed them any tricks since apart from stuff to save them a moment of time ("the Settings app is there..." etc)

GS:mac

Arkose said,
First-time iOS users don't know about the home button (OS X doesn't have such a concept, nor did Windows until now).

The home button is pretty much the only button on the iPhone and isn't hidden.

nesl247 said,
Doesn't really look themed for Windows much. Looks like someone tried to port Gnome or Ubuntu's launcher over.

I thought it looked almost identical to mintmenu, save for adding the news feed.

StevenJ said,
HOW CAN THEY ASSESS SOMETHING THAT ISNT RELEASED YET -____-

MAYBE IT WAS A BETA TEST. BIT LIKE YOUR KEYBOARD, OBVIOUSLY FAILED THE CAPS LOCK OFF TEST.

StevenJ said,
HOW CAN THEY ASSESS SOMETHING THAT ISNT RELEASED YET -____-

RTM has been out for MONTHS. MSDN subscribers or students have had access to it for a while now.

StevenJ said,
HOW CAN THEY ASSESS SOMETHING THAT ISNT RELEASED YET -____-

RTM has been out for MONTHS. MSDN subscribers or students have had access to it for a while now.

nub said,

RTM has been out for MONTHS. MSDN subscribers or students have had access to it for a while now.

Looks like I was lucky. His keyboard is duplicating everything. Weird.

StevenJ said,
HOW CAN THEY ASSESS SOMETHING THAT ISNT RELEASED YET -____-

It was clearly the Release Preview or lower. The icons weren't bigger than their names.

I definitely agree. If that was iCrap, he'll be all over it training his 1899 father in the process too. There's a learning curve to anything in live. Car, phone, house, work. The goddamn button is there to shutdown. They just have to find it.

QuadForce said,
Chris Pirillo is a shill and a douche.

QuadForce said,
Chris Pirillo is a shill and a douche.

Again, don't show anyone the first run tutorial of how the hot corners work. Just sit there and watch them struggle.

the_gank said,
I definitely agree. If that was iCrap, he'll be all over it training his 1899 father in the process too. There's a learning curve to anything in live. Car, phone, house, work. The goddamn button is there to shutdown. They just have to find it.

"They Just have to find it"

siah1214 said,
Again, don't show anyone the first run tutorial of how the hot corners work. Just sit there and watch them struggle.

It's the same with Vista and Win7 - if people aren't familiar with computers then they aren't going to have a clue. You could produce exactly the same video by putting an average Windows user in front of OSX.

Clueless people like the 'Windows 8 Dad' are just as hopeless understanding remote controls and web browsers.

QuadForce said,
Chris Pirillo is a shill and a douche.

I don't like calling someone a douche, but in this case I will have to agree. Look at timestap 0.58, look at the way he shakes his, agreeing and leading the user to believe that it is more of a smartphone. You do an interview, you should be subjective.

If he is a geek, and he knows how to shutdown Windows, then why not use that knowledge to help out people. Arrogance runs rampant with this guy.

siah1214 said,

Again, don't show anyone the first run tutorial of how the hot corners work. Just sit there and watch them struggle.

Is there a tutorial? I didn't get anything when I installed Win8 RTM.

siah1214 said,

Again, don't show anyone the first run tutorial of how the hot corners work. Just sit there and watch them struggle.

Is there a tutorial? I didn't see anything when I installed Win8 RTM.

nub said,

Is there a tutorial? I didn't get anything when I installed Win8 RTM.

RTM has one but it's extremely brief. I think a longer video with resources would be good to show people and say "keep showing until I get annoyed and turn this feature off".

QuadForce said,
Chris Pirillo is a shill and a douche.

I agree. That video is a 100% manipulated biased video. His other videos I hate also.

I really hated Windows 8 at first, but it took me a long time and finally I'm just getting used to it now.

QuadForce said,
Chris Pirillo is a shill and a douche.

Yeah sure, keep denying it people.
Here you have a technie objectively asking your average person to use windows 8. If his results are not enough to predict how win8 will be received, I don't know what is. If win8 flops I will certainly be the first to tell you all "I told you so."

I was about to say that while competition is a good thing, I didn't think there was a need for another start menu. Then I saw the screenshot and thought, "actually, I quite like the look of that."

Intrinsica said,
I was about to say that while competition is a good thing, I didn't think there was a need for another start menu. Then I saw the screenshot and thought, "actually, I quite like the look of that."

I think it actually looks cool. They did the right thing and tried to make something unique and different. It really stands out from the cloud.

I'm glad they did try to take a different path than just replicating the classic menu. Of course there are ways to make Start better.

That video has nothing to do with the topic. Pirillo, ugh.

Intrinsica said,
I was about to say that while competition is a good thing, I didn't think there was a need for another start menu. Then I saw the screenshot and thought, "actually, I quite like the look of that."

ditto.

Dashel said,
That video has nothing to do with the topic. Pirillo, ugh.

The makers of this poor Start Menu got Pirillo to make this video for them. So it has everything to do with the topic.

Just for this clearly biased video with that massive A-hole in it i think people should stay away from this junk software and company.