Windows 8 - Unintuitivity at its best


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phailyoor

So, just because WinRT bypasses the desktop, it's bad? The Start Menu was killed off and re-written because Metro apps had no way of interacting with Metro Apps.

Yes, it does, because metro fails at providing a good computing experience to people with mice, and also people who need more than 2 programs open at once.

I have seen no difference in OneNote MX from the way I used the desktop OneNote.

Well, you only use the most common features of oneNote. There are people who use the other onenote features that are only available on desktop.

Sounds good... But where are the Win32 developers? Last I checked, they jumped to mobile platforms. When's the last time Win32 got a killer app that used up to date APIs, and took advantage of new Windows features?

You can look at just about every AAA PC game. There's also this thing called Office. Oh, and this other thing called Visual Studio. I also have this program that lets me download files called utorrent. I have another program that let's me play videos called MPC-HC. These are all Windows exclusive programs, and though cross platform alternatives exist, they're inferior.

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code65536

Sounds good... But where are the Win32 developers? Last I checked, they jumped to mobile platforms. When's the last time Win32 got a killer app that used up to date APIs, and took advantage of new Windows features?

For big, complex programs, refer back to my "mature market" argument: http://imgs.xkcd.com...est_growing.png (i.e., there's money to be made in mobile because these things don't exist in mobile)

For things that are inherently better with touch or mobility (e.g., something to use out in the field), again, mature vs. young market.

For small programs, like a Twitter, Facebook, and little stuff that often get relegated to running in the browser, it's because there's an actual need for them in the mobile world. Take, for example, a movie ticket app. On the desktop, with a screen larger than your palm, a keyboard and mouse, it's pretty easy to find movies, read reviews, and buy tickets straight from the browser. Now try doing that with a smartphone's browser...

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VivM
Sounds good... But where are the Win32 developers? Last I checked, they jumped to mobile platforms. When's the last time Win32 got a killer app that used up to date APIs, and took advantage of new Windows features?

So, go outside. Look at your neighbourhood road. When is the last time the road got a 'killer app'? Gasoline-powered rubber-tired vehicles have been around for a hundred years. Same with bicycles. Nobody has been able to figure out a new killer app for asphalt-covered roads for a hundred years, doesn't mean that a) they're not still useful, b) people shouldn't develop improvements in asphalt road technology, and c) the existing apps (i.e. cars and trucks) can't be improved on.

As I said earlier, most of the main productivity apps are somewhere between version 13-20 by now. If something could be done better using a keyboard-mouse operating system, somebody wrote software to do that thing starting in the mid-late 1980s, if not earlier, and that software is still around, in release 13 or 17 or whatever, today, supporting Win32 and maybe Mac OS X.

Interestingly, the newest class of productivity applications are probably fancy web development tools like Dreamweaver, Visual Studio, etc. Things that were invented in the late-1990s as web content got more complex. Last I checked, they're written in Win32/Mac OS X for a keyboard-mouse OS.

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trek

I can tell you exactly what I use. I maintain my notebooks using both OneNote and Evernote (which both have Metro apps), I can e-mail professors and students easily in Metro, I can make appointments in Calendar, leave myself quick notes in Quick Note, and upload to SkyDrive anything I need to. Again, in Metro.

I find it funny that everything you listed there in your common tasks can be accomplished in the web browser - an inherently media-consumption oriented paradigm. Exactly what metro is. Content generation still requires the desktop, keyboard, and mouse. Perfect example.

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The Rev

I think the title of the topic is full of "Unintuitivity." Not a word, by the way.... Oh, and as far as Win8.... Meh... every new Windows OS has its idiosyncrasies... Hell, Windows XP was hated for a while after IT came out.... Now 10 yrs later, people still won't give it up for 7 or 8... LOL...

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Dot Matrix

Yes, it does, because metro fails at providing a good computing experience to people with mice, and also people who need more than 2 programs open at once.

Well, you only use the most common features of oneNote. There are people who use the other onenote features that are only available on desktop.

You can look at just about every AAA PC game. There's also this thing called Office. Oh, and this other thing called Visual Studio. I also have this program that lets me download files called utorrent. I have another program that let's me play videos called MPC-HC. These are all Windows exclusive programs, and though cross platform alternatives exist, they're inferior.

Win32 also started out basic and relatively featureless, Metro starting out the same way isn't all that surprising.

Also, those apps you listed are all Microsoft apps, so it's to be expected. I'm talking third party.

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VivM

Another thought about the killer app thing. A few days/weeks ago, IBM launched a new generation of mainframes. Which, like every generation before them, maintain full compatibility going back to S/360 in 1964.

Nobody has been able to come up with a new killer app for mainframes in... 30?.. years? Hell, maybe since SABRE was invented in the mid-1950s. Doesn't mean there isn't still a market for mainframes. Try telling an IT guy at a bank that he should replace his IBM mainframes with an iPad, he'll laugh his ass off.

(And interestingly, IBM couldn't manage to sell PC desktops/laptops, so sold that off to Lenovo, yet the mainframe business is thriving.)

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phailyoor

Also, those apps you listed are all Microsoft apps, so it's to be expected. I'm talking third party.

Two of them are MS apps. The rest are not.

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code65536

Win32 also started out basic and relatively featureless, Metro starting out the same way isn't all that surprising.

First, I'm going to quote something that I wrote earlier: There are some fundamental UI paradigms in Metro (*cough* ****-poor multitasking *cough*) and technical restrictions in Metro (severe restrictions of functionality that prevent things like Webkit of Gecko from working in Metro and that forces Google and Mozilla to use IE's backend and rendering engine with only superficial frontend changes if they ever want to dabble in Metro browsing) that make it quite impossible for certain "serious" (wait, web browsing is now considered "serious"?) applications to exist in Metroland.

Second, yes, the App market will eventually fill up with apps, like like the iOS market and the Android market. But you don't see a full-featured word processor on Android or iOS. Or an IDE. Or a CAD. Or a PhotoShop. Etc. So why would you expect that those types of desktop-class apps will start showing up in the Metro market? Look, Metro is Metro. It's for touch, mobile, and single-tasking. You're not going to get desktop-class ergonomics and productivity or multitasking on Metro. And you know what, I'm cool with that. I'm perfectly okay with Metro being a tablet/touch OS. What I am not okay with is polluting this desktop world with these paradigms that don't belong (and will never belong) on the desktop.

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VivM
Win32 also started out basic and relatively featureless, Metro starting out the same way isn't all that surprising.

What's the first version of keyboard/mouse applications you've used?

First version of MS Excel I used was 1.0 on a Mac. First version of MS Word I used was 4.0, also for Mac. (Then switched to Windows lateish with Office 4.2, which was the last version before the move to Win32. Ahhh, the days of DOS/Win3.1...)

Both are now ~25-30 years old now, but were extremely functional. Sure, I like Excel 14 a lot more than Excel 1, but Excel 1 on a one-year-old platform let you do serious work.

In fact, these applications were all very featured many years before moving to Win32...

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Dot Matrix

What I am not okay with is polluting this desktop world with these paradigms that don't belong (and will never belong) on the desktop.

Where's the harm in having them there? If you don't want to use them, don't. Why are you afraid of others using them? They are still quite beneficial to desktop users.

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code65536

My problem is that we in the desktop world have things that we need to do and accomplish in the desktop world. And if Microsoft wants to pursue touch and Metro, sure, go ahead, I might even get a tablet and like Metro on a tablet.

What I don't like is when Microsoft deprecates and degrades the desktop experience by forcibly infecting it with things that belong in the world of touch, not the world of traditional desktop computing. And then the Metro apologists on this forum and others prattle on about how this invasion of the desktop by a non-desktop OS is actually good for us backwards desktop users because Metro is so awesome for checking the weather or reading the news or flinging about upset avians. Which is both insulting and completely misses the point. Just because I use my touchscreen phone for my calendar all the time doesn't mean that I will ever consider it a good idea to write code using my phone.

I want the desktop and Metro to be equals in the Windows world. That is, that I can use Metro without desktop showing its face, and that I can use desktop without Metro showing its face, and that I am given a choice between the two. I also want assurances from Microsoft that they are still committed to the desktop for future releases of Windows because, frankly, there are things that Metro will never be able to do, ever. Instead, Microsoft is sending these worrisome signals by forcing Metro onto the desktop, by restricting the desktop on ARM systems, and by hinting that they see Metro as the future. And by doing downright stupid (and jarring) things like have videos opened on the desktop go to Metro by default.

Where's the harm in having them there? If you don't want to use them, don't. Why are you afraid of others using them? They are still quite beneficial to desktop users.

As I've said time and time again (and again, and again), I'm okay with Metro there. I'm not okay with Metro being forcibly shoved down my throat (e.g., network connections, all those icky Metro-default file associations, the severe degradation of the usability of the autorun dialog now that it's been Metrified, etc.). And I'm downright angered by the desktop-is-an-inferior-second-class-citizen attitude that Microsoft (and its apologists) adopt.

Choice is when I can choose desktop and never see Metro or choose Metro and never see desktop. What we have with RTM is not choice; it's a clusterf*ck.

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phailyoor

Where's the harm in having them there? If you don't want to use them, don't. Why are you afraid of others using them? They are still quite beneficial to desktop users.

You can't use the OS without using Metro. Oh, I want to add a user... I want to change some network stuff.... It's not an optimal experience.

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VivM

You can't use the OS without using Metro. Oh, I want to add a user... I want to change some network stuff.... It's not an optimal experience.

And the autorun dialog!

In XP/Vista/7, when you plug in a flash drive, say, you get a dialog that pops up asking what you want to do. You can ignore that dialog for a few minutes, leave it sitting there in the background.

In 8, it's metrified. No more buttons. If you click outside this dialog, then... boom, it goes away. No way to ignore it for a few minutes.

And I'm sure there are plenty of other examples. Every once in a while, you're minding your own business in the 'Desktop', and boom, some metrified thing hits you in the face.

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code65536

You can't use the OS without using Metro. Oh, I want to add a user... I want to change some network stuff.... It's not an optimal experience.

I do my user management old-school from the Computer Management interface now (I still use local accounts because that works much better with connecting to my myriad of other computers using SMB, and I can always manually associate individual apps to my Live accounts, even different Live accounts for different apps). In part to escape the Metro way of doing it, but also to escape that obnoxious you-must-provide-a-hint password silliness.

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phailyoor

I do my user management old-school from the Computer Management interface now (I still use local accounts because that works much better with connecting to my myriad of other computers using SMB, and I can always manually associate individual apps to my Live accounts, even different Live accounts for different apps).??In part to escape the Metro way of doing it, but also to escape that obnoxious you-must-provide-a-hint password silliness.

I never knew you could do that. I always just put a dot as as my password hint because I had to have one.

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cacoe

The best password hints are the ones which are totally off the point.

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Dashel

I find it funny that everything you listed there in your common tasks can be accomplished in the web browser - an inherently media-consumption oriented paradigm. Exactly what metro is. Content generation still requires the desktop, keyboard, and mouse. Perfect example.

Exactly. Someone who can't tell the difference between Metro and 'proper' OneNote obviously missed the web approach and has about zero credibility when it comes to more advanced apps. Hell, he himself is using the Outlook.com links over the included apps in many cases, as are the rest of us.

I hate the way the notifications on the desktop go poof too. Messenger is worthless because of this. I also hate that it doesn't automatically change the file association if you click the I want to use a different app button. Sometimes it holds, other times it doesn't. Which is another round of teleportation sickness.

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code65536

The best password hints are the ones which are totally off the point.

I know, I could just type a period or "No hint for you!" as the hint. Or even something completely wrong. But it's the principle of the matter, really. The forced password hint is the OS mothering me and saying, "I don't trust you to remember this stuff." It's patronizing for someone who's been using computers for 20 years. So I find a way to avoid it if possible. And many of my security questions, if I'm forced to have one and am allowed to choose my own question, are, "Calculate the hash of my password." That oughta nip any social engineering attacks in the bud and reading the answer over the phone won't reveal my password to anything. ;)
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.Neo

Developing functional apps takes time. He has to switch to Desktop in order to use Microsoft Office because there isn't currently a "Metro" version of Microsoft Office. I'm pretty confident one of the reasons for that is because they haven't had time to create a "Metro" version of Microsoft Office that is either just as functional as the Desktop version or nearly as functional as it, and I can think of a few reasons as to why they would have decided against releasing a much-less-functional version.

I don't think you can reasonably slam the new experience for being "less functional," in terms of what developers are capable of producing, until developers have had time to develop versions of their apps that are just as functional as the current Desktop versions. It's possible that Photoshop could be created for the new experience, but many people are assuming that is impossible. I say, wait and see exactly how powerful the new platform could be for developers to develop functional and useful productivity apps. I may be wrong, but I feel it's wrong to assume when none of us know for sure.

The main problem with that theory being that apparently the desktop is here to stay for the years to come which doesn't exactly motivate developers to switch. On top of that you have legacy Windows versions that are being kept alive longer than brain dead patients in an American hospital. Companies like Adobe have proofed time and time again they're not going to rewrite their software unless someone puts a gun to their heads. Keeping the desktop as a major part of Windows isn't the way to that. So color me incredibly skeptical when it comes to major apps being rewritten for Metro anytime soon.

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VivM

The main problem with that theory being that apparently the desktop is here to stay for the years to come which doesn't motivate developers to switch. Companies like Adobe have proofed time and time again they're not going to rewrite their software unless someone puts a gun to their heads. Keeping the desktop alive isn't the way to that. So color me incredibly skeptical when it comes to major apps being rewritten for Metro anytime soon.

And what gun can be put to Adobe's head? If MS decides to kill Win32/desktop in Windows 9, the reality is that none of Adobe's customers will buy Win9. Adobe will keep making desktop/Win32 apps for Win7, business customers will keep buying Win7, and Steve Ballmer and Steve Sinofsky will look at each other and wonder how is it that Vista was a stunning success compared to their 'modern' Win9.

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.Neo

And what gun can be put to Adobe's head?

Apple declared Mac OS 9 dead about a year after OS X' release. Classic app support was part of OS X, but only though the means of emulation (similar to Windows XP mode in Windows 7 appearance-wise). This meant hardly any integration between Classic apps and OS X whatsoever, plus a noticeable performance hit. They also came up with Carbon which allowed apps to be ported over more easily from Mac OS 9 to OS X. The company also actively helped developers. A native Microsoft Office version for OS X was released after about half a year. The first native Adobe Photoshop version after about a year.

Over 90% of all PCs world-wide run Microsoft Windows. I'd say Microsoft has more than enough leverage. Instead of letting the desktop linger indefinitely they could set a clear deadline: Be sure that by 2014 your apps will be Metro.

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code65536

Apple declared Mac OS 9 dead about a year after OS X' release. Classic app support was part of OS X, but only though the means of emulation (similar to Windows XP mode in Windows 7 appearance-wise). This meant hardly any integration between Classic apps and OS X whatsoever, plus a noticeable performance hit. They also came up with Carbon which allowed apps to be ported over more easily from Mac OS 9 to OS X. A native Microsoft Office version for OS X was released after about half a year. The first native Adobe Photoshop version after about a year.

Over 90% of all PCs world-wide run Microsoft Windows. I'd say Microsoft has more than enough leverage.

People upgraded from Classic 9 to OS X. If Microsoft was suicidal enough to kill the desktop in W9, people will not upgrade to W9. Ask Vista how well that leverage thing worked out...
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phailyoor

Apple declared Mac OS 9 dead about a year after OS X' release. Classic app support was part of OS X, but only though the means of emulation (similar to Windows XP mode in Windows 7 appearance-wise). This meant hardly any integration between Classic apps and OS X whatsoever, plus a noticeable performance hit. They also came up with Carbon which allowed apps to be ported over more easily from Mac OS 9 to OS X. A native Microsoft Office version for OS X was released after about half a year. The first native Adobe Photoshop version after about a year.

Over 90% of all PCs world-wide run Microsoft Windows. I'd say Microsoft has more than enough leverage.

That's because macs are generally kept up to date a lot better than win7. OSX lion already has most of teh mac market share, while win7 barely beats XP. Also, OSX added features and functionality, rather than taking them away.

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.Neo

People upgraded from Classic 9 to OS X.

Where are you getting that from? People were forced to upgrade to OS X when they bought a new Mac. Within two years not a single new Mac could natively boot Mac OS 9 anymore and the system became next to irrelevant.

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