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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My First Look At Windows 8.1

I'm not sure if I mentioned it already or not, but I work as an unofficial IT for my company until they find a replacement so they asked me about getting some replacement computers. Most of our work has been used to using desktop computers with outdated hardware and Windows XP with Windows 7 installed on a few machines. We only had one Windows 8 computer and it was a desktop without a touch screen and I've got to say that it really turned me off to Windows 8.

I've said it since day one that Microsoft is stupid for making only one universal version of Windows 8.

Not all Windows 8 computers or machines upgrading are touch screens, so there should have been a non-touch friendly version made. What do I mean by that?

Microsoft decided to remove the classic Start menu which is understandable considering that the Metro bar thingy does a good job replacing it...FOR TOUCH SCREENS. Try navigating that thing with a mouse cursor and see how annoying it is. Also try using it for the lock screen. It was clearly intended for touch screens and not a non-touch screen. Microsoft should have released a version or at least some options to accommodate those of us without touch screens.

Enough of ranting though...my boss decided to get Microsoft Surface tablets then changed his mind seeing as how they don't have good keyboards, are expensive, and don't allow a full, true Windows experience (running .exe files). So he went with an Asus Transformer tablet. This is the model that can be used a tablet or connected to a keyboard.

I've got to say that the look and feel is really nice. It's a bit small and I miss the CD drive, but I can get used to it.

Windows 8.1 is much better with the Start button added to the side, although it's not complete as I still miss the complete Start menu. This is simply a button that takes you to the Metro bar.

With a touch screen, Windows 8 is nice to navigate through. It feels more futuristic than Windows 7, like it is a true successor. It takes some getting used to, but is better than I originally had used.

In Windows 8.2 or Windows 9, Microsoft should really consider accommodating non-touch devices. It will be a while before touch screens are standard on every device, but for now, they should be mindful of those of us, especially businesses, who don't have the resources for expensive items.

I do appreciate the difference in price. Windows is much more reasonably priced and there are no more multiple versions. Either you have Pro or you don't. And it only costs $99 which is much more reasonable than hundreds of dollars for a few more options. I have to applaud Microsoft for this.

Would I buy one of these computers? Eh...not sure. I feel like I still need a Windows 7 computer, maybe a desktop or a full size laptop running Windows 7.

I like that there is an app store which is one of the pluses of Linux distros. It is very good for netbooks like this that do not have a CD drive so that they can get their much needed apps. Hopefully Microsoft doesn't leave Windows 8 app store users in the dust like they did with Zune though. We were left with 13 app options and promised more but were never delivered. Depending on what policing Microsoft does could also affect the performance of the app store. Microsoft needs to find the right balance and be more like Google is on their Google Play Store for Android devices and less like Apple is for iOS. Apple can be strict because they have seniority while Google and Microsoft are newer and can't be as restrictive to both developers and users.

For me, my Windows computer needs to do everything that a computer is meant to do like download and use programs. If it can't do that, I don't want it.

My boss seems to be giving me an option whether I'd like one of these netbooks or stick with my Windows XP desktop. I may stick to XP just because this keyboard won't do it for me at work. I type 70 wpm but not on a small keyboard or touch screen like this. Although, the touch keyboard is nice. Not nice enough to write an entire novel, but good enough for simple searches or writing a status or two on a social network.

Windows 8.1 on a touch device is much better than what I had originally used, but it still needs work. Microsoft has a habit of doing this by creating a great OS then making a shotty one, then making one that the users like, so this may be their moving in the right direction.

I'd like to know the compatibility too. I remember Notch of Minecraft, Valve, and other developers stating that they had no intention of developing for Windows 8, but not sure if this has changed yet.

What do you think of Windows 8.1 or 8 in general?

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