It has been a while since I last penned down some thoughts on stuff. Been pretty busy with work and still in the midst of achieving some work-life balance.
Considering a new laptop purchase.
Alright, back to business. I've been thinking of purchasing a new laptop to replaced my current one and I find myself holding back. And that's right, its because of Windows.
Let's talk Windows 8: buying a new laptop for the family
My dad bought a new Lenovo touchscreen laptop and it running Windows 8. It has a beautiful metro system with little apps all around that my dad can just touch to activate them. Its all good is it not? Well, not exactly ...
The first hurdle my dad faced is that Windows requires him to have a Microsoft (email) account so that all information can be synced online. This feature is good but it shouldn't have been compulsory and there should be a clear option to skip the process. My dad was stumped because this feature was not present on windows 95, windows 2000, windows millennium edition, windows XP or windows 7. Compounded by the new User Interface (UI), it is rather confusing and intimidating for someone who is not the most IT literate.
Windows 8 prides itself on the new metro user interface. It essentially allows Microsoft to (somewhat) merge or bridge the differences between the operating system on their Windows Phone and the Desktop systems. Great idea. But, is it good for the consumers. Loyal users of Microsoft's windows from the windows 3.1 era for example would suddenly find the disappearance of the 'boot up to desktop' alarming. Windows used to be an excellent system for users to manage their files, folders and access critical systems and / or softwares quickly and efficiently. In addition, the Metro system uses 'apps'. Sounds like a similar system to 'Apple'. Similarities? Works great on a tablet but not as much on a desktop PC. If you have a touch screen PC you can just touch and activate the apps that you want to access on the screen and it works like a phone / tablet. But it is pretty inefficient to navigate when you are using a mouse and keyboard. You find that the large icons are a problem because your screen can only displace limited number of applications and you have to 'scroll and scroll' to reach more apps. Problem!
Another issue i have with the metro system is that the 'shutdown' button is not obvious. In Windows 7, we used to be able to find the button on the 'start' menu. But the elimination / disappearance of the aforementioned button means that it is much less instinctive to the old timers of Windows to turn off their PC. Problem!
Start Button elimination / disappearance
Another nuance would be of course the disappearance of the 'start button'. In the subsequent updates to Windows 8, Microsoft essentially gave in to its users and added in a 'start button'. Why you say do I put the apostrophe marks? Its because it is STILL not the same as a start button. Click on it and it brings you back to the 'Metro UI'. Essentially Microsoft is saying that you (the traditional desktop user) should (change your mindset) access your stuff on a PC like a Phone / Tablet via the UI.
I am not sure what else I can say about it. Bottom line, it is not as user friendly to a windows user who has been using the OS for a really long time. And this change can be intimidating to users particularly those who are less IT literate and the impact translates into less earnings for Microsoft as companies are less likely to transition to Windows 8.
Rumors of Windows 9 started flooding the internet almost as soon as Windows 8 as determined to be 'a problem'. Everyone essentially hoped Microsoft would patch it up or introduce a new Windows 9 for the desktop. However, till today, the information regarding 'alpha' versions of Windows 9 on the internet has yet to be proven to any extent. There has been talk about Windows putting the 'Start Button' back in and making it more like Windows 7 but Learner and more Efficient. Sounds really good.
But bottom line: As of Feb 2014, Microsoft is still releasing updates / patches to Windows 8. And it remains my personal view that the next version of Windows (Windows 9 ) is unlikely to be sold until 2015 at the earliest.
Still loving this version of Windows. All my applications runs well with it. E.g. Steam, video encoding / recording software and many others. And from the forums I've perused, users still love it.
Windows 7 vs Windows 8 vs Windows 9
There is no doubt in my mind that Windows 7 is still the best for myself and old timers who have been using Windows for years. True that Windows 8 is much leaner and efficient as compared to Windows 7 but the User Interface is a sticking point for me and if it impacts my productivity by making me search for buttons or 'relearn' the UI then its not something that I want. A UI / OS should be made easy for me and not the other way round. Some people may claim that we should "learn to play" or learn the new OS because its gonna stick but I hold a different view. Products should cater to consumers and no the other way round.
Windows 9 is something that I am definitely looking forward to. If its as lean and efficient as Windows 8 but looks like the Windows 7. I am all for it.
That's all from me for now.