The series of releases of client versions of Microsoft Windows seems to suffer all too much the same fate as Star Trek movies have in the past. This concept has already been discussed before, and there are even blog posts about it, such as Ewan Spence’s comparison of Windows releases between versions 3.0 and Windows 7 to the Star Trek movies from “The Motion Picture” to “First Contact”. Windows 7 did indeed end up being a very impressive version of Windows, much like First Contact was a very impressive movie in the Star Trek franchise, and now we’re watching with anticipation since Windows 8 Consumer Preview is now available and Microsoft is marching steadfast towards its release.
Following the analogy that Windows releases are like Star Trek movie releases then, and that the success of Windows 7 was analogous to that of Star Trek: First Contact, it would seem that next two releases of Windows should be pretty much flops. Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek: Nemesis were both pretty forgettable films, offering very little to get excited about. Maybe Microsoft has picked up on these intertwined fates, inspiring them to try to skip over these failures by fast forwarding to the very successful “reboot” of the Star Trek movie franchise by picking coming out with what they call a “reimagined” Windows. Did they succeed in making this jump? Is Windows 8 a truly inspiring, innovative, reimagining of the Windows OS?
Only time will tell what the outcome will be. First impressions really count though. Today, based on experiences with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Windows 8 appears as if it will show off very well on a tablet device, where the new UI makes more sense. For business users like me though that rely heavily on their keyboard and mouse to get work done, I’m really afraid that they’ve gone and hidden all of the great features it includes behind a completely different UI paradigm that just doesn’t jive with the needs of a business worker. It may work well for casual computing at home, but so far it looks to me like businesses might want to consider skipping this one for their non-touch devices like laptops and desktops, at least until they can reconfigure it more like Windows 7 by removing the whimsical metro UI elements such as tiles, charms and “magic” corners.
What do you think? Is the reimagined Windows living up to your expectations? Do you think the new metro UI has a place in business computing? Or do you wish you had your start menu back?
I’m curious if I’m alone in my perspective or not. My gut tells me I’m not going to be alone in this perspective. Sound off in the comments and let me know what you think.
4 thoughts on “Windows 8…reimagined?”
I think once people stop playing with Win8 and start using Win8 that it won’t feel so different. I use Win8 the exact same way I use Win7. I have my desktop icons and my pinned items in the task bar. Day to day use does not involve the start menu much at all. I think I just went 3 days straight without opening it up. And when I do open it, it has exactly what I need.
I saw a building windows 8 blog post a while back explaining the start menu and how it offers better usability. Now that I understand it, I literally deleted all but 6 items. After adding the programs I care about, I have about 15 things on my start menu. Those 15 things are so much easier to select than they would have been on the Win7/XP start menu.
From what I see with Win8, I would happily deploy it alongside my Win7 computers. I doubt we would ever use any Metro apps. Once you take Metro off the table and adjust to the start menu, the way you use the rest of windows feels very much like Windows 7.
Sometimes you need those bad releases to make to good ones so good. I give Vista credit for a lot of Windows 7’s success. I don’t think this is a bad release. The great thing about Win8 is that I forget that I am actually using Win8.
Thanks for sharing your experience Kevin. Good points, and I see we agree on some of them. The usefulness of Metro apps remains to be seen for desktop/laptop business use. I don’t like how this release breaks my work habits so far. In Windows 7, I pin things I use most often, so that carries over just fine, but for the items I use less often I just open the start menu and type in the search text and let it bring the item I want to me…I’m was still looking for something similar when I just found out how to do the same thing (clicking in the lower left corner to go to the metro UI and then typing in the name of the app I want works). The UI cues that used to indicate where you could type seem to be gone from many places, making the adjustment to the new release more difficult than it needs to be, and the whimsical look of the metro UI might be interesting at home but it’s not what I want/need at work right now.
For the past few years, I think it’s more of a “.0 version” problem with Windows.
Windows 95 – v4.0 – meh
Windows 98 – v4.1 – good
Windows ME – v4.9 – meh (exception)
Windows 2000 – v5.0 – not bad, some problems
Windows XP – v5.1 – good
Windows Vista – v6.0 – bad
Windows 7 – v6.1
Windows 8 will be v6.2. I think it will be okay once we’re all used to the new “candy” interface.
Maybe…right now I think it’s feeling more like a “.0 version” to me than a 6.2 version.