Friday, November 30, 2012

Windows 8 Road Test

I have Windows 8 installed in two locations, on my "lab" box at work, which is standard monitor/mouse/keyboard and on my Lenovo W510 laptop at home, which has a two-point touch screen.

Now, don't get me wrong, I used Windows 8 back when it was in it's Release Candidate days. I have an out of the box install as a Windows-To-Go stick that I played with from time to time.  But I really didn't get down and dirty with it until I started using it as my main machine at home and have it in front of me all day at the office.

My "first" impressions?

It's bigger. Visually bigger. Fluffy even. The tiles are great, I don't mind that as my start screen. But the resolution on everything just seems big, even though I have it set to highest possible. The built-in mail application. The calendar.  My contact list.  I might be getting older, but I'm not THAT old yet. My vision is still hanging on, I swear. I just like to have more of my data visible. (And in a smaller font so that the people in the next cube can't read what I'm typing.)

I don't mind not having touch screen capabilities on my full sized monitor.  While I occasionally find myself about to tap the screen, I'm happy with the way the mouse and keyboard work.  I find myself using the keyboard to bring up menu options and to get back to the Start page quickly.

I'm annoyed that the "Messenging" application can't connect to gChat, or any commonly used instant messaging service for that matter.  And the mail application is pretty bare bones, to put it nicely.

I miss having multiple applications "open" at the same time, unless I'm using the Desktop. I know they are running in the background, but sometimes its feels like they aren't really there unless I can see them. Now only having one application active on your screen could be handy when you are trying to concentrate on that ONE thing, but when the computer is just there in the background with Rowi (for Twitter) going and IM+ (for connecting to Yahoo! and gChat) and my personal email, I feel like I want to see them all.

Right now, Windows 8 makes me wish I had a Surface or a laptop that converts to a tablet format, since I feel like it's better for a device that's more "private" than a desktop monitor.  I'd love some kind of feature or setting you could change that would make better use of the real estate provided by a regular monitor.

Meanwhile, I'll stick with it - I know there's more to love as I use it more and more.

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