Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Long story short I’m now a slightly disgruntled consumer after my first hour or so with Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Here comes the long story for those that are interested.

First the Metro UI. Does it look nice? Yes. Does it work nice? No. First, Microsoft, why the hell would you think you can pull off one UI for two types of input that couldn’t possibly be more different? Metro is designed for touch interfaces not keyboard and mouse. I could re-hash those issues but they are addressed else where on the Internet.

The second big thing is the backwards compatibility. WHY!? WHY Microsoft won’t you cut the GD cord!? Apple successfully wiped the slate with OS X and survived just fine. Asking your user base to get with the times isn’t a crime. In fact not doing it is holding things back. Now we have another slightly fatter OS and one that despite all it’s speed improvements is using a lot of code that frankly doesn’t need to be there. The result is that the only true pure version of Windows 8 will be the one’s based on ARM that have had all the backwards compatability cruft striped out of it. Turns out that’s the same version that will be able to run on phone and tablet hardware. Imagine an x86 version of Win8 that’s 1/4 the size on disk and even faster than it all ready is!

Finally Microsoft, at least in this preview, has given the massive middle finger to netbooks. One of the machines I tried it on is a netbook with the typical netbook resolution of 1024×600 and every native Windows 8 application threw the error that the screen resolution is not supported. This included of all crazy things Internet Explorer!? As it turns out this must be some thing controlled through the Metro UI because if I went to the Desktop and ran IE from there it worked fine. Even though companies are jumping off the netbook bandwagon like it’s on fire that doesn’t mean there isn’t a massive install base of netbooks so why put out such a large swatch of consumers?

Ultimately the uneven nature of the UI implementation, the cruft due to the insane need to be backwards compatible with 10+ year old software and the poor hardware support do not result in much enthusiasm from this geek. May be when the ARM based touch screen enabled ultrabooks come around Windows 8 might be seen as a winner.

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