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Dad and Windows 8
March 14, 2012 12:51 AM   Subscribe

A guy videotapes his father trying out Windows 8 for the first time.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (127 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
So, Chris Pirillo is just "a guy" these days?
posted by BrandonW at 1:00 AM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


So, Chris Pirillo is just "a guy" these days?

Well, I have no idea who that is.
posted by alex_skazat at 1:10 AM on March 14, 2012 [30 favorites]


That shirt he's wearing would be more appropriate for trying out MS-DOS 2.1.

I have no idea who Chris Pirillo is so he's just "a guy" to me.
posted by three blind mice at 1:12 AM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's pretty much identical to the video of me using Unity for the first time.

I'm not sure if this is an actual issue with the Win8 UI, or if its just a necessary step in the move away from the Desktop metaphor towards something better. Either way, we have bumpy times ahead.
posted by zoo at 1:13 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


So how do you get back? I haven't tried 8 yet.
posted by dumbland at 1:22 AM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have no idea who that guy is either but he's extraordinarily irritating and smug. According to Google he "hosts videos" and founded a network of blogs... how delightful.
posted by Spacelegoman at 1:22 AM on March 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


How the nerdly fall!
posted by chavenet at 1:27 AM on March 14, 2012


Windows 8: Waiter, there's a tablet in my PC!
posted by wcfields at 1:28 AM on March 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Does anyone else really, really get the *very* strong impression that Chris Pirillo wrote his own Wikipedia page?
posted by sarastro at 1:42 AM on March 14, 2012 [13 favorites]


You know you're living in a Post-PC era when people tell you they're never heard of Lockergnome.
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:42 AM on March 14, 2012 [15 favorites]


Priceless. After minutes of increasing frustration trying to go back one step - from the startless desktop to the tiled opening screen:

"Who puts this out?"
"Microsoft."
"They trying to drive me to Mac?"
posted by Meatbomb at 1:59 AM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I gave W8 (W8 W8 don't tell me HAH) a try in a virtual machine.

Chris's dad is the tip of the iceberg. I've been using computers since 1977 -- I'm pretty handy with 'em. And I couldn't figure out how to do shit, for a disconcertingly long time.

The launch of Windows 8 isn't going to be titanic, it's going to be Titanic.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:04 AM on March 14, 2012 [19 favorites]


"If you can't make it good, at least make it look good." -- Bill Gates
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:04 AM on March 14, 2012


Does anyone else really, really get the *very* strong impression that Chris Pirillo wrote his own Wikipedia page?

A little bit, although it hasn't come up in the "Talk" section, which is where those suspicions tend to raise their heads. It seems his page has also, in the past, contained unwanted references to his personal life. Oh and this -

Death

Nothing seems to suggest that he's died. Any sources on it? Arfn24 (talk) 06:30, 9 July 2011 (UTC)


[edit]He's not dead...

http://twitter.com/ChrisPirillo/statuses/89581913152557056

Anthony Guidetti (talk) 06:30, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Yeah... seems to be only a few people making those edits. Arfn24 (talk) 06:33, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Neither is he an escaped criminal — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dwj7738 (talk • contribs) 06:54, 9 July 2011 (UTC)


- seems to suggest the page is an occasional target for vandalism.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:06 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Chris Pirillo

The guy from Soundgarden who took over from Jason Newstead?
posted by tumid dahlia at 2:09 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's a (long) video of him trying out Mac OS X. I found it pretty interesting watching a Mac novice try it out (even though he's familiar with iOS).
posted by panaceanot at 2:10 AM on March 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


...a necessary step in the move away from the Desktop metaphor...

Doesn't matter how much polish you use. It's still a turd.
posted by Goofyy at 2:10 AM on March 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Chris Pirillo? I think he's got a podcast or something. His Twitter account is dynamite.

Microsoft is trying to leverage their desktop monopoly one final time in order to kick start their "post-PC" platform, Metro. What better way to do that then to put their post-PC platform on everyone's PC? And why not double down and replace the iconic Start Menu with this post-PC platform?

Best case: everyone falls in love with Metro, buys all sorts of Metro apps, and then when it's time to get a smartphone or tablet, everyone will naturally choose Metro to continue running their favorite Metro apps.

Worst case: desktop users hate Metro because it replaced their Start Menu, hate Metro because it forces them to run Solitaire full screen on their 27" monitor, hate Metro simply because it's different, hate Windows 8 because it's no different that Windows 7, except for Metro. Overwhelming negative public opinion of Windows 8 overshadows any actually nice features Metro might have, and most people steer clear of Metro tablets and phones, regardless of whether they've actually used Windows 8.

Microsoft is particularly sensitive to the latter scenario. We saw it with Vista. We saw it with Zune.

The mass of Windows users are resistant to change, and the public loves to pile on Microsoft simply for being late to the party, fair or not. Can Microsoft avoid it this time? From what I've seen of Windows 8, I wouldn't bet on it.

It would be a shame, because Metro actually looks pretty compelling on a tablet. I don't think they need to leverage their desktop monopoly in order to make Metro a success, but it seems they're hell bent on doing just that.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 2:13 AM on March 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


So how do you get back? I haven't tried 8 yet.

You do this gesture motion from the side or something. I played with it one afternoon inside Virtual Box on my Mac and figured the mouse drivers weren't there for me to do gestures on my trackpad like I can on my Mac itself.

What wasn't intuitive to me was how when I'm clicking on an app on that Metro UI screen for say IE, it launches in a full screen mode. Which wouldn't be so bad except I couldn't find a way to get that menu bar File, Edit, View, etc at all. And when I figured out how to get the URL bar open, it was on the bottom. Some of the Windows UI elements that have been around since Windows 3.1 when I started using it, are just gone. I was able to install Chrome and pin it to the Metro UI and when it opens it opens like a normal app on the desktop.

The UI on Windows phones is cool. But to hide the desktop like they've done doesn't seem to be a good idea. It will probably be OK in Win8 tablets running x86 or ARM versions. But I couldn't imagine using it in a corporate setting. To me it looks like two things shoved together.

Unless there's a classic mode switch I'd stick with Win7 if I hadn't been drinking all this delicious Mac Kool-ade all these years.

And to make my parents use it should qualify as elder abuse.
posted by birdherder at 2:17 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


So the XP lifecycle started 08/01 and support will end 4/14. That comes to about 12.5 years of XP. Probably longer than MS wanted, but then they misjudged that ill begotten, runny, fecal matter of an OS that was Vista, so XP carried on.

Anyone hear how long the lifecycle is predicted for W7 in the face of W8 and into Metro?
posted by lampshade at 2:27 AM on March 14, 2012


Kinda funny how MS reacts to the rise of tablets by creating a tablet UI optimised frontend for PCs when the reigning King of All Tablets, Apple, have stated quite publicly that the desktop and tablet metaphor are very different and they have no desire to unify the two.
posted by PenDevil at 2:35 AM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dude... the way to do this is to get him stoned for the first time and then make him try Windows 8.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:37 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


In retrospect XP was probably the sweet spot for MickeySof operating systems: far enough along that most of the annoying bugs and ticks from earlier versions had been fixed, but still a clear evolution of a interface/OS philosophy users had been getting used to since at leat win95.

Vista is a turd, Win7 is marginally better but moves along the same direction as Vista wrt the interface (no up folder button in windows explorer! Everything's too big! No more classic Start Menu!) and both of them and I expect Win8 as well want to hide the user as much as possible from the raw realities of using a computer. So admin is as automated as possible and kept out of user control and if things go wrong, it's not easy to get hands on, as I found out when trying to look at why the flying fsck it refused to recognise my (cabled) internet connection.

I do worry about where OS interfaces are headed in the near future in general: I don't want a tablet like interface on a proper computer; it was bad enough having it on a tablet. I want to have the choice to cut out all the bling and handholding and go back to basics, rather than have the os decide what's best for me.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:48 AM on March 14, 2012 [10 favorites]


...a necessary step in the move away from the Desktop metaphor...

Hell, we can't even get past the videotape metaphor.
posted by LordSludge at 3:07 AM on March 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


"So how do you get back? I haven't tried 8 yet."

You can just go to the corners they are "hot spots"

I find the comparison with mac osx to be a bit disengenuous, if he had asked his dad to "go to the internet" like he did in os x he would have no problem in windows.

That said I haven't used windows 8 and I'm still running xp at least in parallels on my macbook so my opinions aren't completely valid.
posted by sourbrew at 3:37 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Direct link to the YT clip

Smart Dalek: You know you're living in a Post-PC era when people tell you they're never heard of Lockergnome.

But have you seen the site recently? It's a network now, "a network of blogs, web forums, mailing lists, and online communities" (per Pirillo's current wiki page). And the top story at Lockergnome.com is why you should consider buying a Toyota Prius. What the what? I remember when it was just a website and mail list that talked about neat new Windows shareware apps. Sure, most of the articles on the site are still about computers, but many on the front page are about iPhone apps or the iPad.

Clearly, I'm behind the times.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:42 AM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not entirely relevant, but HOLY SHIT does that interface look dumb.
posted by ShutterBun at 3:46 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was glad i tried it in a vm as i could search for how to do things. It looks like something that only the developers have used and they are already aware of the actions.

When you find the drag down action ( how that is not made more noticeable visually or aurally is beyond me. ) you are then left holding the little screen version with no further idea what to do. How about a visual clue/arrow/shading/anything to indicate what directional movements do.

As a visually impaired person i was excited at the simplification away from windows etc but when you turn on narrator it jumps out of Metro . I am guessing that none of the other current 3rd party VI tools will work with it.

Frustrating but grudging admiration for the hell of it attitude in making the tough change.
posted by stuartmm at 3:51 AM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Back in the way back early 80's, when I was a young and brash hacker, I'd never have foreseen that I would, in fact, find somebody like Pirillo's dad scaring me off an OS. I'm so depressed I can hardly go chase those kids off my lawn.
posted by theplotchickens at 4:11 AM on March 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


...a necessary step in the move away from the Desktop metaphor...

And this necessary new metaphor is what? The tablet/magazine metaphor? The one that is meant for low-power (and performance) portable touchscreen systems that no one uses for real work? You know, that realm of desktop computing where we have lots of ugly windows containing word processing/spreadsheets/code windows open at once.

So this big, powerful PC I bought has now been reduced to a facebook status update appliance in the eyes of Microsoft. But if I wanted one of those things, I'd get the sexy iPad that works really well at doing nothing of use for long periods of time without a charge, not some clunky, experimental PC contraption...
posted by hellslinger at 4:18 AM on March 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


Does anyone else really, really get the *very* strong impression that Chris Pirillo wrote his own Wikipedia page?
If so, this section distils everything—the pedantry, the casual narcissism, the horribly distorted priorities—that make people hate geek culture:
He currently lives in Seattle, Washington[4] with his two dogs, Wicket and Pixie, and wife, Diana. The dogs after whom are the names of the bots on his IRC chatroom, which he started up in 2007 on the WyldRyde IRC Network, and ended up switching to GeekShed in October, 2009.[5]

Yes, Chris. We care deeply about the historical circumstances implicated in the naming of your two dogs. This is also clearly the perfect place to (ungrammatically) discuss your chatroom hosting issues. And I really love the classiness involved in the offhand reference to a "wife," right at the tail-end of that sentence. Does she sleep outside, too?
posted by Sonny Jim at 4:18 AM on March 14, 2012 [20 favorites]


Yeah, I have no idea who Chris Pirillo is either.

I'm old enough to remember when Windows-style interfaces first came out, and that Macs got there first, and that we used to refer to them as WIMPS and so on, and that we were told they were marvellously intuitive to use. I never found them so. I remember staring at all these little pictures in their neat rows and thinking, "That's cute. Now can I have some instructions, please?" Perhaps some people with a certain type of laterally-inclined mind took to them intuitively but I and most of my friends and colleagues (mostly highly computer-literate people) did not. We had to be taught how to respond to this style of interface.
posted by Decani at 4:19 AM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Windows 8 is out? How is it possible that they released a new OS and I never heard about it? Don't they advertise?!
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 4:49 AM on March 14, 2012


We had to be taught how to respond to this style of interface.

I got the first generation Macintosh that came out in late 1984. It came with a 60 minute audio cassette tape and an auto-run tutorial that ran on the screen. I've scarcely needed a tutorial about using the Finder since then. (apart from looking up the correct key commands for booting into Safe Mode,etc.)

The "intuitive" nature of operating systems seems (at this point) to assume a certain level of pre-existing competency. This is something I think Windows has certainly overlooked, as they apparently feel justified/obligated to require us to learn a whole new routine every 4 or 5 years.

This video probably could have made an equally (if not more) effective point by showing a college student using the OS for the first time and getting (inevitably?) stuck, instead of attaching the inevitable baggage of "LOL old people and computers!"
posted by ShutterBun at 4:50 AM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm glad no-one was videotaping me as I fumbled around trying to change the background color of a PowerPoint slide on my friend's Mac last week. I'm sure if I sat down with one for a while I'd get the hang of it, but the old neurons aren't as plastic anymore.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 4:51 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd never heard of the guy or lockergnome, so after watching the FPP video, I watched a few of his other videos, and man—I think his voice sounds like what Ira Glass must sound like to people who really, really hate This American Life. For someone who's apparently cultivated a huge audience, he's just lousy on camera. Lots of "uh" and "um" and "..." and random bouts of Shatner phrasing, no grasp of the concept of a narrative or any focus at all beyond the most vague return trips to each given topic—am I really this old? Are we in the age of the mass diffusion of what used to be the Mountain Dew-fueled ramblings of the alpha nerd among your friends?

I'd like to see a neophyte experiencing a new OS, though, but in a way with some focus and professionalism rather than whatever the heck that was. I'd volunteer my mom for the effort, but she's convinced that she can "break the computer" by exploring too much, based on a random hard drive crash on our Mac II a long, long time ago, so she's not the best neophyte for the job.
posted by sonascope at 5:04 AM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Haven't tried this thing yet, but all the talk about the many and varied gestures is making my sausage-fingered, manually uncoordinated, self feel quite worried. The few times I've tried to use a tablet (don't own one) somewhere, I had soon to give up on fingers and get a big honka plastic stylus and was still clumsy and slow. Sigh.
posted by Iosephus at 5:12 AM on March 14, 2012


I wonder if he made the on-screen text as small as possible in order to maximize dad squintiness.
posted by orme at 5:24 AM on March 14, 2012


We had to be taught how to respond to this style of interface.

Seriously? Because I think that I figured out how it worked from some of the Mac print ads that explained the point-and-click interface. I can understand that for a lot of people, getting used to using a mouse (moving something over here to move the pointer over there) required teaching your eye and hand to coordinate in a way that they may have never done before, but that was just a matter of a little practice.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:29 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maximizing dad squintiness! Finally, a cause we can all rally behind!
posted by Sonny Jim at 5:37 AM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Maybe Microsoft should go back to the business model where they give Windows away for free and make it catchy to try and attract people to use it.
posted by ackptui at 5:49 AM on March 14, 2012


Remember the Windows 95 default desktop wallpaper. It was a picture of a cloud.

Just saying.
posted by Fizz at 5:51 AM on March 14, 2012


Regarding the learning how to input discussion... I've recently been teaching my three year old how to use various forms of "computers". She picked up the touchscreen on my phone and tablets right away, to the point that she's already figured out my password pattern and knows what it does. But trying to teach her how to use a mouse has been rather difficult. The touchpad on my laptop is completely out of the question, which makes sense because you really do need to understand the concept of a mouse to get that too.

I have a feeling that one day she's going to stumble upon my box of old IT stuff (Kings Quest on like 17 5.25" disks anybody?) and look at it in the same way I did when I found my dads collection of LPs.

Anyway, I remember writing commands in non-windowed systems like DOS and Logo, but even then the concept of a mouse or a start menu seemed like a natural progression. Trying to explain these things to someone who is more familiar with a touchscreen device, however, is quite the reality check.
posted by Blue_Villain at 6:01 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


This video illustrates two things:

1) People don't really use the Start Menu very much anymore. Between icons on the Desktop, the old Quick Launch bar, and Windows 7's ability to put icons directly in the taskbar pseudo-Dock style, why would you access the Start Menu? Most people probably don't use more than a few programs and they wouldn't normally spend time looking for, say, the Control Panel or the Command Prompt. Which brings us to...

2) If you replace the Start Menu with something else, but then don't tell anyone, NO ONE WILL NOTICE. This is maybe the most baffling aspect of the decision to give Windows 8 a split personality. The Metro interface doesn't really get along with the legacy Windows interface, but Microsoft decided to cram the two into one operating system? And then they made the primary interface for accessing Metro the same button that we've been trained to think does something else entirely for fifteen years, and don't even bother with very much anymore? How is this not a recipe for UI disaster?
posted by chrominance at 6:05 AM on March 14, 2012


Eh. I'm really not looking forward to Windows 8 but I'm not in that position on the strength of Chris Pirillo's advice. I've started using a Macbook Pro intermittently at work and haven't really found a lot to like about either the OS or the app ecosystem. I had an Ubuntu install for about a year on a desktop at home and thought it was fine but the hardware compatibility issues (lol HD Audio and 8 hours spent in nano tweaking options) drove me nuts.

I would love for Microsoft to revive the "MinWin" idea that was floated years ago and just do a lightweight OS on top of a cruft-stripped Windows kernel. I don't need a preinstalled image editor, text editor, email client, browser, calendar, desktop gadget system, media player, DVD encoding suite, etc. - just give me a good-looking non-Metro desktop and the requisite control panel items and stay out of my way. Sadly MS has totally shit the bed with the new UI and also is moving to its own walled garden model within it.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:07 AM on March 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


chrominance: 1) People don't really use the Start Menu very much anymore. Between icons on the Desktop, the old Quick Launch bar, and Windows 7's ability to put icons directly in the taskbar pseudo-Dock style, why would you access the Start Menu? Most people probably don't use more than a few programs and they wouldn't normally spend time looking for, say, the Control Panel or the Command Prompt.

Probably true regarding the command prompt and control panel, but my experience of being about the only techie in my group of friends suggests otherwise regarding start menu usage. Nearly every windows PC I use/work on has the desktop basically filled with icons, and loads more stashed in a 'unused desktop icons' folder. EVERYTHING wants a desktop icon by default, and people don't change the install options, so the desktop very rapidly becomes far too cluttered to be useful. Watching people actually using their computers, they use the start menu a LOT - for pretty much everything other than launching the browser (and maybe media player) which they'll have in quicklaunch (or pinned in win7). It's pretty much just the 'top programs' (or 'recently used' or whatever it is) rather than the 'all programs' bit (the start menu proper, in my mind) but that's still a menu which you access by pressing the Start button...
posted by Dysk at 6:11 AM on March 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Seriously? Because I think that I figured out how it worked from some of the Mac print ads that explained the point-and-click interface.

Learning doesn't have to be painful, and teaching doesn't have to be done in-person.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:32 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh. Just. Give. The. Oh. Jeez. Oh. Let me. Ooo.
posted by device55 at 6:36 AM on March 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


I find the search bar in the Win 7 Start Menu particularly useful.
posted by fuq at 6:41 AM on March 14, 2012 [10 favorites]


I kind of like Win8 and the chutzpah of tearing down the old Windows design language to try a new thing, so I commend Microsoft for the attempt.

That said, I felt a lot like the dad here when I accidentally fell into the old desktop view (it's extremely unfortunate that he clicked explorer first thing). I found myself equally confused by just using the new IE, it launches full screen with no chrome and I couldn't figure out how to get a URL bar to show up, and it turns out it was all offscreen gestures.

The one thing I hate about iOS is that there are so many secret gestures you have to memorize, and adding that sort of thing to a desktop OS seems like a bad plan, but otherwise I actually like the direction Microsoft is going here and hope they don't give up on it and instead improve things.
posted by mathowie at 7:12 AM on March 14, 2012


Yup MS haved a problem there with the integration of the desktop into Metro.

Anyone find the way the guy heads straight for the Windows Explorer slightly suspect?
posted by Artw at 7:13 AM on March 14, 2012


chrominance: 1) People don't really use the Start Menu very much anymore.

I'm probably the worst example because I'm the type that spends time customizing the shit out of my OS, but I use the Start Menu for almost everything. Other than the internet browser and documents folder I have pinned to my task bar everything is conveniently sorted in the start menu. The desktop is barren except for whatever gorgeous wallpaper photo I'm currently enamored with and 0-3 icons that serve more as to do list reminders than things I actually ever click on.

Windows is most successful when it allows for new users who just want an easy to use experience, power users, and dudes like me who want a custom mish-mash of legacy and current features. Take the command line for example, for the most part its an archaic suckfest, but I'm thankful it's still there because sometimes it really is the fastest way to perform some arcane task in the nuts and bolts of the OS. If you've ever had to ping an IP address or flush the DNS cache you know what I'm talking about.

Windows 8 fails not because it is an awkward combination of two OSes but because it doesn't allow you to, say, turn one of them off, or go back to legacy start menu, or if you have a big screen to replace the secret gestures with buttons.

Even if it's crappy, I hope windows 8 is enough of a success for enough people to want to put together some software apps and 'zerts that let you customize it. Like the software you can install to undo the egregious error that was removing the god damn "move up a directory" button. The back arrow isn't the same thing you microsoft assholes!
posted by cirrostratus at 7:23 AM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Pirillo might be one of the most famous tech bloggers ever. He was on TechTV roughly 12 hours a day for a few years hosting his show Call For Help. He is about as famous as a guy who writes articles about how to fix your registry will ever get.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:26 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


> The mass of Windows users are resistant to change.

From user reaction to the latest Ubuntu (which is also going in the direction of cramming a designed-for-mobile interface onto people's desktop PCs) it's not just Win users who think it's a dumb and annoying idea.


> I do worry about where OS interfaces are headed in the near future in general

Convergence! With toaster ovens, unhappily.
posted by jfuller at 7:37 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is everyone but me trying to drag menus in from the sides with their mouse? Just hover and click, bottom left for metro, bottom right for settings, upper left for app switcher, upper right... something? Don't have my laptop with me and I forgot. But yeah, hover and click, don't drag. It's pretty quick to navigate with keyboard shortcuts too.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:49 AM on March 14, 2012


Kinda funny how MS reacts to the rise of tablets by creating a tablet UI optimised frontend for PCs when the reigning King of All Tablets, Apple, have stated quite publicly that the desktop and tablet metaphor are very different and they have no desire to unify the two.

But they are doing that, so....well, maybe they just don't want to?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:51 AM on March 14, 2012


I'm just amazed that after all these years, Microsoft still knows how to fuck up well, just when you think they are all out of good fuckups.
posted by cashman at 8:03 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Talked with a friend about Win 8 a couple of weeks ago. He insists that the key in understanding how to use it is to first be an Xbox360 user....
posted by lodurr at 8:31 AM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


pendevil: .... Apple, have stated quite publicly that the desktop and tablet metaphor are very different ...

... so they're going to make the user interaction modes as similar as they can? Because that's what I'm seeing. Drives me fucking nuts. No, I do not see why I should scroll up to move the page down, are you not familiar with the fact that my mouse wheel is not a fucking finger on a touch screen?
posted by lodurr at 8:33 AM on March 14, 2012


If you're using the Apple mouse that comes with the iMac, your mouse has a touchpad on top of it, which is probably what they had in mind.
posted by LogicalDash at 8:37 AM on March 14, 2012


Yes, and that's another piece of idiocy that annoys the shit out of me.

Apple has always been a rats nest for people who want to over-literalize metaphors (that they like).
posted by lodurr at 8:44 AM on March 14, 2012


This video illustrates two things:
1) People don't really use the Start Menu very much anymore.


As someone who does usability for a large portion of my job, let me say: This video doesn't illustrate this at all.
posted by coolguymichael at 8:48 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


So running your finger up the mouse the same way you run your finger up a touchpad the same way you run your finger up a touch screen the same way you run your finger up an actual piece of paper on a desk is an idiotic over-literalized metaphor? I just want to understand what you're saying.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:49 AM on March 14, 2012


Running your finger along the mouse as if you were handling the screen itself is, yes.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:51 AM on March 14, 2012


If you're not handling (abstractly) the screen by using a mouse wheel, what are you doing?

I use a mouse with a wheel, scrolling down makes sense because it's all I've ever done, you're moving down the window. But that's not to say it's the best way, it's just the way that was adopted initially. It's as though your mouse wheel is locked to your monitor, and as you scroll down, the document you're reading stays fixed in space, but you and the monitor travel down through the earth, seeing the lower reaches of the document.

With people increasingly using touch devices, phones, ipads, laptops, trackpads and trackmice you're directly interacting with the document, not the frame. You're moving the document up the monitor to read what's below, and with touch devices being sold in the millions it seems consistency when using your fingers would be an intelligent option.

Sometimes metaphors need to be redefined.
posted by Static Vagabond at 9:19 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


The old "inverting the y axis is absolutely necessary/totally pointless" argument from sharing controllers while playing an FPS in a big group setting will never, ever stop happening in one form or another. Some UI preferences are just hard coded into people, but at least game devs learned long ago to give people customizable controls.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:19 AM on March 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you're boggling over direct versus indirect manipulation of the viewport you might as well get the fuck out of the way because, if you don't, technology is going to run you right the fuck over.
posted by mistersquid at 9:25 AM on March 14, 2012


See also "Windows 8 UI is a little gain for a lot of pain". The main problem would seem to be that Microsoft seems to think it is a good idea to default the OS for a PC to a style designed for a tablet - and apparently to provide no way of turning this setting off. How can that be sensible?
posted by rongorongo at 9:28 AM on March 14, 2012


^^ Correct link ^^
posted by rongorongo at 9:29 AM on March 14, 2012


So we've come full circle and W8 is just a fancy blinking chevron...blinking....chevron?
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:41 AM on March 14, 2012


13 mins into the OS X first-timer video and I find Pirillo's dad adorable as he vocalizes his reasons for navigating the interface the way he does.

I wish Pirillo had given his father just a bit more instruction on how to use Windows 8 (i.e. disclose hot corner) so we could get some more data (vocalization) about why he would have done what he would have been doing in Windows 8.
posted by mistersquid at 9:54 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


You Should See the Other Guy: Windows 8 is out? How is it possible that they released a new OS and I never heard about it? Don't they advertise?!

A release date for the finished version of Windows 8 has not yet been announced, but there's a Windows Consumer Preview available. You can install it like a normal operating system, or install using a virtual machine and avoid mucking up your system, as described in the linked MeFi post.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:58 AM on March 14, 2012


I'm way too invested in usability testing and user experience. I'm gonna will mute myself after this.

In the thread of Brandon's FPP link, Chris Pirillo provides links to follow-up UI experiences with his father, Joe Pirillo. I am obsessed with how awesome Joe is and hope Chris has the good fortune to one day inherit even a fraction of the charm his dad has.

Here is Joe's comparison of the differences between a Metro tablet and an iPad (ignore the last few seconds where Chris puts words into his father's mouth).

That is all.
posted by mistersquid at 10:07 AM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


He was on TechTV roughly 12 hours a day

What's TechTV? Not kidding...
posted by Billiken at 10:08 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


People don't really use the Start Menu very much anymore.

This doesn't make any sense. People always use the start menu. That's how Windows works. They don't just give up and buy a mac when a program forgets to install a desktop shortcut.

I love the idea of reworking interfaces. I love gnome 3 and use it all the time on my laptop (Windows key is your ticket to everything). Unity has good ideas, but fails in a few very important ways.

The problem illustrated by FPP's video is that Win 8 fails to make any metaphor work, from what I can see. I believe Lion suffers from similar indecisiveness.

I believe that one of the problems with this "Post-PC" idea is that it doesn't exist. People still need PCs to do PC things. No one wants to carry a PC that uses 60W of power and gets 2 hours of battery life around to use OneNote. (A few nerds did several years ago, but the same job is done 100x more efficiently on an iPad with better software). Some tablets running Windows Mobile 7 might be compelling, though.
posted by hellslinger at 10:17 AM on March 14, 2012


This video illustrates two things:
1) People don't really use the Start Menu very much anymore.


Really? Because he mentions the lack of a Start Menu more than once and seems kind of annoyed that his default "go to" location is absent.
posted by asnider at 10:26 AM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


They don't just give up and buy a mac when a program forgets to install a desktop shortcut.

oh, is THAT what was going on? I wondered why I always had to delete some goddamn icon on the desktop every time I installed anything. But I'm a Mac user.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:27 AM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out how to get to the login screen. "Oh, you slide that screen up. Wait, why is that screen there in the first place?"

I also had to look online to find out how to shut down. I had the same problem as the person here. I couldn't find a start menu. I know, haha, use the start menu to stop, but with that gone there is no obvious place to go. Also hot corners are interesting when you're running in a virtual machine window.

I pretty much gave up after that.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:43 AM on March 14, 2012


It might be important to remember that at one time MS had 'Professional' operating systems and 'Home' operating systems. Windows 7 is likely going to be on enterprise desktops for another 10 years but Windows 8/9 can give them room to experiment enough to cement in features for the next Pro release.

They still differentiate between versions with different names like 'Ultimate' and 'Home Premium' (whatever the hell that's supposed to mean), but the difference is only a few toggled options rather than the huge divide between Windows 2000 and Windows ME.

The differences in interfaces will really matter once consumer devices move from laptops to tablets, and they will, but I don't see enterprise moving away from workstations and laptops any time soon.

The fun part will be learning how to fix the same problems with Joe Schmoe's "OFFICE 2015 HOME TABLET LIMITED AD-SUPPORTED" and Joe Enterprise's "OFFICE 2015 ENTERPRISE PREMIUM WITH NETWORK OFFICE MANAGER SUPPORT". Fucking Microsoft.
posted by tmt at 10:48 AM on March 14, 2012


He insists that the key in understanding how to use it is to first be an Xbox360 user....

That's because MS pushed out an XBox 360 update that imitates the W8 interface, without giving users a choice between the old and the new one. (Also, ads play in some of the tiles. Thanks, Redmond assholes, that was a real quality-of-life improvement there.) Frankly, that's one of the reasons I'm skeptical about W8; I don't see it as an improvement over the old interface.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:23 AM on March 14, 2012


hate Metro because it forces them to run Solitaire full screen on their 27" monitor

I could be wrong but one of the demo videos made it seem like you could tile windows (full height but not full width) when running multiple windows at once.

Who knows, maybe in Windows 9 you'll be able to resize windows!
posted by furtive at 11:24 AM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I know it's because they both have tablet roots but aren't really tablets, but using Windows 8 (Parallels) felt really similar to Eeebuntu, only without the crazy driver issues. And more polished. But similar start menu becoming sort of the whole screen deal.
posted by NoraReed at 11:44 AM on March 14, 2012


Smart Dalek: You know you're living in a Post-PC era when people tell you they're never heard of Lockergnome.

You know you're in a thread full of in-crowd-wannabe's when you hear phrases like that. Hint: not everyone who's used a PC since the 80's watched the same television as you.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:51 AM on March 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


From zoo:
That's pretty much identical to the video of me using Unity for the first time.

... to stavrosthewonderchicken:
Chris's dad is the tip of the iceberg. I've been using computers since 1977 -- I'm pretty handy with 'em. And I couldn't figure out how to do shit, for a disconcertingly long time.

Ayup... That's my experience with Ubuntu's Unity. I'd been on Ubuntu a year at that time, and had garnered enough experience to help others who had been on *nix for longer with it. But when Unity came out, I was helpless. Literally.

Without a bridge, such as Office 2007's keyboard cheats (fairly undocumented, and incomplete, but based upon Office 2003's menu system), a radical redesign has to be really, really intuitive. Like the Mac OS: everyone but hardcore prompt-line users "gets it" quickly (presuming they are capable of operating a computer without a grandchild present).
posted by IAmBroom at 12:00 PM on March 14, 2012


So running your finger up the mouse the same way you run your finger up a touchpad the same way you run your finger up a touch screen the same way you run your finger up an actual piece of paper on a desk is an idiotic over-literalized metaphor? I just want to understand what you're saying.

Pretty much, yes, except that you're over-generalizing the metaphor and failing to account for some over-literalization that's gone on in getting to the state you misrepresent.

First, when you run your finger up a mouse to do what you would normally do by running your finger down the mouse, your violating user expectation. So, unless you've got a pretty good argument for doing it, you should be doing it.

Second, when you act directly on a touch screen, it's qualitatively different from acting indirectly via a mouse. That said, you don't generally grab pages and fling them up or down with a mouse. If you did, then I would expect to fling up to scroll the page down. But that's not how we typically interact with long pages: we page down, in one way or another, using either page up / page down keys, or scrollbars. There was no good reason to get rid of scrollbars (other than the fact that some people with too much time on their hands to worry about the logical metaphorical consistency of a UI), and if you have them, then the actions should be consistent with the apparent affordance presented by a scrollbar.

Third, putting a touchpad on top of a mouse was a really dumb idea. You want to talk about metaphors? What's the metaphor for that? And if you want to argue that it doesn't need one, then you should stop appealing to metaphors when you want to determin which way to stroke your fingers to make the page go up or down, or whether or not there are scrollbars. Anyway, back on track: It's a dumb idea because it mixes two modes that don't go well together, at least for people who don't rate highly in a particular form of multi-modal dexterity.

Fourth, the whole mouse-gesture thing is basically a fad. Apple proves this with every major version by changing the gestures. Furthermore, there's nothing intuitive about flat-surface gestural control, or about gestural control period. There's no reason for it -- it's an inferior method of doing something that we already had several means of doing. But no, Apple wants to take that inferior method that they've fallen in love with and contort the entire user experience to suit that one wretched metaphorical cluster fuck.

Finally, w.r.t. running your finger up a piece of paper on the desktop: I don't know what the hell you're talking about. That is, assuming you're talking about literal paper on a literal desktop.
posted by lodurr at 12:11 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


TechTV was a 24-hour cable and satellite channel based in San Francisco featuring news and shows about computers, technology, and the Internet. Starting in 1998 as ZDTV, for its founder, Ziff-Davis, known for their computer-related magazines. Then the station merged with G4, a largely video game-focused channel.

And this is the Lockergnome.com I remember, circa 2001. By 2005, it was still a tech info site, but with TWENTY newsletters. Crikey.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:12 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I too have no idea who Chris Pirillo is, except someone who is a bit annoying.
posted by Artw at 12:13 PM on March 14, 2012


(no up folder button in windows explorer! Everything's too big! No more classic Start Menu!)

Alt+Up or just click on the path (or click back if you clicked into it); dunno about everything's too big - i just make icons smaller; classic start menu? it's not very different, is it?

All molehill mountains. The fact that users will need to spend a few minutes (or hours in this case) to relearn a new Windows system isn't in anyway equivalent to the sinking of the Titanic.

1) People don't really use the Start Menu very much anymore.

Hm. I *only* started using it with Win7. The Search functionality works great for me. It replaced Everything for XP for me. (or what fuq already said ...)

Smart Dalek: You know you're living in a Post-PC era when people tell you they're never heard of Lockergnome.

You know you're in a thread full of in-crowd-wannabe's when you hear phrases like that. Hint: not everyone who's used a PC since the 80's watched the same television as you.

Seriously, I knew the name, but I thought Lockergnome was Mac shareware, lol. Never heard of Chris Pirillo. I assume he's a Mac promoter?

I remember when it was just a website and mail list that talked about neat new Windows shareware apps.

Ah, yeah, that was it. Haven't heard or thought of it in a decade or so
posted by mrgrimm at 12:25 PM on March 14, 2012


Based on the comments in this thread about how awful it is that Microsoft's trying to force desktop users into a tablet interface, I feel pleased that people are finally starting to understand why I completely lost my shit over the iPad.

It pisses me off on a deep level to watch Microsoft and Apple decide that desktop computing is the past, and that the future will be those awful little crippled devices. Smartphones are fine, but replacing desktop computers with them? It's like they hate nerds or something.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:33 PM on March 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


While I like as much schadenfreude as the next geek, I do think it's probably premature, here. This is a very early beta, something Microsoft doesn't usually expose this widely, so we could be seeing the UX version of underwear up the flagpole.

Also, a friend who's heavily invested professionally in Microsoft software but who's an ardent Mac user in his personal life insists it won't be this bad. He's got every reason to bash it; he thinks it's actually kind of encouraging.
posted by lodurr at 12:33 PM on March 14, 2012


Pirillo might be one of the most famous tech bloggers ever.

Huh? I would start with Justin Hall or Dave Winer, or are those guys not "tech"?

Metafilter has a global alexa rank of 1,850. Lockergnome is 9,421, which puts it well below niche blogs like The Sartorialist. (BlackHatWorld is #498. Yikes.)
posted by mrgrimm at 12:39 PM on March 14, 2012


Huh? I would start with Justin Hall or Dave Winer, or are those guys not "tech"?

Well, he was on TV something like 4 hours a day every day for 2 years. Granted TechTV wasn't exactly drawing huge numbers but the fact that the guy was on 20 hours a week has got to count for something.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:49 PM on March 14, 2012


OK, me,: 50's, network admin, but not with the time to follow Win 8 news. Sufficiently technical that I had no problem at all in being inspired by this FPP to download and install Virtual Box, and then download and install the W8 preview, while sitting on a less-than-useful conference call

I set myself the fairly simple task to open a desktop, and have solitaire in one window, and notepad in another. No problem noticing the hotspots at the corners. Confused by what exactly activates the sliding bars at the sides of the screen but that wasn't a showstopper. Managed to open notepad. Liked the new task manager, think the elimination of the start menu is idiotic, but its function is mostly easily re-creatable through taking a step backwards to manually create a folder structure of shortcuts. Failed at getting a solitaire window open, though I could manage to get IE and Wordpad open at the same time. (Find solitaire.exe, and it's a config file? Interesting)

But leaving my clueless-ness aside, I can't see why I'd ever want the (comparatively) childish metro interface on a desktop. I don't know how you use a desktop, but I usually have 5 - 20 windows open at any given time. I don 't want them tiled, and I don't want them full-screen.

I also can't see why I'd want the (comparatively) clunky metro on a tablet if I could have IOS instead.

So, W8 looks to me like it does both desktop and tablet, but neither as well as the 2011 versions of either. Perhaps it'll finally push me to Linux or a Mac. Or maybe I can wait until Windows 9, in hopes it'll follow the Windows Vista/7 model (Now! Windows 7! Finally as good as XP!)
posted by tyllwin at 12:57 PM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pope Guilty: Smartphones are fine, but replacing desktop computers with them? It's like they hate nerds or something.

Nerds of the world, tremble, as your day of dominance is in wane. Lo, but in these dark times shines a beacon: tablet interfaces shall reduce the ways for people to fuck shit up. You will get fewer calls from family and friends to fix their computer, because files and folders are hidden away.

And rejoice, brothers and sisters of the computer age past. You always have Linux.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:02 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


(no up folder button in windows explorer! Everything's too big! No more classic Start Menu!)

Alt+Up or just click on the path (or click back if you clicked into it); dunno about everything's too big - i just make icons smaller; classic start menu? it's not very different, is it?

All molehill mountains. The fact that users will need to spend a few minutes (or hours in this case) to relearn a new Windows system isn't in anyway equivalent to the sinking of the Titanic.


Nobody said it was, you drama queen, but it's hardly a few minutes; it's a nuisance every time you have to do something that was easier in previous Windows versions. Clicking an up button is *easier* than having to click precisely into a path, while having a proper start menu where you don't have to first click on "all programs" to get a list you have to scroll through as if you're in a windows explorer window is obviously easier as well.

The button thing is more an aesthetic preference on my side; I don't like those big shiny candy buttons on my task bars

I also hate hate hate the Legion of Superheroes programme/OS interfaces that deliberately hide things from me and/or have inconsistent, context dependent menus; I don't want to have to think about where I can find the option I need right now. The genius of Windows 95 up to XP was that the interface remained for the most part consistent, but Vista and successors have broken this for no good reason.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:05 PM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ad hominem: Well, he was on TV something like 4 hours a day every day for 2 years. Granted TechTV wasn't exactly drawing huge numbers but the fact that the guy was on 20 hours a week has got to count for something.

If his main claim to fame is being on TV, that might make him a famous TV presenter, not really a famous blogger.
posted by Dysk at 1:13 PM on March 14, 2012


People don't really use the Start Menu very much anymore.

I sure cut down when I started using Launchy. Having this installed on every version of windows - even on OSX, and Linux for that matter - would simplify computing for many, especially the moms and dads. They'd have to be taught to use ctrl-space, but we were all taught an awful lot that we take for granted now.

I can understand that for a lot of people, getting used to using a mouse (moving something over here to move the pointer over there) required teaching

My sister tried to get my mom started with email (i.e. computers) recently. They gave up while trying to use the mouse.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 1:54 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm still on XP at home and on two of my three work computers. As the mac nerds would say - It just works, so why should I "upgrade"?
posted by AndrewKemendo at 1:56 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's very easy to understand how a scrolly wheel works.

Your document is on a very long vertical strip, generally with some part rolled up behind the top of the monitor and some part rolled up behind the bottom of the monitor. Along the right side of the screen but hidden from view are sprockets. The mouse wheel is connected by a shaft to a gear that fits into the sprockets from the front. (incidentally, the diameter of this gear is generally somewhat larger than the wheel, which accounts for the disparity of motion of the wheel as compared to the content)

Now view the whole thing from the left. When you rotate the mouse wheel clockwise, the gear also rotates clockwise (they're connected by a shaft), pulling content up from the bottom roller. Since both rollers are held under tension by springs, the top roller now reels in as much document as is fed from the bottom reel.

If your mouse wheel does not operate accordingly, you may be viewing your monitor from the wrong side. Another possibility is that you've combined an incompatible mouse and monitor, as some higher-quality monitors have a pair of gears (for a greater ratio between wheel movement and document movement), a design which places the wheel behind the sprockets instead of in front of them. If you combine a one-gear mouse with a two-gear monitor or vice versa, reversed motion will result.
posted by jepler at 2:08 PM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yea, I remember the Chris P. from back in the days of subscription via a newsletter. Never saw him on TechTV. Almost never visited the website, but the newsletters were informative.
posted by twidget at 2:53 PM on March 14, 2012


Click on the fish!

I love when he asks whether that's what he's supposed to do (1:35). Yes Dad, Microsoft has replaced the start menu with a fish.

It's certainly as plausible as anything else they've done.
posted by chortly at 2:54 PM on March 14, 2012


Microsoft has replaced the start menu with a fish.
It's certainly as plausible as anything else they've done.

Don't be resistant to change. You'll see that a fish is really much better.
posted by tyllwin at 2:59 PM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Not Found

The requested URL /2012/03/chris-pirillos-father-tries-windows-8/ was not found on this server.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:56 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Windows 8 CP is likely to be very similar to the final release; both vista and windows 7 developer/test releases ended up very similar to the final product apart from some minor tweaks. I've been testing 8 since the developer preview (and now the consumer preview) and I hate it immensely - but I'm going to have to support it eventually, so I'm trying to force myself to use it. The only way I've found to make it half usable is to clean out everything - and I mean everything from the metro interface. All the blinky tiles, almost all the shortcuts bar those you actually use. You have to be ruthless, or you drown in excess shortcuts, given there's no folders/nesting.

The worst thing about it though is the new gestures. They're really quite fiddly, and I'm a veteran FPS player. Swipe into the hot corner - and it's a pretty narrow hotspot, you've basically got to 'overshoot' to hit it; then swipe up or down in a straight line into the middle-ish to bring up either the running apps sidebar, or the charms sidebar. Slide too far off line? Disappears. Not far enough, or too far? Disappears. Move off the 'start' hot corner by a few pixels, to try and click that popup metro that appears? Disappears and you end up lauching the far-left icon on the taskbar instead. It usually takes me two or three goes to bring up the charm bar.

Also - have two displays? run in a virtual machine or RDP session in a window on another host? Now you can't 'overrun' into the corner, you have to hit it absolutely precisely and stay there; trying to swipe down and stay in the narrow accepted line? Rediculously hard. I'm familiar with windows from 3.1 up to current, OSX and its predecessors, KDE 2, 3 and 4 for years, gnome for the last few, now unity, CDE and XFCE and BEOS and god knows how many other UIs have been and gone. None of them have made me want to throw my mouse through the screen at the UI. But windows 8? God-damn it's awful.

Couple of pop quizzes - how do you shut down? Not in the metro window. No icons, shortcuts or squares. It's under the charms bar, settings, then there's a little power icon at the bottom. Log off? Ctrl-alt-del, or goto metro and click your name picture. While we're on charms/settings; half the stuff you need has moved there into a new arrangement; half of it hasn't. Finding which bits are still under control panel, and which are under metro is basically guesswork, especially as some app stuff is not under charms, it's right click on a blank area and get a new options bar at the bottom. On the Metro mail program, you have a little bit at the bottom of the accounts side-bar to add a new account, with a close button. Click that close, and there's no way to bring it back. If you right click and then click accounts, it brings up the accounts side bar, but not the button/section, or any other way to add accounts. You now need to go into charms, and add accounts via settings - but only when you're in the mail app full screen, there's no other way to get to it.

It is a mess, it's completely illogical and it feels like you've got the old and new interface half-bodged together glued together with gestures that don't make sense on a pc, especially if it's not a full-single-screen pc. Dual screen isn't that uncommon - all our teaching classrooms are setup as dual screen with one on the desk, and the 2nd being the projector - they drag windows to which one they want to display on, so they can put something up for the pupils while having a private desktop for reference while they're at the board or desk. Doing precise mouse gestures at the edge of the screen without wavering, possibly while standing and leaning over the desk? It's ludicrous. I cannot possibly see deploying windows 8 anywhere on our network to replace 7. I'd get lynched.

I'm not even going to start on the insanity of the same interface with tricky gestures for VM-hosted or RDP-managed server 8 boxes; and while the remote admin-tools from a client box work for say, AD operations and file management, they don't work for 3rd party apps that use a local management app on a server, of which we have several.

And no, you can't turn it off. The registry hack and file replacement methods have been removed in the current versions. Now you need to fake it with something like Stardocks software (which kinda works, but not great), but there's nothing native to revert to windows 7/2008r2 behaviour.

Metro in and of itself is ok, if a little underwhelming; I'd actually quite like it as an OSX dashboard equivalent available on a hotkey/gesture for an over-view of various live tiles; I could even live with it as a start menu replacement if it handled auto-created shortcuts better (for example, allowing stackable tiles as folder equivalents) so you didn't end up with an ugly splattered mess you need to keep tidying up. But the rest of the metro integration into the desktop is just downright broken for mouse users; and I can't imagine having to go into explorer or control panel to do necessary things is going to be much fun on a touch device. It's a chimera that serves neither market well; by trying to be all things to all devices, it ends up broken on all of them as soon as you do more than scratch the pretty surface.

Trying to use the developer preview made me realise what a stinker 8 is going to be, and prompted my switch to OSX as my primary OS after 15 years of windows desktop/linux servers. I'm now using a 27" imac at work and a hackintosh at home, and getting on quite nicely with totalfinder, iterm and sublime text, along with the usual chrome, evernote, sugarsync etc. It's not perfect, but I'll be very surprised if I'm the only one prompted to make the switch by windows 8.
posted by ArkhanJG at 6:30 PM on March 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


Ex-MS employee launches 'Fixing Windows 8' website.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:14 PM on March 14, 2012


Having [launchy] installed on every version of windows - even on OSX, and Linux for that matter - would simplify computing for many, especially the moms and dads.

Not just moms and dads. Every computer geek I know has a hotkey to bring up either a launchy-like dialogue or a full-fledged terminal. Point and click has its place but being able to get random access to an arbitrarily deep list of potential actions is just unparalleled. Well, once you know where you're going; bash is not the most discoverable of interfaces.
posted by Skorgu at 7:49 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hate to say, but it's miserable to use this in a VM. The hotspots that drive the UI are really hard to hit. Lots of folks are using VMs these days, so this sort of looks like a real oversight. Is there a key combo to show them?
posted by jenkinsEar at 8:18 PM on March 14, 2012


Unity did have some precedent. Unfortunately, it was Netbook Remix, which desktop users never saw. The structure of Unity is actually pretty similar to the old Applications menu, too, but they iconified everything, so it's not the sort of resemblance that you'd know to check for. Not without reading up first, anyway.

'Course, unless Canonical wanted to christen Xubuntu or whatever as the new Official Mainline Ubuntu Package, their choices were to go with gnome-shell (same problem as Unity), or make a different custom launcher, more like the desktop paradigm, that would be kind of redundant given the continued existence of Xfce. Rejiggering their naming scheme would have confused everyone, and they want to push Ubuntu for Android, for which Unity is a draw, and Xfce is not, so mainlining Xubuntu would have caused a branding nightmare.
posted by LogicalDash at 9:24 PM on March 14, 2012


I was curious to see Win8 but Jeebus, I couldn't stomach those two long enough to see it.
posted by just sayin at 9:25 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just went to the ms site and watched the video. Looks pretty cool to me. ***shrug***
posted by just sayin at 9:40 PM on March 14, 2012


I usually feel like a internet noob (1999) when on MetaFilter. But all these people saying they don't know who Chris Pirillo is makes me feel ancient.
posted by deborah at 11:47 PM on March 14, 2012


The worst thing about it though is the new gestures. They're really quite fiddly, and I'm a veteran FPS player. Swipe into the hot corner - and it's a pretty narrow hotspot, you've basically got to 'overshoot' to hit it; then swipe up or down in a straight line into the middle-ish to bring up either the running apps sidebar, or the charms sidebar. Slide too far off line? Disappears....

There aren't many hard and fast rules in UI design but Fitts's Law is one: make important targets nearby and large so that people can reach them quickly. The problem is that touchpads and WIMP interfaces have different rules for accomplishing this: with a mouse it is a good idea to make the target large and at the edge or corner of the display - like the "Start" button in Windows 7. For touchpads you are more likely to put important targets in easy reach -like the task bar in an Ipad. Putting stuff right at the edge or corner of the display will mean it is missed by touchpad users; putting it near the edge will mean that it is missed by mouse users. Releasing an OS which compromises its rules to accommodate both devices will be a disaster. Microsoft's UI people should have been shouting this in the ear's of Windows 8 product managers for a long time now.
posted by rongorongo at 12:47 AM on March 15, 2012


The site is down for me too; here's the youtube video, though.
posted by taz at 3:34 AM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a problem with the Mac video in that the dad finds the browser almost straight away. The number of times I've had to tell people that the Internet is the compass when they're using the mac for the first time is staggering.

I guess the ubiquity of iOS means people understand now that compass=internet, but without that core piece of knowledge, the man would have been digging around for much longer.

I hardly noticed the start menu missing in Windows 8. I just went straight for the Windows Key, and I was back at the main menu. If you're not at all keyboard-centric though, I can understand this being confusing though. I hope that Microsoft get this side of things right. They should, at the least, pop the start button back on the task bar. It's not a whole load of real-estate for a hell of a lot of ease-of-use.

The same happened with internet explorer. Couldn't see the address bar, and I automatically right-clicked. I have no idea how they can fix this though.
posted by zoo at 3:41 AM on March 15, 2012


If you're happy enough using the keyboard, you can get around quite easily. I too love launchy, but Pressing the windows key and typing works just as well.
posted by zoo at 3:52 AM on March 15, 2012


bash is not the most discoverable of interfaces.

Could be worse. When I discovered unix, we didn't have tab completion. I had no documentation or help, since I wasn't really supposed to be logged in to that system at all, and spent hours typing in random two- and three-letter commands to see if they did anything. (Until I eventually got to trying 'rn'...)

My experience with Unity: Stared at it in amazement for about two minutes, then switched back to the old Gnome UI. This time around, the routine of configuring everything to look and behave the way I like it took about an hour after that. No worse than last time.

So sad, what happened to the Windows 'start' menu. They made it progressively worse with each change until it was so over-complicated that one could make an argument for removing it entirely just for the opportunity to get a fresh start with an inferior but newer idea. Or such is my impression from the little glimpses I've had of Windows over the years.
posted by sfenders at 4:39 AM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


There aren't many hard and fast rules in UI design but Fitts's Law is one...

And there are few hard and fast rules that are more widely mis- or over-applied. All Fitts's Law really says is that for mechanical operations at a given distance, there's a positive correlation between how easy it is to hit the target and how large it is. But it's commonly cited as though it means you should put targets at the edge of screens [which in any case would only be true for cases where you have a screen-bound pointer that is bounded by the edge of THIS screen], and that you should always make your target large [but see: banner blindness], among other things.

In short, I often see Fitts's Law appealed to as though operations trump tasks, and that's just simply not how people work. Fitts's Law is treated as though it trumps cognitive factors and other motor factors. It doesn't; it's simply one thing you need to consider. It's a very important thing -- but so are word choice, eye tracking, persistence, consistency, etc.

I suspect there are aspects of Fittishism that have gone into Windows 8 -- I've seen Fitts appealed to to justify modal dialogs, for instance, and I could see an argument that used it to justify eschewing overlapping windows. Are these appropriate uses of Fitts's law? Well, yes, they might be, but at the same time it could be an example of getting too focused on small details and missing the larger (e.g., cognitive/perceptual) picture. Scope matters.
posted by lodurr at 7:33 AM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


It pisses me off on a deep level to watch Microsoft and Apple decide that desktop computing is the past, and that the future will be those awful little crippled devices. Smartphones are fine, but replacing desktop computers with them? It's like they hate nerds or something.

/s/nerds/businesses, gamers, programmers, writers, and everyone who has to deal with more than a trivial amount of data in their daily lives

I can sort of understand this "better design will make your life better" myopia from Apple, but from Microsoft? The company that got its start in, and remains a strong player in the OS market based primarily on, universal adoption by businesses?

Anyway, I look forward to the inevitable widely-broadcast confusion from Microsoft in 3 years when Windows 8 adoption is still <1% and they just can't figure out why no one wants to use their crippled software. It's newer and shinier and better!
posted by Mayor West at 8:15 AM on March 15, 2012


All molehill mountains. The fact that users will need to spend a few minutes (or hours in this case) to relearn a new Windows system isn't in anyway equivalent to the sinking of the Titanic.

You completely missed the point of the metaphor, mrgrimm. The point was: Windows 8 will sink in the market like the Titanic did if it isn't embraced by the user base.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:32 AM on March 15, 2012


Sure, but I'd point out that many of us have said many similar things about every Windows release since NT 4. (Though I would grant that Microsoft's serious diminishment does now seem like a serious prospect....)
posted by lodurr at 8:55 AM on March 15, 2012


You completely missed the point of the metaphor, mrgrimm. The point was: Windows 8 will sink in the market like the Titanic did if it isn't embraced by the user base.

Fair enough. It's still a huge exaggeration. Do you think users "embraced" any Windows since ... 98, when we got USB? That's the only Windows I ever paid for. Businesses gonna use some flavor of it (though I admit mine is shifting over to Macs heavily for some unknown reason).

If it sinks, it will sink like that Italian cruise ship, and just lay there in the water polluting everything and annoying locals for a while.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:01 AM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


And one of these times, we will be right.
posted by jepler at 9:01 AM on March 15, 2012


I'm not holding my breath, jepler ;-). and also, what mrgrimm said.
posted by lodurr at 9:04 AM on March 15, 2012


Apple has always been a rats nest for people who want to over-literalize metaphors

Come on. I doubt there are any actual rats living at Apple headquarters. No doubt they have a full-time pest control service contracted to take care of that kind of thing.

Oh...wait.
posted by ShutterBun at 7:17 PM on March 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think I may have broken something. I... just don't care about Win8. I don't care very much about tablets full stop, but it all seems like arguments that were worth having ten years ago, a bit, and twenty years ago, a lot. But now? Half the world is using smartphones and Google and feh to everything else.


Perhaps it'll come back.
posted by Devonian at 5:45 PM on March 16, 2012


Perhaps finally Desktop Linux will get a foothold. I mean, in comparison to Windows 8...
posted by e40 at 9:53 AM on March 17, 2012


I think I may have broken something. I... just don't care about Win8.

I don't care about XP or Windows 7. But I still use them, because a lot of things are easier when I do (I also use Mac OS occasionally, and Ubuntu less and less.)

Perhaps finally Desktop Linux will get a foothold.

Hold your breath.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:10 AM on March 21, 2012


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