Windows 8. No, really.
Some time back I was given a copy of Visual Aid: Stuff You've Forgotten, Things You Never Thought You Knew and Lessons You Didn't Quite Get Around to Learning. It is full of diagrams that tell you stuff, and is as much an object lesson in presenting data as it is a collection of quirky and interesting facts.
It had a page on haircuts, with an example of each. Including the Mullet. For those of you who don’t remember the 80’s, a mullet was a kind of crew cut front with an enormous length of hair behind. It was billed as the haircut that was “Business at the front, Party round the back”.
Just like Windows 8. I’ve been using Windows 8 for a few weeks now, and it really is an operating system of two halves. It is as if Microsoft have looked at the tablet experience and gone “There’s no way we can make a single system that does tablet and desktop at the same time”. So they have made a machine with works as well as Windows 7 for the desktop and has a Metro interface for the tablety stuff.
I reckon it works. There are some irritations. The determination of Microsoft to hide the Start button has annoyed a few people, but I’ve now got used to pressing the Start key on the keyboard and then typing the first few letters of the program name to run it. I can get Visual Studio working in much shorter time than previously.
For me the biggest irritation is the way that some things are hard wired into the Metro full screen mechanic, whether you like it or not. For example, the good news is that Windows 8 has a built in viewer for PDF files. The bad news is that when you open it you get to view the document full screen or nothing. There is no way you can have small window open on your desktop, which is annoying.
I’m using a Samsung Slate as my primary computer now and it works a treat. I can dock it for proper work and then take it out and about with me. It would be nice if it had USB 3, so that I could access external disks a bit more quickly, but I can live with that.
I mentioned my “mullet theory” to a Microsoft Person on the Windows 8 team as the possible basis of a marketing push. She thought it mildly amusing, but I think it is unlikely we’ll get Nik Kershaw to sport his again I’m afraid.