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  (Source: Mashable)
Julie Larson-Green is working to fill Sinofsky's shoes

When Microsoft's Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky hit the road last month, Julie Larson-Green stepped in as the new sheriff in town (as far as Windows 8 goes, anyway). Larson-Green didn't inherit an easy role, so it's fair to ask: Can she fill Sinofsky's shoes?

Larson-Green, who has worked for Microsoft for 20 years and led the introduction of huge ideas like the ribbon interface for Microsoft Office, recently interviewed with Tom Simonite at MIT Technology Review in an attempt to offer insight on what it's like to grab hold of Windows' biggest redesign and attempt to bring everyone on board with the new look and feel.

According to Larson-Green, so far, so good. While Sinofsky was a strong force in the Windows environment with a brilliant mind and explosive personality, Larson-Green insists that "not much" has changed since she took over his position.

"I've worked directly with Steven for seven years but known him for the whole 20 years I've been at Microsoft," said Larson-Green. "We think a lot the same about what the role of Windows is in society, what computing looks like, and getting people on board with that point of view."

Getting everyone on board hasn't been easy. Windows has had a solid user interface design since Windows 95, which was the start of a more object oriented interface. Users had become accustomed to this for nearly two decades, and Windows 8 flipped that entire concept on its head.


Julie Larson-Green [Image Source: Microsoft]

Windows 8 features what was once called the Metro style user interface, with colorful live tiles and a repositioned Start button. The new design was mainly for touch purposes in mobile products like Microsoft's Surface and Windows Phone 8, but some have had a hard time digesting this new look for desktop use. So why the radical change?

"When Windows was first created 25 years ago, the assumptions about the world and what computing could do and how people were going to use it were completely different," said Latson-Green. "It was at a desk, with a monitor. Before Windows 8 the goal was to launch into a window, and then you put that window away and you got another one. But with Windows 8, all the different things that you might want to do are there at a glance with the Live Tiles. "

She added the importance of touch on desktops as well as mobile devices to enhance the experience of using Windows 8, while still giving users the option to have a keyboard and mouse. She said it takes people anywhere from two days to two weeks to get adjusted to all the changes in Windows 8, depending on how invested they were in the traditional versions.

This brings us to the Surface tablet, which is Microsoft's first homemade hardware running Windows. Larson-Green addressed the new product briefly (nothing about sales numbers or demand, which have been in speculation lately).

"It was a way to test our hypothesis of a new way of working," said Larson-Green. "It takes time for individuals to adjust, but it also takes time for the industry to adjust to new things—all the complicated things about the supply chain and issues like what sizes of glass gets cut. Surface is our vision of what a stage for Windows 8 should look like, to help show consumers and the industry our point of view on what near perfect hardware would look like."

Sinofsky, former president of Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live division, announced that he was leaving the company last month after a little over 23 years with the tech giant. It was reported as a "sudden" move that no one expected, but details about the departure show that the decision was contemplated for a while and even backed by Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates.

While Sinofsky was seen as a brilliant figure at Microsoft, his downfall was that he didn't get along with others within the company. He was notorious for picking fights with other executives, including current CEO Steve Ballmer, and even pushed former executives like chief software architect Ray Ozzie to quit.

Source: MIT Technology Review



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Just make an 8.1 already!
By stm1185 on 12/14/2012 3:41:24 PM , Rating: 3
Get out an 8.1 version by summer 2013. Put back in the Start Button, make the Metro screen work like an application when not on a tablet; keep the $40 upgrade price. Release 8.2 in 2014... Yearly updates to fix screw ups and improve the OS.




RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By Flunk on 12/14/12, Rating: 0
RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By michael67 on 12/14/2012 5:04:10 PM , Rating: 5
I get that sometimes you have to force users to change there behavior, but in this case they gone to far imho.

I sorta like Metro on my server as i use only 5 aplications, and the big icons? in Metro also displays like a gadget what is happening to the program.

On the desktop i tried Metro for 3 weeks, and its just a pain in the ass, specially on 3 monitors like i have, its a lot of blue!

And yeah i almost don't use the start button anymore, because i pin all my most used programs to the taskbar, so what, i just what it to be there when i need it.

Just like volume nob turns to the right side, for volume up, its not something i have to think about doing, some things just don't have to change, even do i now use 99.99% of the time a remote, i don't wane learn a new way of doing things, because for me the old way was not broken!


RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By SAN-Man on 12/19/2012 11:20:00 PM , Rating: 2
That's all well and good, but the desktop computing world does not want this.


RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By vision33r on 12/21/2012 1:30:08 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe they should take into account that some people prefer a minimal start menu that allows you to see the apps and the running application at the same time.

Instead of this McDonald's style menu that covers up the entire 27" 2560x1440 desktop that I have with huge boxes and I can't see my browser.


RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By Targon on 12/14/12, Rating: -1
RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By Reflex on 12/14/2012 4:30:13 PM , Rating: 3
Hyper-V is built into Win8 and you can virtualize any older version of Windows you want and run it locally.


RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By B3an on 12/14/2012 6:50:21 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Win 8 is the most backwards compatible OS that MS has ever released. And now theres also no need for bloat like WM Ware or Virtual Box.

Same with the native ISO mounting and VHD support. No more bloatware needed.


RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By spamreader1 on 12/17/2012 8:45:15 AM , Rating: 2
Except it doesn't run on a lot of hardware. (even a lot of our core i5 systems in the shop) Unfortunatlye we haven't been able to get the older version of virtual pc to run, so we've been forced to purchase cals of VMware player to get around it on our few win8 boxes. :(


RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By Mint on 12/14/12, Rating: -1
RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By Trisped on 12/14/2012 6:24:32 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Exactly. The start page backlash really doesn't make sense. It's a giant start menu giving you more one-click access, spatial arrangement ability, and has an OPTIONAL second app ecosystem. What's so hard about simply not using the latter if you don't like it, and just enjoying all the other improvements?
It does not sound like you used the start menu much. I use it 5-50 times a day to access different programs and files. Often times I copy a folder path, hit the start key, press ctrl-v, press enter, and I am to my destination in a fraction of a second.

The fact is that my desktop does a better job with "spatial arrangement ability" and in addition to the windows+d keyboard short cut there is now a button on screen which takes you there.


RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By ChronoReverse on 12/14/2012 7:52:34 PM , Rating: 2
Unless I'm reading what you typed wrong, it sounds like you haven't used Windows 8.

quote:
Often times I copy a folder path, hit the start key, press ctrl-v, press enter, and I am to my destination in a fraction of a second.

This still works in Windows 8!


RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By Trisped on 12/18/2012 11:34:10 PM , Rating: 2
I have used it.

I copy the path in, press start, press ctrl+v and am greeted with "No apps match your search."

Of course after your post I tried it and pressed enter and it worked. I am not sure if I just never tried pressing enter because the main results said I had failed, or if I pressed enter and nothing happened and I have since been updated to a version with the functionality.

Anyways, thanks for the comment as it resolved the #1 reason I was never going to upgrade to Windows 8. I still have other reasons (no Windows XP Mode, don't like the way the start screen looks, etc.) but at least I can use the OS.


RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By Mint on 12/16/2012 3:02:46 PM , Rating: 2
And which of these things don't work in Win8?

There's still a desktop. It still has the same shortcut. You can still type a folder name after pressing the windows key.


RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By Trisped on 12/18/2012 11:36:36 PM , Rating: 1
See my reply to ChronoReverse (works now, but I remember it not working before).


RE: Just make an 8.1 already!
By integr8d on 12/19/2012 3:55:26 PM , Rating: 2
8.1? Really? I was going to rate her as more of a 6... 6.5 at the most.


Screw off, power users.
By mbungle87 on 12/15/2012 2:47:15 AM , Rating: 5
Windows 8 is great...for tablets. It's great for phones, or for various 'devices', but it's patently untrue that Windows 8 is good for power users. Remember Ballmer's crazy "developers" chant? Well, wither Microsoft without the developers? You're being cast off into this homogeneous Metro no-man's-land if you want to write applications that'll be included in the Windows Store (you can still publish them out of band, of course), and that's enough to piss off a good number of developers.

But what really galls me is the dismissive way in which Larson-Green and friends treat the power user, as if they're such a small minority as to be unimportant. You "still have the option of using a mouse and keyboard"? Really? The OPTION? Mouse and keyboard is the way real work gets done on a computer. I realize Microsoft puts a lot of emphasis on the non-working, 20-something, content consuming, touchscreen worshiping, hipster crowd, but they don't realize they're tossing off one user base to make room for another. If they're going to copy Apple's business model, they better work out that minor detail.




By damianrobertjones on 12/15/2012 9:32:58 AM , Rating: 1
I'm a power user that runs multiple Vms day in, day out. Last night I was messing around with 8 or so tracks which, while hardly power user status, does require a bit of ommpth. I'm also admin of a multi-blahh blahh no-one cares company.

Windows 8 is perfectly fine for power users and I'm looking forward to jumping across to Hyper-V on the desktop.

I'm just using the OS instead of bitchin' about it.

P.s. Power users are the minority compared to standard users.


RE: Screw off, power users.
By tayb on 12/15/2012 12:54:29 PM , Rating: 2
What, exactly, makes Windows 8 terrible for power users? I am a developer and I switched all my machines to Windows 8 and all the developers at my company to Windows 8 as well. We all love Windows 8.

Why do we love Windows 8? Because when you get over the fact that the start menu is now full screen you realize that Windows 8 is a faster version of Windows 7. Work is still done in the desktop with a mouse and keyboard... that hasn't changed one bit. And developers aren't pissed about forced into the Windows 8 App Store because they AREN'T being forced into the Windows 8 App Store.

And the start screen? It's more functional than the old start menu by a huge margin. There are lots of programs and shortcuts that I want to be able to access quickly but won't want to put on my task bar. I can pin these to the start screen where I couldn't in Windows 7. I can also just start typing and get access to any file, program, or setting on the machine instantaneously.

People just love to bitch and moan apparently. Most people whining about Windows 8 haven't even tried it or just tried it to check a box before they went back to bitching about it.


RE: Screw off, power users.
By Camikazi on 12/16/2012 8:15:25 AM , Rating: 2
Losing the start button was a bit of a pain at first but I will get used to it. Windows 8 is fast though, I installed it on a spare computer I had lying around and the thing is quick. Overall I am liking Windows 8, it's just getting used to the new way it works ATM that is taking time but once I am accustomed to them I will work as fast or faster than I did in Windows 7.


RE: Screw off, power users.
By Mint on 12/16/2012 3:11:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You "still have the option of using a mouse and keyboard"? Really? The OPTION? Mouse and keyboard is the way real work gets done on a computer.
What exactly could you do in Windows 7 with a mouse and keyboard that you can't do in Windows 8?

I keep hearing whiny "power users" (as opposed to the real ones) making claims like this with jack to back it up.


touchscreen on the desktop?
By hubb1e on 12/15/2012 2:20:44 AM , Rating: 2
You'll need a really strong arm to use a touchscreen on the desktop. I hope she misspoke about that or windows 9 will fail too. I Love metro on the surface and hate it on my laptop.




By damianrobertjones on 12/15/2012 9:33:55 AM , Rating: 2
I hardly ever get to see the new interface. No issue here and when I do see the new interface it gives me exactly what I need. Configuration and the ability to make change is good


By freedom4556 on 12/19/2012 4:21:37 PM , Rating: 2
You know, for some reason I can't explain, whenever I read about a lady in the public eye with a hyphenated last name it makes me roll my eyes instinctively. I know there are a few cultures out there where carrying the patriarchal and matriarchal name hyphenated together is traditional (Spain comes to mind off-hand), but whenever it's about a businesswoman here in America I just get the distinct impression it's one of those macho, "I don't want my husband's name being associated with my achievements" feminism thing. I've heard they do that in academia so you can tie together things you've published before you were married with the rest of your CV, but still. Either keep your name or take his, otherwise it just gets annoying to say/read and makes you sound pretentious. Am I alone in this?




hmmmm
By Beavermatic on 12/27/2012 10:05:44 AM , Rating: 2
never trust anyone with two last names...




W9
By Da W on 12/14/12, Rating: -1
RE: W9
By FITCamaro on 12/14/2012 4:55:36 PM , Rating: 4
Windows 8 has hardly been a failure. Is it different? Yes. Is it a bad OS? No. It's performance is just as good, if not better than Windows 7s. It's just moving towards the future direction of computing.

Are there aspects I don't like? Yes. But its not seriously enough for me to call it a bad OS. Vista was "bad" because it's memory usage was high, performance wasn't great, and UAC was too aggressive by default.


RE: W9
By spread on 12/14/2012 7:28:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Vista was "bad" because it's memory usage was high, performance wasn't great, and UAC was too aggressive by default.


Memory usage was great. It was a 64-bit OS that worked. You could have added a little extra memory no problem.

Performance was great. Driver support was a bit flaky as manufacturers dragged their heels in releasing new drivers. It also had superprefetch which worked great (and why people were complaining about memory usage). It also had proper thread scheduling for multi core processors. Vista was designed to take advantage of new hardware not your ancient Pentium III PC.

UAC was aggressive but it could have been disabled no problem.

Vista was misunderstood, installed on the wrong machines and not as polished as it could have been but overall it was pretty good.


RE: W9
By overzealot on 12/14/12, Rating: -1
RE: W9
By ritualm on 12/14/2012 10:36:34 PM , Rating: 5
Memory usage was not crazy.

If your computer has 4GB RAM and the OS isn't taking advantage of most of that 4GB RAM, you're essentially wasting your money on things you don't need. The OS itself isn't using all 1/2/4GB, some of it can be made "free" on demand for other apps to use.

I've had Vista 64bit running on a desktop with only 4GB RAM and it never felt sluggish. PEKBAC.


RE: W9
By inighthawki on 12/15/12, Rating: 0
RE: W9
By damianrobertjones on 12/15/2012 9:35:59 AM , Rating: 3
Superfetch... read about it :)


RE: W9
By damianrobertjones on 12/15/12, Rating: -1
RE: W9
By LRonaldHubbs on 12/17/2012 6:32:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
XP that could run smoothly on under 128MB

BS.

XP is virtually unusable with 128MB; 512MB was the bare minimum to get reasonable performance. 1GB was the lowest I'd recommend to anyone, and 2GB was preferable for a smooth system. Yes Vista needed more to run smoothly, but your claim about 128MB on XP is utter nonsense.


RE: W9
By Etsp on 12/16/2012 1:15:51 PM , Rating: 2
I had some issues with Superfetch in Vista. It seemed it would get stuck on certain large files, and would go weeks constantly churning my hard drive reading and rereading those files. Not hours, not days, weeks (probably even months).


RE: W9
By tamalero on 12/17/2012 1:54:28 PM , Rating: 2
problems with vista was not the memory consumption.

It was the horrible driver support making everyone get at least one BSOD.
most culprits were Nvidia & ATI (sound cards were second)
let's not forget the limitations of only 1 active driver (WDM 1.1 I think?) for videocard and sound.


RE: W9
By damianrobertjones on 12/15/2012 9:35:21 AM , Rating: 2
Memory usage was high due to Superfetch doing it's job and if you don't know about that feature then you have assumed something wrong.


RE: W9
By Da W on 12/15/2012 11:31:38 AM , Rating: 1
I didn,t see that muh angry backlash against Windows 7 when it came out. I'm speaking about sales, and i have high doubts this Windows will be a commercial success.

I used Windows 8 since it came out. I don't hate it, Under the Hood it's a masterpiece of engineering. But after 2 months i barely use any metro apps. Even metro explorer is a pain to use compared to desktop explorer. I use a long ribbon of shortcuts that shows only icons and go through them all every morning for exemple. Doing this in metro, like switching tabs, is a pain.
And they need a dock in metro. The taskbar is the most useful thing in the desktop. Ios, android and OS x have a dock. It would be perfectly doable in metro, even with auto-hide enabled by default.
That multitasking of 2 apps with one taking 1/3 of screen and the other 2/3. Seriously? There's no 1/2-1/2 option? Why? Why can't we split the screen horizontaly? Why can,t we split 4-ways?
How about the top of the screen that's barely used in apps? That would be a good place to put context-sensitive menus a la ribbon.
The left of the screen used for apps switching, i would transform it to an universal back button, since we would have a dock at the bottom to swith apps.
I still use ZUNE on the desktop since i can't figure out how to manage playlists with the xbox music apps. It's like all their apps are made to PURCHASE something more easily than BROWSING THROUGH YOUR OWN CONTENT.
Anyway, still holding on to them stocks. Office is still great.


RE: W9
By kingmotley on 12/14/2012 4:56:52 PM , Rating: 3
Not sure why you think Windows 8 is a fail just because there is a very vocal minority that can't stand any change. I like Windows 8 A LOT. It does everything Windows 7 did, but better.

The task manager is finally what it should have been many versions ago -- showing CPU, Memory, Disk, and Network usage.
The resource manager as well is vastly improved. It looks better, you can drill down into things better to find out exactly what's eating resources, including what program is hogging all the CPU/DISK during boot time that's the cause of slow boots.
I like the new start screen. It took me all of about 10 minutes to get used to the new start screen, and now I can arrange all my most commonly used applications how *I* want them, but if you prefer being limited to your top 5 applications being in a list, good for you.
It uses less resources (memory, disk), and boots faster than Windows 7 ever did.

The windows store is a decent enough idea, but it is going to take a while for that to get to where it really shines.


RE: W9
By Trisped on 12/14/2012 6:31:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not sure why you think Windows 8 is a fail just because there is a very vocal minority that can't stand any change.
Probably because there is an even smaller minority that likes the changes.


RE: W9
By drlumen on 12/14/2012 8:56:56 PM , Rating: 2
Well said.

After almost 2 years I still have to hunt for things in that damn ribbon. Ribbons and tiles and touch! Oh my! I guess if all you do is sit in Facebook or chat or email they are fine. Also, from the sound of the article, we should be glad we can still use a keyboard and mouse! I would not be surprised if they tried to gut them within the next release or two.

Change for an improvement is one thing but I have yet to see any real improvement? I have seen a lot of detriment though. So, why change simply for change sake?


RE: W9
By polishvendetta on 12/17/2012 10:00:19 AM , Rating: 3
Assuming by the Facebook comment you use your computer for more then just Facebook, chat, and email...

It's taken you more then 2 years of regular use to learn to effectively use a peice of computer software? If you use computers every day you are in the wrong industry.

I'm pretty sure there are some elementary school kids that probably use windows 8 better then everyone who complains about it. What does that really say about them? Is Windows 8 bad? Or are they less compitent at learning new skills then 8 year olds?


RE: W9
By drlumen on 12/18/2012 7:41:53 PM , Rating: 2
No the problem is unlearning the previous 15 years of use and programming of under the Windows STANDARD GUI guidelines.

If your use of Excel or Access required you to do anything more advanced than an 8th grader, you could know this. Not much need for it though with your head in a browser huh?


RE: W9
By inighthawki on 12/15/2012 12:52:50 AM , Rating: 3
There must be an even smaller minority who think that's actually true.


RE: W9
By maugrimtr on 12/17/2012 8:15:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
She added the importance of touch on desktops as well as mobile devices to enhance the experience of using Windows 8, while still giving users the option to have a keyboard and mouse.


This is why Windows 8 will never be adopted by corporations. Touch on the Desktop PC or Laptop is WORTHLESS. Hold your arm straight out in front of you for several minutes and you'll realise why - the physical exertion needed to use a touch monitor is ludicrous compared to a mouse. It's inefficient and ungainly. This is just Microsoft playing the Apple "you're holding it wrong" game to avoid looking like morons.

Windows 8 is not terrible - it just needs Windows 9 to reorient the desktop edition to being on...a desktop.


RE: W9
By theapparition on 12/17/2012 10:36:19 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hold your arm straight out in front of you for several minutes and you'll realise why - the physical exertion needed to use a touch monitor is ludicrous compared to a mouse. It's inefficient and ungainly.

That's if you're stuck in the old paradigm. Many of my employees could benefit by a 10" mobile device rather than having to go back to their desks to use a desktop.

Granted they won't be power users, the CAD guys or people typing tech manuals, but for the employees who only need casual email and to check logistics software, it's quite a valid option.


RE: W9
By Trisped on 12/18/2012 6:04:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That's if you're stuck in the old paradigm. Many of my employees could benefit by a 10" mobile device rather than having to go back to their desks to use a desktop.
You are talking about the group of people who are better off using a tablet (or PDA, or slate, or smartphone, or what ever mobile computing device people have been using for years) then a desktop. The original quote is talking about desktop and laptop users.

Just to be clear, the complaint is never (in my experience) that Windows 8 is bad for tablets. It is always that Windows 8 did bad things to desktops.


RE: W9
By damianrobertjones on 12/15/12, Rating: 0
"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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