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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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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.


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