Print 122 comment(s) - last by T2k.. on Feb 25 at 6:57 PM

New Windows Phone update is also in store

Windows 8 sales have been mixed, with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) seeing strong OEM support and moving a lot of licenses, but struggling in sales -- particularly among enthusiasts.  At the root of the controversy is the rich graphical GUI formerly known as "Metro", which today is referred to as Windows 8 UI.  

There've been unconfirmed rumors that a Windows 8 update code-named Windows Blue was in store for later this year or early next year.  Now those rumors have seemingingly been confirmed, and Microsoft has dropped an indication that it make respond to criticism and tweak the UI.

In a job posting, first noted by Charon at, Microsoft seeks an experienced software engineer, writing:

We’re looking for an excellent, experienced SDET to join the Core Experience team in Windows Sustained Engineering (WinSE). The Core Experience features are the centerpiece of the new Windows UI, representing most of what customers touch and see in the OS, including: the start screen; application lifecycle; windowing; and personalization. Windows Blue promises to build and improve upon these aspects of the OS, enhancing ease of use and the overall user experience on devices and PCs worldwide.

In a second post, Twitter user @h0x0d (Walking Cat on Twitter) notes a second post, pertaining to Windows Phone Blue:

Windows Phone Blue

Excel MX is expected to OneNote MX and Lynx MX as a touch-optimized offering available from the Windows Store.

ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley indicates Microsoft is gunning hard to try to deliver the UI and services overhaul by the end of this upcoming summer.  The refresh is expected to be the first cross platform push for Microsoft's new unified strategy; Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Windows Server 2012, Hotmail, and SkyDrive will all receive similar makeovers.

Windows 8 UI critics shouldn't get too excited -- the new UI isn't expected to bring back the "Start" button, a perpetual criticism of the Windows 8 UI.

A major focus of the Blue update is to improve APIs to make it easier to design an app that works with only a few modifications, on both Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

Sources: Microsoft [1], [2 via Twitter]

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RE: I never used to think...
By GladeCreek on 2/18/2013 7:05:11 PM , Rating: 2
Bah, maybe you or someone you know tried Win8, but obviously never took the time to really learn to use it. The people I know that hate 8 are too busy trying to stuff the UI back in to Win7 format. Shortcuts? Pins? Forget that crap. The Start screen is really awesome once you get it.

Here's how it works: Hit the Win key to get to the start screen, then type anything - I mean anything, and you there you go.

Wanna go to dailytech: win, done. No need to launch a web browser first.

Looking for a document (or any file)? Win Key+ whatever you're searching for, and it's right there in the files section.

Need to launch Excel? Winkey+"excel"+enter - works for every app that way.

Need an admin command prompt, Winkey+X+A. Done. In fact, most common stuff is in the Winkey+X menu. 3 key presses takes me to places that would take several screens and many clicks in Win7.

When I'm working on someone else's Win7 machine, I find myself combing through the start menu looking for what I need to launch, click to open subfolders, find they moved it somewhere else... cumbersome.

RE: I never used to think...
By Motoman on 2/18/2013 8:10:21 PM , Rating: 1
You can do the *exact* same thing in Win7. Type "excel" in the search thing, hit Enter, BAM - Excel launches. Yay.

Except that, of course, the whole point to a "GUI" is to *not* have to type everything you want to do. THAT'S WHY WE LEFT DOS. It's mid-boggling that you think it's a "feature" to "just type everything in!"

For retards and morons who only use their PCs to play Farmville and read their Hotmail, I'm sure it's fine. So, you have fun with that.

But if you're an actual person, who has lots of programs installed on your PC, the Metrosexual UI is such an obvious catastrophe that not a single word can be uttered from your mouth in it's defense without you betraying your own idiocy. There is no way to defend it. None. You may as well still be trying to enforce the theory that the world is flat.

But here I go again, trying to talk sense into someone who's a Metrosexual fanboi. We should have a little tag or something for you people, to mark you as little mini-Swashs, so that people will know not to pay attention to you.

RE: I never used to think...
By Unspoken Thought on 2/18/2013 10:54:40 PM , Rating: 2
Your post is a great indicator of human devolution. Unable to change or adapt and find the benefits of new methods, or old.

DOS has it's place as does Windows 7 and 8. Those who need the power of the command prompt use it. Those who have found Windows 8 to be more efficient for them do so, and don't complain that Windows 7 is inferior.

Being unable to see the pros and cons in another's perspective has left you with sour grapes and blind to any possible insights into creative problem solving.

It's sad to read that you actually have a job collaborating with major corporations. Shortsightedness must be a valued trait employers are looking for these days.

BTW, a quick tip scenario for locating multiple programs from the Metro screen. Group and label your applications according to frequency of use (or however you want). Then utilize semantic zoom:

"The Semantic Zoom interaction is performed with the pinch and stretch gestures (moving the fingers farther apart zooms in and moving them closer together zooms out), or by holding the Ctrl key down while scrolling the mouse scroll wheel, or by holding the Ctrl key down (with the Shift key, if no numeric keypad is available) and pressing the plus (+) or minus (-) key. "

RE: I never used to think...
By Motoman on 2/19/13, Rating: 0
RE: I never used to think...
By chripuck on 2/19/2013 11:31:37 AM , Rating: 5
Good lord man Windows 8 isn't THAT bad. It needs improvement, but it doesn't need a lot. In fact, you can have a Windows 7 experience in Windows 8 by A.) turning of Metro multi-tasking and B.) removing Metro Apps. You then have the Metro start screen which is just a full screen start menu. You can still Pin/Quicklaunch and you have SUPERIOR multi-monitor support.

As for making it easier for corporations to get work done, you clearly don't know about group policy and large scale deployment. Corporations buy hundreds of the same PC, setup an image for it following the principles above and push that image to every PC in the company. Every major and minor IT shop in this country has been doing this for close to 20 years.

Seriously, the Start Menu is different, how closed minded are you?

RE: I never used to think...
By T2k on 2/25/2013 6:57:33 PM , Rating: 1
Seriously, you must be full of shit if you really mean this utter BS you just wrote...

...isn't THAT bad? You mean it's actually WORSE than that, right? There's a reason NOBODY IS BUYING THAT FUCKIN PoS: IT SUCKS. BIG TIME.

Corporations? GPO? WTF are you talking about? What does it have to do with W8?
Why on Earth any company - who are typically at least one step behind the curve - would want to jump in and deal with this broken PoS instead of just 'pushing out their perfectly working W7 images? You're not making the slightest sense, let alone contradicting yourself.

"Closed minded" - are you looking into a mirror or just parroting some BS you read on some stupid MS site?

By Unspoken Thought on 2/20/2013 6:39:56 AM , Rating: 4
On a 1080p monitor I can have access to over 288 programs grouped and categorized however I wish them to be at the touch of a key and mouse scroll.

You are right, I don't see how that is more difficult than going into the Start menu and scrolling through countless folders until I find what I am looking for. It would take me 3 actions from the Metro screen to open up any application I wanted. Ctrl + Mouse scroll, select the group, and click the app. That's it. Or one click if I have it pinned to the left.

Microsoft didn't just slap Metro together in a day. They actually took usage data to determine how efficient the start screen would be over the start menu, particularly in the enterprise environments. From the MSDN Blogs:

In Windows 8 we assume that there are even more apps (and sites) than the XP/Vista/7 eras and so we needed even more scale. We also wanted to provide an at-a-glance view and a navigation model that requires much less dexterity. By using the full screen, we can now show more apps without the need to scroll or navigate hierarchy. By flattening the hierarchy, we provide a way for you to leverage the iconography of the apps and remove the burden of clicking through folders trying to find an app under its manufacturer’s name. Over time this will also address another common complaint, which is that when renaming, combining, or reorganizing folders (which you might do in order to keep the menu from wrapping) you would lose the ability to uninstall cleanly, and thus subject yourself to a periodic garbage collection of your Start menu to avoid dead links.

Have a look over at the MSDN blog

... the current Start menu is primarily used for launching infrequently used apps, while users continue to launch more frequently used apps from the taskbar and Explorer. In fact, 88% of app launches are from outside the Start menu today. Instead, most launches are from the taskbar (41%) and the remaining are split between Explorer and the desktop (47%). So it was clear to us that the Start menu was trending away from being useful and we had an opportunity to redesign it to make it more useful and valuable. We want to be careful in this dialog of spending a lot of energy debating what amounts to a “long tail” usage case.

If your complaint was about learning the hidden UI menus, Metro's inability to to have more than 2 apps open at the same time, desiring more efficient use of space within metro applications, then you might have more merit to your argument. Locating and opening up programs really is a non issue.

Making remarks about fanbois, metrosexual start menus, and facebook users does nothing to support your claims. All it indicates is you have jumped on the MS-hate band wagon without producing any objective criticism.

RE: I never used to think...
By p05esto on 2/21/2013 11:52:16 AM , Rating: 2
Motoman, I love you!

RE: I never used to think...
By deathwombat on 2/19/2013 3:44:39 AM , Rating: 2
Bah, maybe you or someone you know tried Win8, but obviously never took the time to really learn to use it.

I shouldn't have to take time to really learn it! I've been using Windows since 3.1 and every other upgrade required little to no learning curve. When I first tried Windows 8, I didn't know how to do anything with it!

So here's Microsoft's problem: maybe if I try really hard, I'll learn to use and love Windows 8. But if I'm going to have to struggle through learning a completely new OS experience anyway, why should it be Windows 8 instead of Linux or Mac OS X? I've used Windows all these years because each new version has been as easy to use as the last version. Well, not any more! If it's going to be just as much work to learn a new version of Windows as it would be to learn some other operating system, maybe this is finally the push that people need to switch to something else.

RE: I never used to think...
By chripuck on 2/19/2013 11:35:13 AM , Rating: 3
Seriously man, it's not that difficult. The Metro interface is a full screen start menu and the computer boots to that rather than the desktop.

I agree it needs tweaks, one being adding a start button back, even if to just bring up the Metro UI start screen, but it's really not THAT different.

RE: I never used to think...
By deathwombat on 2/19/2013 2:29:52 PM , Rating: 1
If only the Start Screen was the only change! I downloaded the Windows 8 developer preview and tried it in a VM. It was initially difficult to figure out how programs are organized, and I'm still not sure what keeps program groups together, but it didn't take long to run a few apps. Then I wanted to shut down the computer. How do you do that? It's a basic function, but it's hidden in an obscure menu! I had to just close the VM, the digital equivalent to holding the power button until the @&!&ing OS went away.

The second time I tried I was able to locate the shutdown option and played with a few more apps. Okay, that was fun, now how do I close them? There's no X button to close them, so I Googled it. It seems as though you can't close programs! You can either Alt+F4 or open the task manager and terminate the process. Seriously? You have to force the @!*@ing programs to shut down? I mean, honestly.

Do you not think that any experienced Windows user would screw around with Windows 8 and then say, "I'm going back to Windows 7?" Of course, you could force yourself to use it as your primary operating system until you learn it works, but if I'm going to force myself to learn an unfamiliar operating system, why wouldn't I pick a free Linux distribution? If it's going to be as much as work to learn Windows 8 as it is to learn Linux, but Linux is free and Windows 8 isn't, obviously I'm going to try out Mint or Ubuntu for a few days before I resign myself to paying for Windows 8. I'm far more willing to learn an unfamiliar operating system if it's free. An unfamiliar operating system that I have to pay for? How stupid does Microsoft think I am?

By lexluthermiester on 2/22/2013 2:24:48 AM , Rating: 1
OK genius. Tell us the Win key + command for changing game controller settings. Or how about page[swap] file settings? Perhaps making Windows explorer customizable? Eh? Oh wait that's right... YOU CAN'T. Windows 8 is a cumbersome, unintuitive waste. It is easily MS's biggest failure. And if "Blue" goes down the same way, MS can take a long walk off a short pier.

"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs

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