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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 Ma-config.com, 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 tayb on 2/19/2013 10:22:24 AM , Rating: 5
You can call me a fan boy all you want but you'll find plenty of posts by me that are extremely critical of Microsoft. Below are MY reasons for using Windows 8.

1. Right click in the bottom left corner of the monitor for an amazing context menu with shortcuts to things that are otherwise a pain in the ass to get to. Power options, event viewer, disk manager, device manager, etc. No more pressing the start menu, typing, and clicking/hitting enter.
2. Pin any number of applications I want to the task bar and pin the rest to the start screen for quick access. The start menu can only grow so tall in Windows 7. The start screen does not have a limit to the number of pinned apps.
3. Boot up 2-3 times faster than Windows 7.
4. Upgraded task manager makes managing applications, services, and start-up programs exponentially easier than Windows 7. No more services.msc or msconfig.
5. Pinning applications to specific monitors. Windows 7 requires 3rd party applications to accomplish this and they are NOT free. (If you're okay buying Ultramon, why aren't you okay with free Start8?)
6. Don't like Metro? Don't use it. Either don't use it because you don't have to or don't use it by download a FREE program called Start 8.
7. Windows 8 is faster than Windows 7. Substantially. You would think a site full of "gamers and techies" performance would be a big deal. Apparently not.
8. Ribbon in the explorer menu makes trivial tasks such as copying to a directory, renaming an item, zipping/sharing, etc
9. Storage spaces allows me to consolidate multiple drives and address them as a single drive.
10. Improved file copying
11. File history
12. Improved search. Hit the windows key, start typing, get visual access to any program, application, or file immediately.
13. Hit Windows Key then Ctrl + Tab for a list of every installed application. Launch them, pin to start screen, pin to task bar, or delete. Very convenient.
14. Hyper V.
15. Synced settings across multiple machines. Extremely useful for people who work on a desktop at work and then take a work laptop home with them as well.
16. Alt+F4 for a nice shutdown menu
17. Automatically saved screen grabs when you hit Win+Prnt screen.
18. Snapping a Metro app to a small section on the side of the screen. I use this for my chat program. Just a little sliver on the side.
19. Mount an ISO natively!!!! No more 3rd party apps for something so simple!

And the absolute best feature? Re-install Windows 8 at the click of a button.

Do I miss the start button? No. The start screen is more usable. If I did miss the start button I would go download Start8 for free and bring the start button back.

Do I hate Metro? Not really. I don't prefer it but I don't ever go into the interface unless I am searching for something and in that particular use case I do enjoy the use of it. I can't imagine why anyone on a desktop or laptop would ever honestly use the Metro interface. It doesn't make sense. Square peg in round hole.


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 11:33:01 AM , Rating: 2
How does it make the machine unusable? You keep spouting this point with no examples. Good lord man, the Metro interface is just a full screen start button.


RE: I never used to think...
By Motoman on 2/19/13, Rating: -1
RE: I never used to think...
By Fritzr on 2/19/2013 7:02:57 PM , Rating: 2
Are you referring to Metro only apps? If so then you are unaware of the fact that using Win7 programs puts you in a Win7 environment. Yes it is missing the Start Menu that is put back by installing Start8 (a FREE application)

There are paid menu replacements also that emulate the Win7 Start menu with a variety of added features.

In Desktop Mode Win8 is simply a much improved Win7. All the keyboard shortcuts of Win7 work (including type search item and cick to run) & all of the WinXP/Win95 shortcuts that Win7 supported are still there...no learning curve for those.

Now if you were doing everything by Start Menu, then simply setup a folder group called Start and put in shortcuts to all your Start Menu items...You then have DIY Start Menu replacement (Win 7 also allows this :) )

Motoman, you are losing the debate by coming across as a spittle spraying fanatic. No I am not criticizing you, just criticizing the manner in which you have chosen to try to convince people that you are right. The manner in which you argue will definitely affect the manner in which people respond. Sound insane and people will assume your argument IS insane and incorrect regardless of actual correctness or sanity.


RE: I never used to think...
By tamalero on 2/20/2013 12:03:51 AM , Rating: 3
the point is.. why the hell people have to SEARCH and FIND this start8 program to get the machine useable?

tell that to people, who are used to work on windows environments and who dont know they could get such programs to fix metro's limitations!!


RE: I never used to think...
By timothyd97402 on 2/23/2013 3:44:05 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know how many posts that defend Windows 8 by saying just go do this and the other thing and then you'll have the functionality you are looking for, or just use this or that key combination and then you'll get to some option that kind of does what you want...

Why can't I just boot straight to the desktop and have a small start menu that is limited to my desktop apps if that is what I want? Why can't I have that option? Because MS wants to sell apps and for that they have to force us to use the Metro GUI. They also want to sell phones and tablets that use the Metro GUI and they need desktop users forcibly "familiarized with Metro to aid them on that front.

I mean everytime you turn around they have whisked you away from the desktop UI and back into the Metro UI. I have no use for the Metro UI. I have yet to meet one "app" that isn't superficial and next to useless. The very concept of two GUIs that one is constantly having to switch between is farcical on its face!

The best point of any GUI is that is INTUITIVE and Windows 8 simply isn't. In their zeal to make it thumb friendly and "clean" in appearance they removed all of the visual cues that make intuitive use possible. A user is forced to learn and memorize a lot in Windows 8. Visual clues jog those memories as well as give hints about where to look for the function you need.

I could go on and on, one last point, Windows 98, XP, Vista, and 7 pretty much worked out of the box with out a lot of user customization necessary. That just isn't the case with 8. How many mouse clicks to get to the desktop Notepad program now? "Oh, but you just pin it here or clip it there" you say...


RE: I never used to think...
By tayb on 2/19/2013 11:32:57 AM , Rating: 2
Very well thought out retort full of detailed responses to the list I presented. You have the makings of a politician. I was particularly convinced by the part where you said (paraphrasing) "Metrosexual interface sucks" and backed up your claim with zero evidence.


RE: I never used to think...
By Motoman on 2/19/2013 12:07:47 PM , Rating: 3
It's infinitely inferior to the Start menu, because there's no possible way to arrange hundreds, or even dozens, of installed programs in a manner that's easy to manage and easy to use.

The Start menu is the optimal form for the arrangement and access to installed programs.

Unless, as I've noted previously, you only use your computer for Farmville and Hotmail, and can get buy with the Fisher-Price UI that Win8 now provides you.

For anyone who actually uses their PC for actual work, and actually expects to be productive with it, the Metro interface does nothing but get in the way. It provides no benefits. There's nothing positive that it does that can't be accomplished with a plain old Windows desktop widget like what's been around since Vista, and by making it impossible to efficiently organize and access average or large numbers of applications, it prevents reasonable usage of the computer.

Period. And if you have managed to convince yourself differently, you are not only in a vast minority, but likely also moderately insane. Because this is, quite simply, self-evident.


RE: I never used to think...
By tayb on 2/19/2013 12:22:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's infinitely inferior to the Start menu, because there's no possible way to arrange hundreds, or even dozens, of installed programs in a manner that's easy to manage and easy to use.


Alphabetical is too challenging for you? Windows Key -> Ctrl + Tab. Or Windows Key -> type anything...

quote:
The Start menu is the optimal form for the arrangement and access to installed programs.


As I previously mentioned and you ignored the start menu has limits on the number of applications. The start screen has no such limitation and the application list is just as it sounds, an alphabetical list of every installed application.

quote:
For anyone who actually uses their PC for actual work, and actually expects to be productive with it, the Metro interface does nothing but get in the way. It provides no benefits. There's nothing positive that it does that can't be accomplished with a plain old Windows desktop widget like what's been around since Vista, and by making it impossible to efficiently organize and access average or large numbers of applications, it prevents reasonable usage of the computer.


Are you allergic to reading? Serious question. Windows 8 actually makes it EASIER to organize and manage a large number of applications. I would be delighted to hear what single screen in Windows 7 allows you to see an entire list of installed apps and manage them. By manage I mean pin them to the task bar, pin them to the start screen, and uninstall them.

quote:
Period. And if you have managed to convince yourself differently, you are not only in a vast minority, but likely also moderately insane. Because this is, quite simply, self-evident.


Once again you've supported your conclusions with literally zero evidence. The "suckiness" of Windows 8 is so self evident that you can't provide use cases to support your conclusions.


RE: I never used to think...
By Motoman on 2/19/2013 1:07:42 PM , Rating: 3
...and this is why you're a fanboi>

quote:
Alphabetical is too challenging for you? Windows Key -> Ctrl + Tab. Or Windows Key -> type anything...


The Start menu is alphabetical. In fact, an alphabetical listing of everything you have installed is optimal - that's what the Start menu is. As for your braindead re-assertion that you can "just type anything you want" - that's why we left DOS, and also, previous Windows versions do the same thing. And why, exactly, should anyone start learning more multi-key-presses to do stuff that was easy before, without such key presses? You've just proved yourself wrong in insisting that Metro makes these things easier.

quote:
As I previously mentioned and you ignored the start menu has limits on the number of applications.

No, no it doesn't. There is no limit to the number of programs and program groups that the Start menu can manage for you - automatically, and in alphabetical order. Have you never used Windows before?

quote:
The start screen has no such limitation

...really? Just how many of your Fisher-Price "tiles" do you think you're going to manage to fit on your screen? As noted many times before, if you only use your PC to do a couple things, then fine. Use your Fisher-Price kindergarten interface and be happy with it. But it is EXTREMELY limited in it's ability to organize and provide access to average or large numbers of installed programs.

quote:
and the application list is just as it sounds, an alphabetical list of every installed application.

...that's what the Start menu is, which is the one and only way to intelligently organize and provide access to all your programs. Putting the Metro UI on top of that does nothing but waste time as you get to the application list.

quote:
Are you allergic to reading? Serious question. Windows 8 actually makes it EASIER to organize and manage a large number of applications. I would be delighted to hear what single screen in Windows 7 allows you to see an entire list of installed apps and manage them. By manage I mean pin them to the task bar, pin them to the start screen, and uninstall them.

OK, so apparently you actually haven't ever used Windows before - because that's what the Start menu does for you. Do you honestly think you've made a point here?

quote:
Once again you've supported your conclusions with literally zero evidence. The "suckiness" of Windows 8 is so self evident that you can't provide use cases to support your conclusions.


It's clear that you're projecting. As can easily be seen, it is you who have provided no support to your assertions. The things you've tried to say are improvements are things Windows has done for years. Without the Fisher-Price UI on top of it, serving no purpose but to slow you down and make you less productive.ve just proved yourself wrong in insisting that Metro makes these things easier.


RE: I never used to think...
By tayb on 2/19/2013 2:53:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The Start menu is alphabetical. In fact, an alphabetical listing of everything you have installed is optimal - that's what the Start menu is. As for your braindead re-assertion that you can "just type anything you want" - that's why we left DOS, and also, previous Windows versions do the same thing. And why, exactly, should anyone start learning more multi-key-presses to do stuff that was easy before, without such key presses? You've just proved yourself wrong in insisting that Metro makes these things easier.


The start menu houses an alphabetical list of folders in which the applications reside.

Windows 7: Mouse to Start/Windows Key -> Mouse to All Programs -> Click on the application folder -> Click on application.
Windows 8: Press Windows Key + C (or other alternatives) -> Click on application you want

Fewer clicks + less time traveling between mouse and keyboard = maximum efficiency.

I love how you believe an opinion can be proved wrong.

quote:
No, no it doesn't. There is no limit to the number of programs and program groups that the Start menu can manage for you - automatically, and in alphabetical order. Have you never used Windows before?


The start menu allows you to pin programs for quick access. This pinned list is limited. In Windows 8 the All Programs + Pinned List has been consolidated into one section.

quote:
..really? Just how many of your Fisher-Price "tiles" do you think you're going to manage to fit on your screen? As noted many times before, if you only use your PC to do a couple things, then fine. Use your Fisher-Price kindergarten interface and be happy with it. But it is EXTREMELY limited in it's ability to organize and provide access to average or large numbers of installed programs.


Right now across three monitors I have 2 instances of Visual Studio 2012, 2 instances of SQLServer 2012, 2 chrome windows open, 1 Firefox window open, 1 Outlook, 2 word documents, 1 Revolution Analytics, 1 RStudio, 1 Control Panel, and 1 chat program. I find it easier to manage all of this in Windows 8 than I did in Windows 7. I find it easier to FIND these things in Windows 8 than I did in Windows 7. If I didn't I wouldn't have upgraded. If people would check their bias at the door and try to actually LEARN how to use Windows 8 more people would come to the same conclusion.

quote:
...that's what the Start menu is, which is the one and only way to intelligently organize and provide access to all your programs. Putting the Metro UI on top of that does nothing but waste time as you get to the application list.


Unless, of course, there was another way which required fewer clicks and greater control over the programs.

quote:
OK, so apparently you actually haven't ever used Windows before - because that's what the Start menu does for you. Do you honestly think you've made a point here?


No, it does not. It allows you to manage folders in which the applications reside. It is not nearly as easy to do any of the functions I mentioned, especially uninstall. This is especially true if you are allergic to typing or hate keyboard shortcuts. Even in Windows 7 typing the application name was faster than going through All Programs.

quote:
It's clear that you're projecting. As can easily be seen, it is you who have provided no support to your assertions. The things you've tried to say are improvements are things Windows has done for years. Without the Fisher-Price UI on top of it, serving no purpose but to slow you down and make you less productive.ve just proved yourself wrong in insisting that Metro makes these things easier.


So very very ironic.

Besides, if you hate the start screen go download Start8. It's free. Just another point you've neglected to respond to. You're good at that.


RE: I never used to think...
By Motoman on 2/19/2013 4:33:33 PM , Rating: 2

quote:
Windows 7: Mouse to Start/Windows Key -> Mouse to All Programs -> Click on the application folder -> Click on application. Windows 8: Press Windows Key + C (or other alternatives) -> Click on application you want


Or, in Win7, if you're into hitting buttons on your keyboard, hit the Windows button there and click on the app you want. Yay. Same thing. Oh, except it's just the Windows key, not Windows + C or whatever else you're spewing. Which, by the way, is fewer clicks if that's your thing.

quote:
The start menu allows you to pin programs for quick access. This pinned list is limited. In Windows 8 the All Programs + Pinned List has been consolidated into one section.

You say that like it's a good thing. If they're consolidated into one section, then there's no point in having a "pinned" list. But your statement wasn't about pinning anyway - it was about the "limitation of the Start menu" - and as has been clearly demonstrated, there is no limitation to the Start menu.

As for having to deal with all the tiles, you start off with:
quote:
Right now across three monitors...

And you can stop right there. Because nothing else you say has any value. If your assertion is going to be that Win8 is just fine so long as you have 3 monitors hooked up, then you just go right on and try that. Nobody's going to go out and buy more monitors to try to deal with this POS of a children's GUI.

quote:
Unless, of course, there was another way which required fewer clicks and greater control over the programs.

The Start menu is infinitely more capable to manage, organize, and provide access to your programs - and the more programs you have, the more that is true. Unless, of course, you actually think buying infinite numbers of monitors is a rational thing to do...

quote:
No, it does not. It allows you to manage folders in which the applications reside. It is not nearly as easy to do any of the functions I mentioned, especially uninstall. This is especially true if you are allergic to typing or hate keyboard shortcuts. Even in Windows 7 typing the application name was faster than going through All Programs.

Wow, really? Firstly, most applications include an uninstall feature right there in their folder. Secondly, as you seem to be so hip on, if you can't manage to bring yourself to click the Control Panel link, you can always type "uninstall" and select that option from the list presented you to get the full list of things you can uninstall. Naturally, my point is that a GUI is defeated if you have to resort to typing things...especially since that requires that you remove your hand from your mouse. And frankly, if you find yourself uninstalling things *so often* that you think that "feature" is saving you any time, you probably need to rethink WTF you're doing with your computer.

quote:
So very very ironic. Besides, if you hate the start screen go download Start8. It's free. Just another point you've neglected to respond to. You're good at that.


You claim my actions are ironic, yet I've proven indisputably that you're wrong. You're simply not residing in reality. As for Start8 - yes, I know it's free. But I'm not an Apple user - it's not my job to QA and fix sh1tty software. If MS wants to put a GUI designed for toddlers on their latest OS, that's fine - but I'm not going to pay money for and then have to fix it. If they want my money, they can make it useful out of the box.


RE: I never used to think...
By Fritzr on 2/19/2013 7:07:35 PM , Rating: 3
Keep going please ... your responses are making me like Win8 better with each new post :LOL:


RE: I never used to think...
By tamalero on 2/20/2013 12:06:11 AM , Rating: 2
And, confirmed for troll and/or hardcore fanboy.


RE: I never used to think...
By MrBungle123 on 2/20/2013 10:54:14 AM , Rating: 1
Windows 8 fans = people that like to jerk off to product training manuals. They get off on finding new ways to do things just because they can... not because they are acutally better but because they can.

Metro exists because MS wants to push their app store and because if MS is out of ideas standard procedure is to move every thing around in the interface and slap a new version number on it.


RE: I never used to think...
By AnemicCrayon on 2/24/2013 5:33:43 AM , Rating: 1
Tayb, why do you keep asserting that Start8 is free? It is a 30 day trial after which you have to pay $4.99. If you cannot get this very simple fact straight how can anything else you're saying be considered.


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