Friday, August 24, 2012

No need to touch

Being more or less an employee in the field of information technology I fell obliged to try new things as they come out. Server 2012 scares me because I really don't want to learn power shell, but Windows 8 is right there and ready to be played with if you happen to have a subscription to TechNet. Media and expert reactions have been at best mixed and at worst just plain mean so I decided that I needed to see it for myself.

Taking an image of my bloated Windows 7 laptop took around two hours which gave me plenty of time to second guess myself. The built in re-partitioning tool that I didn't know was there did its job so I decided that there was no turning back. The install process of 8 went relatively smoothly, the only exception being that it never asked me fore a license key and I had to dig up a command line tool to force one into place. Getting my head around the interface previously known as Metro was a bigger hurdle. I understood one of the biggest complaints: where the hell is everything?

It's all still there, only the user is given the responsibility of putting the tiles he or she wants where they need to be. The initial set of tiles is terrible, filled with all sorts of things I will never use. Right click, unpin from start. Fixed, so people need to quit their bitching. Install something new that you want on the start page? Right click, show all aps (aps as a word is an abomination. The word is programs), right click on new program, pin to start menu.

It's so easy that it seems all the people getting hits on their web sites with vitriolic complaints didn't put any time into learning how to do things. Is it different? Of course. Will it work much better on my Surface tablet when I get one later this year? Yes as well. But as a desktop OS it does work.

I will admit that having two monitors makes it much easier. The desktop application automatically opens on the secondary monitor, leaving the tiles all along on the primary. Without that I would be alt-tabbing between active programs a lot more, but it is still no deal breaker. My only real complaint so far is that I can't install SQL 2005, but I really need to stop using that anyway. Windows 8 will live as the second OS on my work laptop for at least a week. If all goes well I will be formatting the whole deal and running it as my primary operating system.

There must be something wrong with me. That whole post was positive.

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