Split Screens and Personalities

I remember back in 2009 playing with the beta for Windows 7 thinking, “Wow! This is SO much better than Vista! This is Vista done right!” That was a phrase that stuck to Windows 7 for me all these years. Vista done right. The point to this is that when I was using Windows 7 I had the resource hog that was Vista to compare it to so, in essence, whatever came next could only be better. I can compare that to using Windows ME, which I grew up with, then making the move to Windows XP which was infinitely better. The problem is now that I’ve used and fell in love with Windows 7 the Windows 8 OS could, if the track record held, be another Windows ME and Vista. There seems to be this idea that every other OS that Microsoft releases is going to be garbage and while it’s too soon to tell I have a good feeling this isn’t the case with Windows 8.

I show the Windows 8 previews to people and there are mixed reactions. Generally the geeks and nerds in my circles™ will tell me that it was somehow ripped off from Linux or, if coming from the Windows camp, saying that the OS is becoming a lot like Apples OS which is to say “dumbed down”. On the other hand I show the preview to some of the visitors at K-5 Enterprises and somewhere between pleased and ecstatic. Finally there is a Windows OS that isn’t Microsoft Bob where everything is laid out for you and easy, or at the very least much easier, to find and understand. This revelation occurred to me when one of the customers at K-5 was telling me how much they loved their new phone and I expected her to say it was an iPhone but when she showed me it turned out to be a Windows Phone. I then showed her the, at the time, Developer Preview and she was excited for it to come out.

Now we hit the purpose of this post which is to address Windows Power Users, which I consider myself to be one, who are griping about the way Microsoft is moving. Windows 8 is an attempt to make computing much friendlier to the paying masses that are looking for an easy to use and learn experience. You buy a computer and it comes pre-installed with Windows and those who have enough issues with the OS will make the jump to OS X which is, in their eyes, a simpler OS. Now imagine that Microsoft made an OS which was so easy to use that the migration to Apple began to rapidly decline? An inexpensive computer with an easy to use OS. Perfect!

That’s not to say that us Power Users should shun Windows 8 because, if I’m being honest, I’m using 8 the same way I used 7. I have yet to hit a barrier where I think, “Damn! I could do this in 7 but s##ts impossible on 8!” I love the idea of having the Metro interface on top of my, what I’ll call, my Windows 7 experience. Snap still works beautifully and what’s even better is that I can split screen between the Desktop and any Metro app. Now I don’t have to have Facebook or a separate IM client open to see the conversation and be working on a separate project on the same screen. It almost has me reconsidering the idea of having dual monitors. Almost. More isn’t always better and I say that having recently reduced my desktop from four to two.

I suppose what I want to say here can be summed this way: Windows 8 is an attempt to bridge the gap between computing and the average user. That’s not to say that Power Users are being forgotten by Microsoft in any way.