Saturday, 24 March 2012

Controversy Corner. I like windows 8.

Yep, you heard it here first!  You'd think reading the shouting on the interweb, that microsoft's latest offering was in fact, anthrax packaged up in a nice shiny polonium sandwich and seasoned with, ooh, something else nasty that i can't think of off the top of my head.

So what has got the blogotwitsphere screaming 'worst operating system EVER!!!'?  The shiny new metro interface, that's what.  So yes, of course i then google around and find i'm not the only person who likes it.  So there's one other person, as far as i can see.

The biggest problem with metro is that it needs a minimum screen size of 1024x768, which rules out netbooks for 'metro apps'.  And i wasn't that impressed with that when i loaded the consumer preview (aka 'beta') onto my hp mini as, like your average netbook, its screen is 1024x576, which is great for watching movies on long train journeys or using as a telly (as long as its not too far away) but a bit of a pain for a lot of other things.  So while there are a number of hacks around and about for stretching screen size beyond what the native monitor can do, they generally result in the screen looking all horrible and squashed.  And in my world, while yes, functionality yada yada, lets face it, we buy netbooks because they're cute and look quite funky as well as being a 'cheap laptop', which is totally what i wanted when i bought mine, actually!

Tablets?  Well, so far, so meh.  I don't want android actually, i tried it and didn't like it, thanks very much, i want a 'proper' OS, its a computer, not a phone!  And chrome looks interesting and really close to what i'm after, but chromebooks are currently overpriced, although they seem to be coming down. Google aren't precious about dumping ideas that aren't working either, so long term support might be, er, not very long term as they don't seem to be catching on.

So yes, what i want, and what i broke my OEM xp install trying to get before mucking around with a bunch of linux variants, is basically a browser, with a media player, that'll run the vpn software i need to log into my work pc and will fit in a normal size handbag without breaking my spine.

And it has to look nice.  I know that'll probably upset a lot of techie boys, but hey, i spend a lot of time looking at this thing, nasty clonky boxes in shades of grey and blue don't do it for me.  Jolicloud was really close but it had too much extra mucking about, and most of the customise options that make linux great have been switched off.

And you know what's always drove me nuts about windows?  The start button.  The thing that suddenly there's all this mourning for.  I loved Mac OS X when it first appeared, for me the greatest thing about it was the dock, and i've spent any amount of mucking about trying the variants that are around for windows, but the start menu was still around and something i couldn't kill off.

So yes, Windows 8 start screen?  Love it.  Love. It.  So metro apps don't work?  So what, they're aren't any yet anyway!  And a bit of a right-click-un-install frenzy on first use clears the decks nicely for the stuff i want.

So, for instance, this is now my start screen:

Everything i want in one click, nothing that i don't.  If i do want to be able to get at the other stuff then a right click brings up 'all apps' and there they are.  Most are still placeholders, but seeing as i'm not using them, i just want them to stay out of the way anyway, unlike the massive long list in the start menu that i had to climb through to find anything that didn't have a desktop shortcut.


And anyway, if you do want the start button back, there's already an app for that.  I may even try it.

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