Posts Tagged ‘windows 8’

Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 RT

Windows 8 is finally here and along with it is Microsoft’s big bet – the Surface with Windows RT.  The company built the hardware itself (pissing off its numerous hardware partners) and it is basically positioned to compete against Apple’s iPad and Google’s Chromebooks.

Consensus is that the device is beautiful hardware-wise.  Unique case with a touch keyboard, slim tablet, and a kickstand to prop it up…

The criticisms I’ve read are centered around:

  1. The screen dimensions make it awkward to hold in portrait mode (a little too long)
  2. Windows RT doesn’t run all the applications that Windows 8 will run.  It runs basically the tablet-oriented apps and not the desktop and legacy applications.  That can be confusing for customers who don’t realize that Windows RT and Windows 8 are not the same thing.  The allowed apps must come from the Windows Store (app store)
  3. The lack of applications – it’s a new platform so more will be coming, but yes, there’s a lack of killer apps at the moment.
  4. Camera sucks

However it’s still an ultra-portable tablet with features that give it an edge over existing tablets for creating content.  Are people using it while still in the “shadow” of how one uses an iPad?  Perhaps it will take time to break out of using the Surface in the same way as using an iPad.

There’s plenty of reviews out there from the big tech sites, but this review by Hal Berenson had good analysis about what the Surface can offer.

Some observations on Windows 8

Last night I upgraded my laptop from Windows 7 Enterprise to Windows 8 Pro. On Windows 7 I had Office 2013 Preview installed as well as Windows Live Mesh to help keep files in sync across multiple computers.

I debated doing a clean install but was feeling lazy so decided to try for an upgrade. I set up the Windows 8 ISO on a USB thumbdrive and booted it from within Windows 7. I selected the upgrade route and the choices it gave me were to either keep my personal files (everything under my user folder) or delete everything. It didn’t give me a choice to keep my applications. Looking at the further Help it said that Windows 8 will offer the relevant choices to your situation – in some cases it would have been possible to keep the applications that were already installed, but I guess not in my case. I wonder if it’s something to do with the Windows 7 version I was running. Windows 8 required at least 20 gigabytes free hard drive space, so I had to delete a bunch of stuff (I have a small SSD drive) before it was ready to go.

The install went smoothly and my personal data was kept intact. The old installation of Windows was moved into a different folder called Windows.Old which I then deleted.

I’ve only been messing around with it for a few hours so I don’t have too many observations yet, but overall am enjoying the “feel” of it. Switching back and forth from the traditional desktop to the new Windows 8 user interface (heck, I’m going to continue to call it Metro) isn’t as awkward as I thought it would be, and everything feels snappy and faster than Windows 7.

Some issues I have encountered so far are that Squarespace websites look messed up in Internet Explorer. The images come out all blocky. A little troubling since that’s what I use for Standing Sushi Bar.

The biggest issue has been the inability to install Windows Live Mesh anymore. I don’t know if this is true for Windows 7 as well but on Windows 8 I can’t install Live Mesh and am forced to install SkyDrive to sync files. Unfortunately this means that I need to uninstall Live mesh on all the other machines and install SkyDrive on them in order to get all the computers to sync together.

This issue is more about SkyDrive than Windows 8… SkyDrive is kind of awesome but has one big problem. It’s slow as heck to upload and download!! So when you’re trying to synchronize 5 gigabytes of data this is important. Dropbox and Google Drive are reportedly significantly faster. There’s a lot of people experiencing the slowness of SkyDrive so you can see plenty of transfer speed comparisons.

So I spent awhile first trying SkyDrive and then switching everything over to Dropbox. Let’s see how things go…