Windows 8 Content consumption rather than production


Aug 31, 2010
I was reading a review of Windows 8.

Usability expert finds Windows 8 on a PC confusing - GadgetBox on

In it the person says "Windows 8 is optimized for content consumption rather than content production and multitasking. Whereas content consumption can easily be done on other media (tablets and phones), production and multitasking are still best suited for PCs. Windows 8 appears to ignore that."

If that's true, then I have to ask... What would be the point of having a computer at all? Why spend all that money on something that you just... what... shop on?

They also say "There are things that you can do more easily in Windows 8. For instance, it’s easy to share a news story through email or with friends on Facebook. But, I am not sure that these are the tasks that people do most often on a PC."

And I thought Windows 7 was geared towards the Facebookers, this sounds like 8 is made exclusively for them.

I just hope I can keep buying motherboards that supports XP because I'm one of those crazy people that think computers should do more than Facebook.

The original is here, for those who care to read it:"Usability Expert: Windows 8 on PCs is Confusing, a Cognitive Burden" I don't think it has ever been an undercover secret, that Windows 8 was designed with the operational priority pointing at tablet users. But I have never seen the problem that those who have examined it, seem to be having. It is quite easy, even for a newbie, to bypass the Metro screen and be able to use the legacy desktop, with ones own software installed, and with full multi tasking ability. This comment, out of the context, needs thought. " Is it a mistake to force people to relearn an interface that has been popular for 20 years". When Vista was released, yes, the "interface" ( I guess she means the desktop with that word?) was pretty much the same. But things had moved around. This presented an even worst situation for those who had been using xp for years. The navigation between items had changed by something like 50%. In Windows 8, if a user goes directly to the Desktop, it is exactly the same as its predecessor, excepting the loss of the Start globe and it's associated menu. This can easily be rectified by the use of a third party start menu - there are several available. "The duality of Desktop-Metro is likely to confuse at least some of the users." Not really. If, following my previous remark, you use your third party software, you would possibly operate endlessly without even seeing the Metro screen again! I am not sure what she means by "content". Your own comment "Why spend all that money on something that you just... what... shop on? ", does indicate a lack of deep examination of the Metro possibilities. I do not see anything which directs it, strictly, towards the purchase of any products. It offers all the legacy built in items, and the "Store" has a huge range of free products, as well as those which you should purchase (as always!) . Fwiw, I am using the Metro "interface" as a start menu, and have no problems with it. Most of the author's following comments are a little repetitive, Your comments are fair, but I tend to think that, in the case of Windows 8, original assessments were made by cynics, and now it has become a case of "give a dog a bad name"

Great points by the both of you. The Interface to me is very refreshing as well as the speed. I know some things at this time need to be worked out but works fine. I'm not a facebooker but every where you turn they want something shared. The "Metro Interface" is easily accessed and you don't have to use it if you don't want too...I like having the option, maybe someday a tablet will be in my future who knows. I think we need to embrace newer OS's as they keep up with the times. As we all know now technology outpaces itself in a very short time and things will always change, that is one thing in life that's guaranteed. Cheers!

I know some things at this time need to be worked out but works fine.

I think the majority opinion, however, is "What happened??" As far as time to be worked out... once it RTM'd.. they sorta ran themselves out of time. There hasn't been a Service Pack that contained feature improvements since Vista Service Pack 1, so don't expect this interface to change in any way upon release in stores. What you are seeing in the RTM build is Microsoft Windows 8 as it will be released, in its final bits, with only additional 3rd party programs, branding, and drivers embedded by manufacturers. There is no great development to wait for that is going to fix the derailment... I was open to the schema, but as time has dragged on, after seeing publication from respected developer after developer just denunciate even the idea of programming for it.. I am more than a bit concerned. The only reason why any apps (millions upon millions of them) from prior operating systems still work, literally at all, ironically, is because they did not remove the services and code associated with the desktop completely. It seems like that has been their long-term goal, which is amazingly confusing when it comes to where Windows development is supposed to go. As I hate to bring it out again, cross-platform virtualization, and staying a software company, would have solved most of their problems in the tablet and phone market. Seriously, everyone, minus 1% of the first world population, has used either a phone powered by iOS or Android. I do not see some mass migration over to Windows tablets and phones because of this change. In fact, I would imagine that medium to large developers are doubling up on their investments in these two platforms when it concerns software development, and seriously considering that Windows will likely be relegated to a desktop OS - unless they implode that too - obviously... by removing the desktop and non-"Runtime" compatibility altogether.

I think we need to embrace newer OS's as they keep up with the times.

I tried Win 8, admittedly for a very short time, and I was very unimpressed. People may say I'm just afraid of change. Others, who think very highly of themselves, will say I simply can't learn a new OS and that maybe I should get back in my "Way-Back Machine" and reinstall Win 98 (and then chuckle at their own cleverness). But the truth is that Win 8 is just Win 7, only harder to get around in. Did I like Win 7? No, and let me tell you why. I have nearly 600 folders in my "Music" folder on my D drive. In Win XP, when I "sort by name" and "show in groups" those 600 folders are sorted by individual letters of the alphabet... A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,... in Win 7 I get A-H. Let me tell you, an A-H chunk of 200 folders sucks. Really, why did they even bother? Also, what's with those ridiculous blue rectangles that extend from one folder all the way to the next? You know what that does... it makes dragging and adding new folders, without adding it to and existing one, a complete pain in the a$$. Let's not get into the horrible search. The only "View" that is even remotely useable is "List", but then I just have an unsorted, side-scrolling, 600 folder chunk. Maybe I should try grouping by "Other PO Box" (whatever the hell that means). Frankly, what I do most of on my computer, Win 7 is terrible at. You know what was great at everything I do? Win XP. I don't think an OS that does everything badly is any kind of "upgrade" or "improvement" to an OS that does everything right... I don't care how blue the blues are. Bad is bad. What I do on my machine may not (and probably isn't) what you do on yours, and good for you if Win 7 (and now Win 8) works for you, but doing less, and what little it does, it does worse is not what I call progress.

I don't Microsoft is really bothered what xp or windows 7 users think. If you don't like it then don't buy it. Microsoft can and will do as it pleases as well as realising that churning out copies of xp just to keep the staus quo is not a way to forge new markets and opportunities.

I have faith that Microsoft will listen to the consensus of most desktop users who are really annoyed with Metro. I, myself, unlike with games (as you very closely know) do not like to make modifications to the system. So I won't run Classic Shell or any of that non-sense, unless Microsoft releases an official way to do that. Its not like I HATE the Start Screen, I just can't get over 1) Their development rules for apps seem to be extraordinarily stringent that I know a small time developer like myself would have to go back to college for 4 years to make a simple JavaScript/HTML/jQuery app that conforms to their standards in Visual Studio and that NEVER EVER links to a website unless the data is sent through the websites API (By the way, we even have an API running on this site for mobile compatibility even though we don't have an Android or iOS app out yet. vBulletin 5 is going to take awhile to get their act together for support of the existing mobile app we have for Windows 7 Forums). But I don't have the technical skill level to code a gigantic application that handles RSS feeds with content boxes using an API. I don't know how to do it - but I do with HTML and JavaScript/jQuery/AJAX. Now suppose I even used the API from the server (application programming interface). I don't think I can even drop a link to the site ANY WAY. So while the official Kindle app can let you go to the Kindle store.. why the hell can't my app let you go to my website? Some automated robot is processing these app submissions - and to me thats not cool. Small developers are getting the can kicked down the road.

Now, when it comes to the Start Menu, I don't use it, but I still am using Windows 8 (1. Because I don't want to mess up my Windows upgrade path - even though I rarely perform upgrades.. I just don't want to be on 7 when I know 8 is out. 2. I still have faith developers will come around with this interface but I know it will be with desktop apps and not necessarily cool Metro gadgets. They are severely boring, and I'd use them on a tablet, but I don't have enough money to buy a Google tablet and a MS tablet. I've got a Nexus 7 and I tether it off my wireless and my phone when I'm on the go and I'm very satisfied with their App Store. Maybe the Windows App Store will become miraculous after Windows 8 is released - I hope it does. I hate to think my posts seem filled with negativity about Microsoft or Windows 8 in this regard. I am sad that I keep having to switch between two definitively different interfaces and it just totally doesn't jive.

How can I really explain that, other than to say, even in the video made where you thoroughly explain a great way to create organizational units on the Start Screen, I now find myself with a hundred apps and I just search for it by name, and don't bother organizing it anything. To me, this screen is pure eye candy, and in fact, after awhile, quite annoying. They definitely improved two areas and that is Storage Spaces (new feature from WHS - Windows Home Server) and even creating Windows RAID. I notice major improvements in I/O when I create a striped RAID in Disk Management Console (diskmgmt.msc), and because backup programs are recognizing storage spaces, this can work great with two portable drives for redundancy and resilience. So say I have two 500GB USB3 Passports that are USB3 powered.. this can work very good between a Windows 8 desktop and laptop that are both linked with the same Microsoft account.. it will pick it up right away. This is an example of a good backup/restore model, at least with Acronis 13, as far as I can tell.

To me I focus on things like memory, processor, disk I/O, and graphics. The look of the desktop has been fine for me since Windows Vista - really. I thought Windows 7 was a major improvements. The change in Windows on the desktop in 8 is negligible - the loss of some transparency effects is noticeable but I don't care that much for eyecandy. I care about raw performance in video encoding, graphics editing, file writing, reading.. gaming. I want the best system possible for these functions.

So while I despise the eyecandy and Windows "Metro" (its still called Metro in Visual Studio and I cant get the term out of my head), I like the changes to the kernel that we obviously can't see but know are there - the faster boot and the ability to turn it on and off (the option IS there). The way the system has no problems going into sleep mode anymore, even if you have 30 devices connected to it. This makes Windows 8 the winner for me... not a restructuring of what Windows is and how its interfaced. I don't want to turn my copy of Windows into an XBOX where I talk to it with Kinect or wave my arms around to scroll left and right. I don't want an infrared device to pick up the movements of my eyeballs. I just want a keyboard, a mouse, and kernel upgrades that work as great under-the-hood changes.

Now when you look at it that way - everyone would yell, "Well this should have been a service pack for Windows 7" then. I'm not really buying that argument. I think if enough good new features are added, they should be able to charge for it. But, at the same time, surely if its not broken don't fix it. My problem isn't so much that I dislike it, but I know others won't just dislike it: they may be confused out of their minds as to how to use it. Users with limited ability to use a computer now may not even know how to side scroll the Metro window with a mouse... they certainly won't know how to close or suspend applications. For me these two distinct environments don't blend - they don't jive well. They seem to be in competition with each other rather than harmony. What else can I say? I am holding out for the possibility of Resilient Filesystem (ReFS) coming out an optional upgrade client-side... but I doubt it. If the marketing department has its way, they will use it to attract power users to Windows 9 (or whatever they shall call it).

I have no doubt the stability and quality of switching between the desktop and "Metro" will be ironed out after many updates... I am just not as excited as I should be for a Windows release...

And I am sorry but in a mid to large enterprise environment Windows XP was - and still is - an absolute nightmare from a management perspective. Even if the attack surface of the entire machine is eliminated, with nearly all incoming ports blocked, user error irrecoverably leads to malware gaining access to elevated admin rights almost every time. It is, by far, more expensive to maintain as an OS for workstations than Windows 7 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

With Windows 8 and the new version of server, I could see how companies might want to push group policy updates (gpupdates) through Server to corporately brand their Start Screen and make it perfect for the employee; not allowing them to use the desktop if they are inexperienced. However, this may also limit productivity to a certain extent and certainly ingenuity. I had developed quite a few logon/logoff scripts for over 200 clients in my free time just messing around in Windows XP and Server 2003 - I designed a website potentially worth millions of dollars by loading up some apps at lunch time and thinking of some ways to help a company. So to me the Start Screen is sort of an insult to the average person's intelligence and catering to a mobile market that it is strongly unlikely to gain a foothold in. Good luck, nonetheless.

I've been using Windows 8 for awhile now. I first got the Release Candidate and dual booted with Windows 7. Now that I'm an MSDN member, I grabbed and have been using the retail version since last Friday night.

First of all, if you haven't already, go out and grab the book "Windows 8 Secrets." It's well written and goes into the whole philosophy behind Windows 8 design and explains why Metro is there. It also shows you a lot of awesome features that you may not know even exist. For example, the ability to get Windows 8 back into a pristine state without actually doing a re-install was a surprise to me.

If I were Microsoft, I would have made the disparity between the desktop applications and the mobile applications a little clearer...but for all intents and purposes, Metro is simply where you can launch mobile apps (and Desktop Apps if you want but you don't have to do that). After understanding that, I get now what is going on. Once Mr Business Man buys his MS Surface along with his copy of Excel, he will suddenly realize he can use the RT version of Excel on his desktop at home. That is where the value of Metro comes into buy it for your mobile device, it also works on your desktop. Not only is that fairly ground breaking, it's also extremely generous.

Microsoft encouraged users to pin their most often used apps to the task bar in Windows 7. Windows 7 changed the way the task bar worked. You pin an app to the task bar, and if it's being used, you get the square hi-light around the icon. This is similar to the way Macs work. So you shouldn't even have had to get into the start menu that often to begin with. This is how I always worked, so the start screen is something I rarely see. In Windows 8, Windows-X or right clicking the START corner will get you directly to a menu to open up the control panel, computer management etc. If people could get used to doing this, they would never have to leave the desktop.

The biggest mistake with Microsoft is not explaining why they went with Metro. The biggest problem is waiting so long to talk about Surface with the general public and just how Windows 8 runs the same apps that the Surface will run. If they could drill this idea into people's heads and make them understand that its like "Running your iPhone Apps on your Desktop" they could have avoided all this unnecessary FUD flying around.

For me, I like Windows 8. There has been very little change as all my games and applications still run on it. I've had not one single problem. Metro is not in my way whatsoever. Unfortunately getting the cynics out there to believe me seems impossible. :)

In Windows 8, Windows-X or right clicking the START corner will get you directly to a menu to open up the control panel, computer management etc. If people could get used to doing this, they would never have to leave the desktop.

The biggest mistake with Microsoft is not explaining why they went with Metro. The biggest problem is waiting so long to talk about Surface with the general public and just how Windows 8 runs the same apps that the Surface will run. If they could drill this idea into people's heads and make them understand that its like "Running your iPhone Apps on your Desktop" they could have avoided all this unnecessary FUD flying around.

For me, I like Windows 8. There has been very little change as all my games and applications still run on it. [clipped] ... Unfortunately getting the cynics out there to believe me seems impossible. :)

Distinguishing Product from Service

No, it's not impossible. I accept the system changes as they are now and realize its part of an on-going effort by Microsoft to create its own cloud-based ecosystem like Google and Apple (bringing phones, tablets, and computers together under one logon). I had theorized about this a long time ago... about Microsoft hosting a "domain controller" in the cloud. Of course, I knew that would never be possible, but something a long those lines would eventually evolve. For many people, their first experience with this has been with either Google or Apple and not Microsoft - so adoption may take a long time.

A Critical Room for More

I think it is crucial that Microsoft does not fail in this effort - and it is not simply because I am a fan of their products, services, or company. I am not big on favoritism. I think that competition in the marketplace will spur innovation between these three companies further, and there is still room for more large scale players that can reach most of the world, globally.

Transition from Singular Points of Operation to Node-based Computing / Cloud Ecosystem

We saw the Internet literally begin client-server based transactions worldwide using standard Internet protocols. Now there are protocols that are trade secrets built into software. Eventually, if we start looking at a cloud ecosystem that most of the people in the world use some part of - whether it is Google, Apple or Microsoft, then we get into what is fair for consumers. For example, I have a Google tablet that I primarily bought for reading books, but obviously performing other functions. I made my first purchase using Near Field Communication (NFC) with Google Wallet at a McDonalds about 3 months ago. I would say about 90% of the world has no idea this technology exists yet - that you can actually buy stuff using a cellphone or a tablet and use it as a wallet securely. How do other companies get into that specific area, instead of Google monopolizing the NFC arena? This transaction effected me because I realized immediately that in something like 10-20 years from now everyone will use this type of technology to make purchases and nothing else. With this one "app", Google made the wallet itself obsolete. In the future, every book, every official document, health records, everything paper will be transmittable and authentified using these types of new wireless protocols. A breakthrough in this research could allow energy to be conducted wirelessly without a severe loss. Because all mass is made out of energy and vice versa, we are literally talking about the possibility of teleportation.. so when you go from A to B to C... you can occasionally jump to E and say "What if?"

I identify several major innovations that are game changers:

Tethering: The end result of "wireless tethering" is no different from turning your phone into a wireless router. When the number of smart phones manufactured exceeds that of human beings on the planet, this should, if companies do not continue to strangle and limit the technology, unrestrict traditional telephony and transfer it completely to VoIP.

Obsoletion of desktop/workstations: Ideally, we can now see a chance, albeit small, of desktops and workstations becoming completely obsolete. I identify two reasons: cost and capability. Desktops should not be needed, once the cost of miniaturization of all notebook components is cheaper or the same price as that of desktop/workstation components, the capability to upgrade and expand components becomes just as modular as the ATX form factor, and processors/GPUs/all components become indistinguishable from laptops/notebooks. Once this happens, we should see full miniaturization accepted by most retail consumers. Even people who use computer systems to produce things.

Obsoletion of non-touchscreen monitors: The market is moving to render non-touchscreen monitors obsolete. This change will take place if demand for high quality, large, touch screen monitors exceed the demand for non-touch screen devices and if the monitors produce a similar high quality rating. I would use 1920x1080 (1080P) HD, slim form factor, and at least 70,000:1 contrast ratio, 2-4ms response time, and a 120Hz refresh rate as requirement. I observe 60Hz is the requirement for most non-3D monitors but 120Hz will be needed for touch screens.

I'm looking for more. This became another long post :) I have to go. Windows Key + X is something most people did not know about and is extremely useful. Thanks for the tip, as we continue to address the issues.