Windows 8

As I blogged a few weeks ago, I ended up getting another Sony Vaio instead of a Mac. All good. I’ve been using laptops since around 1996.

It came with Windows 8. I figured it would be a bit different to Windows 7, just as Windows 7 was a bit different to Windows Vista and XP.

I turned it on, and I had no idea what to do. Everything I was used to had gone. No start menu. No x boxes to close many windows.

If put together a focus group to deliberately design an operating system that would confuse all its current customers, they could not have done better than Windows 8.

The idea behind it is that it would operate like a tablet operating system. And it does. Which is good if you are on a tablet. Not so good, if you are on a laptop or PC!

So I cursed Microsoft loudly, just as I had cursed Apple the previous day for having such crap stores.

But all was not lost. There were a few sites which had good hints about how to set things up so you could avoid the tablet like startup screen, unless you wanted it. And after a while the ability to group apps together so easily became actually quite good. I hate to say it, but after a week or two Windows 8 started to grow on me.

I’d never recommend it for users like my parents. Users who can’t handle fairly radical change will no cope well.

But I have grown to like how it works. It is super fast. The Sky Drive works well. The save and share options are good. Once you get past the totally different look and feel, it is not bad.

I note the Herald reports:

Microsoft is trying to fix what it got wrong with its radical makeover of Windows. It’s making the operating system easier to navigate and enabling users to set up the software so it starts in a more familiar format designed for personal computers.

The revisions to Windows 8 will be released this year. The free update, called Windows 8.1, represents Microsoft’s concessions to long-time customers taken aback by the dramatic changes to an operating system that had become a staple in households and offices around the world during the past 20 years.

Research group IDC has blamed Windows 8 for accelerating a decline in PC sales.

With the release of Windows 8 seven months ago, Microsoft introduced a startup screen displaying applications in a mosaic of interactive tiles instead of static icons. The shift agitated many users who wanted the option to launch the operating system in a mode that resembled the old setup. That choice will be provided in Windows 8.1.

 That is sensible. Such a radical change was a very bad commercial decision. Users such as myself cope fine after a while, but it would be so offputting for many. I can only assume Microsoft didn’t do any user acceptability testing with regular users before deciding to do what they did.

I’ve also gone from Microsoft Office 2007 to Microsoft Office 365, and I have to say I really like the business model here. rather than buy software and have to purchase new software every so often, this is a licence version You pay around $100 a year for Office 365 or $200 a year per user for business versions. Not only does that seem to be cheaper than purchasing, it means you always have the latest software.

What is really good for me as a small business owner, is no more compatibility issues between different PCs. I can licence my home and work PCs so we all are on Office 365, and have a shared Sky Drive for our many huge files.

How have others found Windows 8 and Office 365?

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