And so it is, opening with yet another horrible Shakespeare pun, that I pen this first post of 2013. Happy New Year to you all.
Amazing, really, how the years go by. It had been five years since my last custom PC build, and with the release of Windows 8 back in October 2012, I started getting the itch. The casual browsing of PC components quickly turned into hours of research. Today, I write this from an all-new custom rig, and yes, it’s running Windows 8. Let me begin by stating I am a huge Windows 7 fan. That was Microsoft’s flag-ship OS, and anyone who claims NT or XP hasn’t spent enough time on Windows 7. There is no comparing the products.
So it was that after the first 20 minutes or so on Windows 8, I was pretty sure that it was going to have to go, and I would install 7 back on my computer. No “Start Button” threw me. I just couldn’t get over it, and the inability to close the Windows apps was mildly infuriating. In other words, it was totally new, and I’m getting old and change is bad. Fast-forward a few hours later…
I can’t imagine ever going back to Windows 7. I’m not saying 8 is better, since it’s far too early in my experience with it to make that sort of a claim. I am, however, saying that I’m enjoying several of the new features Windows 8 brings to the PC, and that even though I’m by-no-means a master, I’m enjoying learning about them and exploring once again.
In summary, here’s a few reasons why – so far – I think Windows 8 is awesome:
- Live Tiles: Far more visually engaging than an icon, and less obtrusive than push notifications. They’re basically little RSS feeds encapsulated in small graphical tile. Basically, when aggregated on the Start Screen, you get a nice real-time dashboard.
- Social Integration: Much better than in previous versions of Windows or Office… Suppose I should mention I’m using the Office 2013 Customer Preview. Basically, your contacts are pulled directly from your social networks (Twitter, Linkedin & Facebook). Even the messaging is integrated with folks who may be online in various social sites. The Outlook integration with LinkedIn and Facebook is also improved and easier to configure than in previous versions.
- Desktop: Yep… Pretty much the same, with the notable absence of the “Start Button”. Otherwise, everything that made Windows 7 great has been kept with Windows 8. Been running for a week now, and no stability or performance issues. Fingers are crossed here.
- Cloud: Okay, I admit SkyDrive doesn’t have the press that iCloud has received. Although, based on what I’ve seen so far, cloud integration with this OS blows anything else on the market away. Even your Photos app pulls from social and SkyDrive. All Office Documents automatically get kept in SkyDrive, and it appears as just another “Favorite” (along with Downloads and Desktop) in Windows Explorer, as well as having a custom app in the Start Screen.
PRO TIP – I know the graphic is abysmally small when viewed natively. Just click for an enlarged image.