Windows 8 preview
Matthew Leverton

Has anybody tried out the Windows 8 preview? I just installed it in a VM to test out Allegro.cc and the File API for giggles. Type in www.allegro.cc and I get a blank page. :P

Apparently they broke XML rendering.

I realize it's just a preview and I'm using a VM, but the entire thing seems completely directionless, particularly as a desktop OS. RIP, Microsoft.

verthex

Its possible MS will still be in business 10 years from now, although their market share in terms of mainstream computing maybe over.

Edgar Reynaldo

The only reason I upgrade my OS is because I bought a new computer, aside from the OpenSUSE VM I installed on my Vista laptop.

Karadoc ~~

I'm downloading it now.

What free VM software do you recommend? If there are no recommendations, I'll try virtual box.

Matthew Leverton

I used VirtualBox.

Let me know if the Windows key worked. Something wasn't working under OS X as I couldn't even get out of metro apps.

Edit: Right Alt is getting picked up as the Windows key, so that helps a bit...

Edit 2: I think allegro.cc is blank because I send IE 8 (I think) compatibility hints in the headers due to nothing working right in IE 9. But IE 10 seemingly works differently.

Even when sending the IE 8 header, it reports that it supports XHTML. So it accepts the XHTML page, then pretends it is IE 8, and refuses to render it. IE 9 acts more intelligently, as it must request the page again as IE 8 saying that it doesn't support XHTML.

Or something like that.

Steve Terry

Is their file search still crap? I really do hope this is the beginning of the end for MS.
Oh, half the reason is I heard IE 10 has once again been integrated into the OS and cannot be removed.

jmasterx

We installed Windows 8 Developer Preview at my school and I just hate everything about it. I had to install a non Microsoft patch to get the start menu to be normal, I hate the metro apps screen. I also found it difficult just to shut down. I had to go to the Start button, put my mouse all the way down to the bottom of the screen. A menu then pops up, I click settings. Now to my right I see the I/O sign where I can choose to shut down, restart or stand by. Thank you Microsoft for once again having the end user in mind and not your IE / Bing agenda -_-'. Even the beloved BSOD got a cartoon makeover.

Neil Walker

A mate has one of those fancy laptop/touchpad hybrids (where you can detach the screen) and he's running Windows 8 in the tablet mode and he has no problems, though I think it's a bit crap running a desktop using a smartphone/tablet interface.

browser seemed ok though, but he never tried allegro.cc

Arthur Kalliokoski

it's a bit crap running a desktop using a smartphone/tablet interface.

DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS!

AMCerasoli

I really do hope this is the beginning of the end for MS.

Yes?, and what do you offer to us?.

Mac?, the super expensive computers, that do the same than the others?.

Or maybe one of the 40.000 version of Linux?. Linux 1, Linux 2, Linux Mandrake, Ubuntu, Musix Linux, SUSE Linux and on and on and on... And be using a VM 90% of the time, in an OS that is not compatible with 85% of programs and you need to learn how to learn to use it?. No thanks. Long live to Windows.

Arthur Kalliokoski

you need to learn how to learn to use it?

You needed to learn to use Windows too. If you think it's "easy", grab some computer illiterate person and ask them to do something or other.

MiquelFire

After playing for a bit. I don't like it. Then again, I hate what iPhone did to the phone market. Damn touch screen.

bamccaig

I gave in and bought Windows Seven for PC gaming, but I vowed to never buy another Microsoft product again. In fact, after VMware Workstation, I vowed to never buy another proprietary product again. GNU FTW. I really do hope that Windows 8 is an utter failure. Hopefully it will increase the attention given to GNU and get more free software drivers written, which will mean better support for gaming. When I can play modern PC games on GNU then I'll have zero need or want for Windows.

AMCerasoli

You needed to learn to use Windows too. If you think it's "easy", grab some computer illiterate person and ask them to do something or other.

Well, that may be true, is too late for me to use me as an example, whatever new system I use I know how to do it, I know what to search and where. But something makes me think that if I grab two computer illiterate persons and ask them to do something, the one using Windows will get it faster, but probably I'm wrong.

Arthur Kalliokoski

if I grab two computer illiterate persons and ask them to do something, the one using Windows will get it faster

Some things that MS has decided to make easy will be easier, such as putting a video file into an email (ActiveX) or running a CD inserted into a drive (AutoRun), some things are harder, such as fixing broken files in the system directory ("You don't have permission to do that" even when you're administrator) or turning off AutoRun.

kenmasters1976

My nephew installed Windows 8 in his laptop. I think it may work for tablets and other touch enabled gadgets, but for desktop users it just doesn't feel right. In the end people will get used to it, I'm afraid.

Some things that MS has decided to make easy will be easier...

I totally agree. Somethings are even a lot easier on Linux; for example, setting up a network connection between two computers. And I'm not a Linux user.

Evert

the super expensive computers, that do the same than the others?

This again?
There are no cheap Macs. That's not the same thing.
Actually, I compared the Mac Pro's to other workstation solutions the other day, and they look pretty good. Too bad I don't want a Mac for a workstation.

As for Windows 8, what I saw of it looked horrible. Not how I want to operate my computer.
But I wasn't going to get it anyway.

Matthew Leverton

I don't understand the touch component of a desktop OS. Do people actually want to reach out and touch their screen? How is that an improvement over a mouse?

I realize a certain subset of computer users would find touch screens to be easier. Particularly older people often struggle with the hand eye coordination needed to use a mouse. But as I am not physically challenged, why in the world would I want to reach out and touch the monitor every time I wanted to scroll something when I can just use mouse wheel or a trackpad?

Bob Keane

I won't try anything after WinXP Pro. I think the reason MS is going to touch screen instead of a mouse is because computing in general is moving toward cell phones and Kindle books. Sad day for computing.

weapon_S
jmasterx said:

Even the beloved BSOD got a cartoon makeover.

Am I the only one picturing Clippy showing up? "Huh, your computer froze , huh? Let me Bing the the solutions for you.

PLEASE WAIT

"

Matthew Leverton
Bob Keane said:

I won't try anything after WinXP Pro.

Windows 7 is very nice, in my opinion. I wouldn't write that off.

The Windows Preview looks like nothing more than removing the start menu from Windows 7 and replacing it with the HTML 5 UI. So you're constantly going back and forth between two completely different interfaces.

They already tried side bar and desktop widgets, but nobody wanted them. So now they are doing the reverse: treating the entire useful desktop as a widget. And I agree with the comment that "people will get used to it" but that doesn't mean it's a step forward.

Quote:

computing in general is moving toward cell phones and Kindle books. Sad day for computing.

I'm not against that movement. Anything that makes computers easier for the average person to use is good, IMO, as long as it doesn't come with unnecessary DRM. However, I could not see myself as a "power user" using something like iOS for the workstation and actually enjoying it.

Mark Oates

I haven't used it, but the implied touch-screen-on-your-desktop is silly.

On tablets, the reviews have been surprisingly positive.

The way I see it, there isn't really much that can be improved on the desktop until there is a substantial voice control interface. Once voice really works, then we can start to clean up all the cluttered and annoying menus, buttons, options, sliders, categories, etc.

A combination of voice, gesture, eye tracking, and touch could realize some natural interfaces.

Matthew Leverton

I haven't used it, but the implied touch-screen-on-your-desktop is silly.

I thought you'd be all over this new-age nonsense. :o

Quote:

On tablets, the reviews have been surprisingly positive.

But is that because nobody is actually running classic Windows applications? A touch screen, icon based navigation that launches full screen apps is nothing new for tablet devices. I would expect it to be popular, assuming it is responsive and looks good.

I'm just being grumpy about the whole "let's have a single OS for the desktop and tablet" idea.

Mark Oates

I thought you'd be all over this new-age nonsense. :o

Well if it doesn't make sense, it doesn't make sense. Who would want to sit with your arms out like superman all the time? :P

We have a long way to go until an OS is designed "the way it should be." I still feel like were driving crankity-shaft steam engines made out of coal-soiled iron.

MiquelFire

I hope VB's guest add-ons are updated soon to support Windows 8. I want to see how this thing fails with multiple monitors.

Oscar Giner

I tried it on a VM and... wow, what a big piece of shit :-/.

Removing the start menu and forcing you into that icon based UI to launch apps (which apparently you cannot modify manually to add or remove things) is very stupid.

An important things I still haven't figured out how to do: how to close "metro" based apps (without having to kill them through the task manager)?

After some investigation, I found it's possible to recover the start menu, you need to edit the registry key named RPEnabled in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer and change it to 0 (no need to restart, the change takes effect immediately). The problem is that if you move the mouse to the bottom left corner (like I guess most people do to click the start menu) that weird pop-up menu still appears and clicking then takes you to the metro UI again :P

Matthew Leverton

An important things I still haven't figured out how to do: how to close "metro" based apps

Short version: you're not supposed to be able to. They run forever.

Mark Oates
jmasterx said:

I had to install a non Microsoft patch to get the start menu to be normal, I hate the metro apps screen.

Removing the start menu and forcing you into that icon based UI to launch apps (which apparently you cannot modify manually to add or remove things) is very stupid.

Guys, they disabled the start menu for a reason. ::)

If you want to find out how Windows 8 works, then quit trying to turn it into Windows 7.

Oscar Giner

I tried it and it's horrible. Different doesn't mean better :P.

And as soon as you start installing apps and games, it gets cluttered with tons of icons very easily. A start menu, where everything is organized in a tree, is just plain better.

Append:
Not all things are worse, the new task manager is in general quite better (although it looks a bit ugly).

Dario ff

And as soon as you start installing apps and games, it gets cluttered with tons of icons very easily.

Then I hope applications won't be as happy to install all the stuff there like the start menu. I haven't checked the start menu in Win XP for ages since I rarely use it...

{"name":"605073","src":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/3\/4\/34945b1748d72efa562f3d84b1ec286d.jpg","w":1600,"h":900,"tn":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/3\/4\/34945b1748d72efa562f3d84b1ec286d"}605073

Not like I even know what's half of the stuff in there. :-/

Mark Oates

One of my favorite parts about the start menu is when companies put their software under folders of their company's name, making everything easy to find. (not)

Just installed Win8 ... Now where is that start menu! I need to turn that thing back on 'cause it's so ideal.

Dario ff

One of my favorite parts about the start menu is when companies put their software under folders of their company's name, making everything easy to find. (not)

Even Peitz is guilty of this. >:(
{"name":"605074","src":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/d\/5\/d5a8822dcfaf1ed24c6fb56007e432f9.jpg","w":715,"h":73,"tn":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/d\/5\/d5a8822dcfaf1ed24c6fb56007e432f9"}605074

BAF

I realize it's just a preview and I'm using a VM, but the entire thing seems completely directionless, particularly as a desktop OS. RIP, Microsoft.

Now imagine the crap Apple will be pumping out once Steve-o's plans run out.

bamccaig said:

I gave in and bought Windows Seven for PC gaming, but I vowed to never buy another Microsoft product again. In fact, after VMware Workstation, I vowed to never buy another proprietary product again. GNU FTW.

Boy, it must be really boring gaming then.

Why did you have to buy VMWare? IMO, VirtualBox is one of the best/most successful open source projects out there...

At any rate, isn't Windows 8 like pre-alpha? Is it any surprise that it is crappy so far?

Matthew Leverton
BAF said:

Is it any surprise that it is crappy so far?

It's not the technical glitches that concern me. It's the entire concept of stuffing an embedded OS on top of a Windows desktop but pretending that it's the foundation.

Trent Gamblin

I'm reserving judgement until I try it. Which may be a long time because I don't want to buy another license, then reinstall it over again. Windows 7 works fine for me. Hopefully they don't do something stupid like break compatibility of old apps. If Windows does anything well, it's backwards compatibility.

MiquelFire

The way Windows 8 works to an end user, a pre-8 desktop area is just another app, and non-metro apps run in that app. Hitting the start button returns to the Metro screen.

torhu

One of my favorite parts about the start menu is when companies put their software under folders of their company's name, making everything easy to find. (not)

I think M$ actually recommends this, it's in case two companies release an app with the same name. Or maybe that's just for the installation folder, appdata folder, etc. But anyway...

verthex

2012 will be the end of Microsoft!

Peter Wang

{"name":"34945b1748d72efa562f3d84b1ec286d-1024.jpg","src":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/a\/b\/abc8e41c4ec33f0551201bc4d5642f9c.jpg","w":1024,"h":576,"tn":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/a\/b\/abc8e41c4ec33f0551201bc4d5642f9c"}34945b1748d72efa562f3d84b1ec286d-1024.jpg

:o Is this typical?

edit: fixed link to Dario's image

verthex

The image is tiny?

Tobias Dammers

You silly GUI addicts... here's my start menu:

{"name":"605075","src":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/3\/f\/3fe2dd9fcd6bc3662063a1be0c25b606.png","w":1280,"h":800,"tn":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/3\/f\/3fe2dd9fcd6bc3662063a1be0c25b606"}605075

Pretty clean, isn't it?

Dario ff

Is this typical?

If you never organize the start menu and just let apps install their default "start menu" option... :-/

I never considered the start menu useful anyway, other than making any fullscreen application I got glitch the fuck out because of an accidental "windows key" press.

I just use two folders(games and tools) on the task bar below. Keeps the desktop clean from icon hell, and it's quicker IMO.

Tobias Dammers
Dario ff said:

If you never organize the start menu and just let apps install their default "start menu" option...

...then you'll get your start menu neatly arranged by vendor, to provide extra incentive for you to memorize their names.

BAF

People still use the programs folder on the start menu? I haven't touched it since Vista.

Johan Halmén

Windows 7 is very nice, in my opinion.

I believe W7 is very nice if you had Vista, which was said to be crap. I still use XP on most machines and I'm doing fine. On one machine I have W7 and I hate it with a passion. Mind that my relation to any Windows is strictly on the GUI level.

I go Alt+Tab on XP and what do I get? A clear popup window with icons of each window that is open. I tap on Tab to pick one of them. Each gets highlighted with a blue frame. I can't miss.

I go Alt+Tab on W7 and what do I get? A fuzzy semi-transparent popup window with miniatures of each window that I have open. I don't recognise a single one of them. I tap on Tab to pick one of them. I can't see any of them being highlighted because of the transparency, because meanwhile the windows change all the time in behind and everything seems semi-transparent.

I have a small window in focus but I want to reveal parts of an underlying window. I grab the small window and move it away. But while I drag the window to the edge of the screen, W7 thinks this means I want to maximise the window. Thanks alot[1]! Now I can't see anything but the window I wanted to move aside. I know this is all about settings here and there, but if this is the standard behaviour of Windows 7, I'm really screwed the day W7 becomes the standard OS at all computers at work. I'm supposed to help out people having problems with the computers and I can't just change everything on all computers and tell everyone it's for their own best.

james_lohr

Windows 7 is by far the best OS I've ever used. I'm yet to have either my work or home PC crash in the last year. Pretty much everything has worked first time without hassle, and I personally prefer it's look and feel to any other OS I have used.

But while I drag the window to the edge of the screen, W7 thinks this means I want to maximise the window.

Yeah, admittedly getting used to that annoyed me for a week or two.

Arthur Kalliokoski

I'm yet to have either my work or home PC crash in the last year.

I haven't had Windows (XP+) or Linux crash since I can remember (except for a broken video driver in XP many years ago). My previous computer had a hardware reset button which was handy when I was still using DOS occasionally.

Oscar Giner

Those are small annoyances that can be configured. OTOH, now I can't live without the search box in W7 start menu. I rarely navigate the programs menu any more: open start menu, type the first(s) letter(s) (actually they can be the first letters of any word in the application's name) and hit enter to launch it.

The task bar is also way better. Being able to reorder items (yeah, it took MS 15 years to add that...), no cluttering with quick launch icons (you click an pinned icon, the icon is now the application running), being able to hide tray icons in a submenu, the show desktop button...

I've been using XP for years (skipped Vista), and I definitely think W7 is way better overall.

_Kronk_

You silly GUI addicts... here's my start menu:

What is that? I'm assuming Linux right? What distro?

Arthur Kalliokoski
_Kronk_ said:

What is that? I'm assuming Linux right? What distro?

Isn't that Programs | Run?

OICW

The way I see it, there isn't really much that can be improved on the desktop until there is a substantial voice control interface.

Reminds me of this video:

video

_Kronk_ said:

What is that? I'm assuming Linux right? What distro?

Yep, Linux using Fluxbox or some similar desktop.

Karadoc ~~

Apparently Windows 8 still needs quite a lot more work.

An important things I still haven't figured out how to do: how to close "metro" based apps (without having to kill them through the task manager)?

I couldn't work that out either.

Short version: you're not supposed to be able to. They run forever.

Surely not. I opened the control panel to see what was there, and now I'm stuck with it until I restart my computer (or go through a complex and hidden procedure to get rid of it)?

IE apparently crashed, and I couldn't close it. It was just a completely white screen, no address bar, no nothing. I could still switch to other "apps", but I couldn't close the apparently broken IE.

I think it's pretty confusing to have this distinction between metro apps and non-metro apps. It's like there are just apps and windows flying around everywhere, and its pretty easy to just lose track of stuff.

A lot of people here seem to hate the old start menu; but I don't think its so bad. I manually keep it organised so that it isn't too painful to browse. I've got folders called games (with sub categories), development (for stuff like Office, Notepad++, Qt Creator, etc.), network (firefox, chrome, skype, etc.), and so on. It's pretty annoying that every damn thing I even install just spews crap all over the place; but it's not hard to just drag something into the appropriate folder when I see something out of place. Even still, usually I don't browse it anyway. I just type the first couple of letters let the search thing find it for me. - I suppose that's how it's meant to be used these days.

Meanwhile, in Windows 8, the 'start menu' takes up the entire screen - which I think I'd find quite disrupting if I was actually trying to seriously use the OS. And although I can drag stuff around on the metro screen, I can't work out how to add new things, or delete things, or put things in sub-folders. In Windows 7, I like to drag stuff from one window into another. For example, I'll drag a picture or a web link from chrome and drop it in a folder on my desktop. With metro... I don't see how that would work; and with some stuff in metro and some not in metro, not only would it not work, it would be somewhat confusing.

But while I drag the window to the edge of the screen, W7 thinks this means I want to maximise the window.

I reckon those new dragging features in W7 are really great. Well... not so much the one you just mentioned. That one's ok; but it isn't much easier than the just double-clicking the title bar - so I could live without that. One that I could not live without is that you can drag maximized windows from off the top, and they stop being maximized. That feature is super-awesome, and I reckon I'd just die without it. :-X --
There are a few things that I dislike in Windows 7, but overall I think it's much better than XP.

I hate that W7 doesn't have an "up" button in the file explorer (for doing the UI equivalent of 'cd ..'). I really miss that button even now that I've been using the new system for ages. Also, I think it's pretty strange that my preferred settings for the task bar are not made available. I mean, I had to screw around with the registery to get "Never combine, hide labels". I would have thought that would be a really popular setting. Can't they just include that option so that non computer experts can have it?

Windows 8... looks pretty bad so far. Lets just hope it improves as it gets closer to completion.

[edit]
I really think the metro screen should auto-scroll when you move the mouse to the side of the screen.

Arthur Kalliokoski

Lets just hope it improves as it gets closer to completion.

Why would we do that?

Matthew Leverton
Quote:

Short version: you're not supposed to be able to. They run forever.

Surely not

There's a thread on one of Microsoft's sites about this very issue. The official response was: while you can currently use alt-f4 to close a metro app, that is not something that will be in the final release.

You are supposed to press the windows key or use some touch gesture to switch to another application. Of course, I expect that you'll still be able to shut them down via the task manager, there is not (currently) any plans to expose such functionality to the end user.

Mark Oates

A lot of people here seem to hate the old start menu

Quote:

Meanwhile, in Windows 8, the 'start menu' takes up the entire screen - which I think I'd find quite disrupting if I was actually trying to seriously use the OS

Think of that as a start page, rather than a start menu.

I would much prefer that my "launch location" be a feature-rich, full-screen something-er rather. Since the first days of the Start menu, it feels like they've been trying to pack a bunch of stuff in there... but no it still has to be menu :o.

Why?

I also can't stand the taskbar. That obnoxious application-status-hud thing has to go. If I want to access that information then I'll do something like press the windows key, otherwise get off my screen. And no, "hiding" the taskbar isn't an option either. Then it just jumps in your way when you don't want it too.

Basically, anything that's persistently on my screen can GTFO. Design everything around what I'm working on and get rid of everything else.

Quote:

I hate that W7 doesn't have an "up" button in the file explorer

I agree with you on that.

Matthew Leverton

I also can't stand the taskbar. That obnoxious application-status-hud thing has to go.

It's beautiful and gives a sense of organization. >:(

Oscar Giner

Think of that as a start page, rather than a start menu.

I would much prefer that my "launch location" be a feature-rich, full-screen something-er rather.

Well, if it at least was feature-right... but it isn't. They managed to implement a fullscreen piece of shit that has much less features that the old small start menu :P

Prior to re-enabling the start menu, I wasn't even able to launch notepad (since it's not on the metro screen). There's no "Run..." command either. So all that I could thing of was launching the "developer console" and type notepad there :P. Now tell me that's not a piece of crap.

bamccaig

I also can't stand the taskbar. That obnoxious application-status-hud thing has to go. If I want to access that information then I'll do something like press the windows key, otherwise get off my screen. And no, "hiding" the taskbar isn't an option either. Then it just jumps in your way when you don't want it too.

GNOME 3 (with sufficient graphical processing power) has gotten rid of its "taskbar". Now you only see the currently focussed application. If you want to switch to a window that you can't see (and I always maximize every window) then you have to move your mouse up to the top-left corner, which switches to a transparent screen with smaller versions of all of your windows tiled on it to choose from. That same screen is also where they've moved multiple desktops. It's also where they moved the traditional menus (e.g., sort of like the start menu in Windows). They used to have 3 main menus: Applications, Places, and System, IIRC. Now the default is to tile a brainfuck of all icons. You can filter them by picking an option on the far right. I honstly didn't even notice that until now and I've been using GNOME 3 off and on for months... >:( That is horrible UI design. But this is why I spend most of my time on the command line. For the most part, the changes made are very few, and they are always optional and productive. They don't change it just to do something "new" or "fresh". :P They only change it when they come up with a new feature that you actually want, and that feature typically won't break what you already do (and if it does they'll likely have an option to disable it). With graphical UIs, changes are always experimental. They don't know if it's a good idea and just have to develop it and see. And since it took a team of developers 6 months or a year to develop you're damn right they're going to push it to production, and try to force you to use it so they can see if it worked, instead of letting users ignore it. ::) This is because the graphical UI itself is a bad idea. :P

Matthew Leverton

There's no "Run..." command either.

Just start typing with the start page open.

Quote:

GNOME 3 ... bunch of stuff I didn't read ...

GNOME 3 is terrible.

Arthur Kalliokoski
bamccaig said:

This is because the graphical UI itself is a bad idea.

That's what <i>you think, Mr. Knows-How-To-Type!

Karadoc ~~

I would much prefer that my "launch location" be a feature-rich, full-screen something-er rather.

I'd prefer it to be unobtrusive - to do what needs to be done with no fanfare, and as little interruption as possible. So for me, the W7 start menu is better than the XP start menu because the W7 menu doesn't expand when more sub-menus are opened; and the W8 menu is worse, because no matter how trivial the task is I have to have a screen-full of shiny buttons to do it. I think that would break the immersion of whatever I'm doing. I think it would be distracting. (I'm saying "I think", because I've barely looked at W8. I'm just trying to imagine what it would be like to use it day-to-day.)

Quote:

I also can't stand the taskbar. That obnoxious application-status-hud thing has to go. If I want to access that information then I'll do something like press the windows key, otherwise get off my screen.

Maybe it's just because I'm so use to it, but I think of it the other way around. I like the taskbar to be there, because I use it to switch between window frequently, and I use it to drag stuff out of one window into another, and stuff like that. So for me.. the taskbar should be there by default, and if I don't want that information then I'll do something to activate "full screen mode".

Why would we do that?

Well, not all of us might want it.. but I would want it - because it's quite likely my next computer will have W8, and so I'll probably be using it for a couple of years. I'd like it to be as good as possible.

SiegeLord

Think of that as a start page, rather than a start menu.

We already have one of those. It's called the desktop.

Quote:

I also can't stand the taskbar. That obnoxious application-status-hud thing has to go. If I want to access that information then I'll do something like press the windows key, otherwise get off my screen. And no, "hiding" the taskbar isn't an option either. Then it just jumps in your way when you don't want it too.

Basically, anything that's persistently on my screen can GTFO. Design everything around what I'm working on and get rid of everything else.

I couldn't disagree with you more. Taskbar is essential for my workflow. Still, there should be choice. I am glad that the windows manager I use, KDE4, allows this choice. You can remove all the panels if you want. You can add several panels if you want. Customizability should be the future, not someones deranged vision of how GUI's should work being pushed onto everyone.

Mark Oates
SiegeLord said:

We already have one of those. It's called the desktop.

The desktop is just a glorified folder.

As far as the taskbar, I only use it for the start button (which I substitute with the win key or a bottom-left screen click) and to drag-drop into other programs (which could be done with something better).

Other than that, it's just a task manager that won't go away. I couldn't care less about what programs are running, I couldn't care less about what's in the tray, I couldn't care less about the time or date. It's like... I know, I get it, you're a computer, you're keeping track of the time and shit. Golly gee! It's like I'm using a real computer! Can you throw in some beep-boop-bloop sounds too? :D

What I'm getting at is why would you have:

  1. a program shortcut on your desktop

  2. another shortcut on your quicklaunch/taskbar

  3. another shortcut in your start menu

  4. another shortcut/menu in your All Programs menu

  5. another contextual shortcut/menu in your tray

What the benefit of having so many convoluted locations and options in the first place? It was designed by a tech-head and it's like having a slide ruler pocket, a pager belt-clip, a pocket protector for your pens, a smart-phone pouch, and a fanny pack. Everything's ready to go!

SiegeLord

a program shortcut on your desktop

Convenient for starting an application upon turning on the computer/logging in.

Quote:

another shortcut on your quicklaunch/taskbar

Convenient for starting an often used application while the desktop is hidden.

Quote:

another shortcut in your start menu
another shortcut/menu in your All Programs menu

Convenient for for starting a less often used application, especially that you don't remember the name of.

Quote:

another contextual shortcut/menu in your tray

Useful for applications that don't need windows to remain useful.

Quote:

It was designed by a tech-head and it's like having a slide ruler pocket, a pager belt-clip, a pocket protector for your pens, a smart-phone pouch, and a fanny pack. Everything's ready to go!

Stop trolling, troll.

Matthew Leverton

Now Mark is in his gloriously delusional form. :'(

Mark Oates

I just wish my dad could use a computer, instead of sitting mindlessly in front of a tv, watching ads, breathing through his mouth. :'(

Matthew Leverton

What would he do in front of a computer that is so different from sitting mindlessly, watching ads, and breathing through his mouth?

Karadoc ~~

Other than that, it's just a task manager that won't go away. I couldn't care less about what programs are running, I couldn't care less about what's in the tray, I couldn't care less about the time or date. It's like... I know, I get it, you're a computer, you're keeping track of the time and . Golly gee! It's like I'm using a real computer! Can you throw in some beep-boop-bloop sounds too?

Mark, I've written a program for you. (This is pretty much the first time I've used the win32 API, so it might not be the best way to do it; but it works well enough.)

#SelectExpand
1#include <windows.h> 2#include <process.h> 3#include <Winuser.h> 4 5void ToggleTaskBar(void) 6{ 7 RECT rectWorkArea; 8 RECT rectTaskBar; 9 10 HWND TaskBarHandle = FindWindow("Shell_TrayWnd", ""); 11 12 if (!TaskBarHandle) 13 return; // failure. 14 15 SystemParametersInfo(SPI_GETWORKAREA, 0, (LPVOID)&rectWorkArea, 0); 16 GetWindowRect(TaskBarHandle, &rectTaskBar); 17 18 if (IsWindowVisible(TaskBarHandle)) 19 { 20 // Hide 21 ShowWindow(TaskBarHandle, SW_HIDE); 22 23 rectWorkArea.bottom += rectTaskBar.bottom - rectTaskBar.top - 1; 24 SystemParametersInfo(SPI_SETWORKAREA, 0, (LPVOID)&rectWorkArea, 0); 25 } 26 else 27 { 28 // Show 29 ShowWindow(TaskBarHandle, SW_SHOW); 30 31 rectWorkArea.bottom -= rectTaskBar.bottom - rectTaskBar.top - 1; 32 SystemParametersInfo(SPI_SETWORKAREA, 0, (LPVOID)&rectWorkArea, 0); 33 } 34} 35 36int main(int argc, char *argv[]) 37{ 38 ToggleTaskBar(); 39 return 0; 40}

Don Freeman

Tried with virtual box and it continually dies for me. Any suggestions? ???

Mark Oates

What would he do in front of a computer that is so different from sitting mindlessly, watching ads, and breathing through his mouth?

I just find it disturbing to see people so disconnected from thought. A friend of mine mentioned his dad was the same way. People just sit in front of the TV and let it guide them. It flows masterfully between excessively attention-grabbing morsels, empty calories, where every segment has the same formula, uses the same language, expects the same audience, and talks to you like a bottom-of-the-barrel idiot.

And it's loud.

I don't enjoy watching anybody get pumped with that. [Insert slightly humorous antic relating with hypnosis thread].

It's a well known fact that computers suffer from an accessibility problem. For the love of Christ, let's try to understand why. Enabling people with a computer and the internet engages them in the world, helps people with problems, and liberates countries. Feeding people TV doesn't.

Edgar Reynaldo

Disclaimer :[1]

A friend of mine mentioned his dad was the same way. People just sit in front of the TV and let it guide them. It flows masterfully between excessively attention-grabbing morsels, empty calories, where every segment has the same formula, uses the same language, expects the same audience, and talks to you like a bottom-of-the-barrel idiot.

I've pretty much sworn off TV altogether these days, except that I still find the same odd assortment of TV shows enjoyable.[2] enjoyable. But other than that, I don't care about TV at all.

Now if I had Skin[3]-e-max, there might be a different story....

References

  1. Guess what , I'm drunk again.
  2. I like NCIS: Los Angeles, The Mentalist, Fringe, etc...
  3. cinemax
torhu

Other than that, it's just a task manager that won't go away. I couldn't care less about what programs are running, I couldn't care less about what's in the tray, I couldn't care less about the time or date. It's like... I know, I get it, you're a computer, you're keeping track of the time and . Golly gee! It's like I'm using a real computer! Can you throw in some beep-boop-bloop sounds too?

Mark, I've written a program for you. (This is pretty much the first time I've used the win32 API, so it might not be the best way to do it; but it works well enough.)

The taskbar can actually be set to autohide. ::)

Karadoc ~~

And no, "hiding" the taskbar isn't an option either. Then it just jumps in your way when you don't want it too.

GullRaDriel

Quit drinking Ed. It's not a solution for you as for me.

OICW
bamccaig said:

GNOME 3 (with sufficient graphical processing power) has gotten rid of its "taskbar". Now you only see the currently focussed application. If you want to switch to a window that you can't see (and I always maximize every window) then you have to move your mouse up to the top-left corner, which switches to a transparent screen with smaller versions of all of your windows tiled on it to choose from. That same screen is also where they've moved multiple desktops.

Gnome 3 and Unity are main reasons I've switched to XFCE and I think I'm gradually sliding towards Fluxbox 8-)

BAF

I believe W7 is very nice if you had Vista, which was said to be crap.

Yeah, most people only said Vista was crap because that was the cool thing to do.

Quote:

because meanwhile the windows change all the time in behind and everything seems semi-transparent.

Yes, if you pause when alt+tabbing, only the window you've selected will be visible (the rest will be transparent/outlined).

bamccaig said:

GNOME 3 (with sufficient graphical processing power) has gotten rid of its "taskbar".

You need extra power to not render a taskbar? WTF GNOME?

Dizzy Egg

<sarcasm>
Some really valid arguments here, especially from Mark
</sarcasm>

::)

Neil Walker

There's a thread on one of Microsoft's sites about this very issue.

Is it possibly a case of trying to make applications managed like managed memory or how smart phones work? But in a proper multi-tasking environment how will it know you want to close an app or leave it open...

bamccaig said:

GNOME 3 (with sufficient graphical processing power) has gotten rid of its "taskbar"

I tried ubuntu 11 with that modified task launcher/task bar and it was hideous. They seem to have removed any ability to see all your applications easily and I searched for some time trying to get information about the system (like device manager) but all I found was a few high-level pointless bits of information about my sound card and keyboard.

Mark Oates

{"name":"605092","src":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/b\/e\/be20ffce3f030e0c9c4adcea968482cd.png","w":720,"h":450,"tn":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/b\/e\/be20ffce3f030e0c9c4adcea968482cd"}605092
Like a glove. :P

SiegeLord said:

Stop trolling, troll.

I'm seriously not trolling. I'm trying to illustrate the point that computers are too complex, and professional computer users like you and I who are comfortable with the complexities are "inside the bubble." When a company comes along and does something about it, it's not surprising that people inside the bubble react negatively against the change.

I'm trying to make the point that these really are good design changes. As with my previous example using shortcuts, any program that diverges into so many peripheral points of access suffers from a design problem.

If Final Fantasy VI had 6 optional shortcut locations to access a Phoenix Down, that would be a design problem. I fail to see why an OS is held to a different standard.

OICW said:

Reminds me of this video:

That's hilarious. ;D

Dizzy Egg said:

<sarcasm>
Some really valid arguments here, especially from Mark
</sarcasm>::)

I'd like to hear your input.

Mark, I've written a program for you.

Haha, That's cool ;D

Quote:

autohide. ::)

Autohide is worse.

Unfortunately, you can't just hide the taskbar and make it better. Other things need to be reorganized and redesigned to rebalance what the taskbar was used for.

SiegeLord

I'm seriously not trolling. I'm trying to illustrate the point that computers are too complex, and professional computer users like you and I who are comfortable with the complexities are "inside the bubble." When a company comes along and does something about it, it's not surprising that people inside the bubble react negatively against the change.

Wrong. I am dating a non-professional computer user and she also reacts negatively to useless changes in the UI. I had to switch the Win7 tasbar to behave exactly like Vista's and XP's to make her happy. Similarly for tabs location in the Firefox.

On the contrary, I would argue that non-technical users are not knowledgeable enough to say what is "bad" about their UI. They, however, can adapt to that UI and any change from that UI even if for the better according to some know-it-all will be taken as actually worse than the old "inferior" UI.

Yes, I am saying that any change is bad in the UI business. The reason why is because the current UIs are not that bad. It's not worth being mad at the computer for days/months/years trying to learn the new UI just because you'll get a marginal improvement in usability.

Quote:

I'm trying to make the point that these really are good design changes.

No, they are not good design changes and I explained to you why. You're seeing the GUIs through a toilet paper tube, there is far far far far far more room for disagreement about what a good GUI is than you make out to be.

Matthew Leverton

I would have just dumped the girlfriend. >:(

But I agree with the bit that the average user really doesn't get computers regardless of what the GUI looks like, unless you dumb it down to the point where it can only do one thing. They just memorize exactly what to do to accomplish the task. And so any change is considered bad.

Tablets seem easy to use because you cannot do much with them. Think how simpler Windows 7 would be if you could only run one full screen application at a time, if you couldn't drag and drop, if you couldn't right-click, if there were no menus, if you could only install Microsoft's programs, etc.

Whether you launch a program from a start menu or a desktop full of icons or a Windows 8 start page ... it's all the same thing because it's exactly the same concept.

So the short point is: the only way to make an OS seem easier to use is to remove functionality.

bamccaig
OICW said:

Gnome 3 and Unity are main reasons I've switched to XFCE and I think I'm gradually sliding towards Fluxbox 8-)

Yes, I haven't been using much of a GNU+Linux desktop lately (I've been in Windows and running a text-only Linux VM for sanity), but I've been increasingly more and more interested in experimenting with minimalist window managers and such. I've seen a few that look kind of neat, but I've been too lazy to give them a try.

BAF said:

Yeah, most people only said Vista was crap because that was the cool thing to do.

That's the only reason most people do anything. ::) On the other hand, those of us that are power users said it because Vista is crap. :-/

BAF said:

You need extra power to not render a taskbar? WTF GNOME?

GNOME 3 is probably a bit more like Windows 7's Aero. It uses transparency and live views of Windows, etc. Aero doesn't work without a decent GPU too. WTF Windows? GNOME just reverts back to the plain old look if you don't have sufficient power (which, oddly enough, is more usable, IMHO :P).

SiegeLord

I would have just dumped the girlfriend. >:(

I'd have to dump myself too, as I made the exact changes and more to make my Win7 install on my laptop look exactly like my WinXP install on my desktop :-[.

Tobias Dammers
_Kronk_ said:

What is that? I'm assuming Linux right? What distro?

Debian 6, running xmonad from the debian repo and two instances of dzen2, custom-built to support anti-aliased fonts, plus a kick-ass xmonad config and a nice little shell script to drive the second dzen2 (the one one the right; the left one is driven directly from xmonad's stdout).

It's not for the faint at heart though, but the comfort of never having to reach for the mouse to do anything is almost enlightening.

Mark Oates
SiegeLord said:

Yes, I am saying that any change is bad in the UI business.

I guess I'm saying that UIs need to start from a simpler foundation.

I agree with what you're saying about configurability. A person should be free to do their own computing, their way. No methods should be forced.

But we can certainly make better initial presumptions about the way a computer could be used. And configurability should only accessible to power users, so poor grandma doesn't get bogged down with toolbars.

Quote:

Yes, I am saying that any change is bad in the UI business. The reason why is because the current UIs are not that bad. It's not worth being mad at the computer for days/months/years trying to learn the new UI just because you'll get a marginal improvement in usability.

Under better design, that suffrage period is significantly smaller for everyone.

[edit]

So the short point is: the only way to make an OS seem easier to use is to remove functionality.

While this is partially true, I'm arguing for re-prioritization of functionality.

It's not for the faint at heart though, but the comfort of never having to reach for the mouse to do anything is almost enlightening.

;D Seee... now Tobias is a real man! 8-)8-)8-)

SiegeLord

Under better design, that suffrage period is significantly smaller for everyone.

Smaller than 0 that's afforded by staying with the current GUI? I don't think that's possible.

Mark Oates

While this is partially true, I'm arguing for re-prioritization of functionality.

;D Just for hyperbolie and cause I think it's funny:

This is bad:
{"name":"605095","src":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/1\/6\/169cba7f38ff6bdf421e0f78fbf8de3f.png","w":720,"h":450,"tn":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/1\/6\/169cba7f38ff6bdf421e0f78fbf8de3f"}605095

This is better.
{"name":"605096","src":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/e\/0\/e0011634347e4a0b7f8420d4f1c2b172.png","w":720,"h":450,"tn":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/e\/0\/e0011634347e4a0b7f8420d4f1c2b172"}605096

That's all I'm sayin'. ;D

Tobias Dammers

Seee... now Tobias is a real man!

8-) I feel more manly each time I hit Shift-Super-Enter to fire up another xterm.

SiegeLord said:

Smaller than 0 that's afforded by staying with the current GUI? I don't think that's possible.

I don't think the suffering is zero for any user. Power users tend to suffer from a lack of automatability, regular users are still overwhelmed and confused at times; at best, each user (including myself) builds up a comfort zone of sub-optimal workarounds, reducing the amount of manual effort to operate the machine to 'tolerable' (but seldom 'optimal').

An ideal GUI should feel like driving a car: once you get the basics down, you don't have to think about operating the wheel, gearbox and pedals anymore, and they never annoy you. I've never had this feeling with any computer UI (although my current setup is pretty close).

Trent Gamblin

Oh no. Change. How ever will I cope. Time to panic.

SiegeLord

I don't think the suffering is zero for any user. Power users tend to suffer from a lack of automatability, regular users are still overwhelmed and confused at times; at best, each user (including myself) builds up a comfort zone of sub-optimal workarounds, reducing the amount of manual effort to operate the machine to 'tolerable' (but seldom 'optimal').

I meant suffering due to adapting to a new interface, rather than suffering while staying with the interface. I am claiming that with the current level of GUIs the former is always greater than the latter.

Quote:

An ideal GUI should feel like driving a car: once you get the basics down, you don't have to think about operating the wheel, gearbox and pedals anymore, and they never annoy you. I've never had this feeling with any computer UI (although my current setup is pretty close).

Yeah, except when someone comes along and puts the steering wheel on the side of your chair and converts pedals into levers on the other side. Why use feet AND hands when you can just use hands all the time?

OICW

So the short point is: the only way to make an OS seem easier to use is to remove functionality.

Or the other way around - remove the user 8-)

bamccaig said:

but I've been increasingly more and more interested in experimenting with minimalist window managers and such. I've seen a few that look kind of neat, but I've been too lazy to give them a try.

So far I haven't befriended myself with Fluxbox that much. That thing creeps me out. Probably xmonad mentioned by Tobias creeps me even more :)

bamccaig said:

GNOME 3 is probably a bit more like Windows 7's Aero. It uses transparency and live views of Windows, etc.

Maybe that's why I've switched to classical look on Windows 7. The new UI is polished, yes, but the transparency began to get on my nerves. Now the classic grey looking windows are finally usable. Though I think they've made them quite uglier than before to make you want to switch on Aero.

MiquelFire

Here's your new Windows 8 mouse: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Apple_Mouse.jpg

That's what I feel like when I use a touch screen device.

Tobias Dammers
OICW said:

So far I haven't befriended myself with Fluxbox that much. That thing creeps me out. Probably xmonad mentioned by Tobias creeps me even more

You need to bring a serious hatred for pointing devices to the table, otherwise you'll hate it. If you like controlling your computer through pointing devices, xfce is probably a much better fit - it's like Gnome minus the cruft.

As far as touch screens go: I hate them even more than mice. You have to actually touch the screen, which rules out combining computer activity with hand-held snacks, and even with clean hands, the screen gets smeared; there is no tactile feedback at all, so touch typing is practically impossible; my finger obscures the area I'm trying to hit at the crucial moment, which makes for very inaccurate pointing; and most of all, using a touch device makes you look outright silly.

van_houtte

I'm seriously not trolling. I'm trying to illustrate the point that computers are too complex, and professional computer users like you and I who are comfortable with the complexities are "inside the bubble." When a company comes along and does something about it, it's not surprising that people inside the bubble react negatively against the change.

I agree.

And a lot of apps are going into the internet cloud, a lot of applications have already been ported to the browser. Might as well simplify UI as most people want something quick and easy to use.

Johan Halmén

Here's your new Windows 8 mouse: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Apple_Mouse.jpg
That's what I feel like when I use a touch screen device.

The third one is the one I had on my first Mac. And it was a really good mouse!

AMCerasoli

I could swear that Windows 8 would have this new "table style UI" and the normal Desktop UI wasn't?

So the short point is: the only way to make an OS seem easier to use is to remove functionality.

No, I think the problem is that the UI is targeting an audience too big. It's targeting to professional, students and casual users. By removing functionality you don't make the OS 'seem' easier, actually it will automatically be easier. But the contrary doesn't apply when you want to make it seem more complicated, you could create a very complicated OS with the same functionality than an easier OS.

So I think the problem is that, if you as a GUI designer create an unique UI to aiming to everybody, there is always going to be a proportional amount of users that will complain. If it's too simply professional guys won't like it and if it's too easy casual user won't like it.

Therefore, by making and "Advance" and a "Normal" interface, you'll make them all happy.

Johan Halmén

If Windows had an advanced and normal mode, everyone would complained how fucked up the advanced mode would be and no one would discuss the normal mode at all.

Tobias Dammers

My take at it: The problem with Windows is that there is quite some tension between wanting to embrace new UI paradigms with every new version, but being backward-compatible (both technically and functionally) with previous versions at the same time. So what happens is the windows team tries to build a new shiny UI and add all sorts of features, but they are being too conservative to go all the way. The end result is a system where core system components are spread out over four or five contradicting GUI paradigms, sometimes overlapping.

Apple regularly says "fuck legacy code" and just drops support for OS 9 binaries, PowerPC CPUs, and a bunch more, with just a few iterations of their OS. This allows them to introduce quite radical changes, which in turn keeps the entire system relatively transparent and consistent, at the cost of not supporting older hardware and software, which means it is practically mandatory to buy new stuff every few years (but then, running windows 7 on a ten-year-old PC isn't exactly a thrilling experience either).

Open Source systems mostly solve the problem by providing source code; switching to, say, a newer libc version then may require recompiling all applications, but as long as the code is API compatible on both sides, it will work, despite binary incompatibility. Providing source code also gives the user the option to either compile with full legacy support at the cost of reduced performance vs. compile with just the current features.

Specter Phoenix

Until I got a new PC I was using Win98SE. Only reason I have Vista is because I purchased a new computer due to my old one being back from 1992. This one is now from 2006 and has Vista on a 2TB drive, Ubuntu on a 260 GB drive, and PC-BSD on a 80 GB drive(though I may remove this for XP just so I can play two of my favorite Win95/98 games that crash in Vista. I have no plans to update to newer windows version just because I don't feel like blowing $100 for Windows 7 or 8 (assuming it isn't higher on first release).

Arthur Kalliokoski

I purchased a new computer due to my old one being back from 1992. This one is now from 2006

You were using a 486 in 2006? :o

Johan Halmén

I use a PowerBook PPC, 17", OSX 10.4. It's great.

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