Windows 8 Experiment Leaves Regular Folks Dazed and Confused

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News Posted: Wed, Oct 17 2012 9:26 AM
Microsoft's big gamble with Windows 8 is that the masses are going to accept a unified interface that's heavily invested in touch computing. The idea is that the experience on your tablet should be the same as it is on your Windows Phone, your laptop or Ultrabook, your all-in-one system, your traditional desktop, and so forth. But is the world ready for Metro the modern UI found in Windows 8?

Super geek Chris Pirillo took to the streets with camera and microphone in hand to record the reaction of everyday folk experiencing Windows 8 for the very first time. You might recall he did something similar with his dad, as he taped him stumbling through Windows 8. Here's a refresher:



His dad didn't fare too well, but what about seemingly random people, or "normal people" as Pirillo labels his video participants? What do they think about Windows 8? Let's have a look:



Pirillo states at the beginning of the video that the "advancement of technology should herald with it ease of use," but as he discovers, Windows 8 doesn't appear to fit the bill. The people he filmed had trouble doing simple tasks, such as shutting down the PC, and several likened the interface to that of a phone, only they didn't sound as excited about it as Microsoft presumably is. Confusion and frustration ruled the day.

"There's going to be a lot of retraining, people are gonna look for things that are familiar. At least the jump from Windows XP to Windows 7 wasn't as drastic as this," one woman exclaims, who says she's been through several flavors of Windows dating back to Windows 3.1

On the other side of the equation, our own uber geek Marco Chiappetta demonstrates how Windows 8 can be leveraged to perform certain tasks quickly and easily, once you're accustomed to the interface.



Have you had a chance to play with Windows 8 yet? If so, what's your impression of it?
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3vi1 replied on Wed, Oct 17 2012 10:32 AM

The first thing I did was get several menus deep looking for something, and see no intuitive way to back up. If I had installed it on my CR-48 (no Windows key), I would have been done.

I predict SP1 will add back the start button on the desktop. Going back to the full-screen start menu is annoying and pointless on a desktop system. On my Linux desktop, I'm constantly watching a lecture or movie in one corner of my 27" screen while I start new apps and work in the other space. If MS doesn't add the start button back, some other company will make a killing with their own app that replaces the start screen with a traditional desktop.

I dislike it much in the same manner I dislike Gnome3: It's pretty, and I'm sure it works for some users workflow, but not mine. And, like Gnome3, the designers took the 'it's our way or no way" approach that's going to turn off power-users.  The Gnome guys also fought forever to prevent you from having an easily accessible way to shutdown the computer right from the main desktop - which drove the majority of users  to Unity, KDE, and XFCE.

I saw Marco's demo... but how many times do you want to start four seldom used (therefore not pinned) apps that all happen to be in the same group, one over from where you start, at once? Marco was obviously well aware of where the four apps were in his start screen, whereas in real-world use people are going to be eyeballing 36 icons *and can't even see the complete list of category/submenus at once* to find what they want. It would be like only being able to see part of the Win7 start menu because the first category opens and covers your other group/folder names.

Of course, let's be honest: I wasn't going to like it no matter what. :) Ubuntu 12.10 will be released tomorrow! Woooo!!!!

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Marco C replied on Wed, Oct 17 2012 10:50 AM

Hey 3vi--figures Paul would grab a video I posted while trolling last night. :) I posted that in response to people saying that Windows 8 would kill productivity because of Metro--blah, blah, blah. And they had obviously not spent any real time with the OS. It's not that you'll have to burrow into the old Start menu all that often, the point I was trying to make is that in those situations when you do, Metro is actually faster once you learn how to use it.

Is it for everyone? Heck no. Is MS screwing up by not giving users a choice to boot to desktop and keep the traditional Star menu? Heck yes. But there are so many underlying improvements in Win8 that I was willing to learn to work with the new interface and I'm happy I did.

Marco Chiappetta
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3vi1 replied on Wed, Oct 17 2012 10:57 AM

>> Is MS screwing up by not giving users a choice to boot to desktop and keep the traditional Star menu? Heck yes.

I think that will become obvious to them after enough complaints - and I don't think they're actually so stupid as to not listen - so, I don't think we've seen the end of the Start Menu quite yet.

I'm still undecided on underlying improvements.. give me a while longer to get past interface rage.  :)

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Marco C replied on Wed, Oct 17 2012 11:14 AM

I don't know man. They posted over 20K words in the Building Windows 8 blog defending the removal of the Start menu, using as much data to back up their decision as humanly possible. I think they're going to stand behind the Start screen for quite a while---I hope you're right though.

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Chondro replied on Wed, Oct 17 2012 11:23 AM

I didnt know Chris was still around, i have seen him since screen savers.

Im not a fan of a smart phone feel on everything. thats one reason i dont want a tablet, why pay $600 for a big phone.

to each their own, ill stick with win7

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JTenzer replied on Wed, Oct 17 2012 12:56 PM

what if you did the same video but with win 8 on a tablet instead?

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Marco C replied on Wed, Oct 17 2012 1:11 PM

Hopefully we'll be able to answer that question soon enough. In my limited times playing with a few Win8 tablets (both WinRT and Win8), Metro seems perfectly suited to the form factor.

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RWilliams replied on Wed, Oct 17 2012 2:43 PM

I wanted to hate this video, because interviewing random tech novices on the street generally isn't the best way to get a point across. But, the fact of the matter is, their reactions to the new OS mimicked my own pretty well. When I couldn't figure out how to merely shut down the PC, I wanted to throw my monitor out the window. Then there was the confusion from trying to figure out how to change the resolution, find Windows Update and so on.

With Windows 8, Microsoft is forcing people to unlearn some of what they've been doing for nearly the past two decades. I am not generally adverse to change, because I like to grasp the full picture. But this is a change I just can't get behind. It causes me to be less efficient, and that's a problem. The biggest insult to me is simply the fact that Microsoft doesn't give you an option to revert to a classic menu.

Why would that have been a problem? We're reaching an Apple-level of restriction here. Sure, you can install a program to do that for you, but I'm not the type of person who loves installing random programs just to fix something an OS shouldn't suffer to begin with (I feel the same way about Ubuntu and its Unity... having to install extra apps to tweak simple things is ridiculous, though the situation is better today than it used to be).

Marco: "I don't know man. They posted over 20K words in the Building Windows 8 blog defending the removal of the Start menu, using as much data to back up their decision as humanly possible. I think they're going to stand behind the Start screen for quite a while---I hope you're right though."

VERY good point, and this brings me back to Apple. Apple has committed to changes that many people at first -hated- or simply didn't understand (some of them, I still don't understand). After a while, some of these things garner mass acceptance. I saw a quote elsewhere, possibly on Fark, where someone said, what if Henry Ford didn't try anything drastic? What if he just asked people what they wanted? The answer? They would have asked for faster horses.

But again, while I welcome change, this to me is not a good one. Microsoft is simply turning the desktop into a mobile OS, and that doesn't bode well for my particular desires.

I am going to install the OS soon though and give it an honest shake. Even if it kills me.

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RTietjens replied on Wed, Oct 17 2012 4:30 PM

Ctrl-ESC is the same as the Windows key, FYI.

However, "once you're accustomed to the interface" is the same as saying "after an employer spends $1000 or more per employee to retrain them."

Windows 8 is making I.T. budget managers furious already.

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RTietjens replied on Wed, Oct 17 2012 4:36 PM

It's not for me. I tried to install it on my brand-new OCZ SSD over the weekend. It was perfectly happy to delete all existing partitions (I had added it as a second drive in Win 7) and repartition the drive, and then to format the partitions, but after that, it gave me the message that "Windows 8 can't be installed on [the second partition]," with no troubleshooting suggestions or anything to give me a clue as to the problem.

Funny, Windows 7 had no problem with that drive.

Once more, Microsoft has built an OS that's not ready for release, and they going to By God release it on the scheduled date no matter what, because they are Microsoft and consumers have no real choice. Except for consumers like me, who will stick with Windows 7 until it's EOL.

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Please please watch this YouTube video (title "Windows 8 with mouse in 5 minutes" )and then comment about usability of Windows 8 with mouse and keyboard (video link: http://youtu.be/zF9LX0bR_fM)

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3vi1 replied on Wed, Oct 17 2012 5:56 PM

Mahesha999:

Please please watch this YouTube video (title "Windows 8 with mouse in 5 minutes" )and then comment about usability of Windows 8 with mouse and keyboard (video link: http://youtu.be/zF9LX0bR_fM)

Wow... and I thought it was ridiculous before.  Watching that video is like "where's the audio... how did he get in that menu?  How'd he pop that up?..." over and over.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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RiCoFrost replied on Wed, Oct 17 2012 8:11 PM

Some people are so set in there ways they can not adapt to change, they simply cant think. In saying that I saw another video of someone with a Surface tablet standing outside the apple store asking people to try it and most people liked it.

I really dont understand how people are so fearful of change.... its like the end of the world or something.

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Marco Chiappetta: I can beat that time easy. Start menu is indexed, so I can type a few letters and hit enter. Its how I launch everything.

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3vi1 replied on Wed, Oct 17 2012 11:07 PM

I don't think fear of change is the problem here. Negative change is the problem here.

To many of us, Win8 interface is a kiosk for consumers, designed for the lowest common denominator. Every bit of design that Microsoft previously heralded as well-researched, intuitive, and efficient has been thrown out because phones and tablets are the flavor du jour.

This is Microsoft Bob 2.0.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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realneil replied on Thu, Oct 18 2012 10:36 AM

3vi1:
This is Microsoft Bob 2.0.

So I'm not the only one who remembers that Turd Microsoft Bob?

He had a sister called Microsoft Me as well.

I sat through watching the old guy trying Win-8, Apple's OS-X, and Ubuntu Linux. He got a lot more figured out with the second two operating systems than he did with Win-8. What a surprise!

I have been using the (RTM) version for a month or so, (not fun at all) eventually, I installed Classic Shell onto it to restore a semblance of Win-7-ness to the control interface.

Now it's doable for me, but the idea of having to install third party software to a bright shiny new operating system just to make it work properly is anathema to me. The fact that Microsoft doesn't include this functionality for those of us without touch-screens and will not listen to what we want from them is more of the same old sh*t that they failed to get their way with in the past.

I sense that Microsoft has a 'vision' for the future of computers but when I think about it, I can't help but see the old movie Tommy, where they put blindfolds, ear plugs, and mouth corks onto all of their disciples before they could play Pinball,............

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

(Mark Twain)

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RWilliams replied on Thu, Oct 18 2012 11:35 AM

Marco's video was designed to show the speed of finding things NOT index / pinned, though. If you're familiar with hitting the Windows key and then typing in something to launch, then it will be no different with Windows 8 (I do that with apps I don't run often, but pin the rest that I do).

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Oct 18 2012 1:31 PM

>> I sense that Microsoft has a 'vision' for the future of computers

Me too... Unfortunately, unlike the Gnome3 'vision', Windows users don't have 15 other desktops they can use instead. The few tools like Classic Shell are going to enjoy a lot of popularity very soon.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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digitaldd replied on Fri, Oct 19 2012 4:25 PM

MayhemMatthew:

Marco Chiappetta: I can beat that time easy. Start menu is indexed, so I can type a few letters and hit enter. Its how I launch everything.

If I could YeslikeYes this post I would. thats how I've been using Windows 8 so far. also using teh context menu key on the keyboard (aka right-click).

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