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Brian Buhl
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My Windows 8 Review

I just read an article detailing how Windows 8 could be "saved." I read a post where someone said "Windows 8 is going to flop." I've heard a lot of unfortunate things about Windows 8, mostly from people that have never actually used it.

I've been using it for a couple of weeks now, and my children have been using it a couple of weeks longer than I have.  While I may not be your average user in terms of technological skill level (I've been in IT for decades, and a programmer for about 11 years), my kids are 14 and 16.  All three of us have been able to use the operating system just fine.

That is the short story.  Here is the long:

The Good: It Boots Fast
I installed Windows 8 on my Dell laptop after installing a 240GB SSD in it.  The new, extremely fast hard drive skews my perception of how fast the operating system boots up.  However, my son's computer has a 500GB 7200+ RPM drive, and it boots up fast as well.  Where my Dell with the SSD goes from completely shut down to logged in and at the desktop in about 10 seconds, my son's laptop gets there in about 20 to 25 seconds.  Windows 8 boots up fast.

The Good: It's Still Windows
My Dell laptop is the computer I use primarily at work.  I have my development tools on it, along with Office 2013 and a few other tools I need to do my job.  Since it is my laptop, I also put Starcraft 2 on it, because I like games.  I haven't run into any problems with any of the software I've installed.  My kids have also installed of the games they enjoy on their Windows 8 laptops, and they haven't had any complaints about not being able to run the software that they want to run.

The Good: The People App is Fantastic
The People app is a consolidation of all of your contacts, across multiple platforms.  This includes any contacts you might have in Outlook.  This also includes their information in Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype.  If you have a friend or family member that crosses all of those boundaries, you can see what's happening with them in one place.  You can group those contacts within People.  You can view your history of communication with those people.  This app basically made it so easy to stay up-to-date with some of my friend's social media that it felt naughty.

The Bad: Shortcuts Appear in the Live Tile interface
One nuisance with the Live Tile interface (formerly known as Metro Interface) is that when you install applications, all of the shortcuts get dumped there, whether you want them to or not.  This was made apparent when I installed Visual Studio 2010, and wound up with a huge number of shortcuts in my Live Tile space that I didn't want.  It was easy enough to remove them.  It would have been nice to have them appear in a group, perhaps.

The Bad: The Search Charm looks ready when its not
Something you may or may not be aware of is that when you put your mouse on the right side of the screen in Windows 8, a panel pops up which gives you access to Charms.  These include Search and Share.  While I haven't done much with the Share charm, I've enjoyed the Search charm quite a bit.  The Search charm is context sensitive, so if you're in your email and you go to the Search charm, you will search your email.  You can also flawlessly search the Windows Store.  You can change the context after you select Search.  The problem is that it lets you select contexts that don't seem to be ready for Search.  I tried to demonstrate the Search to someone and selected Netflix, and it did not perform as expected.


Summary and Use Tip:
I'm enjoying Windows 8.  This is not another Windows ME or Windows Vista blunder.  This is an operating system that is fast and runs as well as Windows 7.  Getting to a Windows 7 environment is, in fact, one click away.  Also, if you're handy with the registry, you can turn off the Live Tile interface, if you feel you must.  It really is just a matter of turning one value (RPEnabled) from 1 to 0.

I don't advocate doing that, however.  Instead, I suggest you ignore the marketing and all of the articles that are trying to make out the Live Tile experience as something bigger than it is, and instead, follow this simple tip: Think of the Live Tiles as your Start Menu.

In fact, if you've ever used your Windows key to open your Start Menu, you'll find that the Live Tile functions exactly the same.  If you've switched to Live Tile by clicking the Windows key, you can click the Windows key again to close it... just like the Start Menu.  The Live Tile interface provides shortcuts to apps that you use... just like the Start Menu.  Why isn't there a Start Menu in Windows 8?  Because it's redundant.  The Live Tile interface IS the Start Menu, only instead of flat, motionless icons, you have tiles which can give you previews and peeks into the information you want, such as recent posts, weather forecasts, and details for calendar appointments.

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I defended against a #zergrush on Google Search.

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Wow. This is fucking epic!

hat tip to +Simon Giles

My niece has stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma. She's 32 years old. She has two kids, and she's a single mother. I'm kind of in shock at the moment. Still trying to process.

If you're looking for cheap computer hardware, and you stumble upon gearxs.com, let me warn you from personal experience: they are terrible. I can't really complain much about the hardware, but they're customer service is absolutely horrible.

They're bad enough that I want to warn all my friends and family away from them.

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Melissa and I are in Reno, staying at the Circus Circus. We've wandered around a little. I think we'll catch some kind of show tomorrow night. I'm not sure what else we'll do, though. In regards to gambling... I'm just not feeling it.

Legalize Gay Marijuana

Pandora has once again introduced me to music that I felt I needed to buy. This time, it's Michele McLaughlin - A Celtic Dream. It's beautiful, and I can program while enjoying it.
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