Coffeehouse Thread

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Microsoft still in denial phase over W8.. possible "relaunch" in February

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  • dentaku

    , wastingtime​withforums wrote

    *snip*

    All this could roll-in with a huge "We have listened!" - campaign.



    I'd love a "We have listened!" campaign too. It would make them feel less like a big faceless company and more like the smart people they really are (and by "they" I mean the developers, not the people in charge of making money at all cost)
    People who are in charge of big company software purchases for their employees would love it too.

  • magicalclick

    @RLO: my thought exactly. Those crusaders said it should be two ways, but, it has never been two ways, just we complain and a blog response that careless about what our complaint. Most of us stopped just like you said, not because we believe we should stop voicing our opinions. We pretend our problem is solved, but, that's just a pretend to avoid dealing with crusaders. I understand some takes time, but, there are things that only take 1 minute to complete, they just refuse to listen.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
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  • magicalclick

    @dentaku: lol,you should have seen the government user voice site. Number one is legalize marijuana, and guess what they do first? They closed down tons of medical marijuana stores in California. They listen, but, they never said their reaction cannot be completely 180 degrees. That is as lawyer as you can expect.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
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  • magicalclick

    @Dr Herbie: As part of monthly update, I would introduce the innovative Start Icon on the left side of the taskbar. Click it will launch Start Screen. Start Button to launch Start Screen, the best innovation in human history. I feel like I am smarter than Big Bill now because he didn't think about Start button all these long long long years.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
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  • Dr Herbie

    @wastingtimewithforums: So it seems that we are generally in agreement; they should announce now what they plan to do to address desktop users concerns (desktop still being the majority of users) and make a commitment to the next release.

    The problem is, of course that they may have already finalised the next release and to add to it would push back the planned release date and this has costs.  I think MS should just take the hit and make the commitment anyway.

    Herbie

  • Sven Groot

    @wastingtimewithforums: Those are all very reasonable points, and even though I mostly actually like Windows 8 and Office 2013, I would not be opposed to those changes (do realize that none of them are likely as easy to make as you think; the QA and localization that MS would have to put into providing a start menu with the ability to launch metro apps is likely far more than most of the third parties providing such functionality now).

    There are a few points where you do run into the principle of least surprise, though. While being shunted back to metro Photos when you click a JPEG on the desktop can be jarring, would it really be less confusing if Windows now had two separate sets of file associations for each environment? And at least Windows 8 does provide you with a very easy way to change the default the first time you open such a file (or any time you open them after new programs capable of opening them have been added, which is something I greatly appreciate and lessens the impact of association stealing).

    But other things are things I've pointed out myself too, like the apparently coin-toss way the split between the metro Settings app and the desktop Control Panel was decided. I whole-heartedly agree that anyone using a tablet should be able to make all relevant changes from the metro settings. It does have one problem, though: requiring metro users to use the desktop CP is bad. Requiring desktop users to use the metro Settings is bad. Duplicating all configuration UI in both places is also bad. Ultimately if the metro UI was a bit more integrated into the desktop experience I don't think people would mind if the Settings app gradually replaced the old control panel.

    If more of your feedback was like this (and also less repetitive), people wouldn't have as much of a problem with your conduct on this forum.

  • magicalclick

    @Sven Groot: I don't mine metro photo to replace it, IFF, it launch as fast AND I can click Next to see the next photo in my D drive.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
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  • MasterPi

    , Sven Groot wrote

     like the apparently coin-toss way the split between the metro Settings app and the desktop Control Panel was decided.

    In general, I want there to be some sort of connection between an app on the metro side and its associated desktop application. It's silly having a completely different set of tabs open across both IE apps,. If the intent for a lot of these dockables/convertibles is to shift between being mobile and sitting at your desk, then what I should be able to access instantly what I was looking at while I was sitting down in desktop mode in metro IE.

  • bondsbw

    @MasterPie:

    , MasterPie wrote

    *snip*

    In general, I want there to be some sort of connection between an app on the metro side and its associated desktop application.

    I couldn't agree more.  I develop applications for mobile computers that integrate with a variety of hardware.  Creating a Modern app would seem to be a natural step in the evolution of our product.  But we cannot access much of that hardware from a Modern app, and what's worse, we cannot communicate with a desktop application or Windows service that does have access to that hardware.

    By "cannot", I mean without the sideloading and loopback exemption hacks that would create a nightmare for the thousands of disparate IT groups we support.

    My message to Microsoft:  Give developers the power of desktop applications in the Modern world.  This MUST happen if your vision of reducing and finally removing the desktop from existence can ever come true.

    More:

    • My Modern apps need to communicate with each other without user interaction.
    • My Modern apps need to be extensible (pluggable).
    • We need to be able to sideload our Modern apps on tablets/computers that are NOT part of a domain.  Our LOB customers do not have big IT departments.  In many cases, the IT department is the guy who figured out how to set a password on the wireless router.
  • MasterPi

    @bondsbw: I was talking more of a bridge between the two, leaving the restrictions on each environment in place. If the metro world is meant to be more for consumption, then I would like the apps to summarize or capture the content I was working with in desktop land. And then when I want to drill into the content  more, make changes, etc...then I want to instantly warp myself into desktop land to do so. It's basic data visualization....summarize, browse, drill down for detail (or to make edits).

     

    I can see Visual Studio having a metro app that is basically a frontend to TFS where I could view all my projects, work items, team discussions, nightly builds. Looks like I need to fix something...tap the relevant source file...Visual Studio opens up in desktop mode with the project/file open for me. I dock my tablet so that I can work on the file.

  • bondsbw

    @MasterPie: I understand that.  I need more than you.

    Having thought of your situation (as a subset of my own), there are possibilities in the current landscape of Modern app development.  You can communicate between your Modern app and your desktop app by connecting them both to an Internet-facing server.

    Unfortunately, this is far from ideal for our apps.  We have the restriction of users often being located in areas for extended periods of time where connectivity is an issue.

  • Retro​Recursion

    , wastingtime​withforums wrote

    All this could roll-in with a huge "We have listened!" - campaign.

    +1 - Excellent statement!

  • MasterPi

    @bondsbw: Can you list the specific access you need that WinRT doesn't provide currently? Part of the reason why the API is so restricted is because they want the metro side of things to be stable and predictable. But they were able to open up the WP API some more, so they might be able to do the same for WinRT.

  • evildictait​or

    , wastingtime​withforums wrote

    *snip*

    I've said it multiple times on this forum. But ok:

    The tragedy is, that Windows 8 could be a true "No compromise" OS which would make EVERYONE happy with just four very simple fixes:

    1. Include the start menu and the start button back. Add an option for what happens when you press on the start button (start menu or start screen). If you have chosen start menu, there should be a dedicated switch-to-metro button either in the start menu or in the task bar in the near of the clock.

    3. Add a Boot-to-desktop option in the control panel.

    4. Start8 and others proved that links to metro apps can be placed into a start menu. There could be a dedicated metro programs group for the occasional need for a metro app without switching to the start screen first.

    That's already possible in Windows8. You just go here: http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/ and click install.

    In many respects, Stardock actually solved this whole problem for Microsoft. Instead of Microsoft having to build a supported dual-start-menu to help people transition, Stardock have done it for them. This alleviates Microsoft of the need to test, localize, support, maintain and configure the app for the next decade, just in order to help people with the transition from a start menu to a start screen.

    The default for Windows8 is great for "normal" users, but for the folks where losing the start menu is non-negotiable, they can upgrade to Windows8 and get Stardock. From Microsoft's perspective this is great!

    Even with Surface, if you want to create content, you want the desktop. 

    The vast majority of home user don't create content. Most people use them for browsing sites like facebook and gmail, possibly doing stuff in Office and to consume media like Hulu and angry birds. The rare few who do create content outside of office will presumably continue to do so via their desktop applications. But they weren't going to do that on a surface anyway, because content creation is hard on a small screen anyway, as anyone who has tried to type an email into an iPad will know.

    Metro is not about content creation. It never has been. It is entirely and unashamedly optimised for consumption.

    These changes are trivial to implement (freeware does it) and with Microsoft's man power, they could be included within weeks. Announce it right now that these changes are coming with a free update. This will surely increase sales of W8 licenses

    Sure, maybe some extra sales to some geeks. But those geeks can already jailbreak their Surface to put desktop apps on it if they really care that much. (Here's an insider secret for you: Microsoft doesn't care if geeks jailbreak their surface and subsequently get pwned by installing dodgy internet software on it - they'd just prefer if joe average doesn't fall into that trap).

    And besides, adding loads of extra dials and config options and so on - particularly if they are hidden is bad for the user experience and leads to fragility in apps (remember how people used to hack the registry to change stuff, or had to trawl through loads of menus to turn on file extensions?)

    So, that's the immediate fixes for the desktop side. In the next version the appstore should be opened up for Desktop programs as well, this would solve finally the age-old problem of holey Java and Flash versions too - list them in the appstore and let them update through the appstore. Problem solved. I understand there could be a new package format needed for that.

    Users should be able to safely install apps without it damaging their machine in a way that people installing fun EXEs from the web really aren't safe. Determining if software is malicious is equivalent to the halting problem, so the only way to do this is to sandbox them. And most desktop apps don't support being run with hyper-low privileges (for instance, LoadLibrary will normally fail from AppContainer because of the lowbox).

    That (and the fact that Desktop isn't available for all Windows8 devices) is why the AppStore isn't used for pushing Desktop apps.

    This way the invariant is preserved: any app you install from the AppStore is safe to run (even if it was intentionally coded to be malicious) and will work on any Windows8 device.

    Sideloading of the metro apps needs to be possible

    It already is.

    Vastly expand the default apps; they are just embarrassing. Some of them look as if they consist of two code-lines. The whole metro-ideology needs to get a lot less anal too. The "design first, convenience second" thing serves no one. Stop with the obsession of hiding buttons and functions.

    1. When you get bored of the default apps, try the "Store" app; it'll allow you download new ones, and not just by Microsoft (many of them are free).

    2. The fewer buttons and dials and configuration options the user has to press and tweak, the less likely the app will break, the more likely it will work on a tablet and the more likely the user will get to spend their time enjoying the content of the app and not the mechanics of your config files.

    It kind of baffles me to hear someone complaining that the UI isn't complex enough. Come on. This is progress. We don't want to have to navigate stupid menus or find hidden settings in order to consume content. Let your users get the content without having to think about it. Every second they are wasting navigating your menus or clicking your buttons is a second they are pissed off at your app for not letting them do what they wanted to do, i.e. consume the media your app exposes.

    Start de-uglifying Office 2013 and Visual Studio 2012 immediately (colors aren't bad, M'kay) and promise free updates for the GUIs in these products. All this could roll-in with a huge "We have listened!" - campaign.

    Office and VS are not Windows.

  • evildictait​or

    , bondsbw wrote

    @MasterPie:

    *snip*

    I couldn't agree more.  I develop applications for mobile computers that integrate with a variety of hardware.  Creating a Modern app would seem to be a natural step in the evolution of our product.  But we cannot access much of that hardware from a Modern app, and what's worse, we cannot communicate with a desktop application or Windows service that does have access to that hardware.

    If your app is to be installed from the appstore, it shouldn't be able to do bad things to the machine it is running on.

    That should explain why Metro apps don't get to talk directly to your hardware, your desktop apps or to other metro apps by default.

    If you need to mess with hardware or with other people's apps, you need to be a desktop application, albeit with a Metro frontend doing the "driving". Your desktop application can be invisible and expose itself as a server to the Metro application over a loopback socket.

    • We need to be able to sideload our Modern apps on tablets/computers that are NOT part of a domain.  Our LOB customers do not have big IT departments.  In many cases, the IT department is the guy who figured out how to set a password on the wireless router.

    Your wish is my command.

    You can use Intune to configure non-domain joined WinRT/iPad/iPhone/Android/AndroidTab/Windows devices centrally. If you have several small clients, you can also be the administrator of several entirely distinct "groups". Each group gets a "company store" of side-loadable apps that the user can choose to install from.

  • elmer

    , evildictait​or wrote

    *snip*

    That's already possible in Windows8. You just go here: http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/ and click install.

    So, in other words, MS could solve it all in one step - Buy Stardock.

  • evildictait​or

    , elmer wrote

    *snip*

    So, in other words, MS could solve it all in one step - Buy Stardock.

    If they did that they lose all of the benefit of Stardock. If Start8 was in in Windows8 it would need to localized, made accessible for users with disabilities, maintained, continuously upgraded and supported for enterprise for 10 years, all for the tiny numbers of Windows8 users who actually want it. It would also either be on by default, effectively defeating the entire point of apps-front-and-centre philosophy of Win8, or it would be off by default, and we'd be right back here. And let's not forget that start8 is in total contrast to MS UX guidelines, so if MS did buy it it would be impossible to rectify MS policy with having stardock, and ultimately that would mean dismantling stardock and moving their staff to work on UX for other teams at MS, i.e. killing start8 stone dead.

    Also, what's the scenario that users want that they don't currently have? If you want a start menu you can get one. From Microsoft's POV that means that there is now nobody who can't upgrade to Win8 for lack of a start menu since everyone either doesn't care or can get one from StarDock.

    From Microsoft's POV the best possible thing is for someone else to make the apps for transition between UXes. Microsoft wants to support the old one and the new one. It doesn't want to support the infinite different possibilities between the two, and as time and time again they've found out, adding configuration options and extra knobs and dials and buttons in the interface leads to extra confusion and extra problems.

    No, the best possible solution for Microsoft is that someone else sells the apps that help smooth the transition between Microsoft's own products. Microsoft seriously frikken loves Start8 because it destroys the argument that people can't upgrade to Win8 because Win8 is too unusable without a start menu; because Windows8 has a start menu for the tiny numbers of Win8 users who really want it, without needing to support it for everyone else.

  • RLO

    The start menu as we know it is dead.  I miss it, but I am not going to pine away for it.  I do think that the current implementation for the start screen has some issues that need to be addressed.

    Mousing over to the corner is not consistent from machine to machine.  Sometimes if I hover the mouse just correct, the start option and the multi-task will come up, sometimes it won't.

    My suggestion would be to bring back the start button, but let it launch the start screen instead.  We don't have to have the old menu, but we do need to some improvement in this interaction.  A button guarantees feedback for the location and activation to the user. 

    Second, the start screen should have a better search system.  Instead of having to dig into results to find what you are looking for, it would be better to present all results, and then allow the user to filter by type.  The current implementation is search, change filter, find.  It would be better to search, find, filter if not found.

    Third, even though the start screen does react in a similar fashion to the old xp start menu, fly out on mouse position, it's not consistent either.  Now whether this is a performance issue due to my machine, or code, I can't be sure.  It's very jerky on my system and not as smooth.

    Although with this release, they have added the demo on startup, I truly believe that it's not fully fleshed out.  Maybe a step by step demo for those that want to use it comparing the old way to the new way would help a lot of people out.  Show pressing the start button, then show mousing the start area.  A look at the old menu, transition to the new "menu"/screen. Etc. If this type of demo is done, make sure that people have the option to skip out of it easily, but accessible from the desktop and start screen should people want to spend more time training later.

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