Coffeehouse Thread

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Windows 8.1 looks interesting

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  • Sven Groot

    Some interesting stuff being mentioned here. One thing in particular caught my attention:

    "Desktop apps will also use colorful tiles by default, and developers will have the option to create richer versions."

    That sounds like desktop apps will be able to have live tiles. If that's right, then I vehemently hope we'll get an update for Outlook 2013 that takes advantage of that. Smiley

    The option to show the desktop behind the live tiles also sounds interesting (though I'll have to see if that's not too visually noisy). It does seem like MS is trying to improve the integration between the two worlds, which is a good thing imo.

    New shortcut key for search, WinKey + S, which is also used by the Send to OneNote tool. I don't use that tool, but I'm sure that's going to piss off someone. Wink

  • kettch

    I think magicalclick meant to post here, but I think that the changes that they've made for 8.1 should tell them that telemetry should be complemented with a solid CTP/Beta/user feedback cycle. Telemetry can be good for determining what the majority of users are doing, but feedback is going to be useful to fill in the gaps.

  • spivonious

    That would really help the transition to Metro. I think a lot of people don't like the start screen now because they use mostly desktop apps and the start screen adds no value over the start menu for desktop apps.

  • MasterPi

    , Sven Groot wrote

    New shortcut key for search, WinKey + S, which is also used by the Send to OneNote tool. I don't use that tool, but I'm sure that's going to piss off someone. Wink

    Yeah, I had suspected that key combination was already used. The moment I read the article, I tried it...not sure how they'll reconcile the two.

     

    Also, I think that search "hero" mode looks fantastic (looks even cooler the way The Verge presented it in the article). They keep talking about Bing being a general search system across the Windows ecosystem...it makes me wonder if they're going to eventually add in something similar to a "pervasive typing line" that you can use to "give verbal commands to the PC without any concern for syntax". But then in that quote, Bill could have been referring to the speech recognition capabilities built into Win7.. In any case, Bing could pave the way for being able to simply tell your PC (speech or type) to "get a map of NYC and send it to Charles".

  • spivonious

    I use Win+S all the time to grab screenshots for OneNote. I hope they switch it to something else.

  • MasterPi

    , kettch wrote

    I think magicalclick meant to post here, but I think that the changes that they've made for 8.1 should tell them that telemetry should be complemented with a solid CTP/Beta/user feedback cycle. Telemetry can be good for determining what the majority of users are doing, but feedback is going to be useful to fill in the gaps.

    Telemetry can work, provided the right information is collected and the analysis is sound. It's useful given a complete view of the system...if anything, user feedback provides an estimate of the missing data. You still can't rely on "I'm a user and I want this pane to always pop up"; you have to uncover what it is they're trying to do in order to design a well thought solution.

    Also, I don't understand magicalclick's sarcasm as none of the changes really contradict telemetry data...they're just filling in gaps and adding polish.

  • vesuvius

    ...they're just filling in gaps and adding polish.

    ...they're just fixing what they were told was broken but ignored, and adding what they should not have taken away. They also ignored the beta testing Telemetry.

  • vesuvius

    If they can placate business with some features that appeal, things might take off again. Unless you are a huge software house like Microsoft, there has been little reason to use Visual Studio 2012, and no reason to use the various updates to it.

    Edit : I'm not so sure again after reading a lot of the non technologist comments at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22714048

  • vesuvius

    Probably the first time in about 7 years Sven...piss someone off Smiley

  • MasterPi

    , vesuvius wrote

    *snip*

    ...they're just fixing what they were told was broken but ignored, and adding what they should not have taken away. They also ignored the beta testing Telemetry.

    The start menu hasn't come back, and that was killed off (or its death was justified) due to telemetry. The start button is about the only thing that they added back (although, I'm not sure if telemetry data had even suggested less people clicked Start). The start screen is still there, and that was driven by telemetry data showing the ever increasing number of apps.

    Actually, they also put back sane search results. Again, I don't see this as the data driving their decision to categorize the results to be useless. Moreover, it seemed that there was data suggesting that users have a lot of things these days that could pop up in search, so they thought it would be better to bin things into three separate categories, and then ended up introducing an extra step to search for things. They also completely missed out on any data showing users in the habit of using start/search to quickly access settings. It was the data that they didn't have which screwed things up. Whether it's possible or not to acquire that data, user feedback exists, as kettch states, to complement telemetry.

    The argument is whether telemetry data was useless - ignoring the data doesn't necessarily mean it's useless (and it would seem the subtext of your statement suggests that they should not have ignored it). Really, it's the analysis of the data that people should take issue with...

  • DCMonkey

    , Sven Groot wrote

    The option to show the desktop behind the live tiles also sounds interesting (though I'll have to see if that's not too visually noisy). It does seem like MS is trying to improve the integration between the two worlds, which is a good thing imo.

    If they do it like Mac OS's Launchpad, they can hide open windows and desktop icons when the tiles fly in. Launchpad also applies a blur to the desktop and keeps the dock visible, so that you can drag app icons to it.

    It does sound like an improvement though.

  • intelman

    I think one of the more interesting parts of this is the fact that we have a fast Windows refresh. I think a faster more agile Microsoft is what is needed.

    Too often core Microsoft products go too long without updates. IE in particular.

    The vision for 8.1 seems to be sound. Building upon what they started, easing the pain slightly. If they get it right, people will stop their grumblings slightly. To prevent market loss, I think Microsoft needs to redo how Skype looks and feels as well. It needs to feel light, take the philosophy of Chromium.

     Microsoft needs to be the good guy here. We need assurance that the platform will continue to be open. Never will the App Store ever be the only and exclusive source of applications.

    Apple is traditionally closed. Android is a happy medium. Microsoft can fill in that gap and be more controlled, but still open.

    I'm worried for the future of computing. I hope a strong PC market remains. Thinner faster more efficient laptops and hybrid form factors. Microsoft still looks like they can make a dent here.

     

  • vesuvius

    @MasterPie: Personally, I would rather watch paint dry than talk about the start menu again, it is such a boring subject.

    I do think your arguments are based on personal feelings and not those of real users. If you look at the link I posted above, clearly you should only change features once telemetry is available, that is what beta testing and release candidates are for. The Win 8 betas were used by millions of enthusiasts. Clearly the removal of Sinofsky means all the choices he made were correct and that the telemetry from millions of beta users was incomplete, and that those that argued for these features were wrong.

  • DCMonkey

    Disappointing that there still doesn't appear to be an official way to run Metro apps in overlapping windows, but the new options for snapping apps are a big improvement. I wonder if the ability to run more than one instance of a metro app snapped side by side is something you can do with any Metro app (and how do you launch a second instance), or if it is something an app has to support (ie: Metro MDI)? Also, I wonder how well desktop apps participate in the new snapping paradigm. They don't do so well in the current arrangement.

    I suppose we'll find out soon enough in the coming weeks or at Build.

  • Sven Groot

    Personally what I hope most of all is that the effort to integrate the desktop and metro experience will be enough to convince people that MS isn't abandoning the desktop.

  • MasterPi

    @DCMonkey: Wait..I've only read that they're allowing you to set the start screen background to your desktop wallpaper, not that the screen overlays your desktop.

    @vesuvius: What I personally feel what went wrong and why users don't enjoy the various changes in Win8 - yes those are my personal opinions. Hard to find fact because any instance of telemetry data driving a decision could have also been MS just justifying the removal/addition of a feature. However, arguments around the usefulness of telemetry data are rooted in the fundamentals of HCI practice. You don't design for user habits or preferences, you design for tasks and what people actually do. Watching users actually perform their daily routines helps you identify those tasks (large or small). Telemetry simply allows you to do that in scale.

  • DCMonkey

    , MasterPie wrote

    @DCMonkey: Wait..I've only read that they're allowing you to set the start screen background to your desktop wallpaper, not that the screen overlays your desktop.

    I was just going off of Sven's interpretation of the feature. But just being able to set the background to your desktop wallpaper should have an effect similar to what I described; the clutter of windows and icons will dissappear and the tiles will fade in. They probably won't leave the taskbar showing though.

  • PopeDai

    edit: nvm

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