Windows 8

There is an article on Windows 8 published today in ComputerWorld.com. You might like to review it for information.

“As I tested Windows 8, I found myself wanting to use it on a tablet instead of my PC, because the big-tiled Metro was so much more visually appealing than the traditional Desktop, with a more intriguing feature set. After using Windows 8 for some time, it’s clear that Metro is the future of Windows, and the Desktop the past.”

The primary feature of Windows 8 seems to be that it is designed for the mobile device, much as was Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal. I tried Natty’s Mobile layout for a few days — it was aggravating. Not impossible to use, but much better suited to a mobile device with touch screen than a desktop. I am expecting the Windows 8 situation will be the same.

When affordable touchscreens eliminate other pointing devices, then this Windows 8 “big squares filling the middle of the screen” will be more useful. As it is now, with real keyboards attached to desktops, there is little value in wasting the whole screen with buttons: it only makes sense on mobile devices because they do not have a decent keyboard and they do have touchscreens.

It is important, when designing a product, to recognize the environment in which that product must be used. People are not going to throw away all their desktops so they can write their business letters with their smart phone. Or tablet. They are going to use a real desktop with a real keyboard.

Until we get a better manifestation of the brain-computer communication link (concept in brain transferred to computer program — in this case via fingers pressing buttons on a keyboard) the lowly keyboard will remain. The reason we have the keyboard that we have today is because we have optimized it over the last 200 years to efficiently do that job. Optical keyboards projected from a laser in a mobile device might become a replacement if some form of feedback is provided with which people are comfortable — as could cyber chips in the brain — but there is still some development to go: I will not do all my business letters by pressing the “2” key three times every time I want to type a “C”: that is total nonsense.

Rumors of the death of the desktop are exaggerated at this time.

–Kubulai


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