25 March 2012

Windows 8, don't do it, part 4

Windows 8, don't do it, part 4.  Since Notepad and Paint, etc., are apps now and not native programs, only one instance of these programs can be open at a time.  If you (like me) use one Notepad window to type quick notes on what you're reading, another Notepad window with a quick reminder of a meeting in a couple days, etc., you will no longer be able to do this.  I've always liked Notepad because it's the quickest and fasted program to open and takes up the least amount of RAM.  I type a quick note, save it on my Desktop, done -- no muss, no fuss, no waiting around, it's not making anything else run slower, it's great.  This can no longer occur in Windows 8.

If you like to screencap something (use Print Screen to copy an image of what's on the screen to the Clipboard, then paste it into a new Paint window), then screencap something else, crop something out of the second image then paste it in with the first image, this is no longer possible.  Why use Paint when other programs would let me do the same thing and also offer so much more?  Because my needs are simple and Paint opens in something like one tenth of a second.  As soon as I click Paint, it's open and I can use it.  No waiting, no muss, no fuss.  This can no longer occur in Windows 8.  Honestly, do you know how long it takes Photoshop to be up and running and how much RAM it takes to keep it running so that you don't have to wait for it to start?  Ugh.

Again, did I mention that 1024x768 is the only available resolution, even if you have a 19" widescreen monitor?  I've had to change my browser to only use Tiny small fonts so that each letter isn't bigger than my whole thumbprint.

If I'm watching a movie on the computer, I don't want the display to shut down at all, even though I'm not using the mouse or keyboard.  If I'm using the computer regularly, I do want the display to shut down after about 10-15 minutes, so that if I get up and walk away the screen will turn off.  Even though it's a pittance, I still feel like I'm saving energy and I feel better about myself.  I used to be able to change this with four mouseclicks and each one was pretty fast.  Now, it's something eight mouseclicks, and some typing, and some scrolling around.  It's a royal pain.  Let me explain.  I used to be able to set the Control Panel to display things in a Windows XP style, in a "classic" style.  Thus, I could click Start, Control Panel, Adjust Power, change the option, close the window, done.  Now I have to move the mouse to the bottom left corner, click the corner of the popup Media Start, right click that screen, choose All Apps, scroll over to the Control Panel, click into the search box at the top, type in "power" click the Adjust Power that comes up, click to display the missing third power style, change the option, close the window, done.  There are alternate ways of doing things, but they either take more time or inconvenience me more.  For instance, I could bring up the hidden right taskbar, click Search, type Power, click Power Adjust, you get the picture.  It takes my computer a second to search though.  I could move the Control Panel to the Media Start pane, but since that screen uses ginormous boxy square/rectangular icons, I wouldn't have enough room to display everything else I normally use on one screen.  Really, don't try Windows 8, I haven't seen a single good thing about it.

24 March 2012

Windows 8, don't do it, part 3

1024x768 is the only available resolution in Consumer Preview.  I have a 19" widescreen monitor!  This titchy small resolution blown up on a large monitor is just killing me.

Windows 8, continued

Re: yesterday's Windows 8 commentary...

This company called BlueStacks says that with their software you can run Android apps on Windows 8, which sounds pretty amazing because you can't run Windows Phone apps (or iPhone apps) on Windows 8.  Vista Sideboard Gadgets will run on Windows 8, but only on the desktop (not as an app -- again, all the "real" stuff basically requires the desktop to run).

The calendar app is co-installed with the chat app and a couple others.  I uninstalled them because I use Google Calendar and I chat in Gmail (or Skype, when the other person doesn't have a Gmail account).  I uninstalled the Xbox Companion app or whatever it was called because I don't own an Xbox.  I also uninstalled the Xbox Live app because again I don't own an Xbox.  I tried out the Shop bit, but there's precious little there.  Presumably there will be more there later, but with no backwards compatibility at all it may take a while.

I downloaded some pictures then wanted to move them into my Pictures folder.  But how do I find the folders (no My Documents button on the missing Start button)?  Apparently, instead of Windows button, click the My Documents folder, click Pictures, I have to click over into the Metro screen, bring up the right hand taskbar, click Search, type in Documents or Pictures, click it to search, then select the folder.  When I wanted to move a music file into the music folder, it was the same thing all over again.

I did find a nifty way to remake a Start button -- basically, it just opens the Metro window, but uses no memory.  I found it in the comments of this article: http://www.howtogeek.com/108838/make-your-own-windows-8-start-button-with-zero-memory-usage/
Dim WshShell
Set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”)
WshShell.SendKeys “^{ESC}”
Set WshShell = Nothing
Save it as “start.vbs”, create a shortcut to it and then edit the “Target” to start with “wscript.exe ” (minus the quotes and including the trailing space).
All you now need to do is change the icon and then pin the shortcut onto your Task Bar (as per the instructions in the article).
The Windows Shop app has a giant invisible scrollbar on the bottom.  Even though I have a touchscreen, swiping the screen doesn't move anything back and forth or zoom in/out.  The Shop window is so big that the invisible scrollbar zips around too fast -- with no visible bar showing how far you've gone, it's really frustrating to navigate.

Sometimes feedback panes pop up from the bottom, but sometimes no matter what I do I can't get a feedback pane to open up.

Probably because of all the nifty graphic things and the Metro thing running in the background, tasks and games are really slow.  I opened up Cthulhu Saves the World and even though it's basically an old school 16-bit game, it was running really slowly.  Slowly enough that it was rather frustrating to try to play, so I soon closed it.  Everything on this computer is more laggy than it used to be before I installed Windows 8.

Some people have said that Windows 8 loads super fast.  Well, it should, it's split loading up into three discrete steps.  When I add up the time spent on each individual step, getting to the desktop (again, where all the real work happens) takes me the same amount of time that it took on Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Windows 8, don't do it

Windows 8 is a pain, don't try it.  I thought Windows 7 was amazing when I first previewed it, but 8 is... let me explain why.

You remember back in Windows 3.1 how your computer started out in DOS and although the new Windows thing was neat, if you wanted to do the "real" stuff you had to close Windows and go back to the "real" operating system?  Then one of the big changes in Windows 95 was that they basically made it a pain to get into DOS, even though everything basically still ran in DOS.  "Regular" DOS locked you out of anything substantial (it was much more difficult to run things at administrator level back then).  Computer hardware is much better/faster now and working in Windows has actually even become fun and enjoyable.  No more.  Let me spell out this analogy.  The Desktop that we've had since Windows 3.1 is like DOS used to be and this new Start menu is Windows 3.1 -- to do anything "real" you have to get out of the Start menu and get into the Desktop.

For the past month or so, I've been running on an HP Touchscreen (an old one that came with Vista installed originally, see the picture in the linked article) with a wireless mouse/keyboard.  I dislike wireless mice and keyboards for one simple reason, the batteries eventually die and they tend to have this "wonky" period before they do, where they don't quite work right, but they still mostly work.  About a week ago, the batteries in my mouse died and instead of immediately putting in new batteries, since the computer screen is a touch screen, I've simply been making do without a mouse.  There have been some interesting moments, but it's not that amazing simply because a mouse held in my hand is quite a bit more agile, nimble, and dexterous than my single fat finger is.  Even a stylus held in my hand and drawn around on the screen just isn't as easy and simple to use as a mouse, possibly because I just can't quite get the same micrometer precision accuracy with it that I can with a mouse, despite numerous attempts at calibration.  I've been thrown into Mac Hell, having to hold my finger down on the screen for a split second to do the same thing that I'd usually right-click to do.  Finally, today, an hour before I installed Windows 8, I gave up and put some new batteries into my mouse.  This darn Windows 8, in many ways, is as frustrating as the lack of the mouse is.  I'm tired of reaching my hand up to the screen to stab at it with my finger and swipe things, I like my mouse.  I've used a mouse for 18 years now (since '94) and I am not in the mood to give it up.  Yes, my monitor is a touch screen.  No, I don't want to use it instead of a mouse.  I've tried working standing up, I've tried working while kneeling on the floor, I've even tried crouching and kneeling on a chair.  I prefer sitting in a chair while in front of my computer and since I occasionally hit keys on my keyboard, I want to use the mouse that's just on the side, not the monitor.

Windows now has 3 taskbars.  There's the bottom bar in the desktop view (where everything "serious" happens, like the Control Panel, going online, basically anything important.  There's the bottom left corner Start area which is a serious pain to hit (although not a taskbar).  There's a left hand taskbar that pops up on the left side of the screen, if you have an app open, and if you hover over the Start area in the bottom left corner then slide up to where an app isn't (it'll open as you move towards it without going outside the invisible boundary that you can't see yet).  Then there's the right hand taskbar with the Settings, etc. in it.  You open this one supposedly by swiping in from the right, although even with a touch screen monitor I haven't been able to get it to work.  There is also a hidden button somewhere on the right... seriously, I just have to fiddle around for a good minute or so before the computer gets done laughing and finally consents to open up this hidden bar.  The "turn my computer off" button is buried two menus deep in this right hand taskbar.

You cannot "personalize" anything like change your fugly Windows icon, etc., until you activate Windows 8.  Even though this is a free version that is available to everyone online, you must go online to activate Windows 8 before you can make it look good, which is a problem for me since my darn wireless adapter has stopped working in Windows 8.  Seriously, Windows doesn't even notice when I plug it into a USB drive.  When I try to "manually" add it as a new device, nothing happens, Windows can't find my wireless adapter and nothing I've done has been able to get the computer to notice that there is something plugged into one of the USB drives.  I had to carry my computer into another room and set it up on the floor to be able this at all.

Once I noticed that my wireless device had stopped working, I tried out my other hardware.  Keyboard, mouse, all good even though they go through a USB dongle.  Headphones... I tried to open Music but apparently you must be online for that to work because it didn't do squat and it took me a full minute to figure out how to close the darn thing down because there's no X in the top right corner to close an app, you have to get back out to the Start menu, find the app in the hidden left hand taskbar, then right click its image there and choose close.

I could go on and on about how terrible Windows 8 is and everything that's wrong with it (such as the terrible initial choice of pastel colors for the Start menu, no bright colors or black) -- this is just the tip of the iceberg, but it's midnight and I have things to do tomorrow.  Don't bother downloading it, you'll just be disappointed.  Stick with any previous version of Windows.  Even the original version of Windows NT, and that's saying a lot.