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Microsoft: Start Menu Returns, Windows Free For Small Device OEMs, Cortana Beta

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the giving-in dept.

Microsoft 387

At Microsoft's BUILD conference today, the company announced that the Start Menu will officially be returning to Windows 8.1. It will combine the Windows 7 Start Menu with a handful of Metro-style tiles. They're also making it so Windows 8 apps can run in windows using the normal desktop environment. In addition to the desktop announcements, Microsoft also talked about big changes for Windows on mobile devices and Internet-of-Things devices. The company will be giving Windows away for free to OEMs making phones and tablets (9" screens and smaller), and for IoT devices that can run it. Microsoft also finally unveiled Cortana, their digital assistant software that's similar to Siri.

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Gee, so only a year of screaming (5, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | about 4 months ago | (#46642441)

So it only took about a year of screaming from the users and slashdotters before Microsquishy paid attention and brought back the MENU instead of that god damned useless start screen. Who knows -- by 9.x maybe it'll even be as usable as 7 again.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (5, Funny)

rikkards (98006) | about 4 months ago | (#46642671)

It's because they can't use their usual solution which is "you need to upgrade to the next version"

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 4 months ago | (#46642893)

It's because they can't use their usual solution which is "you need to upgrade to the next version"

The next version is a trap!

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 4 months ago | (#46642725)

A year? People have been telling Microsoft Metro was a catastrophe since they released the public betas.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (5, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 4 months ago | (#46642775)

OT: I finally found your moped jesus:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new... [telegraph.co.uk]

now that that mystery is solved, all the rest look comparatively simple.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (0)

Bardez (915334) | about 4 months ago | (#46642941)

And my Mod Points have disappeared. Such sad timing.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#46642915)

"A year? People have been telling Microsoft Metro was a catastrophe since they released the public betas."

Even so, they've taken this dubious fall-back position: "Okay, we admit that it sucks and that nobody likes it, so we're going back to the old way. But we're going to keep pushing the obviously failed 'new' way at you anyway."

Because... ??? Honestly, the only reason that comes to mind is that they are incapable of admitting that the whole thing was just plain a bad idea.

But wait! I guess it did accomplish something. It got others in the industry to also adopt eye-burning flat toolbars and icons, containing little pictograms that the brain associates with nothing in particular.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (1, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 4 months ago | (#46643141)

Notice that something really big happened not too long before this announcement: Steve Ballmer was replaced as CEO. As long as he was at the helm, they held to their strategy of pushing Metro on everyone. Now he's gone, so things are likely to change.

This is really unfortunate IMO. I was hoping they'd double-down on Metro, maybe even eliminate the regular desktop mode. I was really enjoying watching MS stumble under Ballmer's leadership, and the last thing I want to see is them to become highly successful again.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (2, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | about 4 months ago | (#46642735)

What's funny is that if you slapped in your favorite UI replacement, then Win8 became even better than 7. Faster, more stable, and if you're a gamer gave even better performance. Remove that, and it was a huge pain in the ass, so in your post I can't quite figure out the "by 9.x it'll be as useable as 7 again..." there's paid options such as Start8, not paid options such as Classicshell. And really, if you couldn't be bothered to replace the awful UI for something else, that's your own problem.

I will say there are still bugs in it. I just ran across probably the most rare of them regarding SSD's yesterday. Where an open handle which isn't properly closed on shutdown, on a SSD volume can lock a SSD, in turn causing the volume to become corrupt. Needless to say, not impressed by that one.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (0)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#46642845)

No one has adequately explained to me what these unspecified "improvements" are. Maybe it's not possible to notice the better crops after the excessive heaps of fertilizer Microsoft added to them, but strip metro... and... it's windows 7.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (4, Informative)

redmid17 (1217076) | about 4 months ago | (#46642957)

I'm assuming you're too lazy to google

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/... [pcmag.com]
http://usabilitygeek.com/windo... [usabilitygeek.com]
http://www.techspot.com/review... [techspot.com]
http://www.zdnet.com/windows-8... [zdnet.com]

If you're lazy, you can just read the conclusions. It's not necessarily enough to make me upgrade to 8 (already have 8 on one laptop and 7 on some other devices), but it measurably better in a few areas.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46643067)

Microsoft is actually really damn competent at making windows run well. Even since 7 they've made a whole lot of under the hood improvements. Kernel, memory management, better support for modern hardware. SSD optimizations. Graphics system improvements.

It's like Vista. Vista introduced a massive amount of improvements particularly when it came to enterprise management.. But they fucked up hard on on the end use experience. Badly tuned. Ran like shit compared to XP. They fixed it up and released 7. (It really does run like shit. Install fully patched 7 and Vista on the same hardware and you'll be shocked with how much better 7 is)

With 8, for whatever fucking braindead reason, they pushed the Metro UI. Again it's being rejected because they've ignored the end-user experience. 8 runs well but it sucks on the desktop.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (5, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 4 months ago | (#46642855)

"Product X is great, you just have to replace it's main features with additional products Y and Z".

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46643135)

I'm sorry, but if you consider the UI the main feature of an OS, you really don't know anything about computers.

Here's a hint as to how important the UI is to an OS, you can freely replace them with no real affect on the overall system barring resources used by the UI.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 4 months ago | (#46643155)

Yeah, that's a real ringing endorsement there.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 4 months ago | (#46643185)

In the Linux world, Product X = Gnome 3. Totally unusable for many people without third-party extensions, yet those same people keep telling everybody how great it is. The only way it makes sense for me in either case (Win 8.x or Gnome 3) is if the advocates are all masochists and think that everybody else likes pointless suffering as much as they do. Personally, I use Linux with Xfce because it does what I want, the way I want without using up excessive RAM or CPU.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642883)

this reminds me of when i tried win8 a year ago. I would get win8 running, it would be good for 2-4 hours, then crash out and the ssd was screwed up so it couldnt boot. On dell support we would walk through getting the drive going again. I would be good for a few hours. Long enough to install the UI changes to get the start menu back and get rid of the weird metro crap, and then ssd would die again. Eventually after the fourth time the support people could not get the drive up and they sent a replacement machine. Fast forward three weeks later and they sent me a machine with windows 7 installed. Still using it right now.

dell said it was the drivers

also no custom ui needed for 7 its usable from install

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 4 months ago | (#46642917)

The problem for enterprise environments is that these add-ins are likely not going to be manageable via AD and GPOs, and at least where I am, that makes adoption an iffy process. Much better to have this basic GUI functionality built into the operating system itself.

If the next version of Windows is close enough to Windows 7 for our staff to be comfortable, then we'll lift our organization-wide ban on Windows 8/8.1 workstations. For the moment, however, we continue to purchases Windows 7 Professional workstations and notebooks, and, amusingly enough, our suppliers basically say "And you will be wanting that with Windows 7, right?" They know that Windows 8 has been a bomb in the enterprise market.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642819)

No, it took long enough for a new CEO to come in.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (3, Insightful)

MBC1977 (978793) | about 4 months ago | (#46642851)

Useless to who? There is this thing called "adapt and overcome" that works wonders. Or to put it another way, just because you (and some others) don't like it does not make it useless. I use it interchangeably with the Windows desktop and my output of work has not changed, thanks.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (-1, Troll)

kpainter (901021) | about 4 months ago | (#46642933)

Sounds like you are talking about sheep.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (1)

MBC1977 (978793) | about 4 months ago | (#46643027)

No, I'm just saying making a blanket statement that the start screen is "god dammed useless" is quite foolish. If he had said, it didn't work for him, hence its the reason why he didn't like it; I could accept that.

Oh and the only time I talk about sheep is when I'm trying to figure out how to cook a new dish.

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642987)

It was crap from the off. There is no reason to apologize for the uselessness that came with windows 8.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 4 months ago | (#46642881)

Bringing back what never should have been taken away - it's the new innovation.

the older innovation was buying up companies which developed technology you were unable to.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (4, Funny)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#46642959)

I'm sure Windows 9.5 will be revolutionary, unlike anything we've seen before, and Windows 9.8 will continue to improve on it.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642901)

XP start menu had features that 7 does not. try adding your own groups and sub groups of programs, can't do that in 7. In win 7, you have to add a "toolbar" to the task bar. I find this a crazy step backwards. So I so glad that win 8.1 uses the win 7 start menu, goly gee that is just great!

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642907)

New CEO, and already actual tangible changes. I'd hate to judge early but I'm pretty sure Satya is the right guy.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (2)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 4 months ago | (#46642911)

>So it only took about a year of screaming from the users and slashdotters before Microsquishy paid attention and brought back the MENU instead of that god damned useless start screen.

It came out in October 2012, but people have been screaming about it since the pre-release in 2011.

So about the same amount of time it took Blizzard to fix the clusterfuck called Diablo 3, and with the same amounts of fucks given by the general population.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about 4 months ago | (#46643087)

Touchscreens didn't become ubiquitous. Metro Fail.

Film at 11.

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46643089)

Talk to the GNOME...

Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46643115)

Who knows -- by 9.x maybe it'll even be as usable as 7 again.

This is horrible news. It just might save Windows.

April Fools was yesterday (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642449)

Microsoft listens to end users?!

Re:April Fools was yesterday (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642531)

No, the Republicans recently said they were going to force Microsoft to do this. As much as I don't like the horrifically confused and unproductive Windows 8 interface, I hate their dictating software decisions more. I know at my last employer when the Republicans came in to dictate the UX, it destroyed the company. They do not understand UX so they're just going to make things worse. We need to free software developers from the control of the Republicans.

Re:April Fools was yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642677)

Your troll-fu is weak.

I miss bobabooey explaining to OOG The Open Source Caveman how he could prevent subluxations by putting meept in his HOSTS file.

Re:April Fools was yesterday (3, Insightful)

gewalker (57809) | about 4 months ago | (#46642605)

I thought it more laughable the parent suggested that MS listened to slashdotters

Re:April Fools was yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642731)

Slashdot has at least one user who thinks Bill Gates is personally stalking him for making so many Insightful posts.

"Free" Windows (-1, Troll)

rlp (11898) | about 4 months ago | (#46642485)

It's a trap!!

Seriously why would you use something as bloated as Windows for a mobile or embedded device? Why would you use proprietary "free" software, which will become NOT free when the market gets large enough?

Re:"Free" Windows (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642547)

Seriously why would you use something as bloated as Windows

Because we know that the current iteration of Android is svelte, lean and mean...

Dockability (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#46642557)

Seriously why would you use something as bloated as Windows for a mobile or embedded device?

So that the device can do double duty. It can act as a tablet by itself, or it can be docked to an external keyboard and monitor and act as a basic desktop computer. At least this is what Canonical promised for "Ubuntu for Android".

Re:"Free" Windows (5, Informative)

dougmc (70836) | about 4 months ago | (#46642567)

Windows on a phone works pretty well -- I picked up a Nokia 520 because it was $40 and why not, and it's actually quite decent.

The tiles based interface works quite well for a small device like that. I certainly don't like it on a PC with a big screen (or two), but for a little screen it works quite well.

In fact, the only real problem I had with the OS is that there aren't many apps available compared to iOS and Android.

Re:"Free" Windows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642753)

I picked up a Nokia 520 because it was $40 and why not, and it's actually quite decent.

Did you write those awful "Honestly" ads?

Re:"Free" Windows (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 4 months ago | (#46642887)

Microsoft already does what everybody thinks Google may do in the future.

We're still talking about email snooping, right?

Re:"Free" Windows (5, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 4 months ago | (#46642983)

Same thing goes on my Surface2. The Windows 8 interface really shines on a touch screen device. It's also worth pointing out that you don't need as many apps on Surface as you would on an iPad, because it has a lot of functionality built in. Getting videos to play off my shared folder on the main PC was a piece of cake with Surface. With iPad, it was a royal pain, and it still doesn't work well with certain videos.

If you could get a 9 inch tablet for that ran full windows, you could have a very portable computer that you could just plug into full size monitor, keyboard and mouse, and use it as a full desktop. You wouldn't need any cloud services like drop box because you could literally bring your whole desktop computer with you wherever you go. This is the main point of the Surface Pro that most people seem to forget. You have this ultraportable machine about the same size as an ipad, but that you can hook up standard peripherals to and make it work as a full fledged desktop. The Surface Pro is a little outside most people's budgets, but the ASUS Transformer Book T100 is a little cheaper, and can still run most desktop apps.

Re:"Free" Windows (1)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about 4 months ago | (#46642649)

Nothing is free. Don't be fooled.

The price here is adherence to their ways and commitment to their platform. This worked for SQL Express, it surely will work for the OS. The fact is nobody yet offers a STABLE package that easily installs on almost any computer with little to no configuration. I just did a bunch of Ubuntu installs (which I consider to be the best installer package out there for a Linux distro) and it wasn't easy for every single PC I installed it.

At the end of the day they will either sell MS Office licenses, user licenses (Domain) or other services as part of their OS. It's no different than HP selling you a printer at cost and making a fortune on toner.

As for bloatware, stop buying pre-packaged computers with 85 pre-installed trial versions of software. A clean install of Windows is not bloated.

Clean laptops (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#46642737)

As for bloatware, stop buying pre-packaged computers with 85 pre-installed trial versions of software.

Desktop users can build their own. But can you give some tips on how to buy a Windows laptop without trialware? Or should one just buy a MacBook and a copy of Windows to run in VirtualBox?

Re:"Free" Windows (2)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 4 months ago | (#46642715)

Seriously why would you use something as bloated as Windows for a mobile or embedded device?

Because desktop operating systems aren't much bigger than they were 10 years ago, yet modern mobile devices are pretty much as powerful as a large proportion of PCs were five years ago. The major issue with running Windows 7 on the Atom-based notebooks I've seen was screensize, not speed.

Yes, Apple and Google have both released mobile operating systems with substantially different userlands to their desktop cousins, but in Google's case that appears to be because of a different, non-Unix, vision they have for mobile devices, and Apple, of course, was stuck originally with a very poorly powered phone that was, in some ways, the Mac 128k to their desktop's Lisa. Both systems were developed when phones were considerably underpowered compared to how they are today. It's not clear to be that Apple or Google would have followed the path they took if they were to design a phone operating system today.

Re:"Free" Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642977)

No Joke. The timeclock where I work uses some sick form embedded windows, and it takes nearly a full 2 minutes to clock in, and almost 4 minutes to clock out. Time saver it is not.

April Fools Motherfuckers! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642493)

Microsoft PR department running a day late.

Positive Sign (0)

maz2331 (1104901) | about 4 months ago | (#46642495)

This looks like a great sign that Microsoft may finally be recovering from the terrible case of recto-cranial inversion that Ballmer had inflicted on the company for so long. At least we can have some hope of it.

Desperation? (2, Interesting)

ilsaloving (1534307) | about 4 months ago | (#46642503)

Wow, this just smacks of all kinds of desperation. It's amazing how badly Microsoft fails when they're not allowed to stack the deck in their favour.

Although I'm curious about Cortana. If they make her/him/it sound like GladOS, I would have to seriously reconsider my position. :3

Re:Desperation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642597)

Fear not, it's a generic blue circle, with a generic voice. They didn't even bother getting/mimicking the voice actress for the video-game AI construct it's named for.

And in good MS fashion, the bot's entire presentation was prerecorded and the presenter's carefully rehearsed to make it look like it was happening in real time. I swear, they couldn't be more artificial even if they were 100% synthetic.

It'll be a couple years until Ballmer's influence is completely gone, but as of now the company still reeks of stuffy old men trying to be 'with it' and 'hip' to 'jive' with today's young adults and their Ex-boxes and their iThingies and their BlueLaser diskettes.

Digital Assistant software (5, Funny)

slapout (93640) | about 4 months ago | (#46642521)

"Microsoft also finally unveiled Cortana, their digital assistant software that's similar to Siri."

As opposed to Clippy, their digital assistant software that's similar to Jar Jar Binks.

Re:Digital Assistant software (2)

gewalker (57809) | about 4 months ago | (#46642657)

Actually, this is the one thing I actually care about. A little competition in the digital assistant marketplace can only be a good this. The number of deep pockets able to compete here must be pretty limited, and the state of the art can definitely use some improvement. Matters not if MS version is better or not as long as it is decent it will be some additional competition.

Re:Digital Assistant software (1, Funny)

The123king (2395060) | about 4 months ago | (#46642871)

That's a really unfair analogy. Jar Jar Binks was never that annoying.

Re:Digital Assistant software (1)

Windwraith (932426) | about 4 months ago | (#46643037)

I...I disagree. He was terribly obnoxious, specially dubbed in another language. Not to mention extremely ugly and out of place.

What about 2012R2??? (5, Informative)

fullmetal55 (698310) | about 4 months ago | (#46642543)

PLEASE PLEASE TAKE THE DAMN TILE INTERFACE AWAY FROM YOUR SERVER OS!!!!

It's useless! it's painful! I curse myself whenever I hit the start button!

Re:What about 2012R2??? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642669)

You silly rabbit. Servers run linux.

Re:What about 2012R2??? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46643137)

Lol, only Windows Server 2012R2 is superior to Linux in just about every way imaginable.

Re:What about 2012R2??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642689)

Just use PowerShell and stop whining.

Re:What about 2012R2??? (0)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 4 months ago | (#46642811)

If I'm going to use a shell-based operating system, I'll use one of the *nixes. Powershell is a bloated monster and is most definitely not an advertisement for Windows Server.

For the moment I do all my server, AD and Exchange admin on my Windows 7 workstation. What fills me with dread is the eventuality at the Group Police Management app will become partially useless as Microsoft continues monkeying around with ADMX formats. This seems to be a favorite tactic, to cripple management tools of older versions of Windows so you're forced to either remote into the newer servers or upgrade your workstation OS.

Re:What about 2012R2??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642747)

Good Christ yes. I shouldn't have to choose between straight Power-shell and a useless cartoon-like GUI. I need to get in, tweak the settings and GFO. I doesnt need to be pretty. Just functional.

Re:What about 2012R2??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642767)

Do you really think the conservatives that run Microsoft will really do that? No, they're pushing their Republican agenda. There is no way they're going to change. Those people are anti-change thus the name conservative. They are, by definition, not going to change it.

Re:What about 2012R2??? (1)

yuhong (1378501) | about 4 months ago | (#46642785)

I think it will get this too given that it is basically the server version of Win8.1.

Re:What about 2012R2??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642823)

In theory you should be running core installations on your servers.

In practice that has a few problems:
Powershell is powerful but doing some things requires you to too look up a lot of damn obscure cmdlets.
Some things are quite clearly still designed to use the GUI tools.
Most 3rd party software shits itself if you try to install it in a server core environment.
You can use the GUI tools remotely and it's 99% seamless.. But on server 2012 and later you can only run the tools from Windows 8 (Or 8.1 for 2012 R2) - And who the fuck wants to run 8 on their desktop?

Re:What about 2012R2??? (2, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 4 months ago | (#46642879)

We're running one DC and our Exchange server on Server 2012, and I haven't had any problems with the AD and Exchange management tools yet. Maybe there are some features that are unsupported, by the big ones I use; DNS, DHCP, AD Computers and Users, GP Management, Event Viewer and Exchange console seem to work alright.

Re:What about 2012R2??? (1)

Simulant (528590) | about 4 months ago | (#46643133)

Yep 2012 mostly works as well as 2008R2 but the Metro interface is highly inappropriate and the new GUI tools waste a huge amount of screen real estate. Also I'd avoid storage spaces. I lost a bunch of data from a single drive failure in what was supposedly a highly redundant configuration. It should not have happened....

Finally! (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#46642549)

I've heard people saying that Linux is something that nobody wants even for free. It's nice to see that Linux has finally caught up with Windows! Or the other way around. Whatever.

You have been asleep for a 10 years (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 4 months ago | (#46643053)

I've heard people saying that Linux is something that nobody wants even for free. It's nice to see that Linux has finally caught up with Windows! Or the other way around. Whatever.

I don't think you really understand the irony...Microsoft *partners* are prepared to *pay* Microsoft to run Linux instead of windows.

“It’s not like Android’s free,” said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive. “You do have to license patents.”

FYI Apple is doing quite nicely too

Cortana (4, Interesting)

SpaceManFlip (2720507) | about 4 months ago | (#46642595)

Cortana was Master Chief's AI companion (the big space marine carrier's AI computer) in the original Halo game. I still hate that Microsoft bought Bungie, and now they're going to milk the shit out of that IP by naming the rip-off of Siri Cortana. I grew up playing the Marathon series on Mac, and when I first played Halo I saw that all the same stuff was there, just fleshed out into awesome 3D so I was like "yay Bungie" and then Microshit shit all over Halo 2 with their Vista "DirectX 10 required" lies etc. Halo 2 worked well on XP with the Vista checks removed. /ramble

Re:Cortana (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642919)

Playing Halo 2 on a PC like 3 years after the game came out on xbox, great plan you got there chief. It's hard to claim someone shit all over something by releasing a shoddy port that was going to sell at most a couple thousand copies versus the what, 4 million on launch day for xbox?

Re:Cortana (1)

SpaceManFlip (2720507) | about 4 months ago | (#46643005)

Halo was originally developed on the Mac, then bought, then ported to console, then ported to PC, then ported to back to Mac. it started as a computer game, and the best graphics/playability are always on the computer (mac or pc) due to mouse aim precision, resolution, etc etc. Consoles are for children.

Re:Cortana (1)

operagost (62405) | about 4 months ago | (#46642961)

Could be worse. Imagine if they had purchased Ion Storm. Your assistant could be Superfly Johnson. CAN'T LEAVE WITHOUT YOUR BUDDY SUPERFLY!

So what about server 2012 first release? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642613)

What about all us fools who installed server 2012, and can't upgrade to 2012 R2 without paying another 1400 bucks? Are we going to get screwed without even a start button for the next 5 years that we run these servers?

Re:So what about server 2012 first release? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642701)

Are we going to get screwed without even a start button for the next 5 years that we run these servers?

If you need a start button to run a server, you're doing it wrong.

Re:So what about server 2012 first release? (4, Informative)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about 4 months ago | (#46642787)

What about Terminal Services? It may be a server, but it may be used by lots of regular users like a mainframe was used in the past instead of running IIS, Exchange or something like that.

Re:So what about server 2012 first release? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 4 months ago | (#46642875)

Even worse if you need a touch screen interface to run a server.

Re:So what about server 2012 first release? (1)

yuhong (1378501) | about 4 months ago | (#46642803)

Don't forget lack of IE11 too. At least they are willing to support these users for the full 10 years unlike Win8.0, and yes this distinction is artificial too.

Re:So what about server 2012 first release? (1)

DaHat (247651) | about 4 months ago | (#46643035)

What about all us fools who installed server 2012, and can't upgrade to 2012 R2 without paying another 1400 bucks?

What makes you think you can't upgrade to 2012 R2 without paying $1400?

Cortana (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642619)

Awesome name. So, will she be able to stop Windows users from wiping out all sentient life in the galaxy?

Re:Cortana (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642739)

I had to just look that up to get why a few boys in the audience were overly enthused. It's from a video game, got it.

Isn't the presenter a little too old for a haircut like that? He looks ridiculous.

Big deal. (-1)

SpankiMonki (3493987) | about 4 months ago | (#46642639)

I haven't used the Start Menu in years, so I could care less. And with boot to desktop, the only thing different for me (from a UI perspective) between 7 & 8 is the loss of Aero Glass. Honestly, after using Win 8 for some time now, I really don't know what all the fuss is (was?) about.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I guess I should mention that I still boot to Win 7 and run Win 8 in VirtualBox. ;-)

Re:Big deal. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642691)

You could care less, so I guess that means you already care?

Could barely care less (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#46642905)

In a context like this, "I could care less" means "I could barely care less".

Re:Could barely care less (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642999)

In a context like this, "I could care less" means "I could barely care less".

In every context, "I could care less," means, "Me fail English? That unpossible!"

Re:Big deal. (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 4 months ago | (#46642869)

Not everybody is a power user.

Re:Big deal. (0)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 4 months ago | (#46642949)

Me neither! I think all this whining is very childish. So sorry champ that the world asked you to use your brain and try something new...

Re:Big deal. (1)

kaiser423 (828989) | about 4 months ago | (#46643097)

Why haven't you used the start menu? I used it dozens of times a day. Press the window button, type "mspaint" or "notepad" and hit enter. Or type the first word or two in the document you want and hit enter blind. I never *looked* at the Start Menu, but used it extensively. Now on 8 when I try to do the same thing the whole screen changes, crap pops up everywhere and it appears less accurate and more likely to just search the internet or something. It's really jarring from basically being able to Win key + type what I want and hit enter and have it show up somewhere. Now it's a couple of full screen UI redraws and changes and much much slower.

Re:Big deal. (3, Insightful)

yakovlev (210738) | about 4 months ago | (#46643101)

It's interesting,because my opinion on those two is the exact opposite.

I couldn't care less about boot to desktop. That's a single button click when I boot the machine.

However, I use the start menu quite often. It provides a hierarchically sorted list of every program I have installed on the system. I use that about once a week to once a month. It also provides a list of my most recently used programs. I could move those to the taskbar (and sometimes do) but sometimes these change and I don't want them semi-permanently taking up space on the taskbar.

There are three things that are really bad about windows 8. I've ordered them from worst to least bad.

1.) The charms bar is torture on a desktop. You have to go to the top right of the screen, then go halfway down the screen in a narrow strip to actually click on something. If your mouse moves outside that narrow strip for even a moment, the charms bar disappears and you have to do it again. "Thank you, sir, may I have another?"

2.) The start menu was removed, because it is rarely used. This was just not thinking. The start menu has become big and clunky... that's also become it's purpose. We have new and better methods to access frequently used programs, but the start menu continues to be useful for those infrequently used programs. A hierarchical list is certainly better than displaying them all in a flat grid of live tiles.

3.) Metro programs can't run in a window. This makes them inconvenient for multitasking, which is common for desktop users but not for tablet users.

Die, die, die, flat UI elements (5, Insightful)

QuasiEvil (74356) | about 4 months ago | (#46642781)

Now, could they get rid of the flat, huge, ugly UI elements (window borders, buttons, etc.) and go back to the reasonable look of Vista or 7? Sheesh, honestly the hideous ugliness of it was the most irritating thing about 8 for me, as the tile interface and start menu problems could be fixed with a few add-ons.

Re:Die, die, die, flat UI elements (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46643127)

They made the desktop unappealing on purpose. If you like "shiny" you're supposed to switch to the metro apps and interface.

Re:Die, die, die, flat UI elements (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 4 months ago | (#46643147)

I like the flat look. But they were very boneheaded and removed the ability to change the border width! You can still do it from the registry though, shrink it down to the minimum width and it looks pretty nice to me. I'd rather have 0 border ala macos, but it's better than the default. I never liked the rounded stuff in windows xp, and the glossy aero stuff in windows 7 just made it even worse. Simpler is better, and there's no good reason to add visual eye candy to something that's not related to the task at hand.

not long before they are back to paying vendors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642789)

yes, paying vendors to use the OS to gain market share but the payments will be in the form of things like paying to put a sticker on the box and/or a logo on web pages and boxes. I'd heard that to 'compete' with Palm this is what they did with Windows CE to get vendors to limit their Palm products and promote Microsoft. So it won't be long before we hear of deals like this. But then again, they are now competing with their own suppliers so who knows how many will bite that worm on the barbed hook.

You're a day late. (1)

The123king (2395060) | about 4 months ago | (#46642847)

April Fools was yesterday.

"Digital Assistant" (1, Funny)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 4 months ago | (#46642849)

Oh god, it's clippy 2.0

Re:"Digital Assistant" (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 4 months ago | (#46643123)

No, its Bob 3.0.
I'd wait for Bob 3.11 myself.

Looks fine, but (1)

chuckugly (2030942) | about 4 months ago | (#46642927)

Looks fine, but I never have seen the big deal. For me, if you're spending a lot of quality time interacting with the start menu, you're probably doing things wrong. I acknowledge that a lot of people do it wrong though. Again, for me, I use applications software like Visual Studio, Eclipse, cmd, Word, Filezilla, WinMerge, and so on, and those things are pinned to my taskbar. For everything else I hit [win] and type the name. Very similar to what I did in Windows versions that had a start menu, and hopefully what I will be able to keep doing. The big pain with Win8.x for me is that I have to change the file associations to be non-modern applications as I *DO* find the modern apps completely useless on a PC. Letting them run in a desktop window will help with this I guess.

Re:Looks fine, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46643125)

You don't see the problem, because you work on your own computer, and customize it to act the way you want. When you work on computers for OTHER people, like many of us on slashdot, it becomes a problem. When you've had to do some of the things you mention 40 or 50 times, for 20 different people, it starts to become irritating. When every single computer is in shitty default settings when you unbox it, you start to wonder if the people who designed the software have ever used it in a production environment.

This still creates a coverage gap for a lot of us (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 4 months ago | (#46643003)

This still creates a coverage gap for XP users. If 8.1 had a sane UI today, I'd go XP-to-8.1. It's just an announcement though. With XP support going tits up in just a few days, there's no way to fill the gap without doing something transitional that you might want to throw away in a few months.

They're doing it wrong (2)

laffer1 (701823) | about 4 months ago | (#46643013)

This should have been part of 8.1 from the beginning. I just got used to the start screen and now it's going back?

This should be 8.2 or 9.0 instead of a patch against 8.1.

Too little too late.... (1)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about 4 months ago | (#46643043)

With the decline in laptop/PC sales and the increase in tablet/cellphone sales I suspect that many have simply left Microsoft behind. For a lot of people a phone and/or tablet does everything they need. So they could care less about MS and Windows 8. They have moved on to Apple or Google or whatever.

Maybe Windows 9 will bring this but here is what MS needs to do:

1) Those stupid tiles don't work well for a desktop or laptop. Leave the Windows 7 interface as is. People like it the way it is. No need to make any changes.
2) Allow users to load different "skins" like you can on Linux or Android. Metro interface for tablets/phones, Win 7 for desktops. Don't like the one you have? Restart, choose new skin, done.
3) Open source the GUI and allow others to create their own GUI's and sell them in the MS App store. Or give them away. Whatever..just give people choices.

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