Windows 8 “Metro” GUI

Some people know I love Gnome 3 shell on Linux. Foolishly enough, most would assume therefore I’d like Metro GUI on Windows 8. Or as Microsoft would prefer it to be called, Windows 8 GUI, so I will respect them and call it WIN8 GUI. /*SarcasmFont/Cause that name rolls right off the tongue./*EndSarcasm/ I only wrote the word Metro so the Google Bug crawlers would link you to this post, it works.

So besides my attempt to bait you here. I’d like to say that at first impression, Metro is NOT a very pleasant interface (aka GUI) to use for a computer desktop OR even a tablet, for now. In fact, I wish they’d make a tablet with Gnome3 interface (or even KDE!) because when compared to Metro, it is 10 times more usable. I understand Microsoft’s motives, and I see their plan, (I think) the sad thing is, it just might work.

Let’s try to remember the sad fact that Windows 8 is faster on newer hardware than Windows 7. I do agree with that and I’ve tested it. But what use is the speed if the bottleneck is now the unfamiliar interface hiding what we’re looking for? For all I know, it could be slower and we don’t realize it cause we can’t do anything fast. This is what a Tech person would say. But is there really a plan here?

Here’s what I think Microsoft’s plan is.

“Let’s Build a GUI to tie in Tablet and Desktop PC!”

“OMG that’s the best idea ever, our phones and tablets and desktops will be so easy to use!”

“And we should go all in and FORCE them to use it whether they know what it is or not!”

They learned from the early tablet days that the normal Windows 95-Style desktop GUI on a touch-device would BARELY function as a tablet form factor User Interface, and it won’t be an attention grabber or work as well as other GUI’s that have been successful in the Tablet Field, like iOS and Android. So a new interface needed to be made, different than the old way Windows used to work. Common traditional Desktop PC’s will be phased out in the future, so that’s not their priority. I think MS wants to dominate, force a new UI to users and in a few years, no one will care anymore because everyone will have learned the new GUI by then. But Desktops, Workstations or any non-touch devices will to stick around a little longer than they thought. And this is where Win8Gui fails hard.

My reasoning comes in here. Unlike the Apple OS GUI and GNU/Linux GUIs, Metro provides little to no logic in its use. It hides important things and puts up a wall that EVERY new user will have to climb. Some climb it with ease and others fall flat on their face.

“People are just so used to the (old) windows format that when windows abandons their UI people moan and complain.” TechGuy Jared (Not to be confused with the Subway Jared)

That’s very true Jared, and I agree. But one thing I’ve learned in business, “The customer buys your stuff.”  If at first the customer doesn’t like Windows 8, they normal logic would assume they would not buy it, correct? WRONG. I’m not going to lie to anyone, Windows 8 will be a success. I could not predict the oversized-iTouch being a success, but it was, and do you know why ladies and gentlemen? Because as it turns out, people like new shiny things, even if they don’t know how to use them. People will feel that getting a Windows tablet, will be just as good as having a Windows PC, and even though it’ll be different, they will want to learn it, cause it’s “cool”

Some people think this GUI is a poorly cobbled piece of software that will improve over time, and this change is as a big change as windows 95 was. But the main difference I see is that people took to Windows 95 alright, in fact people loved it! But I heard stories of technicians who hated it, calling it DOS with a  bloated GUI that crashed all the time. I wouldn’t know, I was only 4 then. So it sounds like it might be history repeating itself again. Good for the people and MS, sad for us Techs.

Funny enough, most of the people who’ve used Windows 8 (so far) are the technically inclined and they hate it. 80% hate it to be exact. And from my perspective the people who really need to know how to use this GUI, still doesn’t know it’s out there, nor care. Unfortunately they will care once they buy a new computer and have to learn it. And guess who they are going to call. You the tech dude.

“Oh hey BOB what’s up? Say, I need some help to set up the new Windows 8  laptop I bought. Someone told me you’re good with computers right?”

“Well I’m a Firmware technician and I work with Linux Servers on the side, but I’ve only messed with Windows 8 when we were testing it, So I don’t really know how much use I could be. Plus I’m kinda busy. ”




“But I need to pay my bills today! Can you come over today? Maybe if I click on this Antivirus pop-up.. Wait why does Weather Show up?”

“No, stop clicking…”

“It says my computer is infected and I need to buy the 2013 Antivirus, should I buy it?”

“Hold on don’t touch anything! I’ll be right there.”

“The Weather app is moving! How do I get back to the Internet Explorer?”

And that’s how it might go.

I complained to one of my tech comrades over IM about Windows 8 and he said.

“People are resistant to change though, that was seen with going from Ubuntu 10.10 to 11.04 when they changed to the Unity GUI.  Windows 8 simply forces you to log out to shut it down which is what your supposed to do anyway, most of us just shut it down though.”

True, but if the change is tough, of course no one will like it. It’s going to be a difficult transition for everyone I’ll say that for sure. Mostly difficult for me since I will be forced to use it at work and fix it for people who break things in ways you cannot imagine. I will have to learn the in’s and out’s of Windows 8 GUI as much as I had to learn VISTA and 7.

At work, we’ve had a Windows 8 Tablet to play with, whenever we want. Which is pretty nice and pleasant to use. I even took a liking to the new MSpaint App, although I still don’t know how to save a drawing or delete it. That’s right. It’s come down to that, a Windows Expert, (I really am Windows Certified) cannot figure out how to save or delete a picture on a Windows 8 Tablet. (update) Swipe top to down, now I learned it… Becuase that’s intuitive.

At work we also have to test new machines with Windows 8. When first using it, everyone had to learn how to use the Start button all over again, no one in the lab knew a simple easy way to shutdown the platform, and why are they forcing us to use the search thing? I happen to like knowing where everything is without relying on search, thank you very much.

Windows never really was designed for technicians in mind. It was created for the people, the common folk that’s out and about on the streets, who else will buy computers nowadays? Certainly not just the Techies alone, this has to be a software for everyone. And for those people who consider themselves tech savvy or power users, that’s groovy, but honestly Windows 8 was not made for you, it was made for the “weird” users. Prepare to relearn how to ride a bike.

PS. Windows 8 is now available for purchase in stores, please try it out for yourself.

(update) Windows 8.1 has come out and now has a button you can click on to go to the Windows Start Menu, but you still have to hover of the bottom left corner to see it, otherwise it’ll be hiding and you won’t know of it’s existence unless you already know about it. User Friendly indeed.


About Zerin

But can you show me the source code?

Posted on December 18, 2012, in Computers and Internet, Rants, Windows and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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