MIT prof says Windows 8 is the perfect gift for people you

first_imgPhilip Greenspun is a respected figure in the computer science world. He’s also a certified flight instructor, helps run a non-profit, and still teaches the occasional programming course at MIT. He even founded’s former sister site, in 1993. He also really, really doesn’t like Windows 8. In fact, he says that Windows 8 is the “perfect gift for someone you hate.”Greenspun’s tirade includes many of the same critiques you’ve read about Windows 8 before. For the most part it focuses on the sometimes awkward coexistence of the touch-friendly Windows 8 interface and the traditional Windows desktop experience. His opening sentence sets the tone: “Suppose that you are an expert user of Windows NT/XP/Vista/7, an expert user of an iPad, and an expert user of an Android phone… you will have no idea how to use Windows 8.”If that’s true, I fear for the future of computing. My 8-year-old is no computer expert, and when I quietly upgraded his computer to Windows 8 one evening it only took him a few seconds to figure out how to fire up Minecraft and Portal. I also wouldn’t go so far as to call myself an expert, but there was never a point at which I had “no idea” how to use Windows 8. Are there really experts out there that would be paralyzed when confronted by a Windows 8 PC?After running down his complaints, Greenspun states “a reasonable user might respond to this dog’s breakfast of a user interface by trying to stick with either the familiar desktop or the new tablet.” As someone who’s been using Windows 8 since the first preview build was made available for download, I can unequivocally say this isn’t true. I primarily run Windows 8 on my desktop computer, and I use it mainly for tasks like blogging, editing photos, and other office-type activities. I’ve spent a grand total of perhaps 20 minutes in the Modern interface when not purposely testing an app. I boot, I log in, and I’m whisked to the desktop — because I was “expert” enough to add an entry in the registry to load explorer.exe at startup.Also, you can’t start an application from the desktop, says Greenspun. Again, totally untrue. Windows 8 features the same Taskbar as Windows 7, and you can still pin applications to it. Though I thought I would, I don’t miss the Start Button at all. All my core apps are right there on the Taskbar, just one click away, instead of two or three.And while he praises the hardware home button as the single best feature of iOS, Greenspun says that Microsoft blew it by not offering something similar. Every Windows keyboard in the world has a dedicated key, of course (and he does mention that fact). Tap it, and there is the Start Screen are your apps. But the keyboard is not always available, he says, and he’s probably referring to Windows 8 tablets — which pretty much all have a hardware Windows button that does the same thing anyway.Another gripe is that you can’t run the two Windows 8 interfaces side-by-side. If you Google for help on how to use the Modern interface, you’ll need to do it on a second computer, he says. That’s the only way you’ll be able to read and follow along. Unless, of course, you have a secondary monitor hooked up to your PC, in which case you’ll notice that the desktop appears on it every single time you start Windows. Right next to the Start Screen on your primary monitor.Is Windows 8 perfect? No, not by a long shot. But no operating system I’ve ever used is perfect. I approached Windows 8 with an open mind, and it’s worked out pretty well for me. I don’t feel at all like my $15 purchase was a gift that proves I hate myself.More at Greenspun’s bloglast_img read more

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