Some of the reasons I love using Windows 8

It’s easy to spot a “H8er.” There are people out there who will not give Windows 8 any credit, mostly because it’s a Microsoft product. Some just because they don’t like change. But the people who irk me are the ones who criticize it, but have never laid hands on it. And those people, the H8ers? They’re easy to spot. I called a few out in the comments of a recent BetaNews article. Here are some of the things I had to say.

First, with regards to not being a brand loyalist: “Maybe, and – I get that this could be an impossible stretch – but just MAYBE Brian Fagioli just isn’t a brand loyalist? Maybe he genuinely LIKES Google Music AND Windows 8???? Maybe he doesn’t think that because he likes a music service that means he must live his life on a Chromebook!?”

I continued: “I know… it’s a stretch that there might be people out there who use more than one brand of device.
If it makes you feel any better, those people must all also be swimming with STDs.” I was clearly joking about that last bit, of course, and the author of the post (Fagioli) responded, clarifying but in essence agreeing with what I described: not being locked in to any one “ecosystem”.

Addressing a few complaints based on theory from screenshots, I explained busted a few myths for the commenters: “You can pin any icon to the Start Screen, even if it’s not a Live tile – you don’t have to dig through the ‘all programs’ menu. “To launch the calculator on any Windows 8 computer, you simply type “calc” and press enter. No more bringing up the run menu, or clicking the start button – the start screen is a giant Run prompt.”

Further: “I’m a Windows 8 user who thinks the whole thing needs improved. The name “WINDOWS” indicates a multi-tasking ability that is sorely lacking from the Modern UI experience (and no, snapping apps to the left or right doesn’t count). But it’s easy to spot someone who doesn’t like it but hasn’t given it a fair shake. Windows 8 has a steep learning curve, but once you learn it, it feels like everything you do is just more productive.”

In closing on that thought: “It’s easy to laugh off Microsoft – but the jokes are old. It’s not 1997 anymore. Linux has gotten stale. Microsoft is innovating for the next several generations.”
When asked what benefits I found in Windows 8, I promptly devised a list:

1. Direct sky drive integration with multiple applications.
2. Live Tiles.
3. Push Notifications (no matter what your smartphone may have you thinking, no Windows desktop OS had these, prior).
4. (Windows Server 2012) the ability to perform a chkdsk on the C: drive without requiring a reboot.
5. “Universal design” – all apps can benefit from a similar experience, take advantage of features such as:
6. In app searching via the charms bar.
7. In app settings (again, in one location).
8. Touch not required, touch pad can be effectively used.
9. App Results (Start Screen as Run prompt).
10. Old familiar keyboard shortcuts stll work (Windows Key + E, Windows Key + R, for example).
11. A free mail app fully compatible with everything from Exchange server to GMail.
12. A free calendar app akin to those found on mobile devices, which allows syncing of appointments, meetings, and To-Dos.

In closing, I added this: “Again, at first I thought it was “change for change sake” – but the more I use Windows 8, the more I like it. Remember, when Windows 95 came out, nobody knew what a Start Menu WAS. We all asked Microsoft what was wrong with the Xerox/Apple/IBM/Windows 3.1 interface of folders on a desktop? Then we wondered if Microsoft BOB was going to take over the world with skeuomorphism. Then we joked about clicking on Start to Shut Down.”

“–then we just got used to it.”

Vectrex games on iPad and iPhone!

The Vectrex was a home console that was based on a vector display. Unlike the extreme majority of home consoles that have existed over time, the Vectrex included its own small vector-based display. If you’ve ever played the original Asteroids in the Arcade, you understand vector-based graphics. The brilliant light and fluid animation might not wow you in screenshots or videos on the internet, but seeing it in person is an entirely unique experience. The Vectrex took advantage of that wow factor and released a home console. Unfortunately, it was never wildly popular, and a majority of the games had to have a semi-transparent plastic card overlay on the screen to explain what it was you were doing in the game. Because of their limited run, Vectrex systems are becoming quite the collectors items.

Well, scrimp and save no more: an official Vectrex app has been released on iOS. It is free to download and try several of the games. It is being updated for great iCade compatibility, and a mere $7 in-app purchase will net you the majority of the Vectrex game catalog (if no the complete catalog, I’m not even certain!). Although it’s not the same as seeing it on a vector-based display, the games are still an enjoyable throw back, ad the app has seen a few improvements since its initial release, although nothing new since December. Still, the least you can do is enjoy the free demos!

Disable notifications for apps in Windows 8

Notifications are handy to let you know something like when you have a new email. But if you’re like me, you disable Facebook notifications because otherwise you’d get pop ups all the time (using the Facebook Touch app or others available). Same goes for Twitter. I don’t have just a few friends on my Twitter feed, I follow thousands, and several hundred people follow me! So I like to

From the Start Screen, bring up the Charms Bar by placing the mouse in the upper or lower right corner of the screen – on a touch device, swipe in from the right edge toward the center of the screen. Then click the Settings gear icon, then Change PC Settings at the bottom. Click on Notifications on the left, then toggle notifications on or off – altogether, or app-by-app.

Xbox One announcement in under two minutes

I don’t know why I find these things so funny… maybe it’s because marketing folks think that the average person can’t see the fact that we know what point they’re trying to drive home. But when someone makes a video calling them out on it? It’s always a good laugh. Here are the need to know points about this week’s Xbox Reveal, and Xbox One announcement.