Updated: March 21, 2012
By now, everyone and their grandmother have given you a politically correct review of what Windows 8 is all about, replete with lovely screenshots taken in virtual machines. While busy fellating Microsoft, they seem to have forgotten to give you an honest, real take on how you, the consumer, will handle this new operating system.
I really liked the early, Developer Preview version, and even dedicated some four articles explaining how to disable Metro, how to use the built-in recovery options and how to tweak the system to your liking. But now, Windows 8 is facing 180 degrees from where it's been just a few short months back. So let me show what the Consumer Preview is really all about, on a physical machine.
In general, little has changed when it comes to the installation and initial setup. If you've read my Windows 7 article on that topic, then you'll be all right. Likewise, pretty much everything I've told you is already there. Except two things. The classic Start Menu is gone, and you can no longer disable Metro and use the normal desktop interface as you should.
I would like to congratulate Microsoft on corporate cretinism that is equivalent to nuking a village of blind orphans on New Year's Day. They have given so much more hope to their competition with this move. And to think that only a week ago I praised the company for their business foresight in keeping backward compatibility as their first priority. Oh, the humanity.
Windows 8 is obviously geared toward smartphones and tablets, or as we should call them, stupidphones and craplets. Lovely. Except, Windows 8 will also be shipped to home customers running normal computers, desktop and laptops and whatnot, where battery life is of no consideration, screen size is ample, and productivity and efficiency are more important than looking cool.
Let's see. Microsoft holds the vast majority of the desktop market. It has failed so far on the small form-factor market, mostly because their system was not optimized for low-end non-Intel architecture, regardless of the user interface. Microsoft has gained this absolute majority by offering a simple and conservative design that has not changed in almost twenty years, with long-term support and consistency as its biggest selling points.
Now, Microsoft is abandoning the most thriving computing market and rushing into the den of rabid wolves called the mobile market, where it expects to garner some extra points. It will be fighting against ARM champions, almost all exclusively running Linux.
Does this sound like a good decision? Let me elaborate a little more. Would you sacrifice your entire user base in a rich and profitable tier for the sake of a feeble chance that you might hold a small share of a new market segment that has significantly lower profit margins? Sounds like stupidity to me.
OK, let me be blunt. No one is going to write their business PowerPoint presentations on a smartphone. No one is going to design a new car on a tablet. No one will run protein folding on their smartphone. No one will play ArmA II on a smartphone. No one will use those little bricks of plastic diarrhea for anything more than updating the status of their miserable existence on some social network. Mindless drones worldwide will bend over for you, but they will not bring you any cash, because mindless drones earn less than smart people. If you think smartphones are the future rather than yet another complimentary piece of electronics for your household repertoire of pr0n devices, then you should probably go to a weapons store, buy a pistol, buy one bullet, chamber the bullet, cock the weapon, flip the safety pin down, aim for your already lobotomized forehead, and pull the trigger.
It's not the Start Menu. It's irrelevant. Start Menu can be replaced with any number of similar ideas. That's hardly the issue. The fact your entire screen must flip over for simple things like search, control panel or anything alike is the issue here. This is inefficient. This is slow. This is counterproductive. This is counterintuitive. This is stupid.
If you don't believe me, see how real people use Windows 8.
The best analogy I have for you is the following. Say you're having a meal. There's the table before you, with tons of plates and lovely meals. And there's the menu, which you might want to consult now and then. So you hail the garcon and then tell him, listen old chap, would you please bring me another bottle of whatever, there's a good lad. That's how things work in normal life.
Now, using the Microsoft moronity equivalent, the menu is located under the table, so you have to flip the table over every time you want to consult the menu. This means your entire assortment of meals and drinks is now out of your sight. You do not quite remember what exactly is there, or how it may be arranged. But most importantly, why would you waste time flipping the table over when you could be having the menu resting at your side?
That's what Microsoft did. And if you don't understand this, you should be catapulted to Mars. And if you endorse this nonsense, then you are the kind of people that make me wish for a mega cosmic gamma ray burst any day now.
Far from it. This new Consumer Preview takes longer to boot, about twice more than the Developer Preview, it is less responsive, i.e. more sluggish, it consumes more resources, and it gave me a handful of crashes that I never experienced before. From the purely technical perspective, the Consumer Preview is worse than the early Beta.
It's a lose-lose situation. You alienate your users, you rub their noses with the proverbial brownie. Look at this, I mean look at this bullcrap. Look at how non-integrated all this elements all are, the overlap, the color and size clash, it looks like a retard painted using his bowel movements.
Why do you need 30% screen equity for Wireless? And what's with that fish, it looks like one of Meego icons or something. Yes, I know all about betta, not funny.
And they didn't fix the wider-than-the-rest middle signal bar in the Wireless icon.
Look at that time! WTF is it doing there? Why do I need to see this when I slam my mouse cursor into the right corner of the desktop? There's a time indicator there, already, nice and small. Why does your fat, lardy bar crop the system area in such an ugly manner?
My final desktop:
Or better yet, this:
If you don't know what those are, those are your unpaired chromosomes. After all, if you are willing to use a touch interface for viewing content, underneath a solid film of peeled skin and grease, food stains and fingernail cuts, then you are officially a retard.
Well, there's this theory that Microsoft usually have one good, one bad release. XP was good, followed by a disastrous Vista, followed by a decent Windows 7. So we should expect Windows 8 to flop. Or not. For those of you concerned about the cretinism fad, there are a few things you might want to do. Let's outline the alternatives.
This is not easy. But the best source is this article, which explains how you can either use a toolbar or a third-party program called ViStart to gain back the old looks and functionality. I did test this second solution. Unfortunately, it is far from being perfect. First of all, the installer does give a few positives in online malware scans, second it comes with some adware crap bundled, so you must be careful, third, it offers a menu with badly aligned icons and no inline search, so it's practically useless. Moreover, for your information, the classic Windows Shell solution for Windows 7 does not work here.
Not all is lost yet. Windows XP will be around till 2014. Windows 7 will probably be around till 2019 at least, so we have some seven years to decide what we need and wait for something else to present itself. There's also a fairly high chance that additional third-party software will surface, offering a complete functionality.
Yes, this might be a solution. Now, I am skeptical how much impact Linux can make on the desktop, given its sorry state of forking and reforking and bickering, but as of last month, I have much more hope. Linux Mint with Cinnamon is the closest thing to a normal desktop that I've seen in the last two years. And Ubuntu might be ok, too, although it also comes with some rather stupid elements. However, comparing to what Microsoft did, Unity is three light years ahead in terms of usability. Although both are designed for people with unpaired chromosomes and a sterling career selling cigarettes somewhere, not that any job is not dignified.
Well, Windows 8 Consumer Preview is a technological, ideological and functional failure. It's hard to see how no one lost their job over this. I'm really surprised. But no matter. Here's what you can do while you wait for salvation:
The moment like this is the moment when I imagine myself firing thermonuclear ICBMs all over the planet and watch the nature repair itself. And I've decided. From this moment on, I will stop talking to any person who owns a smartphone.
Good job Microsoft, you just made yourself AN HERO. You enjoy your business prosperity and keep making money off morons. Good luck with that. Be sure to write some fancy presentations in PowerPoint that show and justify the great success that this is going to be. Wait? How are you going to write that presentation? On a smartphone? Make sure you bring a keyboard, a mouse, a monitor, and a power cord. Game over.
P.S. The chromosomes picture is in public domain.