Saturday, November 10, 2012

Running Windows 8

A couple weekends ago I took advantage of Microsoft's $40- Windows 8 offer, and have a spanking new operating system running on my workhorse Dell 1557 laptop.

Running W8 is like having a new machine! It's always fun to see what these monster software companies (Microsoft, Google, Apple) can crank out.

The OS does suffer from multiple-personality disorder. The "RT" personality for new full-screen apps is well suited for a touch-tablet user or a user that spends all her time in a single-window application - reading a web page or whatever.

Fortunately - W8 also still has its old "desktop" personality - which is where I spend most of my time when coding - switching between multiple open windows (IDE's, browsers, shells, control panel, ...).

For either environment - if you install Windows 8 on a standard (non-table or non-touch) laptop, then you'll want to become familiar with the new WinKey+ keyboard shortcuts. I was much more comfortable and productive with W8 once I became comfortable with the WinKey+Tab,C,L,R,X,Z shortcuts.

So W8 is a little bit of a Frankenstein with pieces of different creatures stitched together into a monster, but I like it. It's new, looks great, and is a brave first step in a new direction by Microsoft.

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