Windows 8 Launches

3 years after the launch of Windows 7, Windows 8 is here and brings with it a new operating system, new applications, new hardware, and a new way of thinking.  This is the most ambitious release of Windows yet.  I have been running some flavor of Windows 8 for over a year now and I am glad that the rest of the world finally gets to use it.

I have to say it is refreshing, though confusing at first.  When you hit the start button you are magically whisked away to this colorful tile-land where everything is recognizable  but different.  If you are like me and just planning on using Windows 8 on your home PC without touch, you might think that you are going to skip this upgrade.  I would totally recommend  against doing that.  Windows 8 has a ton to offer, even for those who will never use the new Windows Store Apps or touch the screen.

Paul Thurrott has a great article on this topic.  It is an awesome read and a reminder of what you get in Windows 8 if you only really care about the desktop side of things.

Microsoft also launched their Surface Tablet that runs Windows RT.  Windows RT is a limited version of Windows that only runs applications that are downloaded from the Windows Store.  This means you cannot install all the applications you are used to installing on your home PC.  It does come with Office 2013 installed though, a new touch friendly version of Office.  This is a huge selling point for a tablet.  I have many friends in finance who have told me that they won’t buy a tablet (or any PC for that matter) that they can’t run Excel on.  I am the same way in the fact that I want to be able to run many specific applications and that’s why I may hold out for the Surface Pro (the Intel based one).  The Surface is sweet, but has a target audience that I don’t fit into.  I’m not saying that I wouldn’t use one if it were given to me, I am just saying that if I am going to spend money on something, it will be on a PC I can install all of my games and developer/design tools on. I thought about getting a Surface and using remote desktop to connect to my Hyper-V server and using a virtual desktop, though I use OpenVPN to connect to my home network and I don’t ever see that VPN client coming to Windows RT.

I think this is a step int he right direction for Microsoft and computing in general.  We need richer experiences in the devices we have.  No one wants a single purpose device anymore.  We want to be able to do it all, quickly, seamlessly, and effortlessly.  I feel Windows is going to be the one who gets us there.  If Windows 9 runs on the phone, PC, tablet, and Xbox (720?)  and runs on open standards (like HTML5 / JavaScript) we will finally be in a techno nirvana, where we can truly develop once and deploy many.


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