Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Daily Review #4: Microsoft vs Apple

The Daily Review - 21st September 2011
Photo © 18042011e |

Microsoft vs Apple

After some of the "doom and gloom" posts around Windows 8 of the last few days from the techie media, it was good to find a couple of posts from the more mainstream media excited about Microsoft's plans.

So excited they were already declaring a victory for Microsoft over Apple!

What a crazy comeback if Apple gets beaten by Microsoft

The Wall Street Journal, in a surprisingly thin article, announced Apple about to Get Trounced by Apple.

Steady on, chaps! Let's not get TOO carried away. After all, we're talking about something not designed to ship for at least 12 months yet. And a lot can happen in 12 months.

Not that The Wall Street Journal were alone in their enthusiastic proclamations. Read Write Web were similarly enthused, declaring Microsoft's Resurgence to Prominence, based on last week's announcements. Fingers crossed!

Everybody seemed to be forgetting that Apple have more than a year in which to respond. History has shown they don't usually waste their time doing nothing!

Apple and Google Will Respond

Not all observers were quite so convinced about Microsoft's looming resurgence at Apple's expense, and the technical press seemed a lot less enthusiastic in posts that the Microsoft Echo Chamber are already calling, 'lazy and misinformed'.

PC Magazine's John C Dvorak went so far as to call the whole Metro thing "a UX disaster" and begged Microsoft to reconsider their decision to implement what he regards as confusing and unusable tiles in his article The Serious Flaw with Windows 8 and Metro.

Several critics (see Links below) commented on the dual, slightly schizophrenic, personality of the new operating system (or should I say, 'two operating systems'), and José Leston-Rama called Windows 8: A Step Too Far, primarily because of the loss of the Windows 'Start' button and the increasing dominance of the universally loathed 'Ribbon' control all over the core applications.

I'm definitely with José on the hideous 'Ribbon' control. Does nobody within Microsoft use a modern, mobile netbook or portable laptop? If they did they'd see what a nightmare this UX monstrosity is!

All that being said, Microsoft have plenty of time left in which to change things. And you can bet your bottom dollar that they'll be monitoring all the reaction, now that Windows 8 is out in the wild, to try and make sure that their battle with Apple at least has a chance of getting off the ground come late 2012/early 2013.

If Geordie La Forge can run a starship with a Metro Style UI, you can write a LOB app with Metro

Today's "News" Links

Good Read! Windows Phone Manager who Tweeted Nokia Device Info Is Out at Microsoft (Todd Bishop, Geek Wire)
Be careful what you tweet out there. A couple of bland tweets about a new phone being nice can get you fired at Microsoft!
Good Read! Skype Updates Its Software to Support Windows 8 (Mary Jo Foley, Ziff-Davies)
Those struggling to make Skype work on Windows 8 now have a solution. Hoorah!
Good Read! Windows Management Framework 3.0 CTP 1 Available for Download (MSDN)
If Metro is the New UI for Windows, Powershell is the 'new' UI for Windows Server.

Today's "Opinion Piece" Links

Good Read! Apple About to Get Trumped by Microsoft (Wall Street Journal)
Can you use the word 'about' to describe something that's at least a year away??!!
Good Read! Microsoft's Resurgence to Prominence (ReadWriteWeb)
Someone's excited about Windows 8!
Good Read! Windows 8: A Step Too Far? (José Leston-Rama, Ask The Experts)
The proliferation of the space-wasting Ribbon feature and the loss of the Start button are two reasons why Jose thinks Windows 8 may be a step backwards.
Good Read! The Serious Flaw with Windows 8 and Metro (John C Dvorak, PC Magazine)
It's not just the ribbon that's at fault apparently. John Dvorak hates the bland, indistinguishable tiles and thinks the move away from much clearer icons is a mistake he calls the UX 'a disaster' and adds that 'Microsoft have stopped the bus and put it in reverse', telling Microsoft it's not too late to get rid of the stupid tiles. Ouch!
Good Read! Internet Explorer's Dual Personality in the Windows 8 Developer Preview Bits (Keith Rome, Wintellect)
Keith points out that no plug-ins in the Metro browser makes sense because it's 64-bit. Kind of ignores the point that Silverlight 5 supports 64-bit, but let's not let facts get in the way of the debate, eh?!
Good Read! Microsoft locks Metro-style apps to Windows Store, developers and enterprise keep sideloading privileges (Engadget)
Engadget speculates on hackers finding their way round Microsoft's App Store approach.
Good Read! Some thoughts about Build and Windows 8 (Robbie Ingebretsen)
Everyone's favourite MS-oriented designer shares his thoughts. He likes Sinofsky's risk taking, isn't keen on Metro with a mouse and keyboard, and thinks that yeah, sorry to break this to you folks but Silverlight IS dead. But, as he puts it, 'So what?'.
Good Read! Looking Back at Build (Roland Weigelt)
Roland's personal review of the Build experience. Wrong sessions in wrong rooms to cope with audience size, poor seating, freezing air-conditioning, 'Deep Dives' that were not at all deep. Seems like nothing at all has changed since I attended PDC08!
Good Read! Windows 8 Benchmarks Suggest Microsoft's Performance Claims are Accurate (Tom Warren, WinRumours)
Boot times are significantly quicker than Windows 7. Well, it wouldn't be an iPad competitor if they weren't would it?!
Good Read! 3 Reasons why Windows 8 May Be Dead on Arrival (Fox News)
This one's got the MVPs all riled. At least Fox News had the decency to say 'may' rather than 'will'!
Good Read! My Slate has Split Personalities - and What Microsoft Could do to Fix That (Laurent Bugnion)
Lots of folk, quite rightly, find the dual personality of the 'desktop' and 'metro' modes and the way they switch annoying. Laurent suggests how things could be fixed.
Good Read! Will Windows 8 be Windows Phone 7's Savior? (Preston Gralla, Computer World)
So apparently Windows Phone 7 isn't selling because nobody knows the interface. But once they have the 'same' interface on Windows 8 Metro they'll all come rushing! Yeah, right (rolls eyes)!
OK Read! Blend for HTML: Tell Us What You Think! (Microsoft)
It's been out there for nearly a week, so the Blend team are keen to hear your feedback. They also explain what the priorities were in designing Blend for HTML.
OK Read! The Future of Silverlight (Thomas Martinsen, XamlGeek)
This turns out to be yet another MVP-like 'Don't frighten the horses' article on the future of Silverlight. Nicely worded, even if it feels like I've already read the same blog post 200 times already.
OK Read! 44% of Phone Users Interested in Windows Phone According to Research Group (NPD)
"44 percent of smartphone owners, and those who intend to buy one, are considering purchasing a Windows Phone 7 (WP7) device" Lies, damned lies and statistics!

Today's "Technical" Links

Must Read! Reverse Engineering and Modifying Windows 8 Apps (Justin Angel)
Anybody who published their blog in Silverlight must be an idiot, right? Read this blog post (using a Silverlight-enabled browser) about the security vulnerabilites HTML5 applications open up and you might just change your mind! Update: Somebody's posted an HTML version of the blog entry.
Good Read! Tutorial: How to Change Windows 8 Background Color (TechnoLogic101)
Simple step-by-step guide to changing the Windows 8 Background Colour.
Good Read! Windows 8 Start Menu Toggle (Rik Robinson, Wintellect)
Fed up of the constant unplanned switches into Metro when you're working on the desktop? Rik has some code that will help fix that.
Good Read! Re-Engineering the Windows Boot Experience (Windows Engineering Team)
Microsoft explain how they re-engineered the Windows 8 Boot Experience for a much improved experience. Oops. I nearly said 're-imagined experience' there.
Good Read! Protecting You From Malware (Windows Engineering Team)
Windows 8 includes free malware protection. The Windows engineering team have all the details.
Good Read! Touch Input for IE 10and Metro Style Apps (Windows Engineering Team)
Interesting background information on the official Microsoft IE blog.
Good Read! Confusion Reigns Over Microsoft's Plans for Windows 8 PC and Mobile Apps (Tom Krazit,
Confusion abounds over what exactly will run on an ARM PC. If Metro Style Apps only, why do screenshots show a Desktop tile? More berating of Microsoft from Tom for their 'clear as mud' inconsistent answers.
Good Read! Installing Windows 8 using Parallels on a Mac? There's a fix for that! (Parallels)
Apparently Windows 8 falls back to a black screen after you install Parallels Tools. Parallels have a KB article detailing a workaround for the problem.

Today's "Fun Stuff" Links

Good Read! WPF Metro: A Win 8 Start Screen 'Clone' (Code Project)
Article and source code explaining how to 'clone' the Windows 8 Metro start screen in WPF.

Fast and fluid News

Don't forget that all the latest Windows 8 Metro links are posted in 'real time' on the Fast and fluid Twitter account.
The Fast and Fluid Podcast, covering all things Windows 8 related, will be launched later this month.

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