Thursday, October 02, 2014

Windows 10 - Codename "Disappointment"

Just last Tuesday, Microsoft had a press-only meeting where they showed off the desktop version of the coming Windows. Strangely, they called it Windows 10. What about Windows 9? The speaker said that the changes they were introducing were so revolutionary, they felt the need to reset the counter (kind of like Apple with OS X). When they said that I started to panic. Last time someone from Microsoft said that on stage, we got hit with Windows 8. And that didn't have a happy ending no matter how you put it. From what I saw at the confrence, the concept of "the same Windows everywhere" seemed promising. If Microsoft executes this correctly desktops, laptops, tablets, Xbox Ones, and Windows Phones will all be running the same Windows platform to create a universal app API (so now can we play Xbox games on PC?)

Now just yesterday they released a Technical Preview of Windows 10. If Microsoft had codenamed one of their operating systems "Disappointment", it would be this. I encountered my first disappointment during install. It absolutely refused to upgrade on my main desktop from Windows 8.1 Industry Pro. I did, however, manage to get it working on my laptop as an upgrade from Windows 8.1 Industry Pro. After setting it all up like a new PC, I was presented with the desktop. I clicked Start. I messed around with the Task View (more on that later). And that was it. Really Microsoft? When you say your next operating system is going to be revolutionary, I better be absolutely blown away. The Start menu was condensed to look like the Windows 7 start menu but with live tiles. Task view allows you to have multiple desktops so that you can quickly switch between screens of programs. The only other differences were modern (formerly metro) apps are now windowed and you can do a universal search from the Start menu or the task bar. On a more positive note, I did notice a HUGE performance increase. In Windows 8.1 and 10, the OS automatically runs maintenance tasks while your computer is inactive. In Windows 8.1, it would have a tendancy to take about 5 or so minutes to stop doing maintenance when I started using my computer. During this time, apps would crash, my mouse would freeze, and even the Start screen was sluggish to load. Now in Windows 10, maintenance stops immediately when I move the mouse. And even without that issue, I saw apps opening and running faster. Unfortunately, a lot of apps seemed to freeze or crash once I started using Task View. I don't blame Microsoft for this as this is a new feature and developers will need some time to help modify their app accordingly.

I am going to say I am completely disappointed. I may have been expecting too much, but that's Microsoft's fault. If you really wanted to blow me away, here's what I want:
  • Cortana (Personal Assistant, similar to Siri on iOS)
  • Let me control my computer with the Kinect (make use of those big metro tiles)
  • Pull down notification center (like on WP 8.1)
  • Better multi-monitor support (Windows 8.1 doesn't play very nicely with multiple monitors)
  • Trackpad gestures
  • Add hotkey for Task View (unless I'm missing something)
  • Swipe keyboard for touch enabled devices
  • Syncronizing of WiFi passwords across platforms
  • Call and Text notification forwarding (similar to the feature in OS X Yosmite where you can answer a call on your iMac)
  • Performance increase (use less memory)
  • Make OneDrive sync EVERYTHING in my home directory (not just the OneDrive folder)
  • Swap out Miracast support for a more common standard (UPnP? DNLA?)
  • Allow streaming from Xbox to PC
  • Make use of Windows Azure to make more settings available to be synced across all my devices
  • App sharing for families (similar to Family Sharing in the Steam game client)
  • Battery saver app (disable cores, lower screen brightness, spin down hard drive, I don't care. Just give me my 8 hours of battery life back. 4 hours is unacceptable)
  • Bring back the WEI (Windows experience index)
  • When I download an app, if I own multiple devices logged in under the same account, let me choose to also have the app automatically download on any devices I select.
  • Let me scale live tile app tiles 4x the large size so I can actually read what the live data says
  • If I double click on a live tile (or something else), open the app straight to whatever it was showing in the live tile data. For example, if the twitter app shows an update from someone, I should be able to open the twitter app and immediately see that post. I understand that this is more of an app developer thing, but Microsoft should really add it to their modern app API
 Windows 10 was a disappointment. I will say that I am looking forward to the universal app idea. However, last time Microsoft tried this, they left it up to the app developers to integrate their code into one package. With Windows 10, apps should automatically scale accordingly to the screen size. Overall I have high expectations for when the entire Windows 10 package is released sometime in April of 2015. But until then, I will be sticking with a more stable Windows 8.1.

So let us know in the comments, what do you want to see in Windows 10? Did you download the Technical Preview? What did you think? Leave your response in the comments below.

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