The First Month of Windows 8

When I was a lad, I wasn’t really aware of Apple. I’d seen a few Macs in the shops, but was always skeptical, mainly because until Windows XP, I’d never had a problem with using it. My first machine had Windows 3.1 on it. You couldn’t do much, play a few games, paint some “masterpieces” and send a fax, if you wanted to. The world was a much simpler place pre-Internet, the 10 o’clock news was the only way I’d find out about what was going on in the world. I didn’t really listen to music, apart from when Dad let me play around with his record player and I was only ever allowed to watch what my Parents wanted to on the TV. Although I was 8 at the time.

I’ve always been a user of Windows, despite all the times I’ve declared to myself that I’ve had enough, I’ve never been able to permanently switch to Linux. The latest versions are beautiful and let you do most things that you can do on a Windows system, but it just doesn’t feel quite right at times. When Windows 8 was released last week, I decided to,¬†belatedly check out the consumer preview. At first I was skeptical, but having used Windows Phone 7 for a few weeks on my Lumia, I decided to take the plunge and plonk ¬£25 on the upgrade.

I’m now just over a month in to using Windows 8 and have to say that I’m definitely in love again. Although it’s definitely built for touch devices, it doesn’t take long to work out that if you use your mouse (or trackpad) wheel you can easily scroll horizontally throughout the full screen apps. If you have two screens connected to your machine, the experience is seamless. I use one screen for full screen apps and then have the “traditional” desktop on the second, larger screen. Of course you can switch between the two simply by dragging the app on to the screen you want to use it on.

The only disappointment so far is with Skype. It looks like it’s been rushed, with lots of the features that are standard on the desktop app not available or not quite working. The automatic integration with Windows Live and Facebook is also a bit annoying when you can get those from the Messaging app. It’s definitely an improvement on Windows 7, but unless you’re in to consuming a lot of your media on your PC, you may not benefit fully from the rather cool new features.