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Friday, September 14, 2012

Lookoout cable companies might want to rethink a la carte


It's starting to get much easier to avoid buying cable packages you don't want.  Often times you might find yourself interested in a particular cable channel to watch one particular show.  With cable companies you would end up having to pay for a package of channels.  Instead viewers are starting to have options like Hulu, Netflix or Amazon that might be more cost effective than paying more for channels you don't want/need.  Amazon's per episode pricing is a bit on the pricey side still of a couple dollars per episode... that's starts to add up... which can get to $30 or more per season.  Still potentially cheaper than a cable package for the same period of time that would cover, but still seems pricier than it should be.  That said, it is still a viable option if it's cheaper than the package offered by your cable company.


So cable companies, you better rethink your strategy... the internet is about to change your business model.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Windows 8 Store - Ugly?

 
You can decide for yourself.  Its nearly a kaleidoscope of colors.  I think they need to tone them down a bit to make it a little easier on the eyes.
 
 
 
 
 

On top of that once you get into the store it seems difficult to find a way out of it.  At least in the version I was using.  Escape didn't work, windows key didn't work, clicking everywhere didn't work.  I had to resort to alt-tab to find my way back to the desktop.  (More the the usability concerns creeping int.)

Windows store doesn't seem to have much in it yet. Maybe less than 200 apps seem visible. 
Again this is all using Windows 8 on a desktop (in a test VM I'm using). 

There doesn't appear to be any way to browse easily the applications at all.  To actually download anything you are required to login to a windows account (similar to ipad's, android's etc).

The store like most metro apps operates in full screen mode.  Good for tablets perhaps, but not much to look at on a 24 inch screen.

Hopefully with the release in october they will get a lot more content, and perhaps a better UI update.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Windows 8/Server 2012 -It can't be that bad right?!


Well the answer is yes and no.

The user interface definately has usability issues as pointed out in a previous post for desktop users at least.

The operating system itself on the other hand has some nice enhancements:

Windows to Go - can boot a usb version of windows.



USB 3.0 supported natively

Xbox live integration


Secure boot - prevents unauthorized changes to your systems boot

SMB 3 - Networking enhancement supports encryption, multiple channels to increase throughput and fault tolerance


Better multi-monitor support (link to an article)


Storage Spaces - supports creating a virtual drive out of many different disks and adding redundancy at the folder level.

Improved remote desktop - can support multimedia

Under the hood on the server there are quite a few enhancements added to improve performance for servers, networking i/o as well.


We won't really know how well these things work out in practice till more people start to use the OS, the good news is the OS itself seems to be quite promising... the user interface might need an update for desktop users.  I guess we'll see how well it works on touch screen devices when it is finally released to the public.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Windows 8 - What was Microsoft Thinking?!


I guess time will tell if Microsoft really knows something more that many users and usability experts seem to find when they first start using Windows 8.  That is they find it difficult to understand how to use when compared to Windows 7.

See an example article on this topic:
http://blog.laptopmag.com/usability-expert-windows-8-on-pcs-is-confusing-a-cognitive-burden

So this seems to beg the question... what was Microsoft Thinking?!

It would seem at first glance that Microsoft has put desktop users in second place compared with tablet and phone users, making it work out of the box well for those devices (in theory) but not for desktops.

This doesn't seem to be a good way to get people with desktops to upgrade and since there are possibly billions with windows machines that doesn't see to be a good way to entice those users.


Some working theories, please feel free to add comments for your own:

- Microsoft perhaps sees that phones and tablets and wanted to focus on the future rather than the past since there will be more sales of those than PC's.

Seems plausible but it might take 3 years time for the majority of windows desktops to move to the new OS, and if the new OS really wants to be your main platform for everything, that's quite a time to wait for a return since that is close to when Microsoft would want to release their next version of the OS perhaps.


- Microsoft didn't have time to customize and considered it more important for now to get it right for tablets and phones.

Seems less plausible since it should have been easy to fix if they had wanted to


- Microsoft forsees that all computers will have touch screens in the future, even laptops and desktops

Again this seems plausible but again it will take possibly 3 years to get a large portion of people to get on the new touch screen hardware given the upgrade cycles of desktops/notebooks.



-Microsoft forsees people buying a Microsoft slate/tablet that can be used with any windows 8 PC to act as the touch screen

Interesting and falls in line with stories about tablet/phone use connecting to xbox and the like, it isn't a far stretch for this.  But presuming everyone would get a tablet soon to make windows 8 easier on a desktop again is a bit of a stretch.


- Microsoft sees the app store as a profit model and wants to push people towards metro apps

There is some possibility here, MS does appear to want to grow their version of the app store and what better way than to make the Metro/WinRT desktop ubiquitous.   The question is, will the usability issues sufficiently detract from this and blunt the uptake.


Have any ideas of your own?  I'm sure there are lots more...