I don’t normally spend time doing reviews on, well, anything outside of politics & let’s face it, as Ben Franklin said, when you put pen to paper for politics all you get is, well, a mess. Read my posts on politics, I’ll be the first to tell you that they are all disjointed messes.
Windows 8 is also a disjointed mess.
I’m feeling suicidle.
As some of the regular readers know, I am losing my job here on May 23. The twenty-third of this month I will no longer be employed. I’m getting let go because of, well, because of being hired a week after Krista. I’m not really upset about it. OK, I’m upset about losing my job, but I’m not at all upset about how I’m losing my job. I have to respect a company that takes seniority into account. It might sound odd, but that is something I like in a company, especially a non union company, & let’s face it, this job doesn’t take much effort to shine. So long as you can walk around & chit-chat with the students & parents with a socialable & respectiful manner then you’re doing OK.
But taking that into account, that & the economic situation of America, & the economic situation of Illinois, I figured I’d spring for an upgrade now while I have a little extra cash. Who knows when I’ll be working again.
So I got Windows 8 last Friday. I opted for the full pro version. I have three computers, on of which actually has information on it, the other two have been clean swipped for storage in the event that I might just get rid of them if I’m living in my parents basement too long. I always clean swipe my computers. I do it first when I buy them, rather than taking the time to uninstall all the crap that goes with them. I also do it before changing my OS, whenever I get even the slightest hint of a virus, or, as I said, when I store a PC & don’t intend to use it. For this I recommend Darik’s Boot & Nuke. You can never be too careful, you don’t want crap lingering in the background that might still cause you harm & you certainly don’t want someone nefarious getting ahold of your computer & using a data recovery program to pull up some personal information.
And that’s what I did to my laptop before installing Windows 8. Why not? I backup my word files & my pictures. Outside of those all I have on my computer are saved games & those I don’t care if I lose. I’ll start again fresh, the only time I’ve ever regretted starting again fresh is with The Sith Lords, it just takes too damn long to get off Peragus & finally get a lightsaber. Better to start two characters, one male, one female, & then play your way through Peragus, save, & start any new game from there. It limits you to some of your origional choices, but in the long run its worth it.
Fuck it, I can play Peragus twice over again.
It took about eight hours on Friday to nuke my laptop. By the time I was off of work, I entered the nightmare of Windows 8.
By Sunday I finally found out how to actually turn off my laptop without going through the Ctrl+Alt+Delete. I should have know I’d hate it then.
Now let’s move on to some of the real complaints. I’m not too tech savy, I use my computer to read the news, play games, & write. Mainly to write. that’s why I opted for a laptop over a tablet or Iphone. Hell, I still use a flip phone, you know, so it’s easier to text & drive. A flip phone means you don’t have to take your eyes off the road when you text. A flip phone means you can send out a text from your pocket while you are having a conversation & no one needs be the wiser.
A flip phone is proof positive that I have a love & hate relationship with technology.
Windows 8 is made for technophiles. It’s made for the type of people that don’t actually read & write any longer. There are a thousand useless apps installed on it, or at least useless for people like me. I get my news from the interweb, MAINLY because I don’t want Fox & MSNBC telling me what to think, I sure as hell don’t want my computer taking me instantly to the pre-approved news sites. That app had to be instantly uninstalled.
So did the chat app. The chat app is pointless with Skype & Skype doesn’t seem to operate correctly on Windows 8. They want you to use their software, not the software that eveyone else is using. The message app had to go. Along with the e-mail app, sure, that might be useful, if you use the Microsoft approved e-mail, but not if you use a free e-mail account. I am not changing my e-mail that I’ve had for decades just to work with the app for Windows 8. Especially not when that e-mail is on my resume & in the hands of, probably thousands of potential employers. So yeah, all those people I met in my travels, they had to be put on hold until I did something about 8. Sorry Magnus, we’ll talk again later, after I get past 8 & restore my old computer to its former glory.
Forget about using your VPN, it doesn’t work well with 8, so that added bit of internet security, that bit that keeps people from tracking you & selling what you search to the highest bidder, it’s all but useless on 8. Windows 8 forces you to broadcast what you are doing to the corporations that want to sell you shit & the people that may have an interest in tracking your internet habits for more nefarious purposes. Lack of a working VPN, is reason alone to murder Windows 8. I just don’t like people knowing what I view, what I read, or anything else about my life that I don’t feel the need to broadcast. Do you know what this means? It means that if you live in &/or visit China, you really can’t get over that Great Firewall. Windows 8, simply by being Windows 8 has successfully helped China & a number of other countries keep their people in the dark. Without a VPN, when you travel abroad to the countries that don’t seem to like free speech, you’re literally traveling in the dark. Sorry, 8, a lack of a VPN makes you ill suited for international travel.
Now for movies. Windows Media player is installed with 8, so is a new movie player. Neither can play DVDs. For someone like me, that majored in shit that’s been dead for 400 years, that hurts. I’m not watching movies online, I’m watching news on line, but that’s an entirely different software. So when I tried to watch 1776, there was no way to play it. I had to either buy the app to watch a DVD on my computer, or I had to download VLC player.
I downloaded the freeware. I’m not giving Microsoft more money because they want my laptop to work as a tablet & certainly not giving them money because the new OS won’t do what the old one did. Forget about it. VLC all the way.
Then there was the boot screen, when you turn on your computer you have to push past a useless screen before you get to log in & you have to log in everytime. I made the mistake of making my password redicilously hard as per usual. That’s a lot of typing.
Once you finally get logged in, there is no start menu for Windows 8. It’s made to be used on a touch screen. You have to slide through useless junk to get to the programs that you actually use. Like the ones that come with Microsoft Student & Teacher. You know, Microsoft Word, which is, at least for me, the program that I’m using 99% of the time.
That’s an easy enough fix. You can pin it. But the lack of a start menu presents another problem for those of us that use a computer to type. Mainly the fact that if you don’t save the document to your desktop it floats off into limbo somewhere. When you try searching for “My Documents” in an effort to open up a final draft along with the rough draft they are nearly impossible to find. They aren’t saved to one folder. They are floating in limbo somewhere & require seperate searches. That’s right, “searches” they aren’t stored in an easy to acess folder, you have to scroll through useless junk in order to find what you’re actually looking for.
That is, unless you save it directly to your desktop.
And then there are the games. Most of the games out there, the games that you buy that play off a DVD. They aren’t made for tablets & Iphones, they are made for computers. Windows 8 just won’t run them. Sims, Star Wars, Civilizations, even the new ones made for 7, forget about it. Those are computer games, Microsoft wants to be innovative, & innovation means that you are using a touch-screen tablet NOT a computer. Forget about using custom content with the games that 8 doesn’t want to allow you to play, without a start menu, finding the proper folders to install said mods is a Herculiean feat.
I can’t imagine writing something as long as this on a touch screen, let alone the hundreds of pages in the books & essays I write in an effort to make a little cash on the side. The music reviews I do for twenty-five dollars of bar money, forget about it.
Then let’s get into Photoshop. I don’t have it at the moment, a by product of storing everything away in mom & dads basement until I can finally get back on my feet again, but I can probably tell you that Windows 8 would have issues running it, I mean, if it can’t run The Old Republic or The Sims, it probably can’t run adobe very well.
I can’t fathom how hard it would be to do a good job of editing a picture, let alone creating a Frankenstein on a touch screen or a tablet. That’s graphic pad & mouse work. Not that I can find my graphics pad, it’s filed away somewhere in an unmarked box along with a private Library of Congress sized book collection. I found my negative scanner & after searching through boxes, my connection cables. It was useless, Windows 8 stores the pictures you scan into the same app filled limbo it stores your word documents. There is really no easy way to find what you have created on Windows 8. Well, not unless you have the navigational appitude of Frank Drake.
And then there is the fact that it’s made for a touch screen. If you let your mouse linger too long in the wrong spot when you start typing, it will open up apps over what you are working on. A big nightmare, & then, depending on what you were working on, finding it again is a nightmare.
And that brings us to the set-up. At least with my Windows 8, I had to initially go through the set-up, but then, periodically it wanted me to go through it again, & again, & it demanded the product code again & again, but that product code wasn’t the product code that came with Windows 8. It was a new product code that they never gave me in the box that I brought a Best Buy. A super-secret product code that only the computer knew about. So I had to deal with having the set-up pop up at random times every hour & demand information that I didn’t have.
When that happens you have to hit the windows key, to exit, then shuffel through your apps & hopefully find the word document you were previously working on.
Now the updates & configuration. this is a nightmare. Sometimes Windows 8 refuses to configure the updates that Microsoft throws out there. It will get you stuck in an endless cycle of updates & failure to configure updates & updates & failure to configure updates. the only way to get out of that is to turn off your computer over & over again until it stops. This is especially irritating with laptops, laptops are mobile, sometimes you use them in places without an internet connection. This will cause an endless cycle of the above mentioned failure to configure & completely stop your productivity until you get to a location with an unsecured wifi or a wifi connection with a previously entered password to allow Windows to configure. It’s not hard to do in Chicago, its a nightmare in the suburbs where even some Starbucks don’t have free & unsecured internet connections.
Now to make life a little better, there are a number of third parties out there that are either selling or just giving away a start menu for Windows 8. The start menu comes free with a “My Documents” folder, so you know, you don’t have to go searching for previously saved & instantly lost Word Documents. But a lot of the pop up features remain, which means you can still open apps by simply parking your mouse as you type.
The good news is, there’s generally a product code on your PC & if you are a dick with Microsoft support, like I was multiple times when I contacted them in an effort to find my saved word files before I realized it’s just easier to save them on my desktop, they will send you a link to whatever software you previously had on your computer. The product key is generally located next to your computer’s serial number.
These are important, especially if you moved back in with mommy & daddy & packed away your the start-up disc you created when you first cleaned your computer. It’s super important when you didn’t bother to make a start-up disc.
Why is it important? It’s important because a week after you get Windows 8 you are going to revert back to your old OS & start downloading & installing drivers one-by-one until you have a real computer again.
I’ve read a lot of reviews on Windows 8. It appears that I am one of those people that are backwards & hate change & innovation. Maybe even a technophobe. It could be true. But then, I’ll counter that with simply pointing out that all the fans of Windows 8 are the newfangeled people that don’t read & write anything longer than a text message.
But then clearly I’m not up with the times. I have a radio not an Ipod. I listen to the news more than music. I blame the internet for killing the independent music & movie industry. Outside of Bond, I haven’t really bothered to even watch a movie that was released after 2001. i have a camera, a DSLR, not an Ipad, & I read. Most of what I own, that’s right, they are books.
So I guess the Windows 8 fans are right when they attack the people that hate it. People like me, we want computers, good old fashioned computers, not tablets & we use the computers to READ the news, & we use them as darkrooms & type writers & to play video games. People like me have absolutely no interest in the bull shit that makes 8 innovative, I’m the type that actually writes. I read real books. I feel dirty, like I’ve sinned against God & nature when I use a Kindle.
So Windows 8, you can kiss my old fashioned butt. I just downgraded to 7.