The laptop I have been using for the last four years that has been my “office” for the first two years of my business, has gone to the electronic scrapheap in the sky. All the signs were there it was going and it was past its best. The down key was sticky, a one of the hinges snapped and it was no longer possible to close it without damaging the lid. It was also taking around 30 minutes to get going in the mornings and got overheated quickly even though I had a mass uninstall a few weeks ago. It was time to bite the bullet and get another one.
Here it is:
I know you can’t really see much from the images, but I am impressed with the specs and it is a very versatile piece of kit. 8GB RAM, i5 Dual Core, 1TB hard disk, a fairly decent video card (a step above standard integrated video cards) beats audio (no idea what that is but the sound is amazing!) and a battery that appears to last something like 5 hours. The battery of my old machine lasted 3 hours at most. Skyping or watching a DVD or video file could be a nightmare, leading to overheating and battery drainage in 90 minutes, 2 hours if I was lucky – and I recently bought a new battery for it too. last night, I Skyped with my girlfriend and after some two hours of being off charge, the battery had drained to around 54%. Ok I will stop bragging about my battery now and get to the point.
I’ve been playing around with it today in between work and I think I am finally getting it. At first, the lack of a genuine computer feel, the fact that the traditional Windows desktop feels like a tacked on feature rather than an integrated part of the OS experience, were irritating and probably will be for some time.
Initially, I was determined to ignore the new Start experience with its emulation of mobile technology, buttons, scrolling and typing (just typing on screen and not in the boxes we have been used to) to find the app – sorry programme – that I need. I am neither a technology junkie nor a luddite; I like technology that makes my life and work easier but doesn’t dumb down in the pursuit of accessibility. At times, using Windows 8 feels like making things complicated in trying to make them easier – a bit like the WordPress “streamlined” stats that nobody likes and the fact you have to go looking for the dashboard.
Anyway, I have digressed again. Back to Win8. I understand that mobile is the way to go, and tech companies are looking to integrate across devices and have a ubiquitous and accessible interface on everything, I’m just not convinced it’s going to catch on.
My girlfriend pointed out the corner and touchpad swipe. I am finding it finicky. I’m sure if I had opted for a touchscreen (I didn’t because I wanted to maximise battery life while travelling) it would be easier to use. As it is, it feels like an awkward attempt to emulate mobile technology.
My first experience of Windows 8 is that it is flawed, but I am warming to it and it’s possible by this time next year I will be positively evangelical about it. This is coming from someone who has never got rid of his Dell desktop for, amongst other reasons, because Windows XP was and remains a stable and decent OS. Yes, I still use Windows XP – what of it? 😉