Shortly after the success of Windows 7, and the horrible failure of Vista, Microsoft has stoked up the PR machine, and the entire world is excited about Windows 8. Me too!
That said, I worry sincerely that all the changes are cosmetic and that there is nothing substantial under the hood. We are hearing that the ribbon concept introduced in Office 2007 will now be introduced for Windows 8, which is cosmetic and holds the potential to frustrate users that are intimately familiar with all of the standard Windows controls.
Here is my list of things that I would like to see in Windows 8. Please try to do some of them.
Faster Faster. Vista was a noticeable downgrade on performance from XP. One felt like you were buried in molasses. It was painful, but then came Windows 7 and it was respectably faster than Vista. Thank God. We want speed. I always purchase the fastest processor I can afford before any consideration of memory, hard drive and so on. I want fast. Fast means my computer will last longer. Fast means that I can work with the most complicated applications out there and not blink an eye. Let’s all face the fact that as time goes on, web pages keep getting more and more demanding. Fast means that I can have lots of those web pages open at the same time. Whatever vestiges from prior operating systems that is stopping the operating system from being at maximum performance, please remove. Or at least give us an option in the control panel to disable them.
Stable. Vista took a major step backward on stability as well and thankfully Windows 7 was a major improvement. Thank God. However, I am sad to report to you that on my close-to-one-year-old laptop, it still crashes. Not a lot. I would say about once a month which is not a lot. I reboot and it is really not a big deal but somehow someway, it should be your goal to reduce all crashes. Windows is going on 30 years old and at some point it needs to become rock solid, like bullet proof. There are rumours that Windows 8 will have cloud elements and that is great. One thing the cloud can track is these errors so you can have a dedicated team to fix them and eliminate them.
Windows Movie Maker. I’ve kept mum about this for some time. I have used every version of Windows Movie Maker without fail. I love making videos and each and every version has had its problems. Some versions had virtually no features and others were just flat out unstable. One version would crash as soon as you tried to compile certain types of videos. Then when I searched on the problem, everyone was having the same problem. Ouch! You guys can do so much better. The last version is actually pretty good but it can be much more.
The vision of Windows Movie Maker is that virtually anyone can make great almost professional looking videos through Windows. This is important because video and YouTube has exploded. Furthermore every camera and cell phone no matter how cheap now has video capabilities. There is more video being made every day than there was in the world a few years ago. Make it so we can all edit our software easily and obviously without upgrading to the more expensive video editing packages. Great video editing should be a standard feature of Windows.
16:9. The PC industry is going through a huge transition to a 16:9 form factor. This also coincides with the TV industry going through the exact same transition at the same time. Some history. Prior to about 5 years ago, all monitors and televisions were manufactured in a 4:3 format. This basically means that for every 4 inches of width there is 3 inches of height. Now that the world is 16:9, the Windows world has become wider.
The operating system should adjust as well. There are many things that should change in order for all the software to accommodate this new world.
Example 1. Although monitors and televisions have moved to 16:9, not all cameras and photos have transitioned. In fact, many photos are still being taken in the old 4:3 format. Many photographers think that the 4:3 format will never die. When someone wants to put a 4:3 images as their screen saver on their beautiful 16:9 27″ screen, it looks like a mess. Windows distorts the picture making faces look like the crazy mirror at the circus. Yes, there are ways to work around this but Windows should do this automatically and beautifully.
Example 2. Wide screens are awesome for Excel and it should be for PowerPoint also. But it is not. The reason is that PowerPoint (even version 2007) is still set up for a 4:3 screen. When you look at a PowerPoint in full screen mode, there are two big ugly black bars on the right and left of the presentation if you have a 16:9 screen. Here’s a tip for people that want to fix this. (Go File – Page Setup). Then type in 16 inches for width and 9 inches for height. There is a work around but it should work with Windows and Office standard. Windows should detect the resolution of the screen and then determine the best way to display it.
Photos. The PC is absolutely the best way to view photos taken with a digital camera. Computer screen resolutions typically far exceed the resolutions of a TV, digital camera, or cell phone. This enables you to see the best detail in your photos. Plus as time goes on, the size of these photos continues to grow, and the PC is the only device that has enough horse power to quickly view and manipulate these photos. I don’t see this trend changing any time soon, so Windows should make the photo experience totally awesome. There should be easy facility to slide shows built in Windows with cool transition effects and music. This will ensure that people will always prefer to show off their photos on a computer first.
Internet Connection. Time to be honest again. I’m been having trouble with my internet connection on all my Windows 7 computers. It’s not a big deal but every once in a while the wireless internet connection will just drop. The network connection is still good, it just loses internet. Perhaps a little more frustrating, it takes a little while for it to come back, like 2-3 minutes. It does not happen very often, maybe once a month but it does happen.
This needs to be where Windows excels. The internet is the reason why the computer is so important in all of our lives. The computer is the best device in the world to access the internet and all of its abundance of information. If Microsoft is to innovate this would be the place. Make Windows users able to cruise the internet faster, and download things faster. I believe that there are still many more innovations that will make our computers even better internet devices and I am hoping that Microsoft will lead the way.
Conclusion The PC is far from dead, and I believe that it will live a very long long and productive life. Windows and Microsoft’s profits are a reflection of this reality. But Windows can be so much more than it is. Vista was a huge step backwards for Microsoft, and it can be argued that Vistsa left a hole in the market which Apple Macs quickly filled. There are however hundreds of millions of Windows users still out there in the world, and we are all hoping that Windows 8 will be a huge step forward and not just a cosmetic update to Windows 7.