Monday, November 19, 2012

Windows 8 Developer Preview: 14 Months Later

Note: this blog has been migrated to Medium, with the articles here available to preserve permalinks Please see this post at

One year and two months ago we were introduced to what Windows 8 would look, feel, and perform like. I just stumbled across the chat log of Matthew Linder and I while we were watching the first keynote of the BUILD conference. 14 months is a long time, and I look back at that chat log and think "man, I was so young and stupid!" I find it fascinating to look back on this type of event and remember what we thought the future was going to be like, what emotions we were feeling while being introduced to this brand-new, unknown thing called Metro. For your viewing and reading pleasure: the keynote and the chat log. 11:06 AM Snuffy: yo
me: there you are!
Snuffy: they like touch I guess
11:07 AM
me: no kidding
Snuffy: and tablets
will i have to buy a touch monitor?
me: not necessarily
Snuffy: but will i want to
me: I still like my dual-monitor and touchpad on the desk idea
11:08 AM Snuffy: i could probably get something like that set up
me: "the chipset?"
11:09 AM Snuffy: they mean the cpu/gpu
me: ok
Snuffy: but they just said mouse and keyboard is still just as good
me: they dont want to alienate anyone at this point
Snuffy: yea good point
11:10 AM ill have to leane a tlike 12:15
11:11 AM me: oh god, windows live
Snuffy: cloud
me: does it rain in the cloud?
11:12 AM Snuffy: lol bnetbook
me: i hate it when people use those
Snuffy: yay optimization!
me: nice
11:14 AM that is one of the biggest barriers to using a modern OS- you have to have a good computer to run it
Snuffy: its kind of like snow leopard, the next gen OS has lower system requirements than its predecessor
11:15 AM lol password ridiculus
me: I was about to say what she said
"over te camera shoulder" lol
Snuffy: those arent windows! those are tiles
11:16 AM me: "games" sure
Snuffy: i know lol
11:17 AM thats what i was thinking
11:18 AM me: so she has an email preview tile, but what about people who use gmail
Snuffy: it will probably integrate
me: eventually
11:19 AM Snuffy: onscreen keyboard..
 me: ugh, touchscreen typing is still too slow
Snuffy: what angle was she typing at?
me: not sure
11:20 AM Snuffy: that guy just pops in: all with touch too
me: throws her off
Snuffy: Word Hunt.... my favorite!
me: maybe they need to move downstage
11:21 AM right patches?
11:22 AM Snuffy: lololololol
11:23 AM me: lolfail
or I could get two monitors and see everything at once
11:24 AM Snuffy: wtf!!!!!!
me: "chromeless" lol
Snuffy: did he just say that
me: yep
Snuffy: lol
me: and then he plays dumb
11:25 AM Snuffy: fail
me: product placement!
11:26 AM they're after me luck charms!
11:27 AM Snuffy: there is going to be a big boom in touchscreen monitors
me: hell yeah
11:28 AM Snuffy: auto-spell checking is not new....
me: ah, but it used to be program-specific now it is system wide
Snuffy: only on windows
me: yeah
11:29 AM Snuffy: not for: linux, mac, android, ios, etc
cheapest touchscreen on newegg is $250
11:30 AM me: I wonder why nobody made a program that spellchecks everything
11:31 AM Snuffy: though sometimes spell check is annoying, when your trying to type certain things
me: "metro-style" what do they mean by that?
Snuffy: ot sure
not sure
11:32 AM settings syncing... I like
me: they are so awkward
11:33 AM Snuffy: very akward
i can't build apps =(
me: microsoft seems very bad at doing presentations like this
11:34 AM Snuffy: i have seen microsoft do better ones
me: remember the whole deal with the kinect party at E3?
Snuffy: oh yea lol
11:35 AM me: "web" of apps
Snuffy: like they all work together
me: they really want everyone to use 8 on everything
11:36 AM Snuffy: seems like a bad program, could really screw up this web
11:37 AM unix kernel is way more rebust and reliable
me: knew you would say that
Snuffy: lol
11:38 AM i am like excited about this interface, but also scared
me: I am really lost now
Snuffy: yea this part will probably be boring... since it is for the devs
11:39 AM me: goddammit, they are calling it an app store
Snuffy: apple tried to sue them when they called it that a couple months back
me: I am so tired of that phrase
Snuffy: but apple lost obviously
11:40 AM why sick of it?
me: this guy's voice
oh, its just that everyone seems to want to call their programs "apps" now
11:41 AM Snuffy: yea I guess so, is that bad?
me: its just obnoxcious, I like calling them programs
11:42 AM I hope he doesn't forget to check-expect
Snuffy: I think an "application" is a bunch of individual programs and an GUI
11:44 AM me: I wonder how easy it will be to upgrade seamlessly from 7 to 8
11:45 AM Snuffy: I wonder too
10pm tonight out time, they will be releasing the ISO for devs
11:46 AM me: International Socialist Organization?
11:47 AM Snuffy: disk image file
11:48 AM me: will he swoop the woop?
11:49 AM Snuffy: huh?
I have to leave in like 20 min but I want to see the later part of this
me: he said swoop, and it made me think of swooping the woop
11:50 AM Snuffy: now touch on a monitor or laptop, is ergonomically horrible, arms get too tires
me: yep
11:51 AM Snuffy: what they are talking about now sounds really good, but doesn't really apply to me
cux i dont make apps
me: you could
why are we taking CSci, after all?
11:52 AM Snuffy: eventually yep
me: hey look, that web browser has a chrome!
Snuffy: tthats the web browser i have
me: horrible joke
Snuffy: on my beta
11:53 AM me: dude, that is just IE 9
looks like it anyway
Snuffy: a couple of things behaved differently
11:54 AM me: dude, I wont have to get office on a disc
just realized that
Snuffy: yep you wont need a disc drive!
me: also, what are the installation options going to be if I don't have a isc drive
Snuffy: and just like with steam, applications on the app store will be cheaper
11:55 AM Snuffy: isc drive?
me: *disc
Snuffy: maybe they will have install from within 7
and usb install too
11:56 AM me: ok, but what if I build myself a tower that does not have a disc drive
ah, usb
11:57 AM Snuffy: those arent games
me: there was one that had garden gnomes
Snuffy: oh didn't see
11:58 AM me: I remember quicken
Snuffy: my mom uses that a lot
me: that is good
11:59 AM the apple app store is very closed, isnt it?
Snuffy: you mean the mac app store
me: well, I was thinking of iPod apps but yeah mac apps now as well
12:00 PM Snuffy: closed in the sense meaning you cant sell apps with malware or ones that don't work
me: I have read a lot of frustrated stories from developers trying to get stuff out to people on the iPod app store
Snuffy: myth
12:01 PM me: suuuure
Snuffy: 99.9% apps get approved in 24 hours, the ones that don't either: the description doesnt match there app, or the app doesnt work, or there is porn
12:02 PM Snuffy: pron?
me: Porn duh
Snuffy: k lol
me: pron is an intentional misspelling
Snuffy: oh
12:03 PM i didn't know
12:04 PM me: "wow!"
Snuffy: I want to see the how the average user reacts to this metro web of apps
I am sure some will love it some will prolly be scared to death
me: and then there is my mother
12:05 PM who will still be using XP
Snuffy: lol thats like 10 years old now
11 years
me: next year is its 10 year anniversary
12:06 PM wait, never mind
october 25
this year
Snuffy: oh ok
me: I should have my family throw their computers a party
12:07 PM Snuffy: yea lol
me: I want to see them plays some friggin games on thos machine
Snuffy: games will probably work the same
12:08 PM run in full screen and take full ocntrol
me: what happens if I try to run a FPS on a touchscreen win8?
Snuffy: oh they cant
12:09 PM me: I like DOS text
Snuffy: i love fast boot
12:10 PM me: "defender"?
I thought their product was security essentials
12:11 PM Snuffy: they have multiple security thing s built in
12:12 PM windows 8 is looking really nice
me: that could be good for my computer's battery life issues
12:13 PM this part of the presentation is better
Snuffy: yes
nice 22nm
choosing intel over AMD nice
me: yess
12:14 PM BOOM USB 3.0
Snuffy: intel dont support usb 3.....
me: orly
Snuffy: oh nice these are special drives
12:15 PM me: wtf
Snuffy: fuck i got to go to work
me: cya
Snuffy: that system there is better than mine =(
me: no shit
i hope he plays a game
Snuffy: g2g cya
me: bye

Friday, November 2, 2012

On Mobile Computing

Note: this blog has been migrated to Medium, with the articles here available to preserve permalinks Please see this post at

I think that tablets are going to supersede laptops. There, I said it. Two years ago when I bought my laptop I wouldn't have imagined that I would be replacing it with a 10-inch block that doesn't even have any USB ports, but it looks like that is what is going to happen very soon.

Obviously at the time buying a laptop was the only thing that made any sense; I couldn't get a desktop because the internet at my house was atrocious and tablets really weren't a thing yet. Buying a nice gaming laptop (a Sony Vaio rocking an i7 processor and an Nvidia GT 425M) was perfect, and Vera has served me quite well for these two years. Until recently I wouldn't have thought that I would be thinking about replacing her so quickly.

Several things happened that have made me reconsider my position.
It started last May when Max Payne 3 came out. The combination of the game's awesomeness and the heat of the newly arrived summer caused Vera to overheat in about 20 minutes. I started resorting to placing ice packs under her to get as much gaming time as I could.
In September I finished acquiring components for my new desktop and since then I have stopped wanting to do most things with Vera. All I really use her for is taking notes in class and watching things on the TV lounge with everyone. At this point I started thinking that I might want to replace Vera with an Ultrabook (maybe even a Chromebook), as that would certainly have a better battery life and be quite a bit lighter.
A friend of mine here in Morris had an Asus Transformer that he was trying to sell. After I researched it I realized that it would actually make sense to buy it and sell Vera. However, the bidding went higher than I could at the time.

Then Windows 8 released and Google announced the Nexus 10.
I really like the direction Microsoft took the Surface in terms of hardware; it is a very slick device, and the way that the cover doubles as a keyboard and it has a kickstand makes it clear that they want the user to be able to get actual work done on it.
On the other hand, Google is my favorite company and I use tons of their services. This coupled with the strides the Android operating system has taken in the last year mean that I am definitely going to get an Android tablet. And the one that I can be sure will have continued support in the future is the Nexus.

I think that laptops occupied a weird time in our technological journey. They were the first successful attempt at making personal computing portable, but there are inherent problems in the system. Basically, manufacturers took smaller versions of desktop parts and smooshed them into a tiny package and installed an operating system that wasn't designed for that kind of form factor.
Everything about it- spinning hard drives, disc drives, big old CPUs and GPUs- create lots of heat that a fan has to eject from the system and all of this eats up battery power like no other. They are also rather large and not usable while walking around.

Tablets solve all of these issues. ARM chipsets use less power and create less heat, flash memory uses no moving parts, and operating systems built with tablets in mind have much less overhead because they do less multitasking.
For a while you could have argued that the operating systems on tablets just didn't have the functionality necessary for them to be viable, but they are definitely fine now. Windows 8 in particular is blurring the lines between PC and tablet, and I have seen some intriguing commercials for Ultrabooks that easily double as tablets (I'm not sure if they use ARM chipsets or not).

As for the things that I can do with a tablet that I can't with my laptop, it mostly has to do with the touch interface. There are some intriguing games that are coming out with touchscreens in mind, and the ones that integrate themselves with other games (like Mass Effect Infiltrator) are very enticing. Also simple things like being able to listen to music while walking around campus and not having to worry about battery life all day would be nice.

So there you have it, that is my reasoning behind the decision to replace my laptop with a tablet. I guess it would be more accurate to say that I am replacing my laptop with a desktop and a tablet, but details.