Browsing Posts tagged Windows 8

Simplex-IT Invites You to Our Next Free Lunchinar:
“Introduction to the New Windows 8!”

The latest Microsoft operating system, Windows 8, has recently been released to manufacturing and will soon be appearing on new computers and retail shelves everywhere. It’s time to get up to speed with what’s changed, what’s stayed the same, what’s better, what’s worse and most importantly why you should care. The fact that this will be Microsoft’s first OS designed to work with tablets has made interest for its introduction even stronger.

Once again, riding to the rescue is Simplex-IT’s own Bob Coppedge who, for our free October Lunchinar, will be providing us with his always entertaining take on the new Windows 8 OS! You won’t want to miss this presentation!

Simplex-IT’s monthly Lunchinars are always free, open to all and focused on sharing information. Join us!

Where:                Hattie’s Café, 164 N. Main Street, Hudson
When:                  Wednesday, October 17, 2012 from 11:30am-1:00pm

As a bonus, we will be awarding door prizes of Windows 7 and Office 2010 to two lucky attendees. Free food AND free software – how awesome is that!

We remind you, though, seating is limited. To reserve yours, email John@Simplex-IT.com or call 234.380.1277. Come join the fun!

Extra! Extra! Extra!

We will once again be webcasting this event LIVE using Microsoft Lync. It’s free and it’s easy. If you can’t make the lunchinar in person but would like to listen in from the comfort and convenience of your office, contact me at the above numbers and I’ll send you the details on how you can connect.

I’m at the xChange event in Dallas this week, and Sunday watched the keynote presented by Microsoft.  Now keep in mind that I’ve got a long history of Microsoft presentations. I’ve probably owned over 100 t-shirts from Redmond, and have sat through thousands of PowerPoint slides.  I’ve drank the Kool Aid enough times so that I look like a cross between Microsoft Bob and the Kool Aid guy (nope, not pretty).  So Sunday was just another one.  In too many ways, it seems.

Spoiler alert:  Their products are actually pretty darn good.  That ain’t the problem.

The Microsoft presentation was two-fold.  Actually it was classic Microsoft.  First we’ll get a mid-level exec to get up and talk about what a big year it was (or will be), and how Microsoft’s commitment is to increase/decrease the good/bad thing about the desktop/server environment.  Then we’ll get a technical wonk to get up and demonstrate some aspects about the new stuff that used to get us going “ooh” and “aah.”  Then there’ll be a call to action, wrap up and life is good.  A fine presentation, demonstrating fine features.

Here’s the challenge.  There are two areas that Microsoft desperately wants to compete in.  Cloud services and tablets.  Software/services and hardware/platform.  And although Microsoft has made great strides in the first, there’s still a long way to go.  And let’s not talk about Windows tablets to date, shall we?  They would make the Zune look like…well, an iPad.

So, what’s Microsoft’s answer to these challenges?  A combination of technologies:

  • Windows 8, especially the versions for a full and limited featured table platform
  • Office 2013 (for, um…Office stuff)
  • SkyDrive (cloud storage)

Back to the presentation.  When the wonk demoed the products, he demonstrated primarily the core functionality of the products.  “Look at this new feature in PowerPoint.”  “See how the Outlook keeps the number of open windows to a minimum.”

Seriously?  Yes.  There are some nice new features in Office 2013.  There are nice new features in Windows 8.

But a lot of people, a large, large lot of people don’t care.  These are the people for whom XP and Office 2003 are “good enough.”  The people who got an iPad because “they’re really easy to use.”

People who just want to get their work done.

We’ve all heard end users say “I just use Word for letters and memos.”  So the spinning widget thingie feature that every new version of this stuff includes is really not all that critical.  But:

  • “I want to use Word (for the following examples, Word can be replaced by Excel, PowerPoint, etc) on my tablet.”
  • “I want to use Word on my laptop/desktop.”
  • “I want to access my Word documents that I changed on my tablet from my laptop.”
  • “I want to access my Word documents that I changed on my tablet from a desktop at the library.”
  • “I only want to learn one version of Windows.”
  • “I only want to learn one version of Word.”

You know what the answer is for all these questions and needs?  It’s “Okey-dokey.”  Or as Microsoft would say “The capability exists within the differing layers of application cross-functionality within the diverse and yet tangentially cohesive…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”

And we’re not even touching the savings of singular platform from a support standpoint.

This is the cool stuff.  This is the discussion that Microsoft should be having, should be screaming at the public.  “Our tablets can be powerful enough that you won’t need a laptop or desktop.  Or they’ll be more limited, but priced to compete with iPads (and still have a derivative of Word).  And with some licensing (say Office 365), one software license will suffice for several devices.”

And you’ll only have to learn it once.

This is big time stuff.  Standardizing an effective (critical point) tool across several platforms without sacrificing cost, training or productivity.  Incredibly cool.

This point was brought up at the end of the discussion almost as an afterthought.  And it seems that’s the placement of this particular message from Microsoft.

And I just don’t get it.  For years Microsoft has been looking around for the killer app to get back to the top of their game.  And it’s staring them right in the face.

Also, while we’re at it, why did you get everybody used to the concept of “Windows Metro” and decide 2 months before release that it should be called “Windows UI?”  I assume someone high up at Redmond said “Whoa, Metro sounds too much like a branding normal people would understand…let’s throw in a geeky acronym…hey, it worked for Windows NT, right?”

Oy.

Office 2013 LogoBob here.  The next version of Microsoft Office is here.  Mostly.  Sort of.

The first openly available version of the new Office, now officially called Office 2013, made its debut earlier this week.  Some of the key pieces of information about the new version:

  • You can have both worlds.  You can install the Office 2013 Consumer Preview (which is Latin for “Beta”) without removing your Office 2010.
  • A lot of the control/user interface changes are aimed at tablet users (not surprisingly).  Working with your fingers (thumbs specifically) through what’s called “touch mode” is aimed at the tablet folks.
  • You need to have Windows 7 (32 or 64 bit) or Windows 8 Release Preview (the latest “Beta” version).  XP or Vista?  Ah, no.
  • A majority of interface changes are for tablet users.
  • Word and Excel can both be used for presentations.  You’ll be able to share a document with another user, even if that person doesn’t have Word or Excel.
  • Images from the web can be put into documents without downloading and saving them.
  • Office will be tightly integrated with SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage offering.  For example, a document stored in SkyDrive can be opened by the same user on another workstation and will be bookmarked where the user left off.
  • Right now only Lync and OneNote are actually Metro-based applications.  Everything else still runs under Desktop Mode.
  • Release date?  Um, it’s called Office 2013, so that’s probably a first hint.
  • Thinking of buying Office 2013 when it comes out?  Get ready to download it.  Even stores won’t be carrying discs with the Office software.  You’ll buy a software license key, and then you’ll need to download it.

After using it for a couple of days on my Windows 8 tablet, I can say that it’s pretty stable, but the touch interface is a little…touchy.  More on that as I get more used to it.

Additional information:

Want to see more?  We’ll be demoing it at our annual picnic, Wednesday August 15th.  Plus our next monthly Lunchinar on Wednesday September 19th will feature Office 2013.  For more information on either event, contact John Harrow via email or call at 234.380.1277.

 

Simplex-IT’s April 2012 Lunchinar, “A Sneak Peek at Windows 8,” is now online and available for viewing. So kick off your shoes and put your feet up. Then, just click the above thumbnail(s) and the show will automatically start.

It was a Standing Room Only crowd at Hattie’s Café, with several new faces in the group. Clearly, there is a significant amount of interest in this new operating system, especially since it will be the first time Microsoft makes available a Tablet version.

Also discussed was the upcoming Windows 8 Server. Kevin was able to show us what it looked like from a Virtual Machine he had installed on his laptop, and he introduced us to several new features Server 8 would be offering.

Sneak Peek at Windows 8

Bob and Kevin share their views on Windows 8 to a packed house

Simplex-IT will be presenting to the Streetsboro Chamber of Commerce at their May 1 Coffee-N-Contacts meeting from 8am-9am at Arabica Coffee House.

The topic will be “Office 365 for Small Business and a Sneak Peek at Windows 8.”

We’ll review the compelling reasons businesses of all sizes are turning to Office 365 to increase their bottom line. And with the release of the new Windows 8 Operating System scheduled for later this year, we’ll offer a Sneak Peek at what it holds in store for us.

For more information contact Heidi Inzerling, the Chamber’s Executive Director, at 330.626.4769 or sacc@streetsborochamber.org. You are also encouraged to contact Simplex-IT at 234.380.1277 or by email at John@Simplex-IT.com.

Bob here. Kevin and I had the pleasure to the GCPCUG yesterday morning about Microsoft’s Windows 8. There were probably about 40 or so people, and to say the least everybody had their own opinion about Microsoft, Windows 8, the new interface, and Kevin’s newborn baby.

GCPCUG Meeting

The crowd was undeniably unanimous in one verdict. Kevin’s baby was cute. From then on, the consensus was at best mixed.

Here’s the problem. Many of you remember the great brouhaha that occurred when Microsoft forced a new, ribbon-based interface for Office 2007. All the users of Office 2003 actually pretty happy with the old interface. Microsoft faced an uphill battle, convinced that the new interface was more intuitive and easier to learn.

Did Microsoft win that battle? Honestly, it really doesn’t matter. The new interface is here to stay.

Flash forward to 2012, and the new Metro-based interface for Windows 8. The jury is in, and it’s a split decision.

Working with the tablet? Interface is not only good, it’s pretty darn cool.

Working with the desktop? For Pete’s sake, what were you thinking, Microsoft?

Overwhelmingly the biggest feedback received was the new Start Menu, based on the Metro interface. The limitations of intuitive actions based on mouse and keyboard interactions are significant.

No doubt about it, the Metro interface was designed for the tablet and touch screen either through fingers or a stylus. But on the desktop? Not so much.

When I decided to take Windows 8 out for a spin, I decided to go directly to the tablet. I purchased one of Samsung’s Windows 7-based tablets and put Windows 8 directly on it. So I’ve got nothing but the tablet experience to judge Windows 8 by.

I can’t tell yet if I’m a genius or an idiot for that strategy. Probably a little of both. So far I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the new Metro interface. It’s smart, it’s intuitive, and so far I’ve been able to find just about everything I need with little or no effort.

And that was the focus of my part of the demonstration. The tablet.

Throughout the meeting several people spoke of their experience with Windows 8 on the desktop. Not one peep about performance, not one peep about application compatibility, not one peep about reliability. It was all about the interface, and how difficult it was to do things.

Throughout and after the meeting several people stated that they finally understood why the interface was the way it was. They saw the benefits of the tablet interface.

The problem is that Microsoft seems to be forcing that interface on a platform that doesn’t have the tools necessary to use that interface.

Windows 8 is slated for release in October. There currently a number of questions regarding hardware manufacturers for the arm-based tablets. Beyond that the tablet portion of Windows 8 seems not only secure but absolutely fantastic.

The desktop shows more of a challenge. Third-party application developers already trying to fill some of that void with mixed success. You can add a traditional start menu as an application. Whether that’ll be enough, only time will tell.

What are your thoughts? Is Metro too one-sided for the tablet world, leaving the desktop users a less than optimal interface?

Bob and Kevin will be presenting Windows 8 at the April meeting of the Greater Cleveland PC Users Group. This meeting will be free and open to the public. We’ll cover the new Metro interface, demo some of the features of the tablet, and talk about desktop and server version as well. Plus we’ll raffle off a copy of Windows 7 and Office 2010.

When:

  • Saturday, April 14th, from 9:30am until noon

Where:

  • Main Classroom Building Rm 136
  • East 22nd & Chester Ave.
  • Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio

Yes, there’s a new Microsoft Windows Operating System on the horizon and for the first time it will be made available in four versions. Of course, the one most of us will become familiar with is the desktop. For those still running the nearly decade-old Windows XP, this release should garner your serious attention. Other versions will include Windows 8 for the Server, the mobile phone and the tablet.

Emphasizing Simplex-IT’s leadership position in the local IT community, this will be our first public presentation on the new OS, which is slated for release later in 2012. There is so much that’s new and exciting (shhh, the Start button is gone!) we can’t wait to show it to you! Join us!!

Simplex-IT’s monthly Lunchinars are free, open to the public, and focused on sharing information, not dog and pony sales pitches.

Where: Hattie’s Café, 164 N. Main Street, Hudson
When: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 from 11:30am-1:00pm

As a bonus, we will be awarding door prizes of Windows 7 and Office 2010 to two lucky attendees. Free food AND free software – how awesome is that!

We remind you, though, seating is limited. To reserve yours, email John@Simplex-IT.com or call 234.380.1277. Come join the fun!

Bob here.  Windows 8 will be released later this year. Unlike previous editions, you won’t find anywhere near the amount of fanfare and hoopla that Microsoft has generated for operating systems releases (anybody remember Vista?). This will follow the more subdued release of Windows 7, which seems to have worked pretty well by Microsoft standards. Some of us old diehard folks might hate to admit it, but the days of windows XP being the predominant OS for most companies seems to be numbered.

Most people don’t realize that Microsoft plans to release a new version of Windows (Windows 8 ) as well as Office (Office 15) this year. But it shouldn’t be a surprise. Since 2007 or so, Microsoft has followed a plan of releasing major versions of each of their products every four years and an interim release of the product (or an “R2″ version) two years later. Between this scheduling and changes to their licensing programs, Microsoft is trying to get companies to view software purchases as more of an ongoing expenditure, almost a subscription. Program such as Office 365 and Open Value License Subscriptions are simple examples of that trend.

So back to the geek stuff. Some of you may recall that for several months prior to the release of Windows 7, Simplex-IT had several meetings, Lunchinars, and events demonstrating Windows 7 to several hundred people. Well, it’s time for us to turn our attention to Windows 8.

To start with, we decided to first look at the tablet. Without getting too geeky, there are really going to be four versions of Windows 8 from the layperson’s standpoint. The one we’ll see the most is the traditional desktop version. There will also be the server version, the phone version, and finally, the tablet version. To start with, let’s take a look at the tablet version.

We decided to begin our experience with a full-blown Windows 8 tablet device. We selected the Samsung 7000T-1 A. With its Intel dual core I5 processor, 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of solid-state disk space, this puppy came loaded. Now the MSRP of this tablet is about $1500, so it’s not positioned to compete with any of the Apple products. What it does do, however, is give the full Windows experience.

It took us about an hour and a half to actually load Windows 8 onto this device. It was actually a rather painless experience. Since then we’ve added Office 2010 and other applications without any difficulty.

Hopefully in the next week will be adding some YouTube videos to give a little more specific details on our experiences, opinions and adventures dealing with Windows 8.  So far?  Not bad, not bad at all.

Oh, and our Lunchinar on April 18th will actually be our first live demonstration of Windows 8. Stay tuned for more information on that event coming up soon.