Lance Whitney's first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," breaks down the (formidable) task of learning Windows 8 into five-minute chunks. Lance is a widely read blogger on Cnet, where he covers the tech news. He's also a Web developer, software trainer, and contributor to Microsoft TechNet Magazine.
I appreciate what Microsoft tried to do with Windows 8: offer one OS for both tablets and PCs. But it's like mixing oil and water. The Start screen and other Windows 8 -- aka Metro, aka Modern -- elements work nicely on a tablet but not as nicely on a PC. And the familiar desktop is well suited for a PC, as always, but feels kludgy on a tablet.
I found the touchscreen features of Windows 8 clumsy when I first started using them on my PC. But those same features felt quite smooth and natural when I jumped over to a tablet. The ideal device for Windows 8 would be a touchscreen notebook or hybrid laptop/tablet. I think the OS will find a better home for itself once more of those devices hit the market.
I didn't like the Start screen at first, especially since it replaced the old reliable Start menu. But it has a certain appeal. I think live tiles are a great way to show all your updates in one shot. I usually spend a few minutes surveying all my updates and checking out the items that interest me. But then I jump to the Desktop when it's time to do some real work. And I still can't function without a Start menu, so I use Classic Shell, a third-party Start menu replacement.
Windows 8 is a first attempt at a different type of operating system, so it feels like it's not fully developed. But once you figure out its quirks and idiosyncrasies, it kind of grows on you.
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