In "Windows 8 Simplified," wordsmith Paul McFedries wields a wicked pen to put new users at ease. Paul writes lots of books, and he's by no means confined to Windows: "iPad 4th Generation Portable Genius," "iPhone 5 Portable Genius, and "Teach Yourself Visually Macs" have all appeared in the past few months. He also wrote "Complete Idiot's Guide to Windows 8" and cowrote "Windows 8 in Depth" with Brian Knittel. He runs the Wordspy website, which keeps track of new words as they enter the English language.
Windows 8 is really two operating systems in one package: the new Metro (for lack of an easier term) interface and the old Desktop interface. For me, the Metro side of Windows 8 is almost completely useless.
Yes, it does offer a few interesting tidbits -- I like the easy access to troubleshooting tools, which is kind of damning in its own right -- but on the whole it's not a serious OS. The interface is absurd on a regular PC (I don't mind it on a tablet, particularly the Surface), and apps are thin on the ground.
The apps that do exist are mere toys at best and hair-pulling, breast-beating exercises in frustration at worst. Fortunately, I spent 99 percent of my Windows time using Desktop programs, particularly Word, Excel, Access, and a Web browser, so day to day I rarely have to deal with the Metro side of things. That may be the only thing keeping me sane.