Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Windows 8 power menu

I like windows as a development platform over OSX, this is my current belief, but I've had troubles with windows 8 UI simply because I am a long time windows power user. In windows 8 I spend most of my time in desktop view and always find myself going back to the main UI by accident because I think the start button on the bottom left is, you know... the start button.  Well it's still the "start" button but windows 8 style start button that brings up the crazy collage of things I don't use very much or find useful when I find myself on windows 8.

Don't get me wrong, I swear by Windows server products and that is the interface I am most used to, I do not use the Windows 8 UI meant for the masses.  There should really be 2 interfaces. I understand the desire for Microsoft to make their products less like computers and more like smart phones or tablets, there's more people in that market than appealing to an old hack like me.  What I thought would be nice is a power user's interface and one made for the masses.  Today I found out about "WIN - X" button control sequence.  This brings up the things that I use most as a developer / maintainer in windows to manipulate my system.

While I knock the Windows 8 UI I want to sing some praises for Microsoft at the same time.  Microsoft goes beyond and does a really great job to provide a stable native development environment and suite of free build tools.  Up until recently there was continuing support for older Win OS like XP for example.  This is gold for a product developer when you can span more platforms without any special build dance.  Microsoft has my respect for maintaining their legacy and the importance of doing so.  This is in stark contrast to Apple's mentality of obsolescence every 3 or 5 years yet Apple seems not to reinvent it's UI as dramatically as was done with Windows 8.

I over simplify the complexities of making a great product but as an engineer I feel it is important to build on a foundation that is not made of sand or one that has an unseen underground river eroding the foundations away.  The UI is not as important to me although old neural pathways are hard to retrain.

Here's the article that instructed me on "WIN-X" that I found very helpful

I felt this was a blog worthy topic, this took a lot of pain out of my windows  8 experience and is important to tell others who may not know the secret handshake.