Thursday, July 19, 2012

The gadget buying plan with Windows 8 in the horizon

Almost every day I glance through the PC hardware stores hoping to find an amazing deal that I cannot resist. But ever since I bought the GTX670, it seems that there aren't any upgrade paths left for this PC. Sure, I can replace the CPU with a 3930K or a 3770K, get a x79 or Z77 based motherboard, get a better cooler for the CPU, ditch the current hard drives and buy couple of 4TB drives, get a second monitor, get a second SSD etc. etc. but all of them seem like waste of money. (I'm not saying that I haven't wasted money before for a small performance improvement, but these options are not only small upgrades, but very expensive upgrades.)

So I have decided not to add anything new to this PC this year. But that does not mean that I will not buy any new gadgets this year. There is one gadget that I want and that is the Microsoft Surface tablet. All this time I wanted to buy a new tablet because of the coolness factor, not because they are any useful – they are not useful at all – but Surface opens up a new path. I can use it as a PC – that means, I will have all the software that I need. Any other tablet is feature wise identical to my phone (and even lacks ability to make calls). Just a bigger screen. Nothing special. But I already have a phone. I need more functionality.

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All this points towards the Windows RT Pro tablet, because I believe the Windows RT tablet, the Arm based one, will again be feature restricted because it won't have the raw power an Intel CPU delivers.

But there is a catch. What will Windows 8 turn out to be? I tried the Release Preview on my PC – the real PC – and it was horrible. It wasn't because of the start menu. I hardly use the start menu on Windows 7. I don't need it in Windows 8. (Even if there was a way to skip installing the start menu, I won't lose anything). It was because of the following.

  1. I cannot use the native Administrator account. I use it on Windows 7 because I don't want anyone telling me how to use my PC. If a virus sneaks in, I will not blame Microsoft or anyone else for that. I know the risks and I am willing to face them for controllability and speed of operation. You cannot run any Metro applications with the native Administrator account. I would not mind losing Metro if I can lose the whole thing. Having it there and not being able to use it goes against the whole point of using the native Admin account.
  2. The lack of uniformity is a deal breaker for me. When I was using the Samsung Omnia 900 which was based on Windows Mobile 6.0, one of the biggest issues I had with it was that there weren't any proper UI guidelines on developing products for the Windows Mobile platform. Anyone could develop them as they please. This is pretty much the only thing I commend about Apple. They always try to keep things similar everywhere. Same with iPhone. I am happy with Windows Phone for the same reason, but I don't like Android because it looks pretty much an evolved version of Windows Mobile platform. Now, I do have my iPhone jailbroken and there are a crap load of apps and tools that make it not look like an iPhone, but I am not using any of them.

    So, Windows 8 having Metro interface and the legacy interface makes me think that Windows 8 was not well sought after. Even with the restrictions of Metro, I would have been happier with a 100% metro based Windows 8 instead of this mess.

  3. Why does not it let me play BF3? I have BF3 on Origin and when I try to play it, Windows it telling me it doesn't know about any app that can open *this* kind of application. I believe it does not know that Origin is that one responsible for this. I believe it has a lot to do with me not installing Origin and the game as the Admin. Sucks!
  4. It takes a long time for the system tray icons to show up. I don't use the Start Screen so I do to the desktop as soon as I log in. I use AutoHotKey for launching apps using shortcut keys but it takes few seconds for it to load. (One reason why I don't use the Start menu is because I use shortcut keys to open almost all the apps that I use.) This is on the SSD. I don't know if this is a problem with Windows 8 in general or on this PC.

Anyways, I didn't use Windows 8 RP for more than a few minutes. It still needs improving. I hope they will polish it out with the RTM, but it will still look like Vista. All I know is, all the awesome features Windows 8 is going to bring – such as improved scheduler, faster bootup, faster installation (it took me less than 5 minutes to install via the HDD; remember the Windows 7 installation method?) , quick reset feature without needing a complete reinstall and fiddling with the user data etc etc. – will be shadowed by the woes of Metro interface. I really liked Zune as a standalone Metro application – it was million times faster than iTunes. Why cannot we just have Metro application without the restrictions of the Metro platform?

Anyways, enough nonsense about Windows 8. Regardless of what Windows 8 turns out to be, I will most probably buy a WinRT Pro Tablet.

So what else? Console?| I don’t know yet. Will have to wait till they release the next gen Xbox. I will decide then. But one thing is for sure, it won’t happen this year. My GTX670 is still brand new. I hope it will not need replacing at least for a whole year.

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