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Archive for January, 2014

Roaming Desktop limitations

January 18, 2014 Leave a comment

In Windows 8 the Desktop Backgrounds which exist for the first account you link to your Microsoft Account, become your roaming desktop backgrounds. What that means is any other computer you sign into with your Microsoft Account gets those desktop backgrounds too. But there is one caveat; the Microsoft Account will only roam up to 20 pictures. As far as I can tell there’s no way to configure which 20, so it’s crap shoot. Better than nothing, and I suspect that the number will increase as time goes on.

Sadly for me I have roughly 60 pictures as my primary wallpapers, and hope that Microsoft will bump the limit soon. 

Dissapointments with Windows 8.1

January 11, 2014 Leave a comment

I know that lots of people heralded Windows 8.1 as an improvement to Windows 8, but I do not share their enthusiasm. I find the update to mainly be a disappointment. The two computers that I primarily use are desktop computers which both originally ran Windows 7, and neither of them have the touch screen. I am a heavy keyboard user and have only found only one scenario where I found using the keyboard to be worse in 8 than in 7 (context menu on start screen items). But upgrading to Windows 8.1 has left me with these disappointments:

  1. The Start Tip, aka. the return of the Start Button. I really liked getting rid of the start button. I hardly ever used it since Vita, and it took up space on the task bar. When the Start Button isn’t there I would virtually never end up with two rows of icons on the Task Bar, and now that it’s back I occasionally do get two rows of icons (which I find to be very annoying).
  2. The removal of the Search Contract. This is a big pain for me. I liked the Search Contract; I like the idea of universal search. I was equally disappointed when Microsoft removed it from Windows Phone in 7.5. I love starting an app, start typing and having the app respond. But with the Search contract removed, and I start typing in an app, nothing happens! It’s so frustrating, I’m trying to communicate with the program and the program isn’t listening. In Windows 8 if I start the market place I can start typing and immediately it starts looking for apps. It was awesome. Now, with the removal of the Search Contract I have to click on a search box to start searching; blech!
  3. Moving items on the Start Screen with a touch screen. This on only affects touch screen systems, and I’m kind of surprised that I missed it. At first I was really frustrated when I tried to move items around, but couldn’t. I just couldn’t do it. My toddlers seemed to have no issue with doing it. So I can see why Microsoft revisited how its done. But I got the hang of it before 8.1 came out, and actually found it to be really smooth once I knew what to do. Now I find myself trying to move an item, and it takes longer, and feels more like I’m using a computer than something that’s smooth and really advanced.
  4. The Messaging App. I don’t miss the Messaging App too much, but I know my brother does. I understand that Microsoft got rid of it in favor of having everything being done by Skype, but I think that it wasn’t time for that yet. The Skype team is still behaving like it think it’ll get sold off one day, and I still don’t find their apps/service to be superior to what Microsoft had at the time of the acquisition.
  5. De-emphasis of libraries. Libraries were introduced in Windows 7, and they were very useful. There are places where they were broken (like if you tried to upload files from a library), but I still think they made if feasible for ‘normal’ people to be able to share files on the same computer. Libraries are still there, but you have to have each user turn them on; and in some cases manually add the Public folders back.
  6. Modifying file properties when viewing the file through a library doesn’t work: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows8_1-files/cant-modify-properties-of-files-when-viewing/22ba1f23-51c0-45c9-8983-5b481b6281c2
  7. I have ran into weird permissions issue. It’s like the Windows team forgot about the important work they did in Vista to make sure that one can use a computer without having to be the admin. See SettingSyncHost is consuming CPU, and Unable to start some apps after upgrade to Windows 8.1.

Windows 8.1 isn’t all bad; it did fix the stupid Apps vs. Settings search pain point, but I wish that it would have continued on the path that Windows 8 put down more so than what it felt like it did.