Obligatory Windows 10 Post

So Windows 10 came out a couple of days ago and I thought I would put up an obligatory Windows 10 post.

Anyway I’ve been playing around with Windows 10 insider previews for a while in VirtualBox and I’ve finally had the chance to play with it on some real hardware (a regular non-touch laptop) and I wanted to vent some thoughts I have about Windows 10 and “Windows as a service” (Waas).

First of personally I think the release of Windows 10 has been rushed out… Everything just feels a little rough around the edges. It sort of feels like the MS guys decided that Waas means get the release out and fix it later! Poor show really.

Secondly there’s the return of the start menu and the fact that app searching is linked to Cortana and system wide searches. The fact that app searches are linked to the global search means that they link to an internal database that gets kept up-to-date by a service, but it also means that apps may or may not immediately turn up in the search. In fact I know when I installed Visual Studio 2015 on the machine it took 25 minutes before the app search actually showed the link.

Then there’s Cortana. Ignoring the privacy concerns for a moment, Cortana just feels a little gimmicky for the time being. I have yet to find a use for Cortana, and I certainly am not going to be sitting at my computer talking to it or asking my laptop to be tell me a joke! Cortana on a tablet and phone does make sense (I have a Windows Phone so I know how useful it can be), but on a laptop/desktop it just doesn’t make sense.

Edge browser is also new and it’s quick… It starts quickly and seems to load pages quickly too, quicker than Chrome and Firefox. I work as a web developer so I’m very pleased to see Edge the default browser in Windows 10, although if you upgrade it defaults the browser to Edge even if you had Firefox/Chrome/a.n.other browser set as your default. It’s still not as feature complete as Firefox or Chrome, but it’s definitely better that IE!

Windows 10 now installs updated automatically. While in principle this is a pretty decent idea since it makes sure users computers are up-to-date, in practice I’m not so sure since it can break a machine without warning. I would have preferred to have seen Windows automatically install security and critical updates automatically and give users options about optional ones (such as NVidia drivers).

Finally just some general thoughts about Windows 10. There’s a lot of good there, and Waas has potential, but requires some tweaking. Then there’s the start menu, which is easier to use on a more traditional desktop/laptop system, but still feels a little rough around the edges (like quite a few areas of the OS). I suppose my biggest complaint about Windows 10 though is its lack of vision. Windows 8, for all it’s flaws, had a vision. It wasn’t perfect and it certainly wasn’t communicated well, but there was a vision. Windows 10 really just seems to be a way for MS to say “we listened”. They designed Windows 10 by committee and came up with a total lack of direction!

On the “rushed” nature of Windows 10 and the crazy amount of RC release images that came out in the months leading up to the release, the feeling I get is they are mimicking GNU/Linux (RMS friendly TM) releases. Now using it and waiting for the patches to fix the issues really reminds me of running X (choose your fave) Linux distro right after release.

Early days yes but I will keep playing with it for now :smile:

It is indeed early days and I’m sure MS will get it right eventually, apparently they’re already working on a service release which should be out in a month or so, and there’s going to be a new feature release early 2016.

From what I’ve read and understand Microsoft have a plan. Their aim is to get as many people onto Windows 10 to make it a viable target for developers, because by and large developers are ignoring Windows Phone/Windows tablets for their apps. They have taken a similar route to Ubuntu’s convergence plan to the point where at Build Joe Belfiore demo’d a Windows Phone that can be connected to a screen, keyboard and mouse and can be used as a desktop PC. Windows 10 installs are already up to about 14million apparently which is a pretty decent install base. And in all fairness it is a pretty risky strategy. If Windows 10 turns into another Windows Vista then MS will have pissed off A LOT of people. But then again if it turns out to be more like Windows 7 then it’s will have been a gamble worth taking!

In the mean time MS are releasing a lot of the .Net code that I rely on for work as Open Source (MIT License) so once that’s reached maturity maybe I won’t even need Windows for work anymore (although I have to admit I do LOVE Visual Studio).

I just realized how old my Vista laptop is. 8 years is an eternity in the software field. Maybe long enough to forget what the fiasco over Vista had been. Design by committee is not a good idea. However, Windows 7 could have kept the Vista name, for it was just a de-bloated version with some enhancements.

One thing is, really, that the internal release version of Windows 10 is NT 10.0. But, it could also rightly be called NT 6.4, for it is an evolution of the OS from Vista. It looks like it could be a good thing, but I’ll wait till I hear how the experience is in the wild.

I think the only issue with these things (other than privacy :smiley: ) is the lack of comprehensive features.

A link from a previous reddit topic on this issue, http://jasperproject.github.io/. Personally I think these new interfaces are great even if they’re in their infancy. What excites me about the Jasper project is it’s commitment to flexibility and modifications. While the featuresets of Cortana and the like might be pretty limited, once a framework for understanding human speech and the various backends to get useful information to use as an output are finished, it should be a great environment to extend in all different directions.

For instance, you could program a computer to try learn the English language, process and understand it in a very human way. Or we could have massive dictionaries of words, phrases mapped to various concepts, backends and outputs to provide the same sort of thing in a brute force way. The former would be better sure, but don’t deny it would be amazing that you could just talk to your computer and have confidence that no matter what you said it would give you the output you were looking for, perform the tasks you wanted etc. We could do the latter, it would be a lot of work sure but it’s doesn’t require massive breakthroughs like the former approach would.

I’d love to try think through some conceptual uses but making a decent list would take forever. Just imagine though, you sit down at your desk. Your computer is locked, you speak, voice pattern recognition unlock. Then you ask “Jasper/Cortana/Google, can you open up those spreadsheets I was working on on monday”, the screen then has a nice ergonomic listing of the spreadsheets you worked on that day. “Ah that one, third one down” the computer opens it. “The rental will cost £1000, not the £1500 they said it would” The computer searches for the £1500, noticed multiple occurances of it, cross references that with the column and row headers. Finds one called rental fee’s, uses a theosaurus backend to realise the fee column is the “costs” the user is talking about, edits the cell, asks for confirmation.

Or if you’re like Aq and like to sing in the shower, what about you just start with the first few words or even humming the tune of a song, the system scans through waveform metadata or w/e, then starts playing the song, it could even start in sync with you…

Basically my point is when this tech works well it’s going to be just stupidly cool.

Well the menu is kind of broken (or the way applications leave there links). So far several applications have not shown up on the menu all applications and can’t be found when searching. If you find the .exe and run it the application works fine. I typically delete most short-cut from the desktop but if an applications places one for you in Windows 10 better keep it as it might become the only easy way of launching said application >:(

Awaiting patch the fix (im)patiently.

Found this ghacks article entertaining.

I actually like the UI - and the start menu. Feels really sleek and clean, seems to be “glassy” yet crisp unlike that abomination that is Vista. That being said I’ve only played around with it for an hour or so, since it’s the secondary OS on my home laptop.

The privacy defaults are questionable though - first hijacking the browser as already mentioned, second, by default the setting is to re-share, peer-to-peer, your downloaded updates over the Internet (you can disable it or make it LAN only, but the default is such).

My 2cents

I actually liked 10 enough to use it as my daily driver. For now at least. I really like the UI and I hate to say it but my apps work better on it, at least hexchat and Firefox. I also have, rednotebook, krita, and gimp installed.

I am going to give it a go for awhile and see how it goes. I school soon and the. Curriculum is a little .Net centric.

I’m running Windows 10 at the moment and I have to admit there is a lot to like about it, especially coming from Windows 7 and 8, although it does seem that the key to getting it working well seems to be to leave it alone for quite a while after the installation’s done. The indexing stuff that it does to facilitate system wide searching seems to take an age compared to previous versions of Windows.

There are still a few “kinks” that need to be worked out. I think the biggest one is with the app searching in the start menu. Because it’s tied to the indexing service (I think) it just seems to take freaking ages for the right things to show up.

There are also privacy concerns with Cortana and the amount of information W10 wants send back to MS, and the settings to disable these do seem to be buried behind several clicks. I think something like the Ubuntu Unity privacy settings screen would have been simpler and easier to find.

On the whole I don’t think there’s anything actually wrong with Windows 10 per se, I think it just needs tweaking (I’m pretty sure the same could be said for any and all newly released versions of anything really). From what I’ve read there’s going to be a biggish batch of bug fixes in October (although the date keeps changing) so well just have to see how well things work after that!

Did you do an install or an upgrade? Or does it matter?

I have tried things both ways, doing an upgrade from Windows 8 and a clean install. Neither way seems to make any difference.

I think part of the issue seems to be that things like Cortana rely so heavily on the indexed data now that the indexing service is getting hammered. I would say that it’s my fault for attempting to run Windows 10 on a lower spec’d machine, but a dual core AMD E-450 with 8GB RAM and an (admittedly cheap) SSD really should be able to run Windows 10!

Thus far I’ve been doing quite a bit of bitching about Windows 10, so now I want to post something a little more positive about it.

  1. The Edge browser is shaping up to be awesome. I really think it’s a huge leap forward over IE (even the later versions of IE that focused more on standards compliance). As a web developer this makes me happy :grinning:
  2. On the whole it runs fairly well. It’s running on my laptop that was originally a Windows 7 machine.
  3. There’s some very very comprehensive controls for what apps can and cannot access. For example in the location setting you can either have location on or off, but if you leave it on you can change whether an individual app has access to you location as well. You can do this for a plethora of settings. Personally I think both Gnome Shell and Unity should implement something this fine grained because it really is very easy to work out what has access to what. Every privacy option also gives links to manage the data that MS holds, so for example when disabling location access with a single click you can get to the online page to clear your location history and delete any information MS holds. This is very handy and saves quite a lot of time!
  4. Speaking of privacy, although Windows 10 does collect quite a lot of information by default, it’s actually not too difficult to switch it off. Windows 10 will still phone home occasionally with diagnostic data, but that’s pretty much the only thing that you can’t switch off (although you can tweak how much information gets sent back).
  5. Personally I don’t find Cortana on the desktop all that useful, but you can easily disable Cortana, The good news is that disabling Cortana means that searches behave just like they do in Windows 7 (and as an added bonus everything feels a little snappier, although this is quite subjective). The search is still just as powerful, but doesn’t let you use the Cortana commands (like “take a note”, or “tell me a joke” etc).
  6. As I’ve already mentioned it really does work well for a “traditional” keyboard and mouse setup
  7. Startup, Shutdown and Restart are incredibly quick… Windows 8 was quick, Xubuntu was quick, Windows 10 is incredibly quick.
  8. Every “desktop” program I use “just worked”. I know this shouldn’t be something that’s worth mentioning, but it sort of is since Programs that were written for Windows 7 (released in 2009 - 6 years ago!) still work… I’m sure there are older programs that just work too, I just haven’t got any to test out!
  9. As you would expect integration with Microsoft services perfect - important for me since I use a Windows Phone.
  10. Integration with non-Microsoft services is pretty good - important for me since I use a Google account
  11. Although the app store is there, you can pretty successfully ignore it! The MS universal apps that come with Windows 10 are nice enough and shows the potential of the platform, but there aren’t that many of them out there. Existing Metro/Modern/whatever Windows 8 apps work fine so the apps I got used to working with Windows 8 are there and work.

So in summary as I’ve already said I think there’s definitely potential in Windows 10, and I think over the next 6 - 12 months we’re going to see a lot of changes being pushed down from MS. I would like to see the privacy options being opt-in rather than opt-out as they are at the moment, but then again that’s to fairly comprehensive and decent privacy controls it’s not a huge effort to switch them off. Cortana I can take or leave, but the enhancements they’ve made to the search and the fact that it’s available straight from the task bar and start menu is great.


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