Thursday, April 03, 2014

The sad realisation about Windows 8.1 Update 1

No it's, not the name.

So, the newly announced, latest update to Windows 8 adds better support for people using it on a device without touch.

Guess what? that's most machines running Windows.

Is it any wonder that, broadly speaking, people who don't have touch input on their Windows 8 machines don't use store/metro/modern apps?

You could argue that this is the age old story of Microsoft taking 3 versions to get something good but it just makes me sad.

I'm sad because I know how much trouble many developers had trying to even begin comprehending how to create a good touch interface when they'd spent their whole lives working with just mouse and keyboard. (And if I'm honest I've seen very few apps that work well with both mouse and keyboard.) For lack of any other guidance they typically followed what Microsoft were saying to create an interface that could be used by both mouse and touch input, but ultimately that didn't turn out to be the best advice and the underlying platform was inadequate for providing a good experience.

Ok, things are getting better but the rate of improvement seems much slower than the rate of change.

The thing I like about technology and the reason I work with it is because of the potential it has to improve lives. When that technology is mobile that potential gets expanded further still. Internet connected devices the world over are making tasks easier, improving health and even saving lives.

With so many smart people working in technology why do we still have so many low quality apps? Why are so many apps just recreations of things that already exist? Where's the innovation? Where are the people creating exciting new apps that push the boundaries? Or why are the majority of developers happy to just keep doing the same things over again? Why are developers happy to create sub-standard experiences just because of the limitations of the platform?

Let's push things forward.

Rant over.

4 screens and the cloud, and things

This is what I took away from the Build day one keynote. Microsoft are really starting to acknowledge that the future of computing is truly ubiquitous. Lots of different devices used in lots of different ways and all connected to the Internet.

Broadly, devices fit into two categories, those with screens and those without.

Those without being those that are part of the, still not widely appreciated or fully understood, Internet Of Things.

Those devices with screens comprise: phones; tablets; PCs; and TVs.
Of course "phablets" blur he lines between phone and tablet. Plus some laptops blur the line between tablet and PC. Generally though, these terms cover the vast majority of current computing devices and the terms are broadly understood well enough to be universally usable.