Windows 8 Has Enough Apps

Over the past week or more as things had been building up to the launch of Windows 8, one common theme has been running through a good number of the tech blogs and review sites, i.e. “Windows 8 does not have enough apps“. I call bull on that.

I’ve been running Windows 8 Enterprise Preview for the last 3 months on and off dual booted with Windows 7 and personally, I don’t use that many Metro/Modern UI style apps because I’m a coder, I live in Netbeans. But over the last week, many more apps have been added to the Windows Store and personally I think there are more than enough applications.

It’s been said and it has been proven many times that most people do not use more than 30 applications at any given period in their life time. How many games can one play simultaneously, if I might ask? At best, one will have approximately 5 good games they will alternate through given their daily schedule or interest. Currently the Windows Store has over 990 games. Some are crap, and others are pretty good. But truth be told, I’d only ever play at most 10 of them.

Beyond games, we have productivity suits and dedicated apps for web services, like the WordPress App I’m using to compose this. Most people will only ever need a handful of these, and the rest they can have access to directly via their favorite web browser. Then we have communication tools such as Skype, which is already present, and I expect the official Facebook and Twitter apps to arrive soon as well. In the mean time, I can use my web browser, or the Windows People application for Facebook.

News apps? I fail to see the need of these applications, when I can just fire up my browser and hit their web page. No added value in my opinion beyond wanting to have a presence in the store. And there are over 50 of these already in the store.

When I look at people using an iPad or Galaxy Tab, the above applications mentioned are all I see them use them for, and most of these basic applications are already present in the store, so I really don’t buy the argument that Windows 8 doesn’t have enough apps. Once again, I call bull on that.

I don’t think anyone should use that as a valid reason not to consider purchasing a Windows 8 device, and actually if you go Pro, you won’t need all those Modern UI apps because you can just install their desktop counterparts and get stuff done, or better still, open up a browser and hit the web service and get stuff done via that channel as well.

If you don’t like Windows 8 or you are already heavily invested in another platform such as iOS or Android, that is cool, but it should not be the basis for criticizing a platform before you try it.

I think Windows 8 is going to do well on its own and although I won’t be writing any Modern UI apps in the short term, I certainly will be putting a whole lot of stuff on the world wide web. So just get a browser and hit the interwebs. I always recommend Opera.

Windows 8 Needs A Notification Center

Using Windows 8 for a while now, I noticed it needs a Notifications Center – somewhere you can go to see previous notifications that have come in so you can react accordingly.

The current notifications just pop up and fade away after a few seconds, never to be seen or heard from again. Indeed it is true that you can go to the start screen to see apps that have counters for new notifications like mail and messaging, but it would be cool and functional to have either a pull down list or a dockable list of all notifications that can be viewed, since most often you would like to have quick heads up view whiles in Desktop Mode without having to switch back to the Start Screen to see what’s new.

These ideas certainly aren’t new and are already present in Andriod and iOS devices, but it certainly never  hurts to have functional additions to your OS over time. Windows 8 has a notifications button on the Setting “fly out” but it is only useful for disabling notifications.

That’s my rant for the day. Feel free to post your own ideas or additions below, perhaps someone from Microsoft might casually stroll by and send it off for inclusion in Windows 8 sp1 or Windows 9, whichever one comes first.

Microsoft Skydrive Waiting In The Shadows

I just read an article here: http://venturebeat.com/2012/09/23/microsofts-cloud-service-skydrive-is-great-and-no-one-has-noticed/ and just wanted to respond with my opinion here.

Personally, I use Skydrive and I love it. It is true very few people know about it but that is bound to change by the end of October when more Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices come to market. The skydrive experience is also not complete until Office 2013 is released and users can benefit from the document sync functionalities that have been built in. I’m using the preview as well and I think it is pretty solid stuff.

Microsoft is simply bidding time until all its products are ready, and then Skydrive will really take off. For us early adopters, we just need to enjoy the free ride until then because it won’t be completely free then.

Words With Friends Fixed In Opera 12.50

I’ve not been a long time player of the game but I noted that for a long time in the past, the web version of the popular Facebook game by Zynga had been broken in Opera. Not sure who made the fix, but as at Opera 12.50 pre-alpha the game works . 

Words With Friends

The long standing issue seemed to be a bug in the way Drag and Drop was being handled by the game. When tiles were moved from the rack, they disappeared from under the mouse, and could not be placed on the board. 

Opera 12.50 has seen loads of fixes to their Drag and Drop implementations so perhaps that has been the source of the fix for this issue.  

Anyway, back to gaming and taking down people in a battle of words 

Christian Java: A Lesson On Temptation

Today, with the help of Java, we take a light hearted look at an important topic pertaining to our religious faith in Christ: Temptation. No need to talk much, the code speaks for itself.

Christian frank = Christians.findByFirstAndLast("Frank", "Adams");
List<Temptation> temptations = Devil.getTempations();

boolean succeeded = false;

for(Tempation t: tempations) {
    succeeded = t.tryOn( frank );

    if( succeeded ) {
         Devil.celebrate();
    }
}

if( succeeded == false ) {
    MaturityLevel maturityLevel = frank.getMaturityLevel();

    if( maturityLevel.getDescription().equals("baby") ) {
        Devil.setNextTrialFor(frank, Period.getInstance("D3") ); // next 3 days
    }

    else if( maturityLevel.getDescription().equals("adult") ) {
        Devil.setNextTrailFor(frank, Period.getInstance("I60") ); // next 60 seconds. We need to try harder
    }
}

That’s all class. Anyone wanna do that code in Javascript? Might provide a bit more syntactic sugar :). Have a blessed day!!!

L & F Concept. Can This Be Done In Java Today?

Windows 8 Desktop UI Concept

I came across an awesome UI Concept for what could have been the desktop UI for Windows 8 yesterday whiles reading around on the Windows 8 blog. I immediately fell in love with the UI and personally WISHED this is what Microsoft should have come up with along side Metro as an upgrade to the Windows Desktop Experience.

After drooling over the UI for God knows how long and reading up on the comments, I asked myself, “How easily can such a UI be created for a Java Desktop (Swing/JavaFX) Application?”

I’ve taken the time to look around the Internet for Look and Feels for Java that come anywhere near this UI Concept and I have not found any as yet. I tried playing around briefly myself and realized the concept can be achieved but requires a bit of hard work (what doesn’t).

All in all I think the UI Concept is just the bomb, and personally I would be glad if Synthetica or Substance L&F had such a theme. It would be serious hit in my opinion.

Let me know in the comments what you think about this UI concept as well as the potential for coming up with something this stunning for a Java Swing/JavaFX application today.

Quick Impressions on Windows 8 Beta (Consumer Preview)

Impressions on Windows 8 Beta (Consumer Preview): Not sure if it is because I have a lack of desktop applications and don’t want to install them at this point, or that Microsoft have done their work well, but I seem to spend (want to spend) more time in the Metro Interface than the Desktop when in that mode. But once out of Metro and back in Desktop, I just don’t want to go back, but the bloody start screen always gets me back there. Metro seems to be serious waste of screen real estate when using a Laptop, because there is little reason to have all that free space, when icons, buttons or screen elements could be put there.

Metro IE 10 is good and works as good as my trusty Opera, so once in Metro world, going back to Desktop just to have Opera feels disconcerting.

Metro is a bit boring. Full screen all the time with slow(er) internet connectivity and the nonsensical requirement to login (Windows Live) to almost every app on the system is just annoying.

The App Store is pretty neat. I found a nice WordPress App to install and it works pretty well.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview is looking solid, but I wish my recommendations from my Wishlist article could have been implemented. Jumping between worlds is still not that fun in the long run. I’m going to install more desktop applications, e.g. Netbeans and SVN Tools, to see how productivity feels like with all the current changes.