Category: Desktops

Windows 8 – Where have I seen that Metro widget panel before?

So, my wifes’ computer crashed, with a completely trashed system volume, and no sign whatsoever of the Windows7 install media or activation key to resuscitate it. But What I did have on had was the Windows 8 Developer Preview. Free and not due to expire until late 2012.
So I stuck in the DVD and rebuilt the computer with this.
Then after playing with it for a little while, it struck me as to why pulling up the metro panel flt familiar.
OS X Lion moved all of its widgets into a widget desktop panel. You access it with a multi finger swipe on the mouse or track pad, and are taken to a sinlge screen with small widgets. I have mine showing me weather, the time in a couple of foreign cities where I have frends I occasionally skype with, a widget shiny what is playing on iTunes, and the lyrics, and sometime I setup small browser windows here too.
Then I looked at what was on the Windows 8 Metro screen. Most of the active tiles were just like the widgets in OSX. Some launched other full screen apps of course, and obviously those were optimized for touch (I also noticed just like on iOS, when backgrounded, most suspended themselves as indicated in task manager)
So neat, still faster than Windows 7, but nothing new here, move along. Just square, blue tiles instead of much better looking and useful, and well developed (after all they have been around for a few years) OS X widgets.


OSX Dashboard

Windows 8 Metro

Windows 8 Metro




iPad Keyboard – do you really need one?

Well, here I sit at Verve Cafe in Wellington doing something I find too cumbersome with the virtual keyboard on my iPad, typing a longer post into my wordpress blog. So what has changed? I got a cheap bluetooth keyboard.

I have resisted buying a keyboard for the iPad until now for a couple of reasons.
1: The Apple BT keyboard is pretty expensive at NZ$130
2: I didn’t really think I needed one.

I found a cheap chinese knock-off keyboard at my local computer shop, Quay Computers on Lambton Quay for $75. Expensive for a non-brand keyboard, but this is one of the better clones I have seen. The feel is very similar to Apples keyboard, only slightly rattlier, but as I use it it is bedding in quite nicely. It is completely plastic, so it flexes a little but it has good rubber feet and is weighty enough that it doesn’t slide around the table at all. It is actually quite pleasant to use. Also for the price, I dont mind just chucking it in my folio I use to carry around my iPad. After all, I don’t put much paper in there anymore thanks to the iPad 8)

Also as a proper BT keyboard, it can also do double duty with my laptop but it then does suffer some issues with not having a delete key, the escape is a padlock, and does not seem to act as the ESC key, but does have the advantage of being much lighter than the MS keyboard work gave me.

Why the web is broken

I have just realized why I now use my iPad more than my desktop for accessing my favorite websites:

This is what IMDB looks like in it’s iPad application. It makes full use of the smaller screen, the navigation elements are all completely interactive and intuitive, and it loads in seconds.

iPad IMDB App

The web app on the other hand, seems to take an age to appear, and looks, well, crap in comparison to the iPad layout

IMDB through Browser

This was shot on a 24″ monitor, the only app running on the desktop was my browser, and it was full screen. This is the layout IMDB showed me. Narrow, lots of plain text hyperlinks, small thumbnail images that ended up being smaller on my monitor than on my 10″ iPad screen, and riddled with ads. Less than a quarter of the screen was displaying information I was interested in.