So trying to understand tile mode, I'm asking myself, what does Microsoft want me to do with this? I started when I was a child with DOS, and then got in to Windows 3.1 and have had every Windows operating system since then, and felt that each step was mostly an improvement over the previous with a some exceptions when features were left out. I have an iPad 3 and an iPhone 5, so I understand and appreciate the tile functions, but again I ask what does Microsoft want me to do with tiles on Windows 8?
I understand how things work with the iPad 3. You plug it in, and have a smaller hard drive than the PC, so you transfer some of your key photos or whatever from your PC in iTunes that you really want to take with you, and then now when you are out and about you can show some people your photos, with no file directory, or boot time, or anything complex, just here it is take a look, close it down and move on.
Tablets, by design are loaded and synced up with what the user needs on an average day to day basis due to file system navigation restraints, and hard drive size restraints. They only have the music you want to hear, the photos you want to see, etc. On a laptop or desktop computer however, I have a lifetime of photos taken on digital cameras that I don't want to loo at right now. I have a lifetime of spreadsheets from previous tax years and so on that I don't need to deal with right now. I have ten years worth of school essays and reports, and hundreds of PDF user manuals books.... All of which I don't want to deal with right now..... Maybe in five or ten years I will want to look at this stuff, but I don't want an thumbnail of all this clutter in front of me today.
For me to program my whole digital life in to a tile architecture would be very challenging, and then being able to navigate to find what I'm looking for would be an even bigger challenge.
Microsoft wants me to give up Desktop Mode and live in their new tile world. Understood. Okay, so the tiles are there, so I will click on one; Photos, let's say. It doesn't know what to do for me because I have to program the app. How do I program it from tile mode? I can't, but I thought I was supposed to live in this tile utopia? Go to Microsoft's website, and start watching tutorials on how to use each app. They all start the same, telling me to go to desktop mode. Okay, now take the pictures drop them in to the photo library, return back to tile mode, click on the tile. Okay, now I can use it. Now, when am I ever going to click on the Photo app and just use it to look at my pictures? As a desktop user, I'm not going to fire up my laptop, wait for a boot up and just for the sake of look at a few pictures in tile mode unless all I want to do is a slideshow. This Photo app is looking really cluttered now; I don't want to have thousands of pictures in my Photo app that I have taken over the last 15 years on my digital cameras, so I agree with myself that it would be much simpler to just stick with desktop mode and find the directories of what photos I want to see, when I want to see them while doing other things with the operating system.
This is reminding me a lot like how it was with DOS twenty years ago, when I had a blue screen DOS GUI, and had to program each selection on my menu to launch a program. Now, just think, I only have about another twenty apps that I may have to program from Desktop Mode to be able to use them in Tile Mode. Guess I will have to clear my weekend plans to do this.
Moving on, I'm trying to understand further about why the tiles don't feel like how they do on the iPad, and I realize that it has a lot to do with animated apps, advertising, and mixing native OS apps with traditional programs. On the iPad, the default apps are all the same size as your added on ones, they are all stationary and not animated. With Windows 8, I can now see that it is hard to find my Photo app, because it is animated with my personal pictures, and the word "photo" is now hard to read on the tile. Looking at the Tile screen is now starting to look like a web page that is full of pop up adds nagging me for my attention and distracting me. When disconnected from the internet the Stock Market and News app animated tiles are looking pretty silly showing off old stock prices and news since they have been cut off from their feed for a few days now.
Now with the advertising. Click on the Music app which launches Windows Media Player, and click on a song that I know I own, and it wants me to buy it again. What is this? Oh, it is advertising to buy a song I already own. There is so much advertising clutter in Windows Media Player, and the searching ability for my hard drive is so difficult, that I can't find anything that I already have, so I stay with Desktop Mode, yet again, thank you.
Now, looking at tile mode, where are the programs that I installed that are meant for other versions of Windows? I have to try and search them out using the App search in tile mode, but the old programs are not Apps, so it becomes hard to find them. Even if they are there on the tile screen, they all just launch right in to Desktop Mode anyway. So, I will just use them in Desktop Mode, but they aren't there because there is no Start Menu any more, and they didn't install to the Desktop background. So now, being crafty I have to go to Windows Explorer, or the Tile mode search to find my programs and learn how to pin them to the Tile screen and the Task Bar or Desktop.
Now, why is the Tile search feature so crippled? It doesn't find partial file names. Have to go to Desktop mode and launch Windows Explorer and do a file search there, okay now the files are found.
Email? Internet Explorer? Why are these Tile apps not in sync with my Desktop versions of the same app with my accounts, contacts, bookmarks, home pages, etc? I am now officially done with using Tile mode. I couldn't be bothered to manage the exact same program in two different worlds and hope they match each others settings.
Everything I have written is nothing more than an inconvenience to me, since I know what I am doing, but if I were an average user, I would not have a clue of what to do, where to start, or how to make it work the way I need it to work. Even to me the whole system is quite intimidating.
How am I supposed to find control panel settings? Some basic features are hidden amongst branching trees of settings in tile mode, and more advanced are in Desktop Mode. Here we go again. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth between Tile and Desktop mode.
Who is standing in the way of technological progress? I bought a new HP 64 bit laptop that came pre-installed with Windows 8 64 bit software. I turn it on, and realize that HP has made their programs all in 32 bit. Microsoft has done the same thing. Windows Media Player says it is 32 bit. Windows Media Player is the most resource intensive feature built in to Windows, and the one feature that I use the most and it should be built in 64 bit. Having it in 32 bit is outrageous.
Why are we running 64 bit hardware in 2013, and making 64 bit operating systems in 2013, but our software tailors are stuck back in the 1990s to give us 32 bit only?
My recommendations for a future update are:
Build everything in 64 bit from here on.
Let the Desktop PC and Laptop users have an option to hide Tile Mode altogether, and use Desktop mode only. Old programs require a Program Files menu system from the old Start Button, so I guess you really need to at least make a right click menu in the bottom left corner to bring a Program Files Menu back, or bring back the Start Button.
Also, bring back the Gadget Bar! They were the one feature in Windows Vista and Windows 7 that were very useful that I used all the time! Sticky notes, clocks, calculators, calendars, currency, stocks, whatever, right at the side ready to use, and not distracting. Please fix the security loop holes that were dangerous in the Gadget code, and bring them back as a standard feature.