Microsoft Next event in Tel Aviv

Work has been super busy lately, have had to deal with numerous server and database crashes, and have got worn out from extra hours, stress and personal troubles as well.

At the beginning of November I went to Tel Aviv to a Microsoft Next event in Tel Aviv.   I missed out going to this last time as I had the choice of this or an event at church.   I wanted to do both, but I ended up going to a worship event.

Anyway getting a bus to Tel Aviv, I actually got dropped off in a different bus station than the usual gigantic one which reminds me of David Bowie’s Labyrinth movie.   This one I think was intended for students at the nearby university.

Actually, don’t think I have ever seen IT products on Jerusalem bus shelters, but these Microsoft ads in Tel Aviv seemed well timed for this particular event it seemed.

Fearing I had left too late and wasted the morning, I was pleasantly surprised to be very early actually.    Too early in fact, so I got breakfast at a coffee shop for 36 Shekels, sat in ear shot of some American IT people chatting about plans for their own corporate network.

The emphasis of this event was on the new Windows 8 operating system as well as Windows RT and Surface which are touch driven tablet computers.

Tablet computers I find hard to excited about, even though they are buzzword at the moment.   I need to have a bit more play with the spare iPad at my work, but generally I find iPads and all tablets unappealing, the screen always tilts the wrong direction, and having it propped up with a special leather case always looks a tad ridiculous, as well as their higher cost than a low end Windows laptop with small amount of physical computing power and local storage.  The iPad has no SD slot or USB ports, so editing camera photos isn’t possible on the move, and is reliant on iTunes to communicate with a grown-up computer, not manageable in a large business environment.

The other thing they seem extremely unergonomic to work with.   The screen is highly reflective, and many people in Israel like to use their computers outside which is hard with bright sunlight without a way to pivot the display to the right angle, and seems like a way to easily get neck, back or wrist pain when using them in any kind of posture for a length of time.

Yes, I’m old fashioned for preferring a more established model of computing (desktop or laptop) and I need to stop being a dinosaur and get with the social media luvvie types who rave about tablet computers, and how a tablet interface should control everything even your toaster.    Tweet this piece of bread to Stephen Fry anyone?

After getting in this tent before you can go in the big boat house which is Tel Aviv’s coast, I realised to my horror you were supposed to be prebooked, the web site didn’t make it clear this event needed prior registration, which I never did and closed a week before the event started.

Drat.   Bummer.   Rats.

Windows 8.   I had a brief play with this, as well as I have Windows Server 2012 on my HP Microserver.   That Metro interface which Microsoft tries to keep the name more discreet thinking it got a bad reputation.

Trying to control your computer without start is highly confusing for both experienced IT professionals and people who only use computers domestically.   Even find shutdown is darn impossible without looking at documentation or a a Google search.    Other things like invoking a ‘Run’ command to do a DOS command, and many basic features, feel completely alien and unnatural.

Nevertheless, many people are claiming, “just embrace it and get used to it and you will like it!” to switching from icons and start button layout that’s been around between Windows 95 and 7.   I would like to see tiles of my browser favourites rather a text list at some point soon.

In my job I have to give users training of how to use the computers as tools to do their jobs, and can’t really see big companies taking this seriously.

Small, medium and large businesses want some degree of familiarity for users without too much retraining, and I just can’t see regular office workers wanting to work in this style.    I would be in favour of replacing the mouse with a larger touch pad, which Apple brought out for desktop Macs but doesn’t seem that popular so far.    Hey Belkin and Logitech, why haven’t you brought a product like this for both Windows and Mac?

Microsoft’s Windows Phone platforms still seems dwarfed by iPhone, Android and Blackberry, and with their lack of recent success it hard to see Windows 8 as a desktop environment and its  current Windows Phone counterpart appears to have never reached Israel, seeing as iPhone arrived much later but now is extremely successful even considering it may be as much as 200-300 shekels a month for 2-3 year commitment.

I need to roll out at least another 12 new PCs to replace flakey and old equipment at my work over the next 12 months, so I will be sticking with Windows 7 which is just fine thanks.

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