Last week I started A Month With Windows 8 and I’m back to detail my experiences of the first week.
My initial impressions of Windows 8 were quite jarring. There is somewhat of a learning curve when starting it up for the first time and it became obvious that this wasn’t going to be a straightforward process. I had never used Windows 8 for any prolonged periods before and so everything was brand new.
I like the Modern UI (nee Metro)and it’s certainly a step in the right direction from Microsoft and is consistent across the board with Windows Phone 8 and Xbox also sharing similar UI’s. This made navigation easier as I’ve used both of those products in the past. It is clearly built for touch, though and this makes life difficult when you’re using a laptop without a touchscreen.
My next step was finding applications to replace the ones on my Macbook. I made a list of all the apps I consider “Must Have” on my Mac, they are:
I realised I wasn’t going to be able to get most of these apps but I figured replacements would be available. Chrome was easy, as was Skitch, Skype and Evernote as they all have Windows apps. The rest however I found a little harder.
I started with Twitter clients and the best I could find was Metrotwit. It doesn’t get close to Tweetbot in terms of features unfortunately an I had some issues with refresh etc. I also tried Rowi and a few others but Metrotwit seems to be the best of a bad bunch, I eventually settled on Tweetdeck in a pinned tab on Chrome.
Next up was Reeder. Twitter suggested NextGen Reader to me and this is pretty close to Reeder and has done a good job.
Marsedit doesn’t have a good replacement from what I’ve found. Windows Live Writer is the best comparison I have found but it just doesn’t have as many options as Marsedit and so I’ve taken to just using Chrome for my writing and saving the stuff in a Google doc.
Next was Sparrow, it’s not available on Windows and the built in mail client is pretty horrible for both reading and dealing with Email. I’m a big Gmail user so I need access to labels etc and I couldn’t find anything that achieved that. So I now run Gmail in a pinned tab on Chrome. Can you see a pattern emerging here?
Alfred is by far my most used app on OS X. Not in terms of time spent but probably in terms of time saved. I use it for tracking my clipboard, for searching websites such as YouTube, Amazon, Netflix etc. I update facebook and twitter from it, I can search my Gmail, it launches apps, it converts currency, its got all my text expansions and so much more that if I continue writing about it then this post will seem like a big advert. Without Alfred I am undoubtedly slower and less productive and nothing comes close on Windows.
Garageband is mostly used for editing audio and Audacity is managing to do that just now, iPhoto isn’t too much of an issue as I don’t have many photos on this machine yet. iLife is Apple software and is one of the big plus points of owning a Mac. Sadly Microsoft’s equivelant, in terms of bundled software, seems to be office.
So it seems at the moment this is essentially being used as a Chromebook but I’m constantly learning new things and despite the complaints above I am enjoying the experience thus far. I’ll be back next week with more and you can follow me on Twitter if you want thoughts as they come to me or if you want to help with the questions and issues I invariably tweet about.
Also, if you have any suggestions for apps etc, then please let me know.