I could not resist the Amazon.com offer of $69 for a (seemingly!) full installation of Windows 8 Pro. My XP license is seriously ageing and Windows 7 is what I use at work, in the true Windows tradition, when it works, you forget that you have it.
So, yesterday, I found an old 1TB drive, unplugged my old XP boot drive (in case I really need to get back to it) and opened the Windows 8 DvD box. A word on that part – Windows seem to have found its way into this decade. The packaging, the DvDs, the extremely short and well crafted instructions made it look modern, stylish, easy and, well, “Apple”. Score one for the guys from Redmond.
Booting the PC with the DvD got me into bit of a mess with boot priorities and old Linux partitions on that drive – Windows 8 took it in strides and let me delete my partitions with rather scary ease. I am not quite sure, but I may have wiped my backup drive. Good thing – before I mess with anything Windows, I back up that drive. And then use the backup to make a backup with Carbonite…
Anyway, a white abstraction of a Windows frame pops up and well, stays there. Forever. While the DvD positively howls. There is no indication that it will ever end and since I used MS products for nearly 2 decades, I fully expect everything to just hang and die. Am getting a glass of wine, a laptop to run EVE and chat with friends and a cat for comfort. When suddenly the icon goes away and the usual questions appear (where do I live, what timezone etc). Ok, so that sort of worked.
PC wants to reboot a few times – fine by me, and then it logs in. Or I think it does. I have a pretty flower on my “desktop” and nothing else. Now what?
I need to add that I know nothing of Windows8. Unlike everyone of my EVE Alliance, I am not an IT expert and when I mess with PCs its in order to get the job done. I am an extreme luddite when it comes to upgrades and I only engage my brain into technology when something really breaks. Like my XP version. So, I miss all the interwebs blogs etc that explain how Window 8 is supposed to work. I kinda knew it was more a touch screen thing than an Operating system but to be honest, I did not expect it to be this different – on the surface at least. Kudos again to Balmer & crew. Looks like MS still has some balls.
So, I click around and by sheer trial and error find stuff but without muscle memory on the keyboard I’d be screwed. There is no start button, and I needed to Google (how I got to google is a story in itself) how to turn the PC off. In fact, MS says that you don’t need to turn the PC off. Just let it “sleep”. I want to turn it off. Thank you.
Overall, I get an eerie feeling that I have with iOS products that I am speaking to some benevolent deity. When I have questions, a deep voice from the ether soothingly assures me that I am being taken care of. “You want an off button, no you don’t my child. Trust me, I am smarter and wiser than you ever will be”. Ok, so I Alt-F4 until I find settings where I find an off button. Deity, take that. And it shuts down with so much speed and without confirmation that I think I broke it.
Ok, first port of call, where is the internet. Oh look a tile that says Internet. I click that and my screen explodes. Its not that you launch a program. Your PC turns to Internet. No toolbar, no nothing. How do I ever get out of it? Swipe motion? I am swiping with my mouse until I wear grooves into my desk. Alt-F4. Try again. While moving the mouse around various undetermined tool bars appear. The icons look like they have crafted by some Finnish Designer in black turtleneck and rimless glasses and all information what it means has been expunged. I click something. Something happens. There is no “back”. I am diving in, I am seriously not in Kansas anymore.
Ok, I force the Explorer to search. Bing comes up with its complete crapload of advertisements and funky little shit that nobody needs and wants. It hurts my eyes. I want Google. the deity reluctantly allows me to go there. I can almost feel it “sigh” in disappointment in me. Then try to find the one program I want – EVE Online. I download, I install, I fire up and damn, its fast. Ok, I have new hardware but it is seriously screaming. With all graphics settings on “insane”, I can have 2 instances running on two screens and each with 45-65 fps. That’s frigging awesome. I could not do that on any other setup ever. EVE looks deep, rich, vibrant. Ships look awesome. I undock in Jita in a shuttle and fly curves through the ball of scammers outside. I zoom, nothing stutters, even with > 1000 in local. Its just gorgeous.
But it is a new installation of EVE Client and nothing, nothing at all is the way I liked my screen. I am starting to mess with the POS in my WH and realize that in that short time I was messing with Windows 8, I kind of made a brain leap to the next decade of UI design. EVE Online looks like DOS to me now. Charming in some nostalgic sense (I wrote batch files for work the other day, really) but so totally outdated that I am worried how on earth CCP will ever catch up. Menus, submenus, title bars, minimizing, pinning, all of those crutches will go the way of the Dodo since they simply are not portable to phones, tablets etc. By tying itself so tightly to the PC, has CCP painted itself into the corner? Blizzard presumable the same and at least CCP is breaking out of the formfactor into DUST on the console.
It makes me wonder if EVE Online is actually sustainable over the next, say, 5 years. With the brutal shift away from PCs and laptops towards tablets and phones, is there actually a place for an MMORPG that uses standing PCs as a platform and really needs to be played on a 23in monitor with top-notch graphics in order to look as gorgeous as some other games on far less powerful machines?
In the meantime and while I ponder, Windows refuses to register me. Says my key is only good for an upgrade, not a brand new installation. Nowhere during the installation did it tell me that. Nowhere on the box or in the Amazon description was that warning. I am feeling oddly comforted that MS has disappointed my user experience. I was worried that they really turned the corner and became a threat to Apple….