Windows 8 will change the way you use a PC

For the past six months I have used a Samsung Series 7 slate with Windows 8 installed. I have to say, a Windows 8 slate like this Samsung or the Microsoft Surface will change how you use and relate to your PC. I will try in this article to share what I have experienced using this form factor actively in my daily life.

Setup

My Samsung slate has the following specs that is quite similar to Microsoft Surface except that it has 3G SIM card built-in

At Work

The most important thing for me at work is that I can access all functionality provided to me by my employer and be able to fulfill my role as

  • An Information Worker using the Office suite, SAP and intranet features
  • A Consultant accessing customer sites through remote desktop and VPN
  • A Technical Evangelist designing solutions, presenting and running demos

The features that is most important for me at work is

  • The desktop
    • I can be as productive as before accessing Outlook, PowerPoint, Visio, using Citrix receiver to access SAP and all the other tools that I am used to in Windows 7. The desktop is as it has always been and works best with a mouse and keyboard. The desktop is the productivity layer.
    • Here is a tip to easy access to the desktop when booting in to Windows 8
      • If you put the desktop tile at the top left of the start screen, you only have to press Enter to go in to the desktop
  • Hyper-V
    • I use Hyper-V as it comes with Windows 8 PRO/Enterprise where I have installed a Windows 7 client for full compatibility with VPN clients and at the same time keeping VPN clients separate from my primary OS. It works flawless and now that Hyper-V support sleep and hibernate I dont have to stop and start services and the VM’s are always running when I need them.
    • Here is a tip for Hyper-V and logging in via RDP
      • You can create an “internal” network in Hyper-V Virtual Switch Manager
        • Internal means that both the VM and host can access each other
      • Then you can create a NIC on your VM and connect it to your virtual switch
      • Your Windows 8 host will also get a new NIC which you can find in Network and Sharing Center -> Change Adapter Settings
      • Give both the host and VM an IP address in the same subnet, then they can find each other without using a default gateway
      • Now you need to enable remote access on the Windows client, and connect via Remote Desktop Connection
      • If it is a Server you are running in Hyper-V, you should be able to log on via RDP with just the right credentials
    • I have set up my VM’s to use dynamic memory and I don’t notice them draining my resources when I am not using them
  • Internet Explorer and favourites
    • If you log in to Windows 8 with a Microsoft Account your Internet Explorer favourites and browser history will sync up to SkyDrive. It also sync app settings, lock screen and desktop background
    • I like this because I finally can access my IE favourites from any machine I log on to which helps me not being locked to one device for being productive
  • Office 2013
    • Syncs recent documents list, dictionary, settings and templates up to SkyDrive. This is very helpful when working with more than one device and you want to be productive with any device you use being able to continue where you left off.
    • The Office 2013 that you install on your desktop is also polished with touch in mind, bigger buttons and full-screen view
  • SkyDrive and SharePoint
    • Is important in the Windows 8 timeframe so that you can access your documents from anywhere across devices
    • You can log in to Office with your SkyDrive and SharePoint credentials making it easy to open and save documents in private or public cloud.
  • Take the screen with you and go to meetings
    • What I love with using the slate as my primary device is that I can just pick it up from my docking station and go to a meeting when I am at the office. The formfactor is very meeting friendly and easy to use. It is also easy to pick up the slate and go to a silent room if I need to do a Lync conference or a customer call.
  • Use Microsoft Lync as before
    • As the Office suite the Lync 2013 client that you install on you desktop is “touch ready” and you will see the modern IU look in the Lync interface. The great thing about this is that you don’t have to wait for apps for Modern UI to be released. You can take full advantage from the desktop applications.
    • The slate has two built in cameras, one in the front and one in the back, that works out of the box with Lync.

See the Office 2013 video, I think it really brings out the essence of the new way of work.

At Home

What’s important for me at home is that I can pick up my slate and surf the web from an easy and responsive interface only using touch. It is a wife friendly hardware that is not dominating the living room, as my power laptop did. At home, when I’m not working, I follow Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, local news from the modern UI. There Internet Explorer is presented in full screen and it is easy to consume information. I also use the Read it Better app when I want to read blog posts and I often rotate the screen for a better reading experience.

What I have found is that I change the way I use PC at home. I now consume more information, read longer articles and watch YouTube, TED and web TV more often than before. I am now utilizing even more of the possibilities on the web. My slate can be everything from my book, newspaper, TV guide, comic book or what else you might consume digitally. I don’t have to worry if it supports flash or this or that codec if I want to watch video on the slate, because all the codecs that works in Windows 7 works in the Windows 8 desktop as well.

At the same time I can easily dive into the productivity layer, which is the desktop, and access Outlook, answering short emails, verify configuration in Visio or Word by easily accessing my latest documents if someone asks me about Lync or customer settings.

In a study situation

I recently attended the Lync Ignite which is a class spanning five days of technical training. We where handed all the training foilware in advance in OneNote. I spent the whole week taking notes with the active digitizer pen. The writing experience on the slate is the best I have ever used as you can lay your hand on the screen while you write. It is very responsive and its easy to use. OneNote 2013 has a full screen view so I could view the material without compromising viewing size with menus I didn’t need.

After one week of using this I am convinced that it really helps me be a more effective student and my notes are at the same time digitized for later viewing. I also liked that I could draw directly on the slides which helped me save time taking notes as I could highlight what I found important or comment on existing material.

No compromise

Windows 8 on a slate is a no compromise experience. It is a feel-good experience which makes you more productive and you get to show off the new way of work to colleagues and friends. This is very similar to Lync which also is a tool that can change how you work and relate to your colleagues. Together with all the form factors that Windows 8 comes with, from Windows Phone via RT and Slate to the power PC, I believe that Microsoft will succeed with Windows 8, both in the enterprise as well as for the end-user.

5 thoughts on “Windows 8 will change the way you use a PC

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