|Tom the Cafe Owner (Photo credit: Rob Young)|
The laptop failure came hard on the heels of the Great Phone Disaster and the unexpected brilliance of Nokia's Lumia 920 (A phone shopping trip into Dubai to get Sarah a new Android phone turned into a Lumia 820 buy on the strength of it) led to me having a 'what the hell' moment and getting a Samsung touchscreen Windows 8 Ultrabook thingy. The other factor in buying a touchscreen was the combination of Smartphone and iPad had led to me reaching out to my Lenovo's screen to touch things, which leaves you rather feeling as if people have caught you licking windows in shopping malls.
There's little doubt touch is the future - and it's interesting to note how many applications and websites aren't optimised for touch yet. But once you get touching and swiping, you tend to rather depend on people making their stuff, well, touchable. Too much of my past three weeks has been spent getting to grips with Windows 8 and the 'Metro' interface - a typical example was the unexplained shutdown of Skype's video calling. Many, many frustrated hours later I had finally worked out that Win8 doesn't support Firefox, which causes Adobe Flash to crash. And Skype uses a Flash plugin. It's all not terribly well documented - you can tell it's early days for Win8 - and your average Joe shouldn't be expected to have to deal with issues that complex in what is, let's face it, a consumer product. Meanwhile I've had to migrate browsers to IE10 until Mozilla catches up - and that's been a painful transition.
Microsoft hedged their bets with Windows 8 - you get the distinctive tile-based 'Metro' interface as well as a desktop to play with. It doesn't take long to work out why - Metro alone is not enough if you're going to start getting serious about creating and storing stuff. It's all very exciting and new, but the very newness of Win8 is evidenced by a lack of applications, support and 'critical mass'. And the passing of Windows' dominance, together with slow uptake of Win8, is hardly helping matters.
Anyway, weeks later I'm feeling almost back on track. Technology really can screw you up, can't it?