I have to report, the road to Windows 8 has not been a smooth journey. There's much to like about Microsoft's new OS but the whole experience has left me feeling rather as if I'm the only person in this place to have actually upgraded to it.
First there was the great Firefox debacle - the badly documented fact that Firefox doesn't support Windows 8 (and, by the way, Chrome doesn't support Windows RT) only came to light after I had gone on a long journey to find out why Skype had stopped working. It's stopped working again but this time around I simply can't be bothered. I'm using the iPad for that instead.
Now Explorer, by no means my browser of choice, has also stopped working and I don't know what to do. There's no obvious option to repair or reinstall it. You can almost hear Barney's whiny Midwestern sing-song, 'Heyy, li'l guy! That's under the bonnet! You don't wanna go snoopin' around under the bonnet!' The support forums for Windows 8 have each got four or five topics on them, as if there are only about a hundred people in the world using this software. Microsoft support is so hard to find (particularly with a half-broken browser), I've just given up and installed Chrome.
The great selling point for Windows 8 is that it's touch enabled. If you've found yourself habitually reaching out to swipe a laptop screen, you'll appreciate the fact that you can now do it and have something happen. All of the great versions of Windows have had a 'raison d'etre' - Windows 3.0 sealed Microsoft's outright leadership not only of the OS market but of the application market, by breaking the DOS 640k barrier and simultaneously leading competitors to develop for OS/2. Windows NT didn't break. And Windows 7 wasn't Vista.
With that in mind, Windows 8's great USP is touch, but it hedges its bets with a desktop. So you have, effectively, two interfaces - the 'Metro' swipey interface and a desktop interface that isn't quite so touch friendly. So don't go putting that mouse on Dubizzle quite yet.
There are some parts of Windows 8 that really work. It's more intuitive and things are generally where you'd expect to find 'em. There's very little 'getting started' help - I had to Google how to close an app (a much clunkier gesture than Apple's) because there was nobody from MS telling you. Likewise, the relationship between the Metro interface and Desktop is something you're left to find out for yourself. Microsoft's Mail app is cool, but won't let you use the Search features within Gmail. It all feels a bit 'give a little, take a little' to tell you the truth.
And this is why I fear for Microsoft and Windows 8. If there were a major, mass-market interface competitor (if Google were hardcore about Chrome OS), this would be a very dangerous time indeed for Microsoft.
Windows 8 is an inflection point - and inflection points in technology are always terribly dangerous times. We're locked into technology by familiarity, and the greater our investment in an interface, the greater our 'stickiness' as users is. When you ask me to relearn that interface, you're asking me to go through the same pain barrier as deserting you and going with another provider.
The trouble with Windows 8 is it's a halfway house. The next version of Windows will have to complete the move to touch and finally junk the desktop, because Windows needs to do something huge, not something whimpery and tentative. That means applications written for touch - and there are very few of those out there right now outside games and the like. At this rate of adoption, developers won't be leaping to embrace Windows 8, either.
Having moved to Windows 8, I would probably counsel anyone thinking about it to stick with Windows 7. The pain of the move has been infinitely greater than any benefits I have gained. If that's the feedback from other users, the already reportedly slow adoption of Windows 8 is not going to speed up anytime soon.
I never thought I'd see the day, but Microsoft looks extremely vulnerable right now.