Tag Archives: Windows 8

Why The Surface (and Windows 8.1) Makes The Most Sense for Parents and Kids

I use many different devices. iOS, Android, Windows. iPad, Chromebook, Macbook, Surface, etc. I like to compare and contrast differences between systems and devices.. This post is about how the Microsoft Surface and Windows 8.1 works for parents and kids.

Why? Well, it isn’t so much the Surface and Windows 8.1, but Microsoft Family Safety. This has been around in Windows for a while, through the “Live Essentials” and what have you, but now it is built into the OS. Since previously I didn’t have kids, I had no use for it. Now with younger kids that want to play on my devices, I tried it.

On my Surface, I just created a kids account, and linked it to Family Safety. Now, when the kid plays, it tracks what they do. I can control what apps, what sites, levels of app ratings, time, etc. I get a report every week

If she tries to play a game or install something it won’t let her. It asks for password, it even asks “is your parent here now” so I can just put in the password. Pretty awesome.

Other systems and devices have nothing like this that I have seen, nothing built in anyways. With an iPad (or iOS) you really don’t have this control. Maybe if they have their own device, but if they share your’s you are out of luck since there are no accounts in iOS.

I have no problems now just giving her the Surface to play with – and I can track usage and set limits, pretty awesome. If you are a parent and have a Windows 8 or 8.1 device, check out the children accounts and family safety. You don’t even have to set up an email address for your kids, it just works as a local account if you want. Score one for Microsoft!

winpcap

Windows 8, WinPCap, Compatibility Mode.

I have been running Windows 8 since the 2011 BUILD conference, the dev preview, then the consumer preview, then the release preview. So RTM wasn’t much of a jump for me. I have it installed on my BUILD samsung tablet, as well as on my work laptop.

While I have seen a few things not work, that would be expected, one is WinPCap (packet capture) software , which is an integral part of Wireshark. Turns out it doesn’t really work in Windows 8, at least the installer doesn’t.

What I had to do was run the install in “Windows 7 Compatibility Mode” and it then installed and I could capture traffic.

build

Quick Thoughts from //build/

Was at the Microsoft //build/ conference. Like other conferences, you usually get your mind blown and information overload. No difference here. Excited about all the new announcements. Getting used to the new Samsung Win8 tablet they gave out. Once again Microsoft is going to change the game for developers, for good or bad. But most skills will translate. Windows 8 is very early. I can see potential. There will be metro style apps, and desktop (or “pro”) apps. Eventually users will clamor for Metro apps. The tablet is nice, a little big, fan runs all the time. Haven’t even scratched the surface. You can try to compare to iPad but they aren’t the same class of device. This tablet is a PC. iPad is a tablet. Looking forward to digging into .NET 4.5 (even though it wont be supported on XP). Looking forward to learning WinRT and Metro. Want to do more with OData and I think it can give some quick wins (Did you know that is the only way to query data from Metro?)

A lot more will come out in the coming months, and hopefully most if not all of the FUD will subside. I am excited again though as a “Microsoft” guy (even though I’m an “Apple” guy too! :) ) .. I can see convergence with Phone and PC, Cloud/Azure. Exciting Times.

I probably will have a more detailed post on things later, maybe not though :)

windows

Thoughts on Windows 8 Details

Yesterday at All Things D, Microsoft announced Windows 8 (codename of course) details, and a first glimpse on video
 

Windows 8 Video #1

My initial reactions to this, as a consumer and as a development manager of an app that at this time is completely windows desktop .NET based:

HTML5/JS Apps

First reaction? Why not just use a browser? and How are they going to interact with the OS? What level’s of rights will they have to read/write file system, etc, etc. Also, what happens to Silverlight? C++/Winforms apps? Yeah they show old apps running “behind” the new UI, but what is MIcrosoft’s stance on development of these other technologies? WPF? They have told devs to build using these tech’s for desktop for years, now, lets go HTML5/JS? WTF? Will apps run in browser too? On a mac? iOS?

Tiles

First reaction? Looks like an exploded Windows Phone UI, WP7. Which at first blush looks cool but I have found usability to be painful. Seems to be more of a shell UI on top of Windows 7 (or whatever). They should call it Windows Blinds Smile

In General

I think that this will be a good refresh for the OS, but it might take a few iterations for this new UI to be used heavily. My take? Users will get the OS installed and (hopefully there will be an option to) turn off the new UI and go back to what they have used for years. Slowly but surely the new UI will take hold with some cool apps and more and more people will use that and get used to it, abstracted away from the core OS explorer, etc.

Looking forward to trying it out in beta, and when it goes live. I will give MSFT this, they keep things changing so devs have to keep learning! Oh yeah, and PDC is no longer, it is now BUILD – http://www.buildwindows.com/