Having spent a significant amount of time researching the pros and cons of both Windows 7 and Windows 8 over the last couple of weeks I made a firm decision to replace two of our ageing laptops with variations of the Windows 7 platform.
So it was no surprise to those who know me that I arrived back in the office with both machines sporting Windows 8 badges.
As with most consumer purchasing decisions I had a strong emotional desire to stay in familiar territory. My logic supported that with the old analogy "if it works don't fix it".
The capitulation started as a result of my preferred choice, the sexy Asus UX31A ultrabook, not being available. But as the hours ticked by (how do minutes become hours like that?) I was finding myself being drawn more toward the Windows 8 options.
And in the end the decision was an easy one.
It was some years ago that we moved our smart phone technology to embrace the iPhone as Company Policy.
More recently I adopted the iPad 3. That had been more difficult decision as it seemed to me that wherever I took my iPad I would have to take my laptop anyway, so why bother?
However the iPad 3 gave me the ability to make presentations through a data projector without the need of my laptop. Furthermore I was then able to use my iPhone as the remote to control the presentation. That saved lugging around about 2kg of weight.
I was able to do enough with my Microsoft Office applications on the iPad to comfortably leave the laptop in the office for the day. The fact that iPad applications allow me to access our firms entire CRM system as well as other cloud-based applications was a huge advantage.
So I knew it was time to get over the Windows 8 tiles thing and recognise that they could provide an opportunity for productivity improvement rather than a barrier to entry.
And so it turned out to be. I can use the Windows 8 tiles when it suits me and I can just as easily use the familiar desktop when it is more productive to do so.
And like the home button on the iPhone, I am finding it easy to use the Windows 8 button to go back to the "home screen" and select a new application to run. It sure beats repeatedly clicking on the mouse to minimise and open up new programs.
The touchscreen has added another dimension again to productivity, and I must admit to already expressing a bit of frustration when trying to touchscreen the other Windows 8 machine (with the traditional screen) which is completely dependent on mouse and keyboard.
From a productivity perspective, Windows 8 highlights the best of the iPad and laptop worlds.
I got productivity gains by first decluttering the tiles which meant effectively getting rid of the Microsoft applications such as Internet Explorer, Bing, etc. and replace them with my preferred options such as Chrome. I was then able to group the tiles in a meaningful manner. So all of my processing tools such as Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Camtasia, Accountants Office, etc are in one labelled group while my communication tools such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Dropbox, Screenpresso, Skype and Gotomeeting are in another group and so on.
Because some of my clients are using dated applications (and still need help from time to time) I was even able to install and use legacy Office applications (including 2003!).
My conclusion is that having the Windows 8 tiles, familiar desktop and touchscreen finger tapping/swiping/scrolling choices available to the busy person is an amazing productivity trifecta.
Thank you Windows 8.