Why you must upgrade to Windows 8.1
Microsoft's long gestating Windows 8.1 upgrade is now available for download. Designed to address the concerns of whiners and haters alike, it seems like it is one of those upgrades that is a must have now thing. And, it won't hurt one bit if it takes away the bad taste of Windows 8.
So, let's look at what Windows 8.1 has to offer and why you'd consider it upgrade worthy:
If you are on Windows XP: you have no choice. Microsoft isn't going to support you anymore and frankly, you're all grown up and you have to drop the security blanket. You are embarrassing yourself by being a contrarian. We do sympathize with you though because, XP is fine. It really is.
The UX and UI: Windows 8 took away the precious Start button. That was bad but only because the sleek, modern, live tile thing that replaced it was kind of good in theory but annoying in practice. The combination of flat design, monochrome icons, and text based settings menus was a little inconsistence. It takes some getting used to. Putting the Start button back in there is going to take away the geezer uprising and still leave the hipster Live Tiles and UI up for the young 'uns.
Apps, apps, apps: in Windows 8 you could only open 2 apps at a time, in Windows 8.1 you can open multiple apps. Yeah, did we mention Microsoft has gone all app sh** crazy on us now. With a new version of Visual Studio and tighter integration to getting apps into the Windows Store, Microsoft has amended it's kind of poor start to app-ification with Windows 8. Like we said, multiple apps can work side by side, and they can appear as tiles instead of icons. It's a different approach than Apple, say, and it's pretty innovative. Frankly, we are glad for one major reason: Windows applications and the people who built them, were beginning to look like they were living in another century. Windows 8.1 should unify Windows apps across platforms and with up to 8GB allowed for app packages, goodbye disc boxes for ever!
3D printing support: you've got to love this because it kind of gives you a feel for what made PCs great in the first place and that was the sense of being able to tinker with them. Macs are just what they are whether you love it or hate it. With PCs, you could build your own, mod them, and do all kinds of crap with them. 3D printing is kind of like the next gen of modding but instead of DIY desktops we are going to do DIY manufacturing. How cool is that? Suck it, Apple.
Miracast display standard: I'm personally a big fan of displayless computing. I've orgasmed on Chromecast, and wireless Miracast technology is just a huge thing for me in Windows 8.1. Miracast beams your display to any television or display that has a compatible receiver. There are Miracast receiver dongles that can be slotted into an HDMI port if the compatibility isn't innate. It's all good. If nothing else, by virtue of Microsoft's reach, I'm praying that this feature makes wireless displays standard so that I never have to hook up a screen again and have to dig around the back of a screen. I am also praying for world peace just in case you thought I was misusing my direct connection to the heavens.
SkyDrive and Bing: Apple and Google. Microsoft has caught up with its erstwhile rivals by including cloud storage seamlessly into Windows 8.1 hence unifying it across all platforms. And, dare I say it, Bing is just as good, if not better, than Google's search algorithm. Integrated into Windows 8.1 it actually does a better job of anything comparable from Apple on the Mac, or Google on Android. I will get taken out by a sniper at some point for saying that, but I am not afraid of talking truth to power.
Now, the truth of the matter is that Windows 8.1 is typical Microsoft: they get things better with each iteration. Windows 9 will be awesome, I am sure of it. The company got beaten up for Windows 8. They should get lauded for Windows 8.1. Microsoft should be as relevant as Apple or Google in creating new user experiences. We'll see.
At least one thing is true: Windows users and Windows developers should be happy, real happy, with Windows 8.1. And, the 3D printing industry should go through the roof. Time will tell.