Well OK, we got a laptop, we got Windows 8 consumer preview installed. You can grab it from Microsoft over here. And i did what any good geek would do. Put that laptop on the dining room table and told my daughter “kick the tires, tell me what you think”

Her analysis: “It’s annoying, Dad.”

Kindly father geek: “Why so, daughter?”

D: “Well, it keeps flipping from the boxy screen to this other screen that looks like a desktop, but has not ball or start button. I gotta open all the programs through those boxes. Who came up with that?”

F: “Well, when you pop around on your Ipod Touch, don’t you do that? Poke at a little box to get what you want?”

D: “Yeah, kinda, but this changing screens thing bugs the hell out of me. I just want to open the damn program, do what I want, and get out.”

F: (smiling at her pragmatism): “Well, it was built to be more friendly with a touch screen, so maybe that has something to do with it?”

D: “If you wanted a touchscreen, why didn’t you buy one of those HP boxes or just get an Ipad?”

F: “Well, some people might want to use this and type on a keyboard, or may not have a tablet or touch device.”

D: “Yeah, typing and moving the mouse while it flips between those two screens, that will save tons of time.” <rolls eyes>

F: “How does the browser work on that?”

D: “Well you installed Firefox and Chrome, I like Chrome. It’s fast and not a lot to get in my way. Bigger screen too.”

F: “What do you use on your Netbook?” <It’s an Asus EEE Netbook, in pink, and now she hates pink>

D: “I was using Internet Explorer, but it bugged me. That’s why you installed Firefox and Chrome on the Netbook. I just kinda use Chrome now.”

F: “So, if you were me, what would you do?”

D: “Wipe the drive and put Windows 7 back on it. That works.”

F: “Did you ever hear of Windows ME?”

D: “No. was it bad back in the stone ages?”

F: “I think I need a beer after that.”

So the final analysis by the “youth of America”…meh or skip it.

Our budding neural net worker also doesn’t seem to understand the difference between cloud storage and local storage..but then again, she’s the only one of her friends that lives in a house with a shared network drive, printer, etc.

I’m getting the impression that although the interface is “Pretty”, the inability to really “tune” it to your liking will be a turn-off to the young users. Oddly enough, they don’t care about the ability to be unable to import settings, etc. They want their DATA. Music, pics, maybe their bookmarks (unless they are already synchronized), documents. They don’t seem to want to spend a lot of time tuning the box anymore, but just to get it functional, double click, “Okay, I’m online” and off to Facebook or to play Angry Birds or Skype or iChat.

These 12-16 year olds just seem to prefer to put their data outside their control ..Dropbox (I LOOOOOOVE DropBox! I LOOOOVE Google Drive. It think it’s more that they can grab it from their devices and it follows them around, like a puppy. Or a dragon. Whichever.

For these kids, computers are becoming appliances. Like the stove, or the dishwasher. When it’s broken, you replace it. Just put the food back in and it’s like it never happened.
Steve Jobs may have been onto something concerning not being overly attached to the hardware, so long as the next piece has your stuff. But these kids don’t want to be tethered to the machine.

Or put into your boxes, Windows 8.

Now, there are a number of kids who build the boxes and push the hardware envelope. good. But what are they doing, really? The majority are going ONLINE and playing World of Warcraft. A select few are making websites or doing some coding (not script kiddie coding, these kids want to know PHP and SQL..I met a 16 year old who had a great conversation with me about HTML 5!)

At least 2 kids between 16 and 19 asked me to help install either a LAMP stack or WAMP stack, and had me talking about Apache modules!

In short, Windows 8 isn’t DOA. It is, however, running to keep up. I do like Microsoft Surface tech, but I give the edge to Apple and Android on haptic tech. I still want the HP touchscreen, but I still noodle around with the speech recognition on Win 7 (it’s better, not perfect!).

If anyone at Microsoft is reading, my personal advice from an educational tech standpoint: Don’t get rid of Win 7 quite yet..it’s a rapid standard, and it works well. I have little problems with it. A bit “bloaty”, but….

but, if you look at my previous posts, here it comes, ubiquitous tech is right around the corner. I will look forward to the day that I can sit wit ha glass of red wine while my grown daughter’s precocious child looks at her solemnly and says :

“What do you mean you couldn’t talk to the refrigerator when you were my age?”

<Disclaimer: Remember that my daughter’s statements are wholly hers, and not mine in any way. If you disagree with them, or the tone, do remember that I’m her only parent and she is a product of her environment!>