Tales from the BasementTechnology Reviews and Tips
Windows One Review - April 2012
Reviewed by Tom Sciortino
"All reviews are the opinion of your basic, everyday staff media technician here on campus and do not represent in any way the opinions of ITS, Cal Poly, the CSU, the state of California or anyone of real importance".
Today I'm pleased to review Microsoft's latest Windows OS, the brand new Windows One. Microsoft has really gotten back to their roots with this new OS, offering a solid, distraction-free user experience that just works.
- Clean, easy to use interface
- Fun, “retro” design
- Lots of accessibility features
- Very low hardware requirements, and fast, easy install
- Great selection of productivity apps
- No more annoying Start button! (or annoying sounds, or annoying multimedia, or annoying networking…)
- Product scarcity (probably due to its immense popularity)
In the past, Microsoft has been known to “borrow” from its competition, but Windows One is a shining example of innovation and out-of-the-box thinking that we haven’t seen for quite some time. Let's take a closer look and see just what makes Windows One the "One" to beat!
Same, familiar task bar - but no more Start button
The User Interface is very minimalist, in both its style and its usage. File names have been shortened to convenient, easy to read abbreviations (like “WIN100.BIN”), and Microsoft has completely done away with those complicated, multi-button mice, opting for a much simpler single button mouse. Right clicks are no longer necessary or even supported (Apple, are you paying attention???). But don't worry, Windows One is fully backward-compatible with your multi-button mouse—I found myself often right-clicking by mistake, but Windows kindly ignored it and let me continue on with my work as if I’d done nothing wrong at all. It didn't even raise one of those loathsome "Are you sure..." dialog boxes.
UAC is dead for good!
When Windows 7 was released, one of the biggest changes was in the task bar. Not much has changed with this new release: Windows One also represents each task with a single icon without text, but Microsoft has taken the next logical step and eliminated that cluttered task bar altogether. Applications now minimize directly to icons right on the desktop. Personally, I found myself asking why this wasn't done 27 years ago.
There have been many improvements made to this latest version of Windows, and in particular, there's one annoyance you'll never have to deal with again: UAC (that much-maligned “security feature” introduced in Vista), is finally dead. But that's only half the story—Microsoft has actually done away with all networking of any kind—it’s just gone. By removing networking, Microsoft neutralized the single largest attack vector into the system. Quite simply, if you’re running Windows One, it’s impossible for you to get an email virus, spyware, or any other type of web-based malware. This is the most secure version of Windows ever.
Now yes, I’m sure some of you are saying to yourselves “but I need my network!” Well frankly, this Internet fad is long overdue to fade, and has already proven itself to be far more of a distraction to useful work than anyone anticipated. Personally, I’ll be relieved to use “Write Exe” (a slimmed-down version of Word included free with the OS!) without having to worry about emails popping up every other minute. If you want to use the Facetube, there are plenty of other ways to do it. With Windows One, Microsoft is saying, “Get back to work!” and I agree completely!
The high contrast Windows One color scheme
And today, more people than ever can get back to work! Accessibility is clearly at the forefront of Microsoft's new OS. The streamlined interface is very high-contrast, uses extremely large fonts, and limits color display to a maximum of 16 colors on the screen at any given time. This will be welcome news for the sight-impaired. And as for sound, less is more: Microsoft has removed the capability completely from the system. Not only does this make it a non-issue for those who are hearing-impaired, but also you save valuable money on sound hardware.
Speaking of hardware, it turns out this version of Windows has the lowest hardware requirements ever! And installation couldn't be faster. Via an easy to use command line interface, I was able to install it on my workstation in just over 4 seconds. The lower power hardware also makes Windows One the greenest Operating System we've ever seen from Microsoft. Running Windows One is just like giving planet Earth a big hug!
Windows One - never sacrificing style!
Finally, what would any modern OS be without apps? Windows One has all your favorite apps (like Notepad, Calendar, and Spooler) already included. Apps run in full screen mode by default, but can be tiled, making maximum use of available desktop space. All apps are in the same, high-contrast style as the rest of the OS—my personal favorite being the Clock app, which featured very hip retro-style vector graphics. Other apps are installable using a simple removable media interface (a roughly 5” plastic disk similar to a USB stick) and take only moments. No DRM, no App Stores, no fuss.
We live in exciting times, and Windows One is the defining symbol of those times. It’s the most secure, most accessible, greenest Windows ever. It waves a proud banner, high into the winds of technological change—a lone, courageous standard. A standard that says computers are for getting work done, so quit sitting around, you lazy bum, and get to it!