Internet Explorer Dev Channel and more for the week of June 16, 2014

Internet Explorer Dev Channel and more for the week of June 16, 2014

A lot happened this week. Microsoft releases Internet Explorer Developer Channel. Facebook Beta for Windows Phone gets a big update. Surface Pro 3 is now on sale. Amazon announces a phone about which I couldn’t care less. Let’s get to it! Continue reading

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Why Metro UI Doesn’t Have a Name (Original Article from Summer 2012)

I had originally written this article as a guest-post on newoin.net on August 2012. To see the guest post, please click here.

Montreal Metro Sign

According to Microsoft, Windows 8 is “a bold reimagining of Windows, from the chipset to the user experience.” This reimagining, then, brings a completely new user interface to Windows 8, an UI that is a    complete departure from any previous versions of Windows. And since the first unveiling of Windows 8 and throughout its public preview releases, this new UI has been referred to, by the community, as the Metro UI because it follows the Microsoft’s design language that was known as the Metro design language. Microsoft itself referred to apps running on the reimagined Windows 8 platform (WinRT) as Metro Style apps. Why, then, isn’t the term “Metro” ever referred to in the operating system itself? More importantly, why does Microsoft officially refuse to name the new, reimagined, user interface?

According to Paul Thurrott in Windows Weekly podcast episode 274, when asked, Microsoft personnel would gladly call the classic desktop as the Windows 8 desktop, but they would never call the new UI by any particular name. When asked explicitly what the name of the new UI in Windows 8 is, they just called it Windows. So basically, we have the Windows desktop and, simply, Windows, and not desktop and Metro. At first, this seems quite strange because why would there not be an official name to the new UI in Windows 8; I will admit that I was quite confused by this as well. However, given some time to think about this, I am able to understand what Microsoft is trying to get at.

The trick to all this is to approach Windows 8 in a fundamentally different way. That is, we must not think of Windows 8 as having the Metro UI on top of the Windows 7 desktop, but rather, we should approach Windows 8 as having the Metro UI as the primary UI with desktop as the secondary option. Conceptually, Windows 8 is Metro plus desktop, and not the other way around.  Technically, Metro is not primary nor secondary because both desktop and Metro is part of explorer.exe. But if we conceptually see the Metro UI as the primary Windows user interface, there is no need to really call it anything but the Windows UI. For instance, we don’t call the UI in Windows 7 the desktop UI or the Aero UI, but, rather, we call simply call it the Windows 7 user interface. This is the same with Windows XP, or Mac OSX. We call OSX’s Aqua user interface by, well, OSX user interface. The same principle applies to Windows 8, if we consider metro to be the primary UI. Metro, then is the Windows 8 UI, and because the desktop is now secondary in Windows 8, the classic Windows UI in Windows 8 is given a name of “desktop”.

Paul Thurrott does bring up a valid point that term Windows 8 UI is time bound, whereas something like Metro is timeless.  That is, when, say, Windows 9 is released, the term Windows 8 UI will make no sense. I completely agree with this argument. I believe the proper name of the Windows 8 UI is Windows UI. In Windows 7 and prior, for example, the tem Windows UI represented what is now the classic desktop. There was no need to call it Windows 7 UI or Windows Vista UI because the UI paradigm was the same in these versions of Windows. Because the UI paradigm is changing in Windows 8, the metro UI in Windows 8 is being referred to as “Windows 8 UI” rather than simply “Windows UI” for differentiation. However, I do think that in the future, the new Metro UI will simply be referred to as the Windows UI. I believe in the future, when we hear the term Windows UI, we will think of what is now called Metro and we will refer to the classic UI as the desktop. Similarly, we will soon refer to Metro Style apps as Windows Apps and the traditional Windows apps as Desktop Apps.

Windows 8 is as much a transitional OS as it is a reimagining of Windows. Hence, terms such as Windows 8 UI or Windows 8 Apps are only temporary, which will eventually be replaced by broader terms such as Windows UI and Windows Apps. Metro, or Modern, or whatever they are calling it these days may be still referred to the design language itself, just like Aero or Aqua is.

Report: REALLY Good News is Coming for Future Windows Phone Updates

windows phone 8This may sound like a dream but comments from Paul Thurott suggests that the days of waiting months for Windows Phone updates to be rolled out is over. Now, Mr. Thurott is not saying exactly what it is, probably due to NDA, but he hinted at some very interesting thing.

There are three hints from the Microsoft watcher that should be noted. First is a comment on his blog in response to people blaming AT&T for the delay of Windows Phone GDR3 update on devices such as Lumia 920. Earlier, Microsoft MVP Richard Hay suggested that the delay was not due to AT&T blocking the update but a technical glitch on the update itself, which Microsoft had to fix. Thurott confirms this in the following comments in response to people blaming AT&T for the delay:

“No one is to blame. An unexpected problem came up. It was fixed. It was tested. And then it was released.”

“AT&T wasn’t at fault for this delay and had no way of knowing when the problem would be fixed. It delivered the updates as soon as it got a fixed version of GDR2.”

Now here’s the second, more interesting, comment from Paul Thurott, on the same article. He responds to this reader comment:

“Now we can go ahead and prepare early for complaining about GDR3. :)”

Mr. Thurott responds: “No need for that. Stay tuned.”.

Finally, we have the best hint that suggests that something is really changing in the Windows Phone update front. Mr. Thurott, on What The Tech, responds to the following question by Andrew Zarian. The conversation starts at 20:40 minute mark and ends at 21:27 mark:

Andrew Zarian: “When the next release (GDR3) comes out, would it be coming on [Lumia 520]?

Paul Thurott: “Yes. I can’t say much about that right now, but there’s going to be some good news there….[the lack of updates] aren’t going to be an issue going forward. I’ll talk more about that next week. But that won’t be a problem.”

This quick conversation seems to suggest that something is drastically changing for Windows Phone updates that may put an end to the long delays on getting updates. Paul Thurott says he can talk more about this next week, suggesting that Microsoft might have something to announce along this line!

What are your thoughts on this. I am very excited to see what exactly happens, but if what Thurott alludes to is correct, we might be in for a treat!

Source: Supersite for Windows and What the Tech

This article was first posted on McAkins Online.