Win8 & Hardware: Going the wrong way June 13, 2013
Win8 and ThinkPad Helix: so bad it burns
I bought a ThinkPad Helix yesterday because I needed a lightweight travel machine to code on. I was hoping for some Haswell goodness from Apple, but that's not likely to happen soon and I need a travel machine this summer.
I chose a ThinkPad because I've always liked ThinkPads. My current travel machine is an X300, but that's capped at 4GB of RAM… not enough for getting work done… especially Scala work. The Helix had a nice screen and the form factor seemed right. Sadly, I could not touch the machine before I bought it.
I fired up the machine, logged into Windows so I could download Linux. And what an unbelievable horror show Windows 8 is. Where's the network connection? Where's the command prompt/terminal? Where's the logout button? Where's settings? No, I don't want full-screen applications because I'm flipping between things. And once I finally got to the desktop, all of the ways one manipulates windows and such has become a half-gesture/half-mouse, not good for anything disaster.
Yes, I like the visuals for the Win8 UI a lot. I think it's where Apple should have gone with iOS7. But the actual usability is terrible. Look at what people are going to do and help them do it… don't just be pretty.
If you play with an iPad, there's a simple, clean, fairly unified way to do things. More or less the same of Android. Win8 seems to be the worst possible combination of part mouse, part gestures. What were they thinking? I mean, didn't Microsoft do user testing?
And the Helix is an absolute horror. Lenovo is replacing the TrackPoint/Three Button setup with a Trackpoint and nothing to click on. The pad is an over-sensitive horror show. It's not possible to do any kind of position and click without the cursor moving just as you're clicking. There's no easy way to do click and drag. There click has become a tap… so you have to position the cursor, remove your finger from the trackpad, and then do a light tap to get the mouse click. I mean, what are you guys thinking?
I'm a Mac user. I've got a LogicTech Touchpad that I use on my desktop Linux machine. I'm all over touch pads and such. The ThinkPad's touchpad is just a piece of unmitigated pile of donkey vomit.
I'm trying to either return the Helix or sell it. Oy!
What are these guys smoking
How could these guys get it so wrong. Microsoft may not have design flair, but they have the resources to get it not horribly wrong… except they did with Win8. And Lenovo has had such a good think going with the ThinkPads. They are solid, reliable machines with excellent keyboards and track points. Why mess it up? Just build a business machine for the guys pounding on Word and Excel. Sheesh…
Or put quite bluntly: Win8 and the ThinkPad Helix are so bad it burns. It's just inexcusably bad.
It's Linux and Mac hardware and maybe some OS X for me
So, I don't know what the Microsoft and Lenovo guys are smoking, but they are so far wide of the mark with this hardware software combination. I think I'll stick with Macs. It's too bad the 13" MacBook Pro Retina doesn't have a 16GB option. It's too bad right-click on the Mac trackpad isn't as easy as left-click because I'd love to run Linux on a MacBook.