I love technology. Not so much that I crave every new shiny object. But I do love to get new things that make my life easier or extend my reach.
While I love learning and mastering new things, I know that not everybody is like me. As a business owner, I have to be pragmatic in what technologies I introduce into our workplace. I have to respect those people who would rather keep working with something that does the job just fine than spend time learning a new way of working for what might turn out to be a marginal improvement in productivity or capability.
And that brings me to Windows 8. On one hand, I see the promise of the first major upgrade in the personal computer interface since Windows 95. On the other hand, I am concerned that the effort to learn a new user interface will far outweigh its potential benefits. So I’m going to make myself the test dummy for Windows 8 at Thornley Fallis and 76design.
I’ve ordered an initial Windows 8 notebook computer to test Microsoft’s new operating system. It’s a Dell XPS 13, a truly sweet Ultra book. I’ve been using one of these systems with Windows 7 since last spring and it’s the best notebook I’ve ever owned. Thin. Light. Capable. So it’s a natural platform for my first test of Windows 8.
From what I’ve read, Windows 8 is a much different experience. It’s built so that I can navigate using gestures on a touchscreen. That works when I have the notebook sitting on my lap. But when I’m at my desk, that just doesn’t work for me. My notebook is hooked up to a larger second screen and it sits behind a wireless keyboard. A surefire recipe for back trouble if I’m constantly reaching across the keyboard to touch the screen.
I want to replicate the touchscreen gestures on my desktop, without the need to lean forward to reach my computer screen.
In anticipation of the launch of Windows 8, I ordered one of Logitech’s brand-new T650 Touchpads. This touchpad promises to let me use all of the gestures I would use on the screen itself, but on a glass trackpad sitting on my desk beside my keyboard where the mouse traditionally would be.
It arrived this morning. And within only a few hours of use, I realized that I will never go back to a traditional mouse. Even on my current system operating Windows 7 it makes everything on the computer easier. Scrolling. Selecting text. Switching between programs. It’s all just so much more fluid using the touchpad. Even if I ultimately don’t move over the Windows 8, Microsoft has done me (and Logitech) a huge favour by prompting me to look for a modern alternative to the mouse.
What about you? Do you still use a mouse? Have you tried a touchpad? What do you think of each?