Since our Labor Day weekend was supposed to be a washout due to the remnants of Hurricane Isaac (it wasn't, the forecast was wrong, big surprise) I decided to repave my development laptop with Windows 8.
First the dreaded start screen. There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth over this. I had a much easier time dealing with it once I realized it's just a full screen Windows 7 start menu. Actually (and this didn't hit me until day 3) it's the pin to start section of the start menu.
The start screen search feature did replace an application launcher called SlickRun that I install on all of my computers. Pressing the Win key to open the start screen and typing part of the name of the app that I want to run is very close to what I use SlickRun for.
Gripes? Application installers seem to find it necessary to pin EVERY one of their start menu items to the start screen. I don't know if that's a Windows 8 problem or an installer problem. Installers need to get smarter about what needs to be pinned.
Why isn't the time displayed somewhere on the start screen? Is it some kind of minimalist "modern UI" decision? The only time it's visible is when the charms bar is open. It's a little thing but it's annoying. I didn't realize how much I use my computer to keep track of time until it wasn't there.
The takeaway is that Windows 8 isn't bad. I want to start developing Windows 8 applications and it's only possible on Windows 8. Otherwise I haven't found a compelling reason to upgrade any of my other computers. Granted I haven't spent a lot of time looking at Windows Store apps, most of my time has been spent in the desktop which feels almost exactly like Windows 7 with some minor changes. While I do think it will be a good tablet OS, it's a tolerable desktop/laptop OS. I don't think corporations will be jumping to install it.