Connect with us


Live Wire: Is Windows 8 right for your Phuket PC?



PHUKET: I’m very happy to announce that my latest book, Windows 8 All-In-One For Dummies, arrived on store shelves around the world just before Windows 8 launched on October 26.

At 1,080 pages, it’s not only the longest book I’ve ever written, it’s also the most complex. While Windows 8 itself isn’t considerably more convoluted than Windows 7, it has a second persona that makes it look and act like two completely different programs. On the one hand, you have the Mr Hyde “Metro” interface, which consists of flashy tiles, much like a mobile phone. On the other hand, the old-fashioned Dr Jekyll desktop looks just like the Windows 7 desktop, and acts almost the same.

A lot of people think that I hate Windows 8, but I don’t really. My review for InfoWorld wasn’t particularly positive – “The Info World Windows 8 Review – Yes, it’s that bad” drew howls of protest from Microsoft – but I think it made a number of fair points.

Yes, I’m painfully aware of the fact that telling people all about Windows 8’s foibles is a sure-fire way to lessen demand for my book – but so be it. Win8 isn’t for everybody.

If you’re working with Windows 7 on a desktop or laptop, and you’re accustomed to working with a keyboard and mouse and don’t particularly want to try anything new, there’s no really compelling reason to pick up Windows 8. In my opinion. On the other hand, if you’re working with tablets or smartphones, and the process of interacting with a computer directly with your fingers doesn’t put you off, Windows 8 is worth a look.

For people like me, who work all day every day with a keyboard and mouse, Windows 8 has some quirks that seem inimical to getting my work done. On the other hand, there’s no doubt that direct interaction with a computer is the way of the future, both with touch interfaces and with voice, so Windows 8 holds some attraction.

Which is all by way of saying… don’t shoot me, but I actually switched over to Windows 8 on my main machine last week. After years of testing Win8, pounding and prodding, I’ve finally made the jump to using it in the real world. And I’ll have to admit it’s not as off-putting as I thought it would be. There are a number of tricks, specifically ways to rig out the old-fashioned desktop so you aren’t thrown into the Metro tiled world willy-nilly, and I’m finding that those tricks work pretty well. I rarely find myself in the Metro side of things unless I intentionally go there, and there are just enough new tweaks for the old desktop that the upgrade’s worthwhile, even for a diehard Windows 7 user like me.

If you’re thinking about dipping your toes in the Windows 8 pool, a few admonitions are in order.

As of today, I’ve found precisely zero new Windows 8 machines in Phuket. The retailers aren’t stocking Win8 PCs, although they’ll be glad to sell you two-year-old-technology notebooks with horrendously inflated price tags. Caveat emptor has never been more appropriate.

That will change over time – retailers will have to get with the new operating system sooner or later – and when it does, you’re going to find that your friendly local sales clerk doesn’t know squat about Windows 8. I spent the better part of a month driving around the western US, dropping by dozens of computer stores, and discovered that with rare exception the clerks in all of the stores, including big-name computer places, didn’t have a clue about Win8 – and they were steering their customers in the wrong direction.

Here’s the most important fact you need to know about the new Windows: It isn’t just one operating system, it’s two. On the one hand, you have Windows 8, which includes both the old-fashioned
Windows 7 desktop and the new, tiled Metro Start screen. On the other hand, you have Windows RT, which looks a lot like Windows 8, but doesn’t run Windows programs.

Yes, you read that correctly. With a few highly qualified exceptions, Windows RT doesn’t run any traditional Windows programs. No Photoshop. No Firefox. No CSS. No Chrome. No Adobe PDF Reader. No VLC Media Player. No SpyBot. No Quicken or QuickBooks. No Windows Media Player.

The only traditional Windows programs that will run on a Windows RT machine are a touch-enhanced version of Office Home & Student 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote), Windows Explorer (renamed File Explorer), Paint and Notepad. Windows RT can’t run Outlook, no way, no how.

Microsoft has done a terrible job of explaining to its potential customers that there’s a huge rift separating Windows 8 and Windows RT.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with Windows RT. It’s built to take on the iPad, pure and simple, and it only runs programs from the Windows Store (Microsoft’s analog to the Apple AppStore). It runs on much simpler, lighter and power-miserly hardware. But if you go to a store and buy a Windows RT machine, you need to know in no uncertain terms that it won’t run any Windows programs – at all.

The key to Apple’s success, both with the iPad and the iPhone (and now the iPad Mini) has been the array of apps available online for just a few dollars. That’s where Windows RT fares poorly. There isn’t a single Windows RT app I’ve found that comes close to its Apple counterpart. Windows RT apps for Mail, Photos, Movies and Music, for example, don’t compare to iPad apps in the same areas.

Over the coming months, I’ll introduce you to pieces of Windows 8 that are of particular interest here in Phuket. For now, if you want to take the plunge and you spend most of your time with a keyboard and mouse, I suggest that you follow the steps in my InfoWorld article on minimizing Metro’s intrusiveness. See You may find that, with the right incantations, Windows 8 ain’t half bad.

And I’ll let you know when the book is available in Phuket.

Woody’s Sandwich Shoppes hold computer sessions under the tutelage of Seth Bareiss every other Wednesday afternoon, from 1 to 3pm. If you have a Windows problem that needs to be solved, drop by one of Seth’s free afternoon sessions. Details in the Phuket Gazette Events Calendar.

Live Wire is Woody Leonhard’s weekly snapshot of all things Internet in Phuket.

Follow him on Twitter, @PhuketLiveWire, and “like” the pages at, and now Google+, or send him mail at

— Woody Leonhard


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Road deaths11 hours ago

‘Drowsy’ driver crashes van, killing 3 Laotian workers

Thailand11 hours ago

Is the dream over? China walks back Belt & Road ambitions

Politics12 hours ago

Prasert levels 6-billion corruption accusations at Prayut

Sponsored14 hours ago

Segafredo Zanetti Coffee teamed up with Bangkok Airways and hosted “Bangkok Airways Surf Festival 2022”

Thailand12 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Baht plunges to 38 against USD for the first time in 16 years

Phuket12 hours ago

Phuket dwellers honour 10th Lunar Month

Thailand13 hours ago

Thai govt owes 100 million baht to hospitality industry

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand13 hours ago

BMA reveals Bangkok druggies buy yaba online 

Phuket13 hours ago

Delivery driver & customer brawl over payment in Phuket

Transport13 hours ago

Thai Airways flying high at Skytrax Awards

Thailand14 hours ago

Soi Dog Foundation steps up fight against rabies and dog meat trade in Vietnam

Visa14 hours ago

Thailand to extend Smart Visa scheme to draw talent

Cannabis14 hours ago

Can I take cannabis on domestic flights in Thailand?

Thailand14 hours ago

Thailand pays 3.8 billion baht for first train hub in hospital

Transport16 hours ago

Bomb scare on flight from San Francisco to Singapore

South16 hours ago

English teacher’s body found in South Thailand

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11