Windows 8 surfaces without me

Windows 8 surfaces without me

Summary: The October 26, 2012 launch came and went unspectacularly and I'm disappointed to say the least.

TOPICS: Windows, Microsoft
Tulsa's Surface Store

A product like Windows 8 only comes along once every 15 years or so--Windows 95 was the last such product--and it's disappointing to think that the whole thing left me a little underwhelmed. One possible reason for my disappointment might be because I missed the launch entirely*. I visited the Microsoft Popup Store the day of the launch a few hours after the initial grand opening due to some very bad advice. I regret the decision to listen to a third party and I accept responsibility for missing the launch.

Tulsa, Oklahoma was one of the few cities where Microsoft decided to build one of its so-called "Popup" stores. I think partly it is because our Woodland Hills Mall has an Apple store in it. Whatever the reason for it, I was very excited that just two miles from my house, I could go and witness this awesome event and report back to you almost live with video, pictures and opinions from users.

It didn't quite go the way I'd planned or hoped.

I showed up at noon, based on that bad advice from the PR person handling the local store only to see two or three people looking at the display. It was my hope to join in the frenzy of the initial opening and get some video reactions of people seeing the Surface for the very first time. Didn't happen. I'd missed my window of opportunity.

In fact, more disappointing than the bad advice was the fact that our store was really little more than a flea market booth with six Surface stations setup for people to look at. Sure, I understand that Microsoft had to make a showing here because of the Apple store but no laptops, no desktops, no netbooks and no specialty computing devices with Windows 8. Shocking. Really shocking. I also understand that Tulsa, Oklahoma is no tech hotspot but this was a pretty lame excuse for something this big.

I had higher hopes for what could have been. Instead, we got a token effort and I got nothing from the experience--except a missed experience.

After waiting for my security escort** for 15 minutes, I snapped a few quick pictures of the store and then bailed. Even the security people were taken aback at my late showing. All of the other media shmucks had been there and left two hours before I arrived.

Still, it wasn't a totally bad experience. I got to see the store. I got to look at a Surface from about ten feet away. I got to see a few Microsoft employees. I got to speak to the store manager. And, I got some pictures for my effort.

I also got to see the Apple store as I passed by. Full.

It's too bad that I'll probably never see another product launch that's half as exciting as this one was--at least for some of my colleagues it was. Maybe the next time around, I'll go to where the real excitement is, show up when I want to and get to do the job I want to do for you.


For me, I'm bummed. For you, I'm sorry.

I had a much different idea of how things were going to go on Windows 8 Launch Day. My wife even told me, "Wow, I've never seen you this excited about any product launch." She's right. I never have been. I usually watch these things unfold with a "Who cares?" attitude. This one was worth being excited about. I'm not excited anymore. Windows 8 is cool but it's just another operating system, when you get down to it. And, the Surface is just another tablet. Next.

*Hence the need to change my personal policies on such interactions. Any PR people reading this, you'll soon know what I'm talking about.

**Still not exactly sure why I needed that escort but hey, since I was playing by the rules, I thought I'd see it through to the bitter end.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft


Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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  • Excellent chance Windows 8 will be the most avoided MS OS ever

    Windows 8 was designed to meet the needs of Microsoft, not the needs of consumers.

    Does Microsoft think consumers won't notice?
    • Worst OS EVER.

      Yes, we noticed. Worst operating system EVER. Definitely not made for the PC.
      • Windows 8 : Productivity + Fun (Period)

        yes it is for PC, with desktop mode. and yes it is for tablet with metro.. what are you blabbering about ?
        • ......

          The stripped down anti productive desktop mode in windows 8 just makes it a nuisance to use. The entire forced one os with no install variation options killed this os for long time windows and Microsoft consumers. i have used windows since windows dos but windows 8 is just a mess. If they had taken the beta testers adv ice and suggestions they could hav emade this a win win os but they completely ignored the beta testers so not sure why they even use them. This needs to have a desktop laptop install option to not install the metro ui at all and to give you a classic full version with start button and the standard desktop. As is this os is the worse one evr. Yes I have used it since day 1 dev release and its just bad and is covered in ugly.The poor sales of the wp7 using the tiled metro os showed it is hated on phones and the online responses of distaste for it show its general dislike. Now the lack of any real demand for windows 8 and the polls showing no interest in it at all basically show Microsoft what its consumers told them a year ago.
      • It will be fine..

        There is a third-party program that does what what most people want to do on anything that isn't a tablet. It adds the start menu back and allows starting up directly into desktop mode. It only costs $4.99. It is Start8 by Stardock.
    • No it really will not...

      It is actually 10x better than the release candidates and I am enjoying it quite a bit.

      I upgraded my laptop to try it out and after having a positive experience there I decided to upgrade my Desktop as well!

      I am seriously very please with the OS and can honestly say, the positives far outweigh the negatives!
    • Nonsense

      I beta tested Windows 8 from Consumer Preview onward, and I've been using the RTM since its Technet release in August. I've been so pleased with the OS that it has, in fact, replaced OSX Mountain Lion as the default OS on my MacBook Pro.

      Windows 8 is clearly--CLEARLY--designed for the needs of the mass market, both those who know and understand little about software, and those, like myself, who are certified experts with more than a decade and a half of experience.

      Windows 8 is a GREAT product, and will no doubt become the baseline for all consumer OS's as we move forward.
  • Plenty of tire-kickers with hands-on in Durham, NC

    At our Streets at Southpoint mall, the MS Surface kiosk has about a dozen stations set up for anyone to walk up and play around with the tablets. There are several reps who are standing by to answer questions, swap the keyboards around (so there are plenty of opportunities to try the furry ones and the clicky one), and sell then units. I had to wait a minute or 2 to get to an unused RT. Fun stuff, and seemed to have plenty of "buzz". Of course it was a Sunday afternoon when the mall is about at its busiest, and I have no idea what the Friday opening was like, but MS is getting plenty of lookers now. The mall has Surface posters all over all the entrances, so no one misses a chance to notice it has arrived at the mall.

    • "Furry" vs. "Clicky"

      Enjoyed your descriptions. Very accurate!
    • ...

      I have seen any place with much interest yet for any windows 8 tablets but if those stands had less then few thousand people there then it is a fail.
  • Huh?

    Who did they pay? Certainly not me.
    • Shame

      You should have asked the store manager to re-imburse you for time lost and an hour's worth of travelling expenses (assuming you walked a four mile return journey). And maybe a little bit on top for the disappointment you experienced.
  • Windows 8 might as well be MS' last attempt

    Microsoft has a long history of spoiling everything that comes their way. They made a mess out of Office, Hotmail, Windows Live stuff, etc. Instead of learning from their past mistakes, each OS they develop seem to be less and less focused on what should be priority number one: data organization. Clearly they're too busy trying to adopt Apple's philosophy and relying on their imaginary "fan base" to give a damn about their customers.
    Rob Haddad
    • I'll take Windows 7 over any OS available

      Windows 7 is the best OS available. I have tried them all. Mac OSX, Ubuntu, all versions of Windows since 95 except Windows 2000. They are all good, but Windows gives you the most available software opportunities. I'm sorry but software vendors do not offer all software for every OS. Windows being the most popular OS gets the most software. I can buy a PC for half or 2/3 the price of a Mac with the same specs. All the other OS's out there don't offer support, and can't run the programs I need. So that leaves us with Windows. MS will be around releasing OS for years.

      Microsoft does have it's problems like all companies. They have a habit that every other OS release is a failure in the market place. I think Windows 8 will follow suit. If I upgrade to Windows 8 it will be a year or two from now, after we see how well it actually performs. I actually liked Vista. With the proper modifications it is as stable and easy on resources as Windows 7.

      Rob, what would we go to if MS stopped making OS's? I can't license Mac OSX for a PC. I have thousands of dollars of software that won't run on any of the open source OS's. Windows is the only option I have and I am not alone.
      • just stating the facts

        That's exactly the problem... we don't have an option anymore, and that's simply because MS won't give us one. With each new version of Windows, options have been taken away from the users. With Windows 7, we don't even have the basic funcionality XP had: there's no alphanumeric sorting of files, I can't arrange my icons the way I want, there's no classic menu option anymore ...just to mention a few. You know it's not the best OS when you have to purchase third party software to be able to do the things you could easily do before. This might not be a big deal for end users, but it's definitely a setback for businesses that have relied on MS for years, and you have to be blind no to notice the impact it's already having on the PC market.
        Rob Haddad
        • Classic menu missing

          Add the classic menu in Windows 7 with Classic Shell
    • "Windows 8 might as well be MS' last attempt "

      @Rob Haddad
      I'm confused by your comment; surely you're not serious, unless your seriously deluded...
    • ....

      Pretty much right on. Ballmer wants to be apple so bad he is willing to kill the company. i have no idea why this idiot is still working there. Windows 8 had so much potential if they would have simply offered 3 versions of install such as no tiles or metro install at all for desktops and laptops. Allow direct boot to desktop with classic start button options. They had the zune which was far superior to the ipod but did not advertising for it. Hotmail turned into this microsoft live garbage and the kin...well what idiot wants a social media phone to use garbage like facebook and twitter which most ripp from their phones as soon as they buy it.
  • Great day for Linux!

    See you in Fedora.
    • In your dreams...