Be Modern, Be Bold

Posted: January 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

Windows 8/RT Modern Apps
Windows 8 and Windows RT both support steaming video, music and slideshows to your television like Apple does, but unlike Apple, it don’t require a proprietary Apple TV device attached to your television to do so. No Windows 8/RT can communicate to your existing networked blu-ray player, smart television, Xbox 360 or even Sony’s PS3!

Microsoft and Windows 8 are able to accomplish this by leveraging an industry standard called DLNA which was designed to allow you to share content between devices even if they are manufactured by different companies, or designed years apart.
This is not a new hi-tech feature only available in new products, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and networked Blu-ray players have had this capability for years.

Most people don’t know their electronics have this capability, because while it is built into Windows and with good reason, the Windows we all grew up using was never designed to do many of the things we commonly use our computers for every day. Each new feature or enhancement was added on top of the previous features. Afraid of breaking computability with older software, Microsoft, and Apple for that matter never took the bold move to design a new modern way to interact not only with our touch screens, but also interact with the electronics in our homes.

Microsoft has been studying the way people work and play for decades and while it never seemed they got the balance just right, it’s not for the lack of trying. The problem before was that they were always beginning by adding these capabilities onto of “Windows 95.”

“Windows 95” isn’t entirely gone, it sits alongside with Windows 8’s new Modern interface. However now the old Windows and Windows apps are called “legacy” apps and is margininalizd in new devices like Windows RT/Surface RT, and have been completely removed from Windows Phone. What was needed was a new modern user interface and Microsoft developed it

Windows 8/RT is not only able to change the way we use our computers and tablets and phones, but is also successful at exposing these new capabilities so that all users, young, old, novice or advanced could quickly and consistently either send what you are viewing on your computer to their televisions as easily as they send a document or web page to their printer.

Look, these are things that most operating systems can do, but just because your computer or phone can do something doesn’t mean that people will actually be able to do it. Like I said, this capability isn’t new to Windows, but Windows’ Modern user interface and design now make this capability simple and easy for everyone to do.
Surfing the web and stumble across a movie short, documentary or seminar on the web and wish you could watch it on a bigger screen, on your sofa with your partner or friends, or just b able to watch and listen to a lecture (TED Talks) on your television where you can actually hear it better?

Well, now you can do this using Internet Explorer 10 (Modern, not desktop version). So you have your video playing in a 4×6 inch window in your browser, no problem, reveal the Charm Bar with a swoosh of your mouse or swipe of your finger, select Devices an then you will be presented with the devices on your home network that can play the video, Smart TV in the bedroom, Xbox in the family room, blue-ray player in the study – no problem. Select it from the list and the video stops playing on your screen and instantly appears on the television you selected.

And don’t worry that it is going to be complicated to control the video you are streaming from your computer because you control it with your remote control – not the computer’s keyboard or mouse, no, you control it just like you would any video – by using the controller from your blu-ray player, “game console,” or television. Simple, the way it should be.
Look, is this new or unique? Not quite, Apple’s Safari’s browser has a similar capability, but you can only use this feature if you own an Apple TV. So in a household with more than one television, you would need an Apple TV for each television you would want to watch a video on.

This feature isn’t limited on Windows 8/RT to just web videos from YouTube (HTML5) but also videos sent to you via email, downloaded from the internet or recorded on your webcam, digital camera or video camera. There is no need to have a nest of cables and boxes making a mess by your TV since all these devices can easily connect to your computer with one USB or similar cable.

Microsoft Gets it
Microsoft “gets it” we don’t need more stuff, we need to be able to use the stuff we already have. There are standards like DLNA to fill this need, people don’t need to buy new products to accomplish these tasks any longer – well, you do need to upgrade to Windows 8 to make these features easily accessible. A small price to pay to use the products you already have sitting around your home; protect your investment.

What? The video you downloaded from the internet won’t play in the Microsoft Video player? No problem, go to the new Microsoft Store and download and/or buy one which does. The video will be converted on your computer and sent to a compatible format for your “tv.”

One other cool Internet Explorer/Modern feature is sharing or sending webpages to your television equipted with an Xbox 360! This function is enabled by Microsoft Smartglass technology and is made available for Windows 8/RT, Windows Phone, iOS and Android. Simply, swipe with your finger or mouse, reveal the Charm Bar select “Share” instead of “Device” and select your networked Xbox 360 and the entire webpage is sent to your tv – again, simple.

The Smartglass app allows you to use your handheld’s touchscreen device, the one you already own as a fancy trackpad and keyboard for your surfing enjoyment! Try it and then tell me this feature combined with a tv and web browser isn’t revolutionary – simply brilliant!

Microsoft is Not Out of Touch
Contrary to what you are reading in the press or hearing or being told by your “technical friend” that the PC is dead; Microsoft’s latest operating systems, Windows Phone 8, Windows RT, Windows 8 Pro, etc are not mature; they are half-baked; there are no apps available, etc. Know this, Windows Modern is not only an investment in the brave new touch friendly future, but an investment in the devices you already own.

Upgrade to Windows 8 Pro while it’s still being offered for $40, upgrade this weekend and stream a slideshow to your tv, watch that video of the puppy and the kittens on your bigscreen, watch that independent film on the web you wished would be release on DVD so you could watch it on your TV.

I’ll wager that soon after you upgrade you will be pricing that Surface RT tablet, you’ll be comparing the features of the latest Galaxy or Nexus phone with the best from Nokia and you will likely surprise yourself, your family and friends because the better platform is now solidly held by Microsoft and it’ partners.

Touch is the future of computing; Apple and Google will be making drastic changes to their platforms over the next 2 years hoping to catch up to the new Microsoft – and they are hoping to successfully make this change before you the user finds out how superior Windows has become.

So, be as bold as the new Microsoft, experience how a modern home and office should work and share your experience with your friends and show your “technical friend” some things he “can do” with other platforms, but doesn’t because it’s difficult or buggy.

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