In March of last year, Google announced Google Keep, a simple app aiming to be a quick and convenient place to jot down notes that would otherwise end up lost on scraps of paper in coat pockets, piles of paperwork, and washing machines. While it’s little more than a digital notebook, Keep has become my go-to notes application when I need to quickly write down ideas that occur to me on the go, names of bars and restaurants that I hear about from friends, short lists of groceries to grab when I’m out, or interesting apps and websites I want to check out when I have more time. For all I know, a couple of (design-oriented) interns could have built it over a couple weekends to promote Google Drive’s Realtime API, but that’s all a simple notes app should be.
I’ve used a Windows PC my entire life; from 9x to 7 and all the crap in between (looking at you Vista…). I was always surrounded by it at home, work, and school, and it was always the cheapest way to go when buying a PC. I knew how to use Microsoft Office, install any sort of program, convert any file, find anything in my directory, play whatever games I wanted – it did everything I needed it to.
Recently though it felt lacking. Windows 8 came out and I was rather disappointed with my brief usage of it. I didn’t feel a need to upgrade from 7, but I was playing around a lot with ways to make my experience with Windows better. I messed around with Rainmeter to make a custom desktop, something that kept things simple and gave me access to what I wanted or needed, and quickly. Even then, I got bored or fell into my old habits of using Windows normally. I still wanted to switch things up though…
I am a Windows 8 convert. It feels good to get that off my chest. I’ll admit that when I first saw what Windows 8, I had some big problems with it. I still do. See, what Microsoft is trying to do, what with creating one OS that spans all of their devices, makes sense. But here’s the one hitch: if you don’t create some differences based on the way that we interact with those devices, then it really doesn’t matter how hard you try, some things just won’t transfer. Windows 8 seems to be built for its mobile side. And it is elegant. But when you’re using a desktop computer without a touch screen, it has a lot of features that just don’t make sense. The fullscreen Window apps are very nice and sleek, but there’s no intuitive way to exit them. You’re supposed to click at the top of the screen, and pull down as if swiping with your finger in order to close one of these. It is just inherently unintuitive and I’m still shocked that something designed that poorly could leave a professional company offices. Now this isn’t really as much of an issue if you’re running Windows 8 on a tablet, or one of the hybrid laptop-tablets like a Windows Surface or the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro (which I have and will be reviewing at some later date). But it is a serious issue when using a desktop computer (a.k.a. the platform that Windows is run on the most by an overwhelming percentage).