If we're being totally, completely, 100 percent honest, we settled for Windows 8. That's not easy to admit, especially after applying some well needed Updates (previously known as Service Packs) that zapped some of our original complaints. Don't get us wrong, it never was, nor is it still a terrible operating system -- the comparisons to Windows ME or even Windows Vista's early days are off base -- but certainly Microsoft didn't have our best interests in mind. By "our interests," we're talking about power users, enthusiasts, and generally anyone tech savvy enough to know the difference between RAM and a hard drive. Hell, Windows 8 designer Jacob Miller admitted as much several months ago (Microsoft's good at coming clean after the fact).
Truth be told, Microsoft catered to the lowest common denominator -- the ones who call you up every 3-4 weeks because their PC is riddled with pop-up ads again -- and attempted to hold their hands as Redmond walked them through its vision of what would one day become a beautiful walled garden where new and experienced users frolicked happily among the colorful tiles singing songs of praise. Our apologies if you just threw up in your mouth a little bit.
Here's the thing -- we've grown accustomed to Windows 8, and having spent copious time with it, we no longer feel the rage we once did every time the Start screen would load. That's partially because we're now able to boot directly into the Desktop, but the bigger reason is the one we stated above. We settled, plain and simple.
With that said, Windows 9 is on the horizon, and this is Microsoft's chance to atone for Windows 8 and earn back some street cred with power users. It's a do-over, and no, it's not too late. If Windows 9 comes out and blows our minds with levels of awesome we've never seen before, all will be forgiven (just as we've done before). But in order for that to happen, Microsoft has to get it right.
That's no easy task, so to help our friends at Microsoft, we came up with a list of 9 things we want to see in Windows 9. Are you reading this, Redmond? Good, because these 9 wishlist items conveniently assembled into a photo gallery collectively represent your golden ticket back into our good graces. Hit the jump to see what they are.
Assuming you have an Internet connection and can read this -- and who doesn't these days? -- then there's a strong possibility you're at least a little bit familiar with Google Maps. Maybe you use it to look up driving directions before heading to a concert at the other end of the state, or fire it up to find a gas station when the needle creeps uncomfortably close to E. But did you know you can use Google Maps for suggestions on what to do when you're in a new area? Or zoom in or out with one hand?
Summers never seem to last long enough, and before you know it, you're surfing the web for research rather than the ocean waves for fun. It's a bummer, but only if you let it be. Rather than slip into a deep depression as you count down the number of days until next summer, try focusing on the good things that come with going back to school, like new tech gear!
A variety of websites to put a smile on mom's face
Raising a geek has its challenges. Just ask your mother who could only shake her head when you straightened out your Slinky. She also had the patience to carefully and methodically peel the stickers off your Rubik's Cube to rearrange the color sequence after you messed it up and couldn't figure out how to solve the contraption. Your memory bank is probably filled with such shenanigans, along with loving gestures, like decorating a birthday cake to look like R2-D2 and finding Star Wars themed party favors to match.
Revisiting the top tech headlines of the past year
Another year is in the books and you know what? The PC isn't dead! Not that we ever thought our beloved platform was ever in jeopardy, though you wouldn't know it if you listened to analysts and market research firms predicting all kinds of gloom and doom for the desktop. We're happy to say the sky didn't fall, and as we look ahead to 2014, we're more excited than ever about all the advances in technology -- 3D printing, wearable computing, and advances in storage are just some of the things gaining momentum as we head into the new year.
Before we look too far down the road, however, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on some of the biggest news stories of 2013. We've put together a list of the most popular happenings of the past year based on a variety of factors including traffic, reader engagement, and of course editorial discretion. Some are included here because of their lasting impact on the industry, and others because they piqued the interest of you, our readers, and sparked lively debates.
Ready to get nostalgic with us? Then off we go as we relive the top 13 news stories of 2013!
Check out the latest releases to come out of Gamescom 2013
Gamescom 2013 was awash with hundreds of juicy pieces of video game news, with plenty of awe-inspiring trailers and brief gameplay clips that had us quivering with excitement for the next round of awesome games we're about to see right around the corner.
There's a chill in the air that wasn't there a few weeks ago, the leaves are starting to change color, and old man Jenkins has already called the cops three times because those pesky kids keep crossing over his lawn in the wee hours of the morning. Yep, it's the end of summer and the beginning of the back-to-school shopping season. Are you prepared? Do you have all the electronics and gadgets you need to survive another semester of classes? What about your offspring?
Flicks with a pulse on where technology was headed
You can yell, "Beam me up, Scotty!" all you want, the only thing that will happen is you'll elicit a bunch of bemused stares from passersby wondering if you've bonked your head recently. The sad fact is human teleportation devices don't yet exist in 2013, and even if they did, the tremendous lag would make it extraordinarily impractical. Such is the reality of science that it doesn't always mesh with our fantastic visions of fictional futures filled with flying cars and other implausible technologies. In other words, reality sucks compared to what we've grown up watching on television.
We like building our own PCs because there's a certain satisfaction that comes from hand-picking the right combination of parts, putting them together, and then fine tuning their collective performance both on a hardware and software level. A home brewed PC is never finished -- we can always add, subtract, or upgrade components, and over time, our machines become a living entity that grows alongside us. What started off as a lean, mean, pixel pushing machine may eventually end up as a whisper quiet home theater PC (HTPC).
100 pictures that include cosplays, toys, and Yvonne Strahovski!
Day one of Comic Con 2013 in San Diego just ended and the super-crowded event produced some of the best cosplay costumes we've ever seen. There was something for everyone, whether you were into comics, sci-fi, movies, or television. In addition to interesting outfits, we saw some crazy cool toys and gadgets, and even met Yvonne Strahovski!