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A ten-year-old’s excitement over Windows 8 and more

Pete Brown - 19 October 2012

My son is 6 1/2 and my daughter is 4. Today, my wife had some of my children's homeschool friends over. One of them is a 10 year old boy.

He saw Windows 8 on my 6yo son's laptop upstairs and said "You have Windows 8?!?". He was very excited because he didn't have it yet himself. He started telling my son all about Windows 8 and what's coming. This is a 10 year old boy, mind you.

UPDATE 2012-10-21: I had almost this exact scenario happen twice again yesterday at the Nofolk Maker Faire. I was set up with tons of cool stuff, but several kids saw that I was running Windows 8 for the remote control demo, and wanted to know more about that. "Wow, that PC is a touch screen?" "You have Windows 8, cool!" etc.

So my son told him "my dad works for Microsoft, you should see his office" and then brought him downstairs to see me.

This is one side of my home office:


I know - it's like the geek version of Hoarders or something. I have a serious amount of interesting stuff in this office, including my new to me (as of today) used Synthesizers.com modular synth. Seriously. You can't even see my soldering station; you could lose hours just identifying all the stuff in the above photo.

The boy comes in, darts right over to the x220 touch laptop (sitting in between the blue JP-8080 and black dotcom cabinet) and starts asking me questions about it and Windows 8. I undocked it and let him play a very cool music app you'll all see in a week or so. He got right into it, figured out how to get to and navigate around the Start page and launch other apps. He used a combination of mouse and touch.

This kid knew his stuff and he had never before used Windows 8.

He then started telling me how much he loves everything about Windows and how he uses Windows 7 today to write, and play, and more. I was impressed with his knowledge and skill. When I was 10, I had yet to use a computer in person, even though that's the year the C64 went into mass production.


I showed him the article about the Big Tent going up next week for Build, and all our launch activities. I also clued his mom into the Windows 8 Upgrade offer; something she didn't know about.

His mom has an iPad which he uses just to play games Now he wants a hybrid laptop or a Surface. I bet we'll see a lot of those under Christmas trees this year.

posted by Pete Brown on Friday, October 19, 2012
filed under:          

19 comments for “A ten-year-old’s excitement over Windows 8 and more”

  1. Petesays:

    lol. I think this boy should get any commission.

    WPF: WPF is one of the best, if not the best, desktop development tool. I don't expect to see it go away any time soon :)

  2. Robertsays:
    My 12 year old daughter is the same. She loves it.

    But, going to something I think is more serious from the development side. I have been trying to find information for linking into SQL Server data and have been able to find nothing on it for the WinRT environment. Do you have some suggestions?
  3. Petesays:

    Thanks. I thought I had fixed that. It's fixed now.


    There are no direct SQL Server APIs in WinRT, currently. You can use a service call and put your SQL integration behind that, or if you want a local database, you can use SQLite.

  4. John Schroedlsays:
    I wish my 12 y/o (and also my wife) had the same reaction. We've had Win 8 on a laptop since I could get it via MSDN. My son says he'd love a new laptop but followed with "...the first thing I'd do is put Windows 7 on it." When I asked why, he says he does not like the browser and it's really hard to find things.

    My wife agreed. She hates the dichotomy between browsers and really hates that she can't see her favorites on the metro browser. I pointed out that right-clicked is needed in many many places and that was completely a shock to her.

    I really like Windows and MS products but I'm really disappointed with the (poor) discoverability in Win 8. I really don't think people will like it. The charms are out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Even with repeated reminders, my family just doesn't think to use them.

    +1 on the plea to enhance WPF (please fix the airspace issues)
  5. Petesays:

    Did you show him the desktop?

    Not sure what his usage model was with Windows 7, but most things are *easier* to do now in Windows 8.

    As to right click and discoverability: I do understand, but how did people learn to right-click in other apps on Windows 7 (and prior) to begin with? There were no UI cues there.

    As a developer, I spend mot of my time on the desktop. It feels just like it did with Windows 7 (but better multi monitor support, etc.). My frequently used desktop apps are pinned to the task bar just as they were with Windows 7.

  6. Herod Antipassays:
    Ah ah really funny, it remembers me the good old times.
    Is this the new strategy of MS? It has to wait about 10 years before they become consumers or MS is entering the toys market? Where can I buy a new copy of W8? To Toys'R Us?
    If I remember well, the first and most efficient technique to attract kids is to use vivid colors and catchy tunes, is the what W8 is about?
    If is it so simple, here a good strategy for MS:

  7. John Schroedlsays:
    @pete Did you show him the desktop?

    Yeah, I showed him the desktop. I think that Win8 boots into the start screen is maybe the most jarring difference for him. He didn't realize he could customize things (again, hidden in right-clicks) and still has trouble knowing where the list of "all apps" are. (Hidden under the Search Charm rock or right-click button).

    I can give some specifics about why he is so down on Win8:

    Strike 1 was that it no longer ran Minecraft after the upgrade. Win7 on the same h/w ran it fine. Win8 can't run it b/c the MS drivers for the Intel gfx card aren't as capable and it refuses to run. The drivers are up-to-date when I ask it to update them. Big blow there! Don't separate a son from his Minecraft!

    Another Strike against came just last night when my son tried to move over his Arduino Uno project. The drivers will not install on Win 8. At all. Nor will his Arduino Mega drivers. I will look into it tonight so it may be operator error but I would expect such popular hobbyist drivers to either be in the box or discoverable from the web search.

    I've come to peace with Win8 myself - I'm still not crazy about using charms. It feels quite bolted-on and not part of the app experience. The store doesn't allow good filtering -- I don't want to see any application in Chinese or Japanese for example. Ever. Can I do that? I really would like better search/filter criteria.

    Things were not quite as hidden under right-click menus in Dekstop apps IMO because things like Search or Print etc.. were on toolbars or discoverable menus. My wife just does NOT think to right-click stuff and she shouldn't have to IMO.

    Thanks for letting me vent. I feel better. Now, who knows something about Arduinos and Win8?
  8. Petesays:

    In all sincerity, I remember people saying the same things about icons and whatnot back when GUIs were a controversial move from green screens.


    Not sure what's up with the Arduino on Win8. Did you check their forums? (assuming it's a true arduino and not a clone). I don't have an Arduino handy, but I had no issues with any of my other microcontrollers being detected. Also, you can check device manager (right-click at the bottom left of the task bar) and see what it shows up as.

  9. John Schroedlsays:
    Ok, I ran home over lunch to try it myself. The key is that the Arduino drivers are not digitally signed. So Win8 flatly refuses to have anything to do with them. Ack

    I followed these steps:: http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php?topic=94651.15

    And was able to work around it and get them installed. At least it's a one-time issue but it will certainly deter many hobbyists just wanting to play around with the Arduino. I have no idea how someone like my son would figure out that magic shutdown.exe command line but the internet saved me this time.

    It would be lovely if the Arduino folks would sign the drivers but seeing as that's only helpful to Windows users there's a snowball's chance it'll happen. Maybe if I signed them and made them available? People trust me, right: :-)

  10. Stevesays:
    New tech is always interesting esp. for the kids. I expect Windows 8 will do well because I bet its been well developed and big money behind it for good advertising.

    Looking forward to the Pro-windows version. We will see - I have a great application but I need the old CDC USB support which Silverlight provides - I'm on that technology and just finished read Pro Silverlight book - sorry not yours Pete!! Maybe Windows 8 book if you have one/one coming out next year!!

    So, I'm behind the times but really impressed with Silverlight and look forward to developing the application I have in mind - all to do with car diagnostics. Next couple of years will move on like many developers if possible.

    Windows Surface looks great - tell the guys at MS to keep the good work up (& offer a choice between Apple!!)

    Merry Christmas from UK (...only 7 weeks away now)

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