Tuesday, 23 October 2012

I'm going all in with Microsoft

It's been a long time since I've blogged anything. So long, in fact, that Blogger appears to have an entirely new back-end interface. I took a long hiatus from games development over the summer, only recently getting back into it. I'll save that for another post entirely apart from mentioning that Dreamland is not dead, and will be finished at some point.

This is the first in what will more than likely be a series of blogs where I lay out my decision to go "all-in" with Microsoft this year and beyond, and write about my experiences within the Microsoft ecosystem.

What does "all-in" mean, exactly?

I will be adopting and using the following hardware, software and cloud services in my personal life on a day-to-day basis:
  • Windows 8 Pro on my main home PC
  • Surface RT
  • Windows Phone 8 (More than likely a Nokia Lumia 920)
  • Xbox 360
  • Microsoft cloud services, to include:
    • Outlook.com for email, calendar and contacts
    • Skydrive
    • Xbox Music
  • Internet Explorer 10 as my primary browser (while having Chrome on standby for comparison)
  • Visual Studio 2012
  • Office 2010 now, 2013 when available

What I've been using recently

I've always been a "Microsoft guy", since moving from the Amiga back in 1999. My primary reason initially was because I'm also a gamer, and Windows was the only real way to game (outside of consoles) for the longest time.

More recently, I've stuck with the Microsoft ecosystem because I believe that Microsoft have, hands down, the best software development stack with the combined power of Visual Studio, C# and .NET. I work with Microsoft CRM and .NET in my day job, and I develop games with XNA as a hobby.

So what does my current technology usage look like, compared with the above list?
  • Windows 7 Ultimate on my main home PC
  • No tablet
  • Windows Phone 7 (Nokia Lumia 800)
  • Xbox 360
  • Cloud services:
    • Gmail for email
    • Google calendar
    • Live.com for contacts
    • Skydrive
    • Zune for music (with a Zune pass)
  • Chrome as my primary browser
  • Visual Studio 2010
  • Office 2010
Not exactly a world apart, right? Main differences will be Windows 8, IE as primary browser, and Outlook.com for email. I'll also have a tablet. I'm not even sure where a tablet fits in to my "digital life" - the Surface will mostly be used for development.

Initial trepidations

I have a lot of hangups regarding Windows 8. I've tweeted about them a fair bit, but Twitter really isn't the place for constructive ranting, thus the blogging. I'll go into more detail in subsequent posts, but making the leap from 7 is far and away the most daunting part of this silly experiment.

I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the Surface, and more importantly Windows RT. I'm absolutely of the opinion that the Desktop mode shouldn't be in RT, but I guess it had to be as Office won't be fully Metro-ised for a couple of years (if ever). That's really my only thought about RT as it stands - everything else will come down to daily usage and app availability.

Sidenote: I will be using the "Metro" moniker throughout. I don't care that it's not a thing, it was a great name and MS should have stuck with it, consequences be damned.

Using IE10 as my primary browser is a bit of a question mark. I've not been as vehemently against IE as almost everyone else seems to be, but I stopped using it in favour of Chrome a couple of years back. I don't know how this is going to go. I hope bookmark syncing is in there somewhere.

Why not Apple?

I get it. Apple make incredibly sexy hardware and couple it with software that just works. They have a quickly-maturing cloud ecosystem, and iOS has all the apps.

But at the end of the day, I'm a .NET developer and a gamer. Windows is the home for both of those things.

And besides, I like to support the underdog.

First Steps

I've put in my Surface pre-order. I have an SSD on the way to do a fresh install of Windows 8 (by the way, I've never used an SSD before). I'll have to wait to get my hands on a Lumia 920 as it sounds like they have an exclusive with Everything Everywhere and my contract with Three isn't up until April. I've started using Outlook.com and have forwarded all my current email addresses to it.

Here goes!

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