The 8 Equation: Life’s a Drive
In The 8 Equation: Windows 8 for the Desktop PC we discussed the myth that Windows 8 is meant for just mobile devices. I stood on my tiny soap box and yelled to the masses hoping that anyone, anyone at all would heed my warning that computing had changed and that they’d better get on the train before it left the station. Sadly I simply don’t have the balls to do the same for SkyDrive, Microsoft’s newly-revitalized cloud solution. Why? I’m ashamed to say, I’ve only recently started to see the light on cloud computing myself. With this in mind I approached the cloud sync and storage solutions built in Windows 8 somewhat nervously.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Some of the most exciting things about Microsoft integrating the cloud into Windows 8 has to be the hands off approach to something as simple as using one account to manage all of your PCs, or what I’ve decided on my own to now refer to as Windows devices. In Windows 8, singing in with a Microsoft Account enables you to take most of your settings with you including, the colors and theming of your entire Windows experience, passwords, favorites and even a few app settings. As some point out, I’d like to see Apps in this list as well but that’s still an impressive amount of syncing going on. Just think about that for second. Nearly every Windows 8 enabled device you own won’t need to be personalized the moment you take it out of the box. All of your settings are there in the ether. (Yes, security conscious users can turn off.)
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Being able to sync your settings are one thing, but I don’t think any of you will be surprised to know that I’m more interested in what ramifications the integrated and reinvigorated SkyDrive will have on my media collection. A year ago last month, I decided to add a 64 GB solid state drive into my only computer. The changer over meant that I went from having a 320 GB hard drive to literally struggling to manage all of the data. Then Microsoft finally starting showing a little promise on SkyDrive’s web interface and I decided to throw all of my photography onto Microsoft’s servers. I’m happy to say –and really it was touch and go for bit, with Windows 8’s new features I don’t regret the decision at all. The built in Windows 8 experiences treats all those folders filled with shots of scenery and people making odd faces just as if it was locally stored on my PC, and with the built in SkyDrive app, I can too. Nothing demonstrates this more brilliantly than hitting the “Find My Music” feature in the Xbox Music and playing something from SkyDrive. Ditto for streaming things from SkyDrive using the Xbox Video as well.
Sure there are some things that are touch and go as far as cloud computing and Windows 8 are concerned –believe me, I plan on covering them thoroughly in my impending review of Windows 8 next month, but Windows 8 is perhaps the most cloud aware operating system from any software company to date. Oh and yes, I’m including the laughable joke that is Chrome OS.