I thought I’d Just post a quick SEO beacon for people struggling to enable SecureBoot on their Gigabyte motherboards. A last-resort call to Gigabyte support got me squared away after a few days of finding limited help online. Having the same problem? If so, make sure you’ve done each of the following:
Install Windows8 in UEFI mode with the latest bios Optimized Defaults loaded (this should be obvious. If not, read up on installing Windows in UEFI mode.)
After Windows 8 completed installation, reboot to CMOS options, and change
OS Type: Windows8
CSM Support: Never
Secure Boot: Enabled
Secure Boot Mode: Custom (This contradicted what I found in my searching,before)
I hate to harp on the Start Button and former lack thereof. Microsoft has been sufficiently scolded for their Windows 8 mistakes, and Windows 8.1 has some really nice updates. I am just fascinated that the highly touted re-introduction of the Start Button in Windows 8.1 was likely the simplest of the significant changes to implement, and it has taken Microsoft over a year to respond to the resounding rejection of their bold button-ectomy.
I honestly admire Microsoft’s courage. That is, to reinvent a central feature that has been ingrained in our muscle memory since Windows 95, when the Start Button made it’s successful debut. Yep, that was nearly 20 years ago. It takes real guts to try undo something so core to the PC experience. It’s just too bad Microsoft couldn’t channel that fearlessness into more self-reflection and challenge their original assumptions.
The lack of a start button wasn’t the root problem with Windows 8, but it succinctly represented Windows’ stubborn insistence that we behave as if our desktops were small touchscreens.
The old Start Button in Windows facilitated something we in the UX biz’ call an “automatic” process because, through repetition, it required almost no brain power use. The elegance of the Start Button was reinforced by the name itself. Even a novice would feel invited and, most importantly, confident to click there first, making for a simple, short learning process. Just Start. The Start Menu that appeared after clicking the button used just enough space to show you your options, and disappeared as soon as your mouse cursor lost interest. The point is that you didn’t have to make a conscious decision to leave the menu. The Start button and menu were inseparable pieces of the same tool, serving the simple task of launching programs and then getting out of the way.
Novices and experts alike found themselves lost during their first minutes in Windows 8. After a few introductory, easy-to-forget tips popped on the screen, many found themselves stuck, staring blankly at the desktop wallpaper, wondering what to do next. Many who found the Start Screen couldn’t get out, wondering if their escape button was malfunctioning (today, thankfully, you can click escape to leave the Start Screen):
We can assume it was Microsoft’s expectation that, over time, we desktop users would embrace the display-hogging, wrist-killing, soul-trapping abomination they call the “Start Screen” of Windows 8. From my standpoint as a UX practitioner, some of the changes seemed so gratuitous and laborious that by the time I figured out how to use the Start Screen, I had grown to resent it. The sad thing is that I really wanted to like it, because lying within the befuddling workflows and protocols was some really pleasing UI.
Microsoft’s message was “Try it, you’ll like it.” To which, the collective desktop world said “No, really. We hate it.” To which, Microsoft essentially said “stop being so mean”:
“In this world where everyone is a publisher, there is a trend to the extreme — where those who want to stand out opt for sensationalism and hyperbole over nuanced analysis. In this world where page views are currency, heat is often more valued than light. Stark black-and-white caricatures are sometimes more valued than shades-of-gray reality.”
–Frank X. Shaw, corporate vice president of corporate communications at Microsoft
Never have I felt so stupid using a computer as I did when I couldn’t find my way out of the Windows 8 Start Screen. That’s saying something, since I’ve used Windows since version 3.0 in 1991. Learning to find the Start Screen without having a Start Button was annoying, but using the Start Screen was even more mystifying to newcomers; It required users to use gestures, hover over invisible areas at far corners of the screen to reveal important menus, all while the Start Screen and its apps dominated every last bit of pixel real estate on our multitask-oriented machines. The lack of a start button wasn’t the root problem with Windows 8, but it succinctly represented Windows’ stubborn insistence that we behave as if our desktops are small touchscreens.
And so today I upgraded to Windows 8.1, knowing I would be pleased by some of the enhancements, but ultimately wistful for what it could have been. Here we are, a year later, getting a start button that I almost don’t miss anymore, because I’ve learned to deal with it. And now that I see it, I almost feel sorry for the little guy, because when we said we wanted the Start Button back, we actually wanted the Start Menu.
It has been a little more than a year since rumors of a Valve trackball controller made the rounds. Today, we have proof that Valve is seizing the opportunity of bringing mouse-style input to game pads. Behold, the Steam Controller:
Except… hold on a minute. That ain’t exactly a trackball! Valve’s new controller sports a trackpad in place of the usual right-hand stick. The principle is the same: mouse-style, 1-to-1 movement control with your right thumb, but without the moving parts and likely maintenance issues of a mechanical trackball. In theory, the only thing missing would be the ability to spin a physical trackball (comes in handy going from corner-to-corner on a large screen).
I have to admit, I hadn’t seriously considered the possibility of using a trackpad instead of a trackball on a game pad like this. My relationship with track pads hasn’t been a happy one. In fact, every time I have to use a track pad on my laptop, I feel confined and clumsy. In fairness to the Steam Controller, that’s probably because I feel like I have to consciously avoid the large trackpad on notebooks to avoid accidental input. With the Steam Controller’s thumb-only track pad, I don’t expect this to be a problem.
If the Steam Controller can give us the responsiveness of a mouse, it should be a literal game changer and provide a critical piece in Valve’s mission of bringing PC gaming to the living room. I can’t wait to try it.
My last post was a bit of a tease, so here’s the rest of the story:
A few weeks ago I was surprised and thrilled to hear from Peter Von Buskirk, one of the engineers behind the promising but sadly ill-fated Whitefusion/Bodielobus controller project. Email subject “I am back – Reviving the Trackball? ”
Peter, along with his brother, have launched a Kickstarter Project to bring an updated, PC version of the Bodielobus controller to life. You may recall that the Bodielobus controller was intended to bring trackball input to consoles, while this new controller will serve as the first true trackball gamepad for PC gamers.
Though the Bodielobus controller didn’t quite get off thew ground, I’m happy to see that Peter’s enthusiasm and dedication to the idea haven’t died:
I couldn’t be more excited at the prospect of having both joystick and mouse input in the same device, especially in an era where many PC games lazily inherit console-oriented interfaces and menus. Hopefully, this idea will resonate with enough people to kick off the project, because Peter has greater visions in mind for the trackball concept, including console support and wireless capabilities.
If you believe in the trackball cause, I urge you to pledge a few bucks to the Trackball PC Game Controller Kickstarter Project. There are some nifty benefits as you increase your pledge amount, too. Remember, you only pay if the project is successful, so please show your support!