At the beginning of this month I ran into some problems with my old Win7 PC, and so I bought a new PC...which of course had Win8 in it. It's so easy to choose your OS when there is just one option. :)
The thing that happened with my old Win7 PC was that suddenly it just started to give me instant bluescreens every time I opened my internet connection, and nothing seemed to help. And I thought that the whole machine was broken, and so I bought a new computer...although some days later it turned out that the problem was in fact caused by the newest version update of Comodo Internet Security, which seemingly didn't like my mobile broadband connection, and the problem was easily solved: I uninstalled Comodo and everything worked fine again. :)
But, anyways I have now abandoned my old Win7 PC, and have moved my "office" into the brand new Windows 8 PC that I bought. :)
And after the initial disbelief and paranoia, I'm now slowly getting used to all the new "Win8 stuff":
In my mind I like to think it as a normal Windows that just has two "interfaces": The tile based "Metro" thing and the normal Desktop.
The Metro thing looks cool, but it's scary and too "mobile" for me, so I only use the normal Desktop, and thankfully I have Win8.1 so by default the machine boots directly to the Desktop.
But in a way I think it's a good idea from Microsoft: there are now two ways to use Windows; Metro and Desktop, and one can quickly switch between the two.
But of course in the beginning, because it booted directly to Metro, normal PC users felt that the new metro thing is being forced to them, and that the Desktop has been "taken away" from them, and this is why it caused such a negative reaction...
And of course the "My Computer" icon has been removed from the desktop (and seemingly there is no option to get it back there), and the start button behaves differently (you have to right click it to open the menu, left click takes you to Metro), and the screen itself now has "sensitive areas" in it (the corners and the top part; designed for touch screens, but works fine with mouse cursor too).
Win8 Lock Screen - and How To Remove It
There is also a "Lock Screen", just like in cell phones; the default waiting time is 30 mins, and if nothing happens for 30 mins, then after that the machine goes to the lock screen, and to get back to the Desktop you have to give your password...But I noticed that the lock screen, just like screen savers, can disrupt and stop certain tasks; for example complete virus scans and other tasks that one often leaves running for an hour or two. For this reason I always disable all screen savers and "energy saving" plans on my PC, because sooner or later these things will "ambush" you, and when this happens they usually disrupt a multi-hour automated task.
So, I thought that I would then disable the Lock Screen as well, but I couldn't find an option for this. And I looked instructions from the net, and found some discussions from the Microsoft support forum that said that it can be disabled only in Win8.1 PRO ( upgrading to that would cost 150e ), or alternatively you could mess around with the registry editor...
But I don't know if things have changed since then, because I found an alternative way to do it, through Display Configurations --> Screen Saver Settings --> Set Screen Saver to "None" and untick the box that reads something like "Require Sign In" or "Require Password" (I don't know what it exactly reads in the English Edition, just untick it), and also there is the "Wait XXX minutes" control; set that to something like 600 minutes. For me this way worked, and the lock screen didn't appear anymore.
So, the lock screen can be disabled without buying Win8.1 Pro, the option to disable it is just hidden away like that. :)
They should have just done it in the "smart way", by providing two options like this:
Screen Saver : YES-NO
Lock Screen : YES-NO
Hidden, hidden away the option must be.
And yes, this hiding of options is 100% intentional: We can know this because the Lock Screen itself has a separate control panel in the "Metro" part, but that control panel has no option to disable it. Instead, you must disable it in the way I described: Desktop-->Screen Properities-->Screen Saver Settings-->Untick the box in the Screen Saver Settings Screen ( and this settings screen doesn't even mention the words "lock screen" ) .
But as long as the option is there, it's fair....as fair as a Microsoft product can possibly be. :)
My own programs and Windows 8
Also now I have had an opportunity to test all my programs on Win8. And all of them seem to work OK.
The only problems that I noticed were:
Image save behaves strangely. The whole things relies on "screenshots" that are taken from certain parts of the window. But only the "Save Sigil 1" takes the screenshot from the right location, and in fact even it gets it the coordinates wrong. I'll try to fix this issue later this year: for a long time I been planning to make an upgrade to GC, but it has been delayed time after time...but now it's finally half-broken so now I have an actual reason to upgrade it. :D
All other Programs:
All my other programs have been made with BlitzPlus, and they are generally compatible with Win8, except for one thing: Full Screen modes don't work. All attempts to switch into Full Screen will crash the program in question. So this means that all M484GCS games also crash if you try switch into full screen mode. But windowed mode works OK. And because all M484GCS games always start in windowed mode, the problem we have is not that serious...but of course it should be fixed somehow...
But because it's a problem in BlitzPlus itself, I can't fix it myself. And BlitzPlus is an old programming language, and sadly it's no longer actively developed. But it's still possible that Blitz Research would one day make an update for it, and fix this full screen crash problem. So we can wait for that and hope for the best...Or then I could change the programming language that I use (there are a few options on that)...
And the third option is to remove the full screen option from M484GCS, or at least make it so that "Full Screen Mode" would no longer appear in the options menu of every game. It also might be possible to use a "stretched window" to "emulate" a full screen, (such as something like 320*240 game window streched to fill the entire screen) , but I have not tested this feature of BlitzPlus, I just know that theoretically there is a command for this sort of thing, and if it can't be done in BlitzPlus, then I think BlitzMAX at least can do it.
And in all cases I should make the resolution more "flexible", right now everything is stuck at 1024*768, this resolution I chose back then because most PCs use that as the default desktop resolution...but it causes a few problems like task bar overlapping with the bottom part of the window, and also one needs huge bitmap images to create game characters that are "big enough", which can consume quite a lot memory when the 1000 image limit gets closer....when a one level shoot'em up demo consumes more RAM than World of Warcraft, you know that something isn't right. :D
So, I think that in all cases I have to totally re-design the screen modes of M484GCS.
But it's hard to say when all of those upgrades can be made. I would say that the time table is "this year", but we'll see what happens.