Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Update: The Emotional Journey of Upgrading to Windows 8

So, in the wee hours in the morning I had the impulse to upgrade my Samsung Series 7 Slate to Windows 8.  Upgrading was quick and painless.  Playing around with the Tiled interface was interesting and tablety, moving stuff around viewing pics, visiting the Windows Store.  But then my troubles soon began when I realized it had severely broken the Touch/Stylus interface on the Desktop. Also broken was the Samsung Motion Sensor driver used for Rotation (not compliant on W8.)  I was in a state of Buyer's Remorse that first morning and pretty much all day Friday.  I seriously contemplated finding some way of reverting back to Windows 7, a major effort since I think it might have wiped the factory image.  Friday was spent Searching boards on information to revitalize the functionality of my beloved Slate.

Palm and Stylus not cooperating with each other in Manga Studio.
Even less so in Photoshop
Saturday gleamed some useful information as I found that I could Rotate again with a simple driver update from Microsoft.  I was still majorly worried about the Palm Rejection issue, as I had not found anything useful in the forums or searches.  I spent hours trying to use old Wacom Drivers, installing, uninstalling, reinstalling to no avail.  It was a huge annoyance and frustrating to say the least.

Sunday came around and in a forum post, it was like the Storm Clouds Had Parted and Rays of Sunshine Warmed My Face. Provided in the post was a link to Samsung's Windows 8 drivers (not before seen on the SS7 Slate Support Page.)  It was for one of their newer W8 tablets, but since they were pretty much the same, could be used for my older model ("older" being last year :P)  I could have just downloaded the new Wacom Digitizer (7.1.0) but decided, hell, install everything.

Testing out the new Wacom driver was like Mana from Heaven (almost)!  I could draw with the stylus and have my palm resting on the screen at the same time (for the most part).  I was so overjoyed that my main issue was solved that I didn't realize there was some quirkiness with the way the stylus behaved now.  One was that Manga Studio was severely laggy.  There was a noticeable lag in laying down brushstrokes and drawing tight circles looked more like ancient vector video games than a smooth circular path.  The program even took a while longer to close than in Windows 7.  Going in and disabling Touch relieved some of the lag, but it was still there for the most part.  Only after setting MS to XP Compatibility Mode, adjusting the Tablet setting in the Manga Studio, and uninstalling some of Samsung's unneeded progams (Touch Launcher and all that comes with it), the lag issue while drawing was gone.  Shutting down the program still seems to take a bit longer than it should though.

Downloading all the Samsung software also provided an amusing tool for those who really, really, really miss their old Start Menu.  They call it the Quick Starter, and it puts essentially a taskbar widget at the top (or bottom) of your desktop.  It can bring up a Classic Start like menu if you don't want to deal with going to the Tile interface.

What was wrong with the Checkbox in the Pen/Touch control window?
So the weekend installing Windows 8 was filled with Anticipation, Excitement, Disappointment, Remorse, Determination, Frustration, Elation, and finally Acceptance.  There is still some quirkiness to be had, and some features like an easy way to disable Touch to start drawing with the stylus is nowhere to be found.  I have to go into the Device Manager and sift through the Human Interface Device list and hit the right one (4th one down... most of the time. ;P)  In Tiles, I  can't get the Photos App to sort by File Name instead of Date Created.  It assumes everything you're looking at is going to be a photo, not a drawing, or a comic page which can be created out of order but put in order by File Name.  Otherwise, the Photo App would be a terrific (and free) comic book/manga reader.

Now that I have that out of the way, I was able to play around more with the Tiles Interface.  The store is meager to be sure at the moment, hopefully more apps for what I use in my regular browsing will be made.  Two of them Newegg and eBay were available as of this writing and decided to check them out.  Using the Newegg app is quite a different experience than looking and browsing through the website, though it is still familiar and intuitive.  It is easy to browse through categories  check info and even sort (using the pop up menu at the bottom).  The app looks great in either Landscape or Portrait mode.  I have yet to try to go and purchase anything or use the Cart, but that'll probably happen in time.  All in all a great experience.

The eBay app on the other hand, seems very limited in what you can do.  From what I could figure so far, there is no way to get into your account to look up Saved Sellers and other things.

The Netflix app was also a pleasant experience, easily scanning through my Instant Queue and Recommendations.  Search was to be had through the Right Side Windows Menu and was easy enough to do.

Sometimes it's nice to be able to just go where you want to go instead of having to open up your web browser and then jump to your site.  It's what the tablet stuff is all about anyhoo.  After the Emotional Rollercoaster I've had Installing Windows 8, I think I can finally settle down and start Enjoying Windows 8. :D

Friday, October 26, 2012

Windows 8 on the Slate is not all that Great (ATM)

Alrighty, I normally stay up fairly late, and since Windows 8 was being released at midnight, I decided to upgrade my Samsung Series 7 Slate (been using for drawing since March) for the $40.  Downloading the 2GB through their Update Assistant was fairly quick and installing was not much of a hassle.  I had to uninstall some programs that the UA said I should before installing W8 and I did so.  Installation itself took a little time, and there were no hangups.

Once I got into the new Tiles interface and using Touch, it took a little getting used to.  Some options and settings are on the right side if you swipe in from there, you can switch between tasks the same way on the left side, and some other file/app options are on the bottom if you're viewing a picture or have a file selected.  The Tiles make the tablet feel tablet-like.  However my Samsung Series 7 Slate that I've been using is more like an ultrabook without a keyboard, and that's where my troubles with Windows 8 start to come in.

The biggest problem I've encountered (so far) is that there is no Palm Rejection when using the Stylus. Previously with Windows 7 it did a reasonable job from sensing your palm when using the pen for writing in OneNote or drawing with Manga Studio.  However, W8 doesn't seem to have this feature and it has made scribbling with OneNote absolutely USELESS.  Pen works fine as long as you don't touch the screen with *anything* else.  As an artist, I rest my palm all the time for better control when drawing so it is a necessity for me.  

That being said, even in Windows 7 there were times when Palm Rejection would fail, and I'd simply deactivate Touch by going through a shortcut on my desktop to Pen/Touch Options.  There, I'd uncheck a box and be done, going back to work.  In Windows 8, they've decided to remove those little checkboxes, so now if I want to deactivate Touch I have to go into the Device Manager and Disable Touch by selecting the right Human Interface Device (HID) driver.  This in itself makes my once Fun Tablet into a Bringer of Gnashing Teeth and Curse Words.  An easy way to Disable/Enable Touch is key.

Also broken, and this is not directly a problem with Windows 8 is that Samsung doesn't seem to have made a driver for the Motion Sensor, so that means the tablet loses an easy Rotation method for viewing manga or a full screen Portrait picture.  Granted, I hardly use it, but still it means one more thing that is less functional that it was before.

I'm really tempted to try to revert back to Windows 7 at the moment.  For me Windows 8 breaks most of the functionality that I had with the Samsung Slate.  I'm not willing to settle for less. >:(

For the TL;DR crowd and some other qualms I have with the new OS from Microsoft:
1) The new onscreen keyboard is preferable to the old W7 one. Larger Buttons, moves up the field so you can see what you're typing, clicky noises.

2) Using Touch to click on things in W8 seems more responsive than in W7.

1) There seems to be no Palm Rejection when using the Stylus. What was once a little idiosyncracy wnen using OneNote, it is now Impossible to write *anything* in OneNote.  No easy way to Disable/Enable Touch.

2) No current driver support from Samsung for enabling Rotation.  Downloading the lastest driver and attempting to install will give a warning of "Not Valid OS" and close.

3) On the Desktop, one used to hold down one's finger on an icon to get a Context Menu. That also seems to be gone, and now requires a keyboard or right click of a mouse to do that function. I don't mind as most of the time I'm carrying around a mini keyboard, but a tablet should be able to do everything with Touch that a Mouse and Keyboard on the Desktop should do.

4) There seems to be no easy way to Delete apps from the Full Apps menu. Selecting one gives only Pin to Start and Open File Location options. It would be nice to be able to clean up some of the Read Me and Uninstall shortcuts that are leftovers from the W7 Start menu.

5) Native Windows players and Libraries still won't allow me to add a microSD drive as a location. If WinAmp can do it, I'm not sure why MS can't.

That's my rundown.  If anyone has any solutions or their own experiences to share with upgrading to W8, feel free to comment.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Killing Time

*lesigh* I think I'm more pissed than My Beauty here at having to reinstall Windows 7 twice. It's not really the install that takes so long... it's the UPDATES! :P

But it gave me some time to practice some more digital inking.  Original pencils kinda get sketchy at the gun. :D