I have landed and subsequently downloaded the Windows 8 Consumer Preview (BETA).
A couple of things to note, even prior to the installation and configuration process. Over the past few years, I have used (abused) the Microsoft Connect site and I have to say that contrary to previous experiences (i.e no requirements for the MS File Download Manager or FDM) the download process and provision of license keys was very smooth.
I also have to admit, (being a bit naughty here) that once downloaded the ISO image (roughly 3.5 Gig), I took my laptop to a restaurant and proceeded to install Windows 8 between the first course (Tuna Ceviche) and my steak (fillet on the bone). All three were very nice.
I have to say, that this install, was the easiest and "probably the best" OS installation that I have experienced to date. Here is a quick snap-shot of the install process completing. Note: only my keyboard layout has been requested by this point.
And, as I was connect to the internet (via an expensive 3G card - Yikes) the install appeared to download and install any updates. I am not sure that there was much to download at this point, but in the future, this approach would save installation time and costly reboots.
Here is a screen-grab of the Customization and Settings screen. Note: I have already chosen the background color - which was the color of my jumper that snowy evening in Boston.
Next you can sign in. You need a Windows Live ID, which appears to be the basis for my authentication to the machine. Also, I received an email verification to my paired account ensuring that I was who I was purporting to be....
Finally, I get to sign in.
And now the finished result. It took about 11 or minutes on my laptop - which is pretty quick. Note: my Live ID photo is already in place, and I can login using my existing user-name and password. Which is pretty slick!
I was really excited about the Windows Store. I immediately, went and tried to download an application (in this case, Evernote) to see how it compared to my existing Windows PC, Mac, iPad and iPhone versions. The download process was easy (similar to the Apple iTunes store experience with "cute" visual and audio cues for download complete and installation complete. So far, so good.
However, I am not sure if I am a bit dumb, but boy did it take me a while to get out of the Microsoft store "mode". The UI is very minimalist and it really took me a while to figure out that moving my mouse to the right of the store "window" and pausing for a few seconds would raise a menu to return my Start screen. Maybe, I should have read the instructions, but I thought the whole point, was that this was supposed to be intuitive. I am probably getting old... :)
So, I started Evernote, kicked off the synchronization process, had a quick look at one my notes from last month and ... and... BANG!
Not sure what went wrong here - but, I get the problem every time I try to load Evernote now... And, I have no clue how to debug the issue...
Anyway, I skipped dessert (because I am getting old now) and will have a "consult" with more adept colleagues.