Windows 8 Workshop - Day 1: Prepping up

World's most awaited OS is on the track.
Windows 8 is imminent. Just about a week to go for the mass release of the world's most awaited and redesigned OS crafted to compete with the best in the markets. However, here, in India, this is not much a thrill to many tech lovers. No, it's not because of the reason that they love Android or Apple (well, not Apple) but just because they are not much aware such a thing does exist. Even though we have people watching TV day and night or facebooking and googling through the web 24X7, our people are still unaware of the fact that Windows has an 8 as a suffix.

The Android effect has really stroke on the life of the people of my city and even in India but there is one thing most Indians regret to change -- Windows. People love Windows here, even if you blame me for misspelling this, it is true in Kerala and it applies to my town too. Very rarely, I see a Mac but I do see Linux everywhere in the State schools and they're not ready to afford for a Windows PC. However, there's one problem that I see radically unchanged in the technical India -- once people are attached to a product, may it be a software or a hardware, they are reluctant to change it even if a superior one comes. However, this problem is almost invisible now in the hardware area. Still, software area has this impact present unchanged. Here, people love Windows but they are still too lazy to change to a more present version of it, say Windows 7. Yes, XP is too darn good, I know, but how long can a company keep going by selling the same product every year? And thus, it is no surprise that Windows has withdrawn support for Windows XP now with the upcoming release of Windows 8 leaving it's family with just three main members -- Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. If you haven't known this before, I believe you got the point I'm talking about here and why I'm mentioning this problem in this post even though this is about one of mine and our school's IT Club to eradicate this little plague within the many techies of our city.

This was one of the many reasons that prompted me to come up with an idea of giving out a full-on Windows 8 workshop or demo or whatever you may call it. I strongly believe an awareness program in a school like ours can really send a message to all the citizens living nearby and can even make this campaign a great success. The best way of learning something is to experience it, right? A workshop where students of our school can learn the many new ways of using the much better OS and can even interact with the OS themselves. Also, the digital boards of our school are a great bonus to our program. With the integration of the so called Whiteboard, we can integrate the Pen and the OS and thus making it easy to navigate through Windows 8's all new UI. Even though the Pen isn't as efficient as a touch-screen, it's much better than a mouse and is enough to try out most of the apps present in the app-store. This ambitious project was not made merely by me but I couldn't have thrown a nibble if not for my great junior buddies -- Pranav and Shawn especially who helped me put up the whole program and rig up the systems for the program.

I couldn't get a tablet though I dreamed to show off one at the workshop.
The first day -- Prep up day, started as we picked up two systems from our lab. We couldn't find an average rig as most of the PCs were outdated and we weren't allowed to touch the newbies. Still, we got a decent enough system though outdated with a Pentium dual core processor and 2 gigs of RAM to start with. But trouble came as it was difficult to load up the system with the best apps from the store as it needed an internet connection which was very scarce in places like ours and unfortunately  the school internet connection was out too. We got a netsetter but still, wasn't enough to save our day. Hopefully, I had bought my 500GB HDD which was pre-loaded with Windows 8 Professional RTM version and loaded up with most apps.

Our first attempt was to create a backup and transfer it to the school's HDD but failed all the time. I saw recently on how to create a recovery image using recimg command and then using the Refresh feature in Windows 8 but it never worked. The recovery couldn't be copied to any removable media. Finally, we attempted to connect both HDDs and forwarding the path of the recovery from the school's HDD to mine but on refreshing, we found that no apps came along with it. Since we were wasting a lot of time, we let go of it. My HDD saved the day as it worked well with the system efficiently and never showed a bug. First challenge was over and it took about half of the day.

The second challenge was to make the Whiteboard work with the OS. Drivers for the Whiteboard were just for Windows XP but gladly, the drivers worked inside Windows 8. On our first try, we couldn't connect the Whiteboard to Windows 8 as it showed errors. We did a few restarts and tried reconnecting the cables and it worked! I was so happy as we passed the major obstacle lying down before us. We tried a few more restarts to make sure the board always works. Meanwhile, Shawn and others worked with the second system we got as we wanted the audience to check it out before they leave. With the existing net-setter  we loaded up some apps and programs for the dudes to try out.

In the end, we put up the whole thing together, done a few trials and we were glad to find out our setup worked near flawlessly. I was quite sad as we couldn't install BlueStacks as the driver was unsupported. Still, the OS was fine and so was the apps. It was really great to use the pen and navigate the OS and it was smooth and easy. We tried a few games too like Cut The Rope and Fruit Ninja and it was darn fun to play them. We called the teachers and asked them to try it. It took a while to get the teachers to stop playing with the OS and it was too difficult to stop them. They loved it in their first sights. I was quite glad we created a good first impression.

Our first trial is on Wednesday for the class VIII and I have a great hope they'd love it and the workshop will turn out to be a 'too darn good one'. System's ready, team's ready and all we need is good faith and we truly believe Windows 8 won't let us down. The next day before the trials is set for tuesday and I will report as soon as the day gets over.

It's time to party! Adios.