This is how a single Windows 10 feature introduced a new dimension in mobile productivity
Since I joined WinBeta in late June this year, I’ve had nothing but a blast. I went from being the typical tech enthusiast looking for the latest scoops to standing on the forefront of the tech news industry, making it my responsibility to bring the latest news to our loyal readers. What we strive to do here at WinBeta is to bring you that news as fast as possible, without compromising on the quality of our articles or the creed we abide by.
While this is exciting to be a part of, it does present a few challenges. We need to be on a constant lookout for breaking news, and if we get info from our internal sources, we need to be swift in writing it up and publishing it. On a typical news day, we’d be writing stories on a handful of new Windows/Windows Phone app updates, maybe some new features introduced to existing Microsoft hardware and software products, exciting projects that Microsoft’s partners and OEM’s are working on, in addition to producing original content in the form of exclusives, feature stories and editorials. That’s a lot of coverage.
Upon joining the team, I worked from a 14” laptop display which I quickly realized was not sufficient for my needs as a writer. I needed to have the teams’ instant messaging client open, the mail app, Microsoft Word, and the web browser which would have dozens of tabs open at a time for WinBeta, Twitter, Reddit, source stories and research. I also need my file explorer open to access our pool of lead images and Photoshop to quickly edit and compress new pictures taken with my camera. While Windows 8’s Snap View and keyboard shortcuts helped in a way to make multitasking easier, it wasn’t enough. I simply needed more screen real estate.
On my primary desktop computer, I solved that issue with two 24” full-HD displays, so my desktop now looks like the image below, which is great. I can work faster, I don’t have to switch between open applications anymore since none of them have to be minimized, and the chances of me meeting our 30 minute article production goal has risen, much to the satisfaction of our Managing Editor!
So that’s the desktop setup, but what if I want to work in another room in the house, or what if the internet goes down and I need to work in a coffee shop? Here’s where the Surface comes to the rescue! Kinda. Not really.
If working on a 14” display was cumbersome enough, working on a 10.6” display would be a complete disaster. And it usually was, so I often avoided having to use the Surface in this case, especially in public, where I would be prone to throwing the device across a packed coffee shop in utter frustration. But now that we got a glimpse of Windows 10 via the Technical Preview, everything has changed.
One feature in particular has made all the difference; Task View. Microsoft has finally caught up in bringing multiple virtual desktops to Windows, and it gives multitasking a whole new dimension. Also, now that Modern applications can run in windows on the desktop, users can be much more flexible in how they want to organize their work.
To me, this means that I can arrange my desktops based on the apps that I require at any given time during the writing process, which I’ll walk you through below to give you an example of a real-life use scenario of Task View.
First, I get my jam on. I’ve dedicated a virtual desktop for Xbox Music and MetroTube with the latter having a dual purpose for both music videos, and for viewing Microsoft-related videos and advertisements that we cover.
Next up is news discovery. This is done via our internal IM and email setups, RSS feeds using apps like NextGen Reader and social networks.
Once a story is found, the link is clicked and Windows 10 will automatically jump to the virtual desktop with Internet Explorer running on it. Yes I use Internet Explorer as a personal preference! Right next to the browser is the Microsoft Word template I use to write my articles before transferring it to the site for publishing.
Now that the article is written comes the time to find the necessary pictures for it. Sometimes pictures come from the new source, other times they come from our internal pool of original images, and sometimes we have to take new pictures for a particular story. This requires a virtual desktop of its own with Photoshop running on it and the file explorer. I just wish File Explorer has tabs, vote for it!
As soon as the finished article gets approved and is published on the site, the next important step is to make sure the article gets as much exposure as possible. The more the merrier, so another virtual desktop is dedicated to spreading the news via Twitter, or any other social media network.
All the while, switching between virtual desktops is as easy as swiping in from the left edge of the Surface which brings us to the Task View UI. Although apps in other virtual desktops appear to be blacked out for some reason. This could either be a result of the device trying to save memory, or a glitch.
With Task View, I can finally be seriously productive on a single 10.6” display with 9 instances of apps and windows open and accessible with a single swipe. The feature should come very handy for those with single display setups, maybe a little less useful for those with a multi-display setup, but it all depends on your particular use case.
At WinBeta, we’re all very much excited to see what new features Microsoft introduces in the upcoming Windows 10 January Tech Preview which should showcase more consumer-oriented features. We will of course be bringing you the latest in Windows 10 news and exclusives in the coming months, so stay tuned!Further reading: Microsoft, Surface, Surface Pro 2, Windows 10