Touch, But Don't Look

So my Windows 8 adventure has been terminated after only a brief foray into the delights of the new O/S. It's annual review time here an Microsoft, which means I need to connect to the corporate network. But my Windows 8 machine can't do that because the TPM module is faulty, and I need to have BitLocker enabled before they'll allow me to talk to the big iron in Seattle. So the old hard disk with Vista has seen the light of day again (or, to be more accurate, the dark of inside my laptop) and I'm back in 2006.

I never really noticed how little I really need to use the corporate network now that most of the applications I use in my daily work are in the cloud. I use our corporate ADFS for federated authentication, allowing me to access all our working docs stored in the TFS service in the cloud, and to connect to the various third party sites that manage our internal processes. And because my daily work is centered on Windows Azure, all of the working sets we use are available without needing even a sniff of the internal systems on the corporate network.

Even my online storage and email is cloud-powered now, and I'm being urged to make more use of cloud-based systems such as Office 356 in my daily work. It's quite amazing to see how the cloud is creeping, almost unnoticed, into everything connected with our IT world. It's a real vindication of what we've been writing here in p&p about claims-based authentication, moving applications to the cloud, and building enterprise solutions in Windows Azure.

Of course, I still have Windows 8 on my RT tablet, so I'm not completely divorced from 2013. OK, so it can't connect to my email server or the corporate network, but it means I can continue to figure out how to do stuff with the new O/S. Though sometimes I still look like an amateur. I used the rather good camera to take some photos this week to email to a colleague. However, having poked about to find where they end up being stored, and then got one showing full screen, every attempt to share it through Hotmail gave an error that my email wasn't set up correctly.

And then I couldn't figure out how to go back. There's no back button until you poke the screen. Then it took several minutes of wildly experimental prodding and sliding to get my email inbox and the photo showing side by side, and then there seemed no way to drag the photo into an email. Maybe I need to read the instructions. In the end I dropped into the desktop and did it the old fashioned way. I love the style of Windows 8 and the way that you can do lots of things by poking and sliding, but it really doesn't seem intuitive sometimes - or maybe it's just too clever.

Of course, the more I use it the easier all this will be. Except that I discovered a major problem now that summer is almost here. It's pretty much unusable in the conservatory unless I huddle under an overcoat like somebody selling bootleg watches. The reflectivity of the screen means that all I can see is my ugly mug and the sky (complete with clouds, so it looks a bit like Windows XP desktop). Though I guess this is an issue with all touch-screen devices. I have to go indoors to be able to see the screen on my phone.

What's worrying is that my new company laptop, when it finally arrives, will have a touch screen. Perhaps I'll never see the garden and conservatory again. I'll need to lock myself away in a dark room, or work covered with a sheet like some character from a third rate horror movie. My wife can just lift one edge and slide my meals underneath, and tell visitors that her husband is in the conservatory under a sheet, stored away like some item of old furniture (though maybe that's not so far from the truth).

Can I buy a non-reflective cover for a laptop touch-screen?