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So as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been playing the Windows 8 version of Minesweeper for the past couple of days. Minesweeper is “free.” What I mean is, you don’t have to pay in dollars, you have to pay in time. Every so often you’ll have to sit through a 20 second video ad.

Normally I have no problem with this kind of system; developers have to make money somehow, right? My problem with Minesweeper is the same problem I’ve had with Hulu in the past. There’s no variety in the ads. No one likes to sit through ads, but having to sit through the same exact ad over and over makes it worse, at least to me (I’ve seen two ads so far, a trailer for Life of Pi and some car commercial).

So normally what I’d do is switch my focus to something else while the ad plays. Windows 8 makes this challenging, though not impossible. Minesweeper is a “Windows Store App” which means it normally occupies your full screen. Aha! But I have two monitors! Nope, they’ve thought of that too. As soon as I move my focus to a desktop (ie, regular old Windows) application on the other monitor, playback of the video ad in Minesweeper freezes.

Drat!

There is a solution of sorts, though. You can run two Windows Store Apps at once on the same monitor by ‘snapping’ them to one side. Use Windows+. to snap Minesweeper to the right side, fire up something else on the left (I generally go with mail), and let the video play over there in the right half of the window while you catch up on your email in the left half.

I’ve yet to discover a way to run two Windows Store Apps concurrently, one on each monitor. I’m not sure it’s possible but if anyone knows a way, I’d appreciate hearing about it!



Comments:
6
  • The full screen issue is pretty much a deal breaker for me. I like to have many many windows open at the same time and I like to choose how I position them. Thankfully these restrictions don’t apply to traditional programmes (not yet anyway).

    On the two monitor thing: your graphics card might allow you to combine them into one big screen. then when you do vertical split screen the two halves of the image appear on separate monitors. I do this on my PC at home to play split screen portal 2 on two screens. I have an AMD/ATI graphics card. It works best if the two monitors have identical resolutions but if not just choose a vertical resolution equal to the lowest of the two monitors and a horizontal resolution equal to twice the lowest off the two monitors.

  • I bet (or maybe hope) when Windows 9 comes along they will have ditched this full screen thing. I get that it’s part of the tablet world but I think even there we’re going to see it fall by the wayside as hardware gets more and more powerful.

    That’s an interesting idea, combining the monitors into one big screen. I’ll play around with that. Thanks!

  • I’ve heard there is a loophole where a Win8 Pro license entitles the holder to upgrade to Windows 7, so as to allow businesses a legitimate pathway to purchase additional keys for use in their existing IT infrastructure. I will have to give this option a good look if something happens to my desktop this generation. In the meantime, the boys in Cupertino have Redmond to thank for our family’s shiny new Macbook Air purchase.

  • Not sure how that’s relevant, but thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • Relevant only in that the more I read about Win8, the less I want to ever own a computer that runs it. “Almost perfect adware platform” is not a feature I’m looking for in an operating system.

  • Well, your loss, in my opinion. I used to do Macs but I found the hardware unreliable and I hate the company. If I were going to ditch Windows I’d go with Ubuntu. Actually the laptop that I have Win 8 on dual-boots into Ubuntu too. But I’m really happy with Windows 8.