Windows Touch UI On Azure VM

Saturday, 01 March 2014
  • By
  • Jeff Ammons
  • Tags:
  • Windows
  • Azure
  • Cloud
  • Tablet
  • Kindle

Clouds This post talks about “The Cloud.” I am unironically using a photo of a cloud. Weep for me.

OK, this is much, much cooler than it has any right to be.

I'm a Kindle Fire HD user. It was cheap and works great for all entertainment options, but not so great for getting some real work done.

I've been very tempted by the new batch of 8" Windows tablets, but that would require spending more money and anyone who knows me knows that I find the spending of money to be very painful. Almost Jack Benny level.

Not to mention that the entertainment isn't nearly as good on the Microsoft side (sorry), so I'd need two tablets. Not happening.

Fortunatly I'm also a Windows Azure user. It's easy peasy to set up a Windows Server 2012 VM, and it has the neato touch UI that 99% of Windows Server 2012 users compare to leprosy.

When I found Remote Desktop client for Android (which I side loaded from Google's Play store, mu-wa-ha-ha), I was shocked to find out how well the UI-formerly-known-as-Metro worked.

Even the swipe from all known directions gestures worked!

Awesome sausage people!

Now I just needed to grab some apps from the store.

Wait, where's the store?

For the sake of time, I'll condense the next 20 minutes of searching, cursing and breaking things to this: It ain't there.

Oh, my God. Microsoft put the touch UI on the Server and then made it impossible to use any touch apps? Leper! Unclean!

I tried to find ways to do work with Android on the Kindle, but it suuuucked.

Worst part was that after I migrated my blog to Ghost I discovered that the Kindle's Silk browser CAN'T EDIT GHOST POSTS!!


Long story mildly shorter, I found that you can enable the Desktop Experience on Windows Server 2012 and get apps from the store.

I'll post more info on how later, but it was pretty much as easy as setting up a new user that isn't the default admin user. You can't run the Desktop Experience as the default admin user. Nor should you…

So here I am. Using Firefox on my Kindle to write a blog post on my Ghost blog. Nice.

I even used Paint.Net to resize the image above. You aren't going to make art on this thing, but you can resize quite nicely.

In other news, the One Note client for Windows 8 rocks hard compared to the Android version. Gee, I wonder why that would be?

Also in a future post: a review of my super, awesome Bluetooth keyboard. Here's a preview: I love the damned thing. Don't expect an unbiased review.

You aren't playing any games or watching any videos this way, but that's what the Kindle is good at.

As the Windows 8++ ecosystem matures, I might buy into it and pick up a tablet. For tonight I'm happily typing away not at my desk.


If you liked this post check out my series on extending the capability to work off-line by pairing my Kindle to a Raspberry Pi.