Drinking the Microsoft Kool-Aid

It is safe to say that I have drank the Microsoft Kool-Aid and I love it.
It started with Windows 8.  The OS initially got unfavorable reviews and I do have to admit it had fairly large learning curve, but ever since Windows 8.1 Update 1 it has become much more user friendly and I definitely recommend it.  There are several reasons why I prefer Windows 8 to Windows 7.  Its boots up significantly faster, programs run smoother, and it rarely crashes.  One of the greatest benefits of Windows 8 is the OneDrive integration.  I have a laptop and desktop on Windows 8 and both machines are basically identical.  OneDrive syncs their settings, files, and appearance so switching between my desktop and laptop is totally seamless.  I save all my documents and pictures on OneDrive so no matter what device I’m using I have access to all my files.  I can access files from the web or my Windows Phone.
Windows Phone 8.1 is the next part of the Microsoft Kool-Aid.  Microsoft and Nokia teamed up and have some of the best mobile hardware on the market.  I am currently using the Nokia Lumia 1520 which is their flagship phone.  It sports a 6” 1080p screen, 20 megapixel camera, and has incredibly long battery life.  The top-notch hardware is also pared with a great OS.  Many people see iOS as the most user friendly mobile operating system, but Windows Phone 8.1 in my opinion has it beat.  The OS is simply two pages.  Favorite apps in your home screen, swipe left and it’s a list of all your apps.  With iOS you will scroll through pages of apps, looking in folders trying to find what you want and it doesn’t look as nearly as crisp or organized as Windows Phone.
With Windows unified app market, apps developers can write a single app and it will run on Windows 8 desktops, Microsoft Surface, Windows Phone, and Xbox One.  This universal app experience is amazing, especially for your wallet.  Buy one app and it’s on all your devices with the same user experience.
The two most frequently used apps on my Windows devices are two of the best Microsoft applications; Office 365 and Lync.  Office 365 gives you five software licenses for the entire Office 2013 suite: Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, One Note, Publisher, and Access.  Office 365 also gives me access to a web portal where I can access my email, OneDrive, and edit documents on the web.
Microsoft Lync is my most used and useful part of the Microsoft Kool-Aid.  Lync is my office phone system built into an app, but it is way more than just a phone.  Its technical name is unified communications.  Lync joins Instant Messaging, Telephony, Video Calling, Screen Sharing, and Presence into a single application on all my devices.  Lync is a life changer.   I can work from literally anywhere.   Anywhere I have internet access I can make calls, take work calls, transfer, join and create conference calls, see where my coworkers are, share and collaborate on documents.  Lync removes the chains that a typical office phone system puts on you.  A person with Lync can answer business calls from a Starbucks, driving down the road, or on a beach in Thailand.  It’s my favorite part of the Kool-Aid and I use it all day every day.
The parts I am missing are the Xbox One and the Microsoft Surface.  The Surface 3 just came out and a cheaper Xbox One is on its way, so hopefully soon I will have all the pieces of the Microsoft puzzle.
There is no greater feeling in this technological world than to have all your technology humming and in sync and Microsoft has helped me achieve this with relative ease.