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  • russellgilbert 8:12 am on February 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Microsoft   

    Luvin It! 

    I’m really enjoying using Windows 10. The preview is still a bit clunky, which is fair enough – it’s a preview, but I do think Microsoft has got it right this time. Love the new Start Menu & multiple desktops rock (in fairness they’ve rocked on OSX & Linux for some time). Let’s not be churlish though, I rejoice that Microsoft are moving in the right direction with Windows 10.

    I’m not sure that Satya Nadella will be greatly moved by my plaudits but Satya, here they are if you want them.

    One step back, two steps forward! I eagerly await the finished article… “like greyhounds in the slips, straining upon the start.” as some bloke from the midlands who was quite good with words once wrote. Of course, there’s only one of me and it would be paltering with the truth to suggest I have much in common with a greyhound, let alone a pack of them, but you get the point.

     
  • russellgilbert 5:39 am on May 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , dvd, Microsoft   

    DVD playback missing from Windows 8 

    I understand that Microsoft will not be including DVD playback as part of Windows 8 Media Player, which is in any case an extra cost option.

    Shame; seems like another reason to buy an Apple instead of a PC

     
  • russellgilbert 6:04 am on March 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CallPod, KeePass, Microsoft, Passwords   

    The Gift That Keeps on Taking 

    For some time I’ve been using Callpod keeper to store all the various usernames and passwords that I need these days to run my life. I’ve got it synced between my MacBook Pro and my iPhone and it does sterling job. All’s well; or at least it was. Just recently it’s been nagging me to pay for an upgrade – on both systems. I’ve already handed over a quantity of doubloons for my original purchase, what I’ve got now does what I want, so I’m not really sure I need an upgrade. Plus which it looks to me like I’d have to pay for an upgrade on all the platforms I’m using the App on. Furthermore, I guess I’d have to keep on paying for future upgrades. I write software for a living and I think developers are entitled to a return for their efforts, but multiply this across all the packages I’m using and the Gilbert coffers will soon look pretty meagre, Anyhoo, I got so fed up with the nagging that I started to look around for alternatives. About a minute of googling later I found KeePass, which does the job just fine, runs on all my systems and is open source. Downloaded and installed in moments it’s now looking after all my passwords across all my systems – Apple (Evil Empire) and Microsoft (Evil Empire as was), Callpod’s nagging is a thing of the past and I shall be making donation to the nice peeps at KeePass.

     
  • russellgilbert 9:16 am on March 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Metro, Microsoft, PC World, Spinal Tap, Steven Sinofsky,   

    Windows 8 and Metro Stylie 

    The second a Windows 8 preview was available, in the autumn of last year, I ran (well drove, actually) straight out and bought myself a touch screen desktop PC. The nice man at PC World really struggled with the concept that I was simply going to wipe it and install an operating system that was surely one number too high. I eventually managed to escape his genuinely earnest attempts to sell me software assurance on applications I was never going to use by explaining Windows 8 through the gift of Spinal Tap.

    Since then I have been busy earning the personal tools to carve myself out a future career as a Windows 8 developer. More on that in future posts but the process has allowed me to get up close and personal with Steven Sinofsky’s new baby. Some month’s and a second download later I still ain’t sure it’s the canine gonads that Steven is hoping for.

    Lots of good stuff in Windows 8 and I reckon that Metro and the WP7 paradigm will play well on tablets but it just doesn’t fly on desktops. Sticking Metro stylie to the front on a non-touch device is painful to be honest and touch screens on a desktop are a pain the neck (well arm actually). W8 does have a desktop environment which is much like Windows 7 without the start menu (why?) but whenever you want to launch a new application you either have to fire up a search dialog and type it’s name in or switch to Metro tiles and search through a grid of many dozens of installed apps. For apps you use a lot you can pin them to the Task Bar or put short cuts on the desktop but for occasionally used utilities not being able to drill down to the through a structured Start Menu is, as I said, painful.

    As for apps without borders on a desktop, what the heck is the purpose of that? I spend my whole working day with lots of Windows open, right now I’ve got 5 but that’s small beer, and I’m often monitoring stuff going on in all of them, so having a single app take over the whole screen seems a bit pants to me. As a way of solving the problem of a lack of screen real estate on a tablet great! But I’ve got two 1920 x 1200 pixel monitors and even a moderate home PC these days has a pretty good screen.

    It seems to me that Microsoft are sacrificing actual utility in the chase for their own holy grail of having a single OS across all their platforms. The one OS thing is a bit of an illusion anyway, because you don’t get the desktop on ARM devices (which is gonna be most tablets I’d have thought).

    Ironically Apple do this desktop/tablet fusion thing really well. On a Mac running the latest version of OS X you get presented with their standard desktop operating environment. A swipe on the magic mouse pad though and you get ‘Launch Pad’, which is basically the iPad/iPhone outer shell. Native Apple apps run in a window by default but a short cut key or mouse click away is full screen mode.

    So with Apple you get the productive desktop environment when you want it and Metro Stylie is lurking in the background just for those occasions when you fancy it. This plays well on my 13 inch laptop, when screen space is at a premium (where Metro stylie’s good) and also on my Mac Desktop with loads of screen space, where I never have to use full screen mode.

    On my 24 inch Windows 8 PC however, Metro Stylie just keeps getting in the way. Maybe Microsoft will bring forward some technology that will make a compelling argument for this arrangement in Windows 8 or maybe they’ll change things and get Metro out of my way. But as it stands I can’t see there being much take up of Windows 8 amongst professional PC users. I guess the kids will like it though.

    Personally I really hope Windows 8 flies, Apple need the competition and the World needs the choice.

    ( I tried hard to find a link to an image of a nice man so that – pictures being worth etc etc… – I could help the avid reader visualise what a nice man at PC World might look like. All I will say is that my attempts to do so by googling ‘nice man’ ended badly)

     
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