Opinion: Discovery as a Painful Process in Windows 8

Windows 8 Mail settingsGlad we sorted out how to synchronise Hotmail with my Windows 8 machine using the Mail app. Or rather, it sorted out itself.

I have two issues, though.

First: Modern-UI is no more intuitive than any other computer interface, you have to go through that process of discovery. I suspect smart-phone users will have an advantage from a couple of years of poke-and-swipe around the screen. Non-technophiles and existing Windows users are going to be confused as hell with this change. Continue reading

Opinion: Chasing Upgrades – Windows 8

New Windows 8 logo image“Windows 8 is being released soon and it’ll compete with Android and iPhone!”
“Really? I heard it’s still only for desktops.”

Following on from the Windows 8 Editions announced last month, there’s been time to reflect on the whole subject of Windows 8; do you need it? Will you upgrade at home? More importantly to Microsoft, will you upgrade at work?

The Windows 8 Pro desktop, licensed per-seat or per-machine, is likely be too expensive for most small business owners (less than five employees), even those located in western Europe or US. This large target group will require Remote Desktop (host), EFS, BitLocker as well as some of those many other features Microsoft is reserving for the volume-licensed Enterprise version.

Not only that, but Microsoft persists in thinking that these people will upgrade to a Windows Server-based network just like they did in the ’90s. Many of us got by then without needing Windows Server for small business, things are even easier now. Continue reading

Opinion: Can Windows 8 Tempt an Upgrade?

Microsoft Windows logoMicrosoft is under pressure. Home users of Windows XP and Windows 7 number in the millions, as do corporate Windows XP desktops (“seats” in corporate-speak), despite the cessation date of XP support. Most home users probably don’t even know that.

The home and small business consumer will use whatever is shipped on the next round of PC’s and laptops they buy; if it comes with the hardware, it’s not an upgrade. What about everyone else? After three years, it’s a roughly fifty-fifty split of market share between XP and 7 (don’t quote me), mostly through bundled copies of windows 7 on new machines. Now Windows 8 has to make that breakthrough.
Ignoring the Windows Vista disaster, Windows 7 arrived just in time for a recession. For most people, they only ‘just’ bought it, persuading them into an upgrade is these financially challenged times is going to take something special. That doesn’t mean a $50 to $70, or higher, upgrade price for Windows 8. Not when Premium vendor Apple pushed the last OS-X out the door to the Mac faithful at $35. OS-X is not a profit centre for Apple the way Windows is for Microsoft. Continue reading

How-to: Windows 7 Upgrade Checklist

Windows 7 logoThere’s still a vast number of machines out there running Windows XP, now ten years old. It may work, you may be comfortable with it, but it’s limited, far less secure and Microsoft is not going to support it forever.

What’s stopping you upgrading?

  • Compatibility. If you can run Vista, you can run Windows 7; perhaps not fully-featured or fast. If you’re running Windows XP, check compatibility using the Upgrade Advisor.
  • Do you have original product keys for your current operating system? Windows is getting picky about the things it will upgrade.
  • Do you have a valid product key for your upgrade? You can check your product keys through the Microsoft site. Don’t fall for any pirate copies; Windows Upgrade won’t maintain them after the upgrade. Continue reading

Catch-up Office 2010: OneNote

This is the forgotten Office application. It’s actually a great little application that hardly anyone uses. Most of the effort in OneNote 2010 focuses on integration with the other applications. OneNote is bundled with all of the Office 2010 suites apart from Office Starter and now has an online version in the form of the OneNote Web App.

OneNote is a general note-taking application: use it for minuting meetings, to-do lists, idea jotter. It’s probably most effective as a researcher’s note-taking hub. Continue reading

Chromium-OS on Dell Mini-10

The good news is that there is a new build of Google’s Chrome OS for the Dell Mini 9 and 10, courtesy of Dell themselves. The better news is that the wireless connectivity now works on the live USB and Dell gives the plaudits to Broadcom for providing drivers.

I tried the old live USB release a while ago and determined to have another go now that the official Chrome-book laptops have been announced. If you go to the Dell site you can find an updated build from May 13th.

The verdict? It’s a Chrome web-browser…

Continue reading