How-to: Handle Windows 10 Technical Preview

Windows 10 Technical PreviewMicrosoft released the Windows 10 Technical Preview in early October and given some positive review, some people decided to upgrade their main Windows 7 or 8 operating system to Windows 10. This was not the smartest thing to do for a number of reasons and here’s why.

1. It’s a Technical Preview. Yes, the clue is in the name. This is NOT a stable consumer release. It comes with no warranty, no guarantee of stability, reliability, data security, uptime, downtime or tea-time.   Continue reading

Windows 8 Divides – Part One

Windows 8.1 start screenMicrosoft has turned its face away from the enterprise and the stalwart ‘home’ user in an all-out bid for the hearts and minds of a new generation. And it’s not working. Did someone say ‘convergence?’

The battle lines are firmly drawn over Windows 8. On one side is the (dying) breed of PC professional who manages and maintains PCs. For them, the operating system is only a tool for getting the job done and the Not-Metro-Modern-UI interface gets in their way.

On the other side, casual user who uses their commodity PC to surf the Internet, send email, self-obsess on social media and play a few games. These folks don’t give a hoot about operating systems as long as the interface serves up some colourful, fat icons to click to get to an app. Everything these days is an ‘app.’

These folks don’t know the difference between Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer; to them Internet Explorer IS the Internet. Microsoft Office IS Microsoft Windows and file management is a pain. Continue reading

Review: Outlook.com Web Mail 2013

Outlook.com Welcome messageHotmail gets the Metro treatment to become Outlook.com. Microsoft’s web-based email service remains solid, without starting a revolution.

Realising that Hotmail was getting long in the tooth, and was hardly a unified experience sitting in the Windows 8 browser, Microsoft is now adopting Outlook as a brand for personal, web-based email services.

The accompanying facelift – or face-flattening when you look at the Fisher-Price Metro/Modern-UI look imported from Windows 8 – means it sits comfortably in the Metro browser.

I finally got ‘upgraded’ from Hotmail to Outlook.com, which I put off as long as I could: as we know, not all such upgrades are an improvement. Continue reading

How-to: More Facebook Privacy Tips

More Facebook Privacy TipsTo highlight our coverage of Facebook‘s privacy settings, the social networking site tacked on some additional tips to the bottom of the emails it sent out regarding changes in site governance.

It contains a blindingly clear warning about how Facebook privacy works – or not depending on whether you read and understand it.

“Your Timeline: You have settings that help you design how your timeline will appear to others, like hiding things from your timeline. Remember that this only impacts whether those things are visible on your timeline. Those posts are still visible elsewhere, like in news feed, on other people’s timelines, or in search results. You can delete your own posts from your timeline or activity log, or ask someone else to delete a post you’re tagged in.” Continue reading

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

How-to: Windows 8 Start-tip Power-menu

Windows 8 Start-tip Power MenuWindows 8: bluff old traditionalists without a Slate, sorry, Surface (ha ha ha – no? Really?) sorry, tablet are going to stick with the conventional Windows desktop.

And I hear you say; “Metro, sorry, Modern-UI apps are going to force out the conventional desktop.” No. There are too many corporates with legacy applications, without touch screens, with older hardware, without the training budgets.

Modern-UI and the conventional desktop are likely to co-exist indefinitely. The new versions of Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop due in 2013 will be desktop applications, not Modern-UI apps. Can you imagine Photoshop in a low-resolution, Fisher-Price Modern-UI interface? No, neither can I. That means incremental improvements to the familiar Windows desktop will continue.

Count up the improvements to the Windows desktop that we looked at already; the ribbon interface in Windows Explorer, the new Task Manager, the file-copy improvements. The desktop has the edge and corner navigation controls. The new Start tip replaces the old Start button. Cunningly, there’s a right-click power menu that brings most of the control panel and management settings right to you: Continue reading