Monthly Archives: April 2013

My take on Windows 8

The Good

1. The system tools are better. I love the changes to task manager, system recovery, etc.

2. It boots much faster

3. Most actions take less clicks/time after you learn the OS

4. It’s very elegant on touch enabled devices

5. It’s worked with all my hardware/games on my custom desktop

6. Older machines work better on this operating system

(Installing Windows 8 on your old PC could turn it into Greased Lightning)

7. It has good driver support and/or backwards compatibility

8. IE in Windows 8 is awesome on touch enabled devices. It trumps Chrome/Firefox for the first time ever (my opinion)


The Bad


1. It’s very different. It took me almost 4 weeks before I was as efficient in Win8 as Win7. Now, however, I’m more efficient in Win8 than Win7.

2. I still prefer the desktop mode of apps over the metro mode.

3. Most Microsoft store apps still immature.

  • The Mail app is worthless. You’ll need to get a real mail client.
  • Reader, Microsoft’s app for viewing pdf files is fair, but using Adobe Reader is easier and more comfortable feel.
  • The Photos app has very little to offer in the way of working with pictures. Windows Photo Viewer is easier to use and more versatile.

Windows 8 is Windows 7 with Microsoft Store integrated in it.

Windows 8 could fit into a corporate environment, depending on what type of environment it is. They wouldn’t use Mail (obviously) but Office 365, like Google Docs and Google Apps could work well. Some state entities are already using the Google Cloud, as it is less expensive than managing one’s own servers. Most, however, would likely use Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Office or Lotus Domino and Lotus Notes.

I work with and help build operating system images. Building a Windows 8 image, streamlined without the some of the fluffier items and adding in the appropriate applications and policies could work nicely.

Group Policy would disable the Windows Firewall and Windows Defender in order to use a managed firewall with a managed antivirus.

Pinning shortcuts to the taskbar as I have (Firefox, Outlook, Excel, Active Directory, Microsoft Project, SecureCRT, etc.) gives me a working desktop, much like Windows 7. If I need to access outside of these basics, I simply go to the All Programs menu, now called Start and All apps.

Windows 8 in the home works well, as most home computer are used for gaming, browsing the internet, streaming video and email. Perfect.

I want to try Classic Shell and see how this changes W8 and what changes and enhancements are made with this tool.

If I had a tablet or some other touch device, I could see metro being more useful.

Overall, Window 8 is a better operating system that Windows 7.


The Xbox Always On


I'll go ahead and get my tinfoil hat out and dust it off. The new Xbox that Microsoft is rumored to unveil next month is said to have an ‘always-on’ connection, the way that our cell phones work now. And the patent that Microsoft filed last year allows the company to view how many people are watching and using the content and possibly shut down the content if it is deemed to be in violation of the license agreements.

I will agree that licenses should be honored. I would not agree to voluntarily put a console in my house with an always-on webcam broadcasting back to a source to make certain that I am staying legal at all times.

The answer to that, of course, is not to put one in my house (says the non-gamer).

And of course, it truly isn’t hard to take that setup and move it further than it is rumored to be at this time. The movie studios would love this kind of control over their content. Moving beyond that, our government would like to have this type of monitoring capability. To keep us safe.

</removing tinfoil hat>

Kinect: Wikipedia

This Kinect Patent Wants to Charge You For License Violation

The Next Xbox Has Mandatory Kinect, Game-Swapping and New Controllers

Gaming Roundup: Will the Next-Gen Xbox Have an Always-Online Requirement?

AMD chips to make their way to next Xbox console

Microsoft Patent Lets Hollywood Watch You with Camera

Microsoft exec resigns regarding always-on Xbox controversy


Desktop Blog-publishing Applications

I’m downright annoyed. I prefer to write a blog entry in a desktop application and then upload that to my site. Windows Live Writer is the favored tool for this.

The problem I’m having is that I can’t write and publish an entry to a page within my blog.

I wouldn’t have thought that this would have been difficult to do but apparently this is something that only I would want to do. There are several desktop applications that you can choose from:

The aforementioned WLW, QTM, Zoundry RavenBlogDesk, w.bloggar, Thingamablog, Qumana, to name a few. All of them will publish a blog post but only to the main page. None of them will post to a page within the weblog.

If I want to publish a post to my blog using a desktop tool I certainly can, but if I want to write a post and place it in the Tech page of this blog I will need to open the site and write it up.


Edit: Technogran’s Tittle Tattle has a couple of excellent blogs on Windows Live Mail.

Book Reading

Have you ever met people that say that they hate reading? Don’t they usually appear to be a bit uneducated?

There is a line in a movie called Matilda: “Why would you want to read when you got the television set sitting right in front of you? There`s nothing you can get from a book that you can`t get from a television faster.”

At first blush this seems accurate, that we can learn quicker if we watch the television. We tend to equate a television story with a book. The problem with this is that we don’t actually retain the items that we watch on the TV. I know this to be true; I can’t remember what the news stories were from last night’s nightly news.

Reading a book forces the mind to imagine. As we read our mind is conjuring up what the various places, directions, facial expressions, actions, and movements look like. The mind grows and stretches. This could be called work. It could also be called enjoyable and stimulating.

It’s not as fast, and we are a ‘sound-byte’ people, but the experience of reading is richer and far more fulfilling, don’t you think?

Maybe the word I used above, uneducated, is incorrect and a little harsh. Perhaps shallow would be a better fit. I think that the people who don’t like to read prefer to have stories fed to them. But are critical thinking skills developed this way?

Critical thinking is not being critical, just thinking through what is being told. As an example, think about an ad that states “4 out of 5 doctors prefer” in an advertisement. What kind of doctor’s? Four out of five measured out of how many – five? Five thousand? Were they paid to state their opinion? And in my mind, political ads are worse.

So when you meet a person that hates to read it follows that they don’t read their Bible. They’re trusting that what the preacher is feeding them is accurate. I guess that’s fine, unless the preacher becomes begins teaching false doctrine. Actually, though, without critical thinking skills, it’s more likely that a person would simply become lethargic to the Word, and simply disregard the preaching, but keep up the appearance of living a Christian life.

I need to get a Kindle Fire. Why, I could walk around with 6000 books in my hand! Let’s see, Louis L’Amour wrote 126, Tom Clancy has 109, Ken Follett wrote 32 and Dorothy Gilman wrote 26. All in a small little tab.

Holding a real book has a better feel (to me) than holding a Kindle, but if I wanted to change books midstream it would be simpler with a device than with a paperback. So says the guy with a laptop on his lap.

curled book