Tag Archives: operating system

Which Cloud System

Which cloud system for my day to day use?

I’ve been running Windows 10 since they first released their developers preview versions and have generally liked it. Microsoft also has its Onedrive, desktop and web-based Office stuff, all that sort of thing… so I thought I’d give the integrated Microsoft cloud world a try. So services like Dropbox (and Evernote) for backups, and linking / synchronising my desktop Outlook, documents, and all the other associated services I use together through my Microsoft account.

Like it or not, it did work quite well. Whether Word on the desktop or Word through a browser, Excel, or Calendar in Outlook, everything did seem to integrate in a sensible fashion.

However my love affair with Windows 10 now seems to be wearing a bit thin. It’s one thing for Google, as a service, to be monitoring your activity, but having the whole operating system reporting back to its controller everything you are doing, programs you have installed, even what you say… then there are other irritations like the way Onedrive now works its selective sync, or even a small change in your computer hardware and Windows 10 deactivates itself as it thinks it’s a new machine – and reactivating it can be a real pain. (I’ll be curious to see what happens when Microsoft brings out their Enterprise version of Win 10, I don’t think much of commerce and industry will want an outside organisation to be monitoring what their employees are doing!)

So on my Win 10 installs I worked my way through as many of the (numerous) privacy settings that I can find and sorted them out, and for the time being have switched back to the Big Brother of Google for my calendar, word processing and other cloud based activities.

I will give Google one thing – I do find their cloud services more integrated compared to Microsoft, even though I think Word is a far better word processor than Google’s document editor (likewise for Excel), however Google’s various different services seem to flow together in a far smoother way.

I have no particular loyalty to any one system, I use Apple products, Microsoft ones, Android, a Blackberry Z10 is my main mobile to laptop tethering / hotspot device. In the past I’ve played with Linux and BSD. They are all just devices and services there to do a job. So maybe I’ll stay with Windows 10, perhaps move back to an earlier version, or return to Apple; a little uncertain at the moment. Just have to see how things develop, especially looking to Microsoft’s new Surface Pro and / or Apple’s next Mac Mini update. After all both of these will be able to ‘cloud out’ for services and storage to whoever I choose. Though I think at the moment, regardless of operating system, Google is winning my cloud war.

Windows 8, RT and Tablets

What’s going to happen when Microsoft brings out both Windows 8 and the Surface tablet (running Windows RT) together.

I can see quite a few problems with people assuming that their nice new Surface will be able to run their existing Windows programs. After all, it came out at the same time as Windows 8, it has the look of 8, the feel of 8, and it’s even called Windows (be it Windows RT). So why can’t it run my programs!

This version of the Surface is powered by an ARM processor, targeting the battery / low power consumption devices of the portable market. It makes it no different to that of the iPad; the iPad runs apps downloaded from the App Store while the Apple desktops and laptops run OSX and the programs related to that. This Surface runs applications downloaded from Microsoft’s own marketplace while Windows 8 runs programs for desktop computers.

However Microsoft seems very lax in highlighting the differences between the ARM powered Surface tablet and Windows 8 for the Intel powered machines. I’ve read a few reports and surveys indicating the Microsoft support staff don’t seem to know the differences either.

I guess there is the added complication that in a few month’s time there should be the Surface Pro model which will be Intel powered and run full Windows 8.

I’ve never known people to be confused over the differences between the iPhone / iPad and the MacBooks and iMacs, Apple have kept them quite distinct (even if they are starting to give a common look and feel to their operating systems), but the way Microsoft has handled the release of their new systems has not been well thought out.

Coming in confusing their potential customers with almost identical but operationally very different systems as a way of trying to break into an established tablet market is not really the best way to do things.

But then this is Microsoft, not known for doing things the easy way!

Kindness of maintenance.

A bit of kindness of maintenance on your computer really is a good thing.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve done three Windows 7, 32 bit, and one Windows 7, 64 bit, installs. Two of the machines with the 32 bit installs were about 4 or 5 years old – not the newest kids on the block, but all went pleasantly well.

I can’t get round the fact that over the years I have found Windows a decently stable operating system. Windows NT had its roots in IBM’s OS/2, a rock stable system, with each version of Windows since then being that bit more stable than the one before. People complain about Vista (and so do I), but that was (for me) more towards its overall speed and interaction with the user, not stability factors. My Vista-powered lap-top never once crashed or locked up on me. As well as knowing others with Mac lap-tops, I also have one and have found them no better (or worse) than my Windows machines. (Once upon a time I was a very keen advocate of Linux, but that has become such a fractured community it has lost any appeal to me.)

However I do make an effort to look after my machines. A bit of basic maintenance is carried out when I’m in the mood for it. A cull of all those crap programs that get installed happens, and a general emptying of TEMP directories and tidying up of files. Occasional back-ups and running of defrag. Updates are applied, both to the operating system and to programs.
So if I wanted something that is relatively simple to use and is just going to work in the format that you get it and you don’t want to use it for much more than that, then I’d probably be happy with a Mac. But what I’m after is a versatile, flexible system that can be used in a variety of different situations, and work almost any bit of hardware I can throw at it.

As much as I do like Macs, they just don’t do that for me. I’m quite happy to put in a little effort to my systems, they are complex bits of machinery, and like anything of this type, benefit from a bit of routine care. Maybe it’s a case of so many people in our throw-away society aren’t willing to make the effort. I guess it’s partly a matter of attitude.

Not just computers, but we all work better with a bit of love and attention. So why not give a bit of love and attention to someone yourself. A simple message through Skype or MSN, perhaps a comment to a video or picture. Do that bit of occasional ‘social maintenance’. To the receiver it could make all the difference between stumbling along not working very well, or finding their way in life.

A little bit of kindness can go a long way.