Sunday, May 20, 2012

It’s Spooky in the Future! Fun with Obsolete Technology

Bumming around on YouTube watching tech geeks’ fathers fail on Windows 8, I noticed these…

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Gear: RIP frankenPC II - 2011-2012 & some thoughts on Windows 8 Consumer Preview

FrankenPC II  - 2011-2012.  May 17, 2012.

Well, it didn’t die so much as I chose to go in a different direction.  A while back I installed Windows 8 Consumer Preview (yes, the beta)…  It was interesting, but I was never able to get the sound running. 

Fullscreen capture 5202012 110232 AM

Long story short, yep…

Played the driver game, did everything suggested, and still no sound… 

This wasn’t a big deal, I could use my laptops for anything I needed sound for, except for editing videos.  The editing program I am stuck dealing with lives on frankenPC II and is non-transferable, but the hardware was so old that it had a hard time working with 1080 HD video anyway…

So, I already was planning on getting some Adobe software to edit on my newest computer and to call it good. 

Before installing 8, I also reorganized a lot of my files, backed everything up, and started using my Toshiba laptop as my primary computer. 

By this point, all I was really using frankenPC II for was using Windows Live Synch to automatically back up the photo files off of the Toshiba. 

Now, from the beginning, there was something a little off with frankenPC II.  Even XP was crashing a lot on this beast, so, of course, it only took a month or two before Windows 8 just got tired and didn’t want to play anymore.

If 8 had an easily accessible way to boot in Safe Mode, I probably could have fixed the problem, if it was a software issue, but I couldn’t keep it up and running long enough to navigate to the buried menus where they keep this option in 8. 

However, considering XP’s troubles, I think the motherboard was just reaching the end of its life. 

Decision time.  I spend an entire day, most likely, rolling back to Windows XP or I could just stick with my two laptop solution (applications on the newer Toshiba, email and music on an old Inspiron 9100) and move on…

Rebuilt external hard drive.  May 17, 2012.Considering that the backed up picture files were stored on a second hard drive and the fact that retiring frankenPC II would free up a lot of real estate on my desk, I chose retirement.

Fortunately, dealing with another recent issue, I had some hardware laying around to turn the internal HD into an external, plus I pulled a bunch of hardware and memory out of frankenPC II to soup up the tower in the living room, and this is a win, win, win situation.

So, the end result.  I have a lot more room on my desk.  I have to manually back up my picture files from time to time.  I have an ancient laptop as my permanent desktop PC (and a lot more room on my desk).  I am not bouncing between three different PCs running three different operating systems.  I need to invest in some new editing software, which I was planning on doing already. 

And, best of all, I am happier and less frustrated with my computer situation than I have been for a long time.

Some thoughts on Windows 8 Consumer Preview

As for Windows 8?  It was all right.  Mostly Window 7 with the Metro interface slapped on top.  A quick internet search will lead you to a lot of comments about the new operating system, and I think they are pretty fair and valid.Old Brick.  Inspiron 9100.  May 17, 2012.

In short, bright back the Start button for the Desktop.  Allow a choice between opening in the Metro mode or the Desktop mode (right now, it always opens to the metro screen).  Obviously, bring back the old F8 screens, with all of those start up options accessible immediately…

Oh, and work out that damn sound issue.  It looks like I wasn’t the only one struck deaf by my upgrade.

I can see where touchscreens are going to be playing a huge role in the future, and where touchscreens, for many people in many PC configurations may abandon their mice in the future.  However, I cannot see entirely abandoning my mouse ever.  There will always be, for as far into the future as I can see, times when I will want a mouse.Toshiba.  May 19, 2012.

Also, I can also see a future where I may have my screens mounted in places where it is inconvenient not to have a mouse or some similar input device.  When TVs are fully replaced by/merged with computers (5 to 10 years?), like hell I am getting up and walking across the room to interface with a menu!

In these case, I don’t know if I will want the Metro screen or the Desktop, probably depends on what I would be doing, but since we are not at this point yet, we need the choice.

Other than these small issues, when the time comes and I need to either purchase a new OS or a new PC, I see no problem picking up the latest version available.  7 if it is sooner, 8 if it is later. 

If if is 7, I’ll probably just stick with it and not bother upgrading for a while.  But I really see no real need, at this point, to avoid it like many people did with Vista.

Some Links

The State of Windows 8: Cheap Upgrades, Better Apps [RUMORS]:

Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley first reported that the company intends to provide cheap upgrades for new Windows customers over the summer. According to “contacts,” after the Release Preview arrives, customers who buy Windows 7 or a Windows 7 PC will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 when it’s released in the fall for just $14.99 — a pricerevealed to Windows Supersite by “sources.”

The best part of the deal is that those customers will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro, the “higher-end” version of the software that’s a step above the basic edition. (for more on how Microsoft intends to market Windows 8, see this summary).

Living With Windows 8 Consumer Preview:

Microsoft has said that Windows 8 aims to be a "no compromise" operating system, focused on "and" instead of "or"—not a touch screen or a mouse and keyboard, but both together. It sounds great, but as I use it, I'm not quite convinced.

It's certainly improved since the developer preview. You can now use it successfully on a desktop or notebook, but I'm not sure why a typical desktop or notebook user with Windows 7 would upgrade to Windows 8.

Overall, I've gotten used to running Windows 8, and while a lot of it is neat, I'm still a bit skeptical.

In short, it almost feels like two operating systems in one: Metro, which works quite well on touch screens and tablets but feels awkward in the desktop mode; and the classic Windows UI with a Metro Start screen for desktop users, where the new UI seems unnecessary at least for now. It makes a lot of sense on a tablet with an optional keyboard, or with a hybrid or convertible notebook/tablet, but those seem to be relatively small parts of the market.

I think there are a number of things Microsoft could do to make Windows 8 more appropriate for desktop users. I'm not expecting it, but it would be nice to see an option for desktop users to return to the classic Start menu, and even launch Metro apps from there. For laptop users, it would be good to be able to use a touch pad for the kind of gestures you would use on a touch screen (a similar feature is in Mac OSX Lion). And for desktop users, I would be interested in an option to run Metro apps within windows, so you could have a number visible at the same time, particularly for large or multi-monitor setups.

As it is, Microsoft is right in saying there is "no compromise" to utility. You do get both sets of features, but simplicity of operation is compromised, I fear that will make a lot of desktop users in particular rather unhappy.

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

An interesting conversation about social media

Pepsi Digital Exec: Google 'Messed Up' With Google+, Instagram Is 'Phenomenal':

Was Instagram worth $1 billion? Will Google+ ever compete or beat Facebook?

Shiv Singh, global head of digital for PepsiCo Beverages and author of Social Media Marketing for Dummies, shared his thoughts on those trendy questions and more during his recent visit to Mashable to unveil Pepsi’s new celebrity-infused “Live for Now” global ad campaign and “Pulse” digital dashboard.

In a 10-minute interview with Mashable‘s editor-in-chief Lance Ulanoff, Singh commented about the launch ofGoogle+, Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, avoiding digital marketing mistakes, establishing a brand voice and creating a Twitter list for “regular people.”

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