Category: Operating Systems

Invitation to comment about Windows 7

Anyone who is reading this blog and has Windows 7 running on a new or existing PC is invited to post their experiences about the operating system in the Comments thread after this post. It doesn’t matter if you bought the operating system as an upgrade or full-version package, or had it as part of a newly-bought computer. This also includes those of you who work at workplaces that have had Windows 7 rolled out as part of a technology upgrade.

If you are reading this blog in the European Union and have installed Windows 7 on the computer or bought a computer with Windows 7 as standard, did you have to go through the "browser ballot” screen and, if so, what Web browser have you elected to use as your standard browser?

How did you go about installing it, whether as an upgrade over an existing XP or Vista installation or as a clean install of the C: drive? If you bought a new computer with it preloaded, how did the experience go with first-time setup?

How easy is Windows 7 to use compared to your previous Windows XP or Vista experiences? Was there an increased learning curve when it came to doing the tasks that you want to do?

How did your Windows 7 computer co-exist with Windows XP or Vista computers on the same network? Was it also easier to bring a work-home laptop home and integrate it in to your home network?

All comments on this post are moderated, like other comments on any post in this blog and I will remove any comment spam, or comments that attempt to humiliate other users about their operating environments.

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New product launches – Windows 7, new Apple Macintosh range

Windows 7, the operating system that all of the Windows user community have been waiting for is now out on the shelves.

This is not Microsoft propaganda, but I have heard from some hardcore PC enthusiasts who have tried pre-release issues of the operating system and they have found that it was worth its salt. They have considered it as a very stable and capable operating system for “standards-based” Windows computing environments.

At the same time,Apple had launched new hardware for their Macintosh platform, which would be seen as a way to steal Microsoft’s thunder. This hardware lineup was hot on the heels of MacOS X being brought to Snow Leopard, thus allowing newer Macs to work at their best. But I also see it as a coup for diehard Mac users running older PowerPC hardware to consider a Snow-Leopard-driven hardware upgrade.

The activity that I have seen for both the Windows and MacOS X platforms has certainly showed me that this year is definitely a big year for the two most popular general-purpose computing platforms.

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Apple Snow Leopard – Is it worth it for your existing Mac

There is all the recent talk about Apple releasing the Snow Leopard variant of the MacOS X operating system this Friday (August 28 2009) and you may be interested in upgrading your Macintosh computer to it. If you do upgrade your Mac to this operating system, especially if the computer is relatively recent – made after early 2006, you may notice that most of the improvements will be invisible on the user interface.

Intel-only deployment

The main issue with this operating system update is that it is engineered for Macintosh systems that have Intel-based internal architecture. This typical will apply to Macs that have been bought over the last few years, such as the MacBook laptops and the new iMacs. It won’t work with Macintosh computers that were based on the PowerPC architecture, which may apply to older computers.

What do you get for most Mac users

Under-the-hood improvements

The improvements are mainly that the operating system has been rewritten and profiled for the new Intel architectures such as the 64-bit processors and multi-core processor architectures. This also includes the applications that are part of the operating system like the Safari Web browser or QuickTime. There has been logic installed so that all of the cores in the Intel multi-core processors can he used.

Another feature that is worth its salt is that the eject procedure for removeable media is improved. If the eject process is stopped because an application has the removeable medium, you are offered the ability to quit the application that has the removeable medium so it releases possession of the files on that medium.

Accessibility improvements

The accessibility improvements mainly benefit those who have vision difficulties. It mainly is in the form of the VoiceOver Integraded screen-reader that works tightly with the operating system and applications. It allows for MacBook computers with multi-touch trackpads to have the trackpad seen as an alternate screen map and allows for use of the trackpad as a “rotary control”. There is also support for more of the Braille user-interface devices for those who cannot see at all.

WiFi networking improvements

The home network hasn’t been forgotten about with Snow Leopard. The Apple AirPort menu, which is the control point for Apple’s AirPort WiFi implementations, can provide detailed information about the wireless networks that the WiFi-equipped Macintosh computer can receive. This is achieved by the user holding down the [Option] key while clicking on the Apple Airport icon at the top right of the screen. Then you see detailed information like the channel and band in use by the access point, the network’s operating mode and security mode; and the access point’s BSSID under the network’s SSID.

There is an automatic time-zone setup feature for WiFi-equipped Macs; which is linked to a Skyhook Wireless database of access points and localities. This can allow the MacBook to show local time when it is taken overseas or interstate without user intervention. This is due to Apple using this data as part of their iPhone software.

An “all-Apple” network which use Bonjour discovery will have “Wake On WiFi” behaviour with newer Apple Macs and provide improved native file sharing due to this Apple-developed protocol. I am not sure whether the “Wake On WiFi” behaviour and improved file sharing behaviour will be made to work with networks that use other brands of network peripherals.

Is it worth it for the existing Mac user

For most Macintosh users with recently-built equipment running OS X Leopard, the cost is typically around $A39 / $US30 per computer, but people who just bought a Macintosh but didnt have it delivered with Snow Leopard can upgrade the operating system through Apple for $A14.95. It would then be worth it to have the computer running quickly and smoothly.

As far as whether it is worth going ahead, some Mac users may pass this upgrade up because there is no visible improvement in the user interface or no brand-new keynote functionality. But for most, if not all, Mac users who are running relatively-new setups, the performance boost that this operating system upgrade provides would make it worth it to take the plunge. This is more so because of the fact that most Mac users are typically working “hands-on” with graphics-based applications like CAD or image editing.

Invitation to comment

If any Mac user who is reading this article about Snow Leopard, they can leave a comment about how their computer has performed under the upgrade compared to before.

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Third-party popup blockers and Internet Explorer 7 / 8

There is a very common mistake that I have seen being made concerning the implementation of popup-blocking software. It typically involves one running a third-party popup blocker like one that is part of an add-on toolbar like Google Toolbar in one of the recent crop of browsers like Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 that has integrated popup-control functionality.

The problem can lead to popups that are to be part of your Web experience, such as a transaction wizard, being blocked or, at worst, the browser program hanging or crashing frequently. This is due to competition between the different programs to manage the same site or pop-up screen.

To avoid this, make sure that you are running one popup blocker program only, whether the third-party program or the one that is integrated in your browser. Personally, I would prefer to use the one that is integrated in the browser because of it being tightly linked with the browser’s code, thus avoiding use of unnecessary system resources.

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Vista SP2 to land in April 2009-ish? – The Register

My comments

At least there is some accurate information regarding the arrival of Vista Service Pack 2 and what it will contain. This service pack could draw more people towards Windows Vista and offer something that can avoid the idea of going “back to XP”.

At least there are a few options that may benefit the laptop user and the modern WiFi-driven home computing environment. One would be to work hand in glove with WPS configuration as more routers come with “over-the-air” WPS configuration. As well, the Bluetooth Feature Pack which will offer what is expected of a Bluetooth setup will be available for people who buy Bluetooth functionality independent of the operationg system. This would encompass system builders; and those of us who provide Bluetooth functionality via an aftermarket device such as a USB dongle or move to Vista by buying it through the retail channel. The other desireable feature would be for the operating system to “natively” burn data to Blu-Ray discs; which would definitely come in handy with backing up hard disks or archiving old data.

In my honest opinion, this service pack can “tide us over” until Windows 7 comes on the scene as the next operating system.

Come on “I’m A PC”!

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