Category Archives: Microsoft

Windows 10 Potential Gotchas

I think that if you’re going to use Windows 10 on a regular basis (or at all), you owe it to yourself to read up on a few new aspects and features of the OS:

I used the word “potential” intentionally – as it carries double-meaning in this context. Windows 10 has the potential to either elevate or further sideline Microsoft Windows – and I’m also highlighting potential snags to those who blindly agree to Windows 10’s terms without understanding the consequences (or don’t perceive these features as “gotchas”).

Either way, Windows 10 is full of potential.

Hat tip to a top patron Steve Mannering for the link to better deconstruct Microsoft’s updated privacy policy for Windows 10.

Can Windows 10 Save the PC?

TL;DR: Yes.

You know me (or should know me): I suck at the maths. I also understand that statistics can be twisted to accommodate any view.

So, I always take these kinds of industry updates with a grain of salt.

No doubt, an average user doesn’t need the PC as much as the PC needs a user today – and if you don’t understand that, then you fail to understand where consumer technology is (and where it’s headed).

If anything, our definition of what a PC is (and what it is not) needs to evolve – just like the value prop for Microsoft Windows needs to evolve.

Indeed, Microsoft is pushing the ball forward with the pending release (and promise) of Windows 10. In using recent Insider builds, I’ve been surprised at both performance and usability in various modes – and remain hopeful that existing cruft will continue to be cleaned up with incremental updates.

But what about the PC? Can Windows 10 save it with the Save button that’s represented by a product that isn’t actively used by most users today?

Let’s change the Save icon from a floppy disk (?!) to something else and expect that people are going to be okay with the change – or, we can keep the Save icon as a floppy disk (?!) and make sure that our existing users don’t lose their calm.

That’s the riddle Microsoft is actively trying to solve.

For Microsoft Windows 10 to succeed, it has to push past the classic PC paradigm – and, in doing so, can “save” the PC for the average user. We have to be shown that Windows isn’t just for the “computer room” anymore.

The desktop and laptop will still continue to have a place in this world for professionals (which is a term, by the way, I believe also includes those who live for modding or playing video games as though their life depended on it).

Windows 10 will give Microsoft an opportunity to better bridge the gap between yesterday and tomorrow – recognizing that simplicity and interconnectivity are paramount as the industry moves forward.

You simply can’t expect the PC’s design (as we’ve used it and known it for decades) is going to be able to make the transition, however. No product from any company could surmount this monumental change in modality.

I do, however, believe that Microsoft’s effort with Windows 10 can help change the perception of what a PC is (and can be).

Xbox Backward Compatibility

One of the biggest announcements to come from Microsoft out of E3 2015 is backward compatibility for Xbox 360 games on Xbox One.

So, why wasn’t this feature baked into the first iteration of Xbox One? Despite it being a value to the player, I can think of three solid reasons off the top of my head:

  • Xbox One was originally positioned as a next-gen home entertainment (not necessarily gaming) device.
  • Xbox 360 game support would likely have attenuated interest in upgrading to a newer system.
  • It wasn’t considered a must-have feature to ship until Sony’s PS4 was beginning to dominate mindshare.

Well, no matter the reason, players appear to be quite happy – except for those who sold off most (if not all) of their Xbox 360 games. Me? Well, I currently have no horse in this race since I’m more of a casual (read: mobile) and retro game player.

What Is Microsoft Learning From Its Mistakes?

Patron Diego Acuna is invested in what Microsoft is doing, and whether the company is learning from its mistakes. You can become a Patron, as well, and receive a priority in getting your questions answered!

What do you think of the changes in Windows 8.1 Update 1 as well as the new start menu and support for modern UI apps running in the desktop coming in future update? Is Microsoft learning from its mistakes from Windows 8.0?

The company is not learning; it’s accommodating.

Only time will tell if it’s “learning” from its mistakes.

I think there’s a new Microsoft on the horizon, and that has me somewhat excited for what the future holds for consumers.

Windows 9 (or whatever Microsoft is gonna call it) will be telling, I feel. Will the company have done more than simply minimize the impact of a bifurcated UX? Nobody knows, but it’s quite possible that Microsoft has finally woken up to something I said a long time ago: we’re living in a world now where Microsoft needs us more than we need it.

Has Microsoft Learned from Its Mistakes?

Diego Acuna had a great question earlier:

What do you think of the changes in Windows 8.1 Update 1, as well as the new Start menu and support for modern UI apps running in the desktop coming in the future update? Is Microsoft learning from its Windows 8.0 mistakes?

Has Microsoft Learned from Its Mistakes?I think it’s been a series of overdue changes that should’ve been instituted up front, yes.

However, the changes only speak to my original criticisms of the Windows 8 in general; Microsoft did its best to blend two user experiences into one product, and that’s proven to be a catastrophic mistake (as I did predict).

I didn’t want to be right about it, either, but I was, and no amount of “but it’s better now” is going to address the core problem.

So, yes… Windows 8.1 update 1 is better than the shipping version of Windows 8, but the changes Microsoft instituted to drive home a better experience haven’t necessarily “fixed” the underlying user experience issues inherent in the system.

For “Windows 9” to work well, it has to decide what it wants to be: an OS for a traditional mouse/keyboard/latpop/desktop computing experience, or an OS for a primarily touch-driven environment.

Still having trouble figuring things out in Windows 8.1? There’s a great guide / DVD set to help!

How to Make Windows 8 or 8.1 Look and Feel Like Windows 7

If you have a PC with Windows 8 or 8.1 but miss Windows 7, there’s no need to downgrade. Following a few simple steps, you can make Microsoft’s current operating system look and feel almost identical to its predecessor. Here’s how to bring back the Start menu and the attractive Aero Glass theme, and how to hide other Windows 8 elements like the Charms menu. Surprisingly, nobody seems to want the Windows Vista experience back….

How to Make Windows 8 or 8.1 Look and Feel Like Windows 7