Tag Archives: beta

Windows 7 Thoughts

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I took several live calls the other night, talking to people about Windows 7. Mitchell was one of the callers. He absolutely loves Windows 7. He’s been a Windows user for many years, and never did like Vista. He started using Windows 7 with the very first build, and is now using the RTM via his TechNet subscription.

Although he never upgrade his own machines to Vista, he did use it on other computers. He hated it from the get-go, and refused to upgrade until something better was released. That something is obviously Windows 7 as far as he’s concerned.

In Mitchell’s mind – and my own – upgrading from XP to Windows 7 is an excellent idea. Mitchell feels that the upgrade is best because of the Windows Explorer. He’s very happy with that. He felt it was too confusing in Vista. With Windows 7, it’s easier to navigate and find what you’re looking for.

If you haven’t upgraded to Windows 7 yet, what are you waiting for? Remember, if you’re needing some tips and help, you can check out my Windows 7 eBook, available for only $7.00!

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What Do You Like About Likaholix?

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There are many things in this life that I like. I like green tea. It’s Geekalicious, really. I like old video games, like back on Atari. I like bamboo. I guess I’m a likaholic. If you’re one as well, you might like Likaholix.

Likaholix allows you to share, discuss and discover your likes with people you know. Basically, you just like things. It asks me to enter the name of an item. So, I entered the word lamp. It gives me a few different options to choose from, or I can enter a web link to what it is that I liked.

Once you select the item, click an image that’s representative of the like. Next, you need to say something about why you like that particular thing. I can optionally select my location, and add tag words. I can edit my like, and leave a comment.

If others happen to like the same things as me, then they can say they like it as well. This way, I’ll find people who like the same things I do, and may meet new friends. This site is all about likes – and no haters!

Right now, Likaholix are giving away five Amazon Kindles to people who join and become extremely active at liking things and people. Why does the world have to be so full of negativaty? The glass is half full, not half empty!

Did you know your friends like the things they like? Do they know what you like?! Likaholix is a great place to find out.

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What’s New in Windows 7: A Lot!!

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Yes, I’m now running Windows 7 on my HP TouchSmart PC, instead of using Vista. I knew that the Beta had been released, after hundreds of you had come pouring into our chat room asking if I had used it yet – and what I thought of it. I gotta say – so far it’s running very well!

I wasn’t able to get Windows 7 to recognize all of the hardware. I had to install it twice. The first time, it wouldn’t really work well. The second time, I did the same thing and it worked great. The only thing I cannot get to work still is the multi-touch feature of the TouchSmart. I was surprised to see that things I hadn’t expected to change have done so – and for the better! A lot more features have been fleshed out.

There are a few things I think will plague Windows for all of eternity. Once again, this version of Windows is chock full of the Tahoma font. For that reason alone, I could never think of any version of Windows as more than a Beta. I just can’t stand to have to look at it! I don’t think any self-respecting designer would release an operating system that had the use of MS Sans Seriff Tahoma throughout the UI. It’s kind of sloppy in my book.

However, if you can look past something like this, then Windows 7 will likely be an excellent upgrade for you. It’s definitely a lot faster than Vista. There isn’t any lag at all when doing a search from within the start menu or elsewhere on the system. When I plug in a USB device, it is recognized immediately.

A lot of the things that I appreciate are the things that they’ve seen through. A lot of what we saw added into Vista were taken out even more. They’ve added even more functionality without overwhelming the users. If you’re a power user, my recommendation is that you download Windows 7 Beta and give it a shot. I don’t know that I’d use this yet as your primary system, but it’s definitely worth trying.

I do plan to do a small series on Windows 7, to prepare people for what they’ll see. I am going to focus small videos on things that I have found within this new operating system that I already like. Windows 7 isn’t enough to make me want to “switch back” and away from Mac OS X. But I do like it, yes. It’s an excellent experience so far, and I know many of you are going to be happy with it. It feels so much more complete than Vista – it feels like what Vista should have been. There isn’t a lot of “wow” factor, but they have taken a lot of time to develop features that are important.

If you want to send feedback to Microsoft, you can download the Beta. Inside of every window, there is a direct feedback link. You can give it a star ranking, type in your feedback, and more. Allegedly, Microsoft will be taking a serious look at everything you have to say.

Keep in mind, you will likely run into issues as you begin to use Windows 7. Remember – you’re using a Beta, not a final release! Identifying and fixing bugs and issues is what a Beta is all about. Let me know what your experience is like so far – both positive and negative. If you have excellent tips and tricks already, let us hear from you!

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Would You Like to Try the Bumptop Beta for Windows?

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We’ve been doing GoToMeeting sessions again. I thought this time around, I’d ask presenters to show off different tips and tricks they have. Marc Billow decided to demonstrate BumpTop for us. You, too, can sign up for a Beta code – without having to wait five months for it! We’re going to be giving away 100 instant access codes so that our community members can help test this out!

BumpTop is a fresh and engaging new way to interact with your computer desktop. You can pile and toss documents like on a real desk. Break free from the rigid and mechanical style of standard point-and-click desktops. Interact by pushing, pulling and piling documents with elegant, self revealing gestures. BumpTop’s stunning interface makes clever use of 3D presentation and smooth physics-based animations for an engaging, vivid user experience.

As Marc shows you, you can literally make your virtual desktop look more like a real desktop. It’s a lot of fun to play with, and very addictive. Instead of losing everything with a standard Windows desktop, you can make things stand out the way you are comfortable with using BumpTop. You can create tidy piles with documents and icons, move them anywhere on your desktop, and even let everything have a ‘messy’ look.

So as I said, we’re giving away 100 instant-access codes so that you can run this utility now. If you want to be one of these people, you need to subscribe to my YouTube channel, and subscribe to Marc’s YouTube channel. You also have to leave a comment in this blog post on my website. Make sure you leave a good comment, which is something that adds to the discussion here. If you leave an insipid comment such as “wow this is cool!”, your comment will be deleted and you will not be eligible.

Thank you so much to Tim and the team at Bumptop for putting this together for us!

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How Are You Helping the Software Community?

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Even before the World Wide Web, I downloaded everything I could find to run on my computer. I was a software Geek from day one. Hardware is expensive, so I never got into it nearly as much.

I got an email here from Josh, and he writes: “I’ve been a subscriber to your YouTube channel for awhile, and I thought I would put together a top 10 list for you about easy ways people can contribute to the software community”. So without further ado, let’s take a look at his tips.

  1. Join an idea submission site to share the ideas on how to make a product better with the community, as well as the company sponsoring the site. Examples of this include Dell’s Ideastorm Ubuntu Linux’s Brainstorm site.
  2. Download and test Alpha and Beta software. Companies that release this kind of software to the public almost always provide a way to report bugs as well as provide feedback. One easy and highly useful piece of software to test is a Web browser. Firefox and Chrome are two examples that offer easy to obtain public betas.
  3. Join a public bug tracker for a piece of software you use. This way, you can report bugs you find, as well as help identify valid and invalid already existing bugs by voting. You can also confirm bugs that have already been reported in the bug tracker.
  4. If you use OpenDNS, they have a community where you can submit domains for review, and vote on whether a domain is categorized correctly to help improve their content filtering. There are also a few places to report phishing scams, such as Phishtank.
  5. Contribute support in forums and help sites. If you know the answer to a question someone is asking at one of these sites, you can post an answer. An example of such a forum is Lockergnome Help forums, Apple Discussions and even Microsoft Newsgroups.
  6. Open Source projects often accept help writing documentation, or translating their documentation into a different language. Open Source projects also often accept donations. These donations can often be counted when you are doing your taxes. Some Open Source projects accept artwork, too.
  7. Try to contribute what you are good at. Software companies need a lot of different skills, such as artwork, legal advising, financial management, translations, user interface testing, etc… There is a place where anyone can contribute.
  8. Publicize software you use or like in your blog, Twitter, or even on YouTube.
  9. Join a user group for a piece of software you use. I’ve never been in one, however I know a few people in these type of groups, including one person who is in a VMware user group. He is able to get large discounts on VMware’s product,s as well as give direct feedback to VMware engineers.
  10. Use a lot of different software on multiple OS’s if possible.

So you see, there are many ways you can get your foot into the door where software is concerned, and make your voice heard. By helping out in any or all of these words will not only help you, but could help countless other people as well.


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What's new in Firefox 3?

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Beta 1 of Firefox 3 was released today. I found a few bugs, but overall it’s looking like there are some excellent new features and improvements. When it goes final, I may switch from Maxthon 1.0 to Firefox for my Windows machine. Let’s take a look at some of what’s new, thanks to Asa Dotzler from Mozilla. Asa is my kind of Geek, that’s for sure.

More Security

  • One click site info: Click the site favicon in the location bar to see who owns the site. Identity verification is prominently displayed and easier to understand.
  • Malware Protection: malware protection warns users when they arrive at sites which are known to install viruses, spyware, trojans or other malware.
  • New Web Forgery Protection page: the content of pages suspected as web forgeries is no longer shown.
  • New SSL error pages: clearer and stricter error pages are used when Firefox encounters an invalid SSL certificate.
  • Add-ons and Plugin version check: Firefox now automatically checks add-on and plugin versions and will disable older, insecure versions.
  • Secure add-on updates: to improve add-on update security, add-ons that provide updates in an insecure manner will be disabled.
  • Anti-virus integration: Firefox will inform anti-virus software when downloading executables.

Easier to Use

  • Easier password management: an information bar replaces the old password dialog so you can now save passwords after a successful login.
  • Simplified add-on installation: the add-ons whitelist has been removed making it possible to install extensions from third-party sites in fewer clicks.
  • New Download Manager: the revised download manager makes it much easier to locate downloaded files.
  • Resumable downloading: users can now resume downloads after restarting the browser or resetting your network connection.
  • Tab scrolling and quickmenu: tabs are easier to locate with the new tab scrolling and tab quickmenu.
  • Text selection improvements: Multiple text selections can be made with Ctrl/Cmd; Double-click drag selects in “word-by-word” mode; Triple-clicking selects a paragraph.
  • Find toolbar: the Find toolbar now opens with the current selection.

More Personal

  • Star button: quickly add bookmarks from the location bar with a single click; a second click lets you file and tag them.
  • Tags: associate keywords with your bookmarks to sort them by topic.
  • Location bar & auto-complete: type the title or tag of a page in the location bar to quickly find the site you were looking for in your history; favicons, bookmark, and tag indicators help you see where results are coming from.
  • Smart Places Folder: quickly access your recently bookmarked and tagged pages, as well as you more frequently visited pages with the new smart places folder on your bookmark toolbar.
  • Bookmarks and History Organizer: advanced search of your history and bookmarks with multiple views and smart folders to store your frequent searches.
  • Easy to use Download Actions: a new Applications preferences pane provides a better UI for configuring handlers for various file types and protocol schemes.

Improved Performance

  • Reliability: A user’s bookmarks, history, cookies, and preferences are now stored in a transactionally secure database format which will prevent data loss even if their system crashes.
  • Speed: Major architectural changes put foundations in place for major performance tuning which have resulted in speed increases in Beta 1, and will show further gains in future Beta releases.
  • Memory usage: Over 300 individual memory leaks have been plugged, and a new XPCOM cycle collector completely eliminates many more. Developers are continuing to work on optimizing memory use and reducing fragmentation.

So there you have it. A long list of reasons why you should be taking a look at the new Firefox version 3.0 when it is released. Excellent kudos to all of the Dev team at Mozilla.

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The Vista Bashing Bandwagon

It’s not often I find myself agreeing with The Inquirer. Microsoft Vista is still a mess:

Vista’s still a mess. It’s meant to be at release candidate stage, yet vendor’s are struggling to provide sufficient driver support, features are still missing or not yet complete, and its performance compared to XP is still poor. Nowadays hardware is cheap, and it would be sufficiently acceptable to upgrade in anticipation of a wonderfully revolutionary OS. Unfortunately Vista provides little to no benefit for end users compared to that of the previous version of Windows, released five years ago in 2001.

Agreed. Agreed. Agreed. I think we’re all hoping for dramatic (and I mean, DRAMATIC) improvements between RC1, RC2, and Gold.

Finally, the Office 2007 Ribbon Rocks!

I wasn’t sure if I’d be sold on the Office 2007 Ribbon interface. It’s different – almost too different. I know they said it was supposed to increase productivity, but to me it just increased screen clutter. Today, I heard that the Office 2007 Ribbon [is] To Be Tweaked:

The Ribbon, a new top-of-the-window feature in most of the suite’s applications — including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint — takes up too much space, say many beta users and reviewers . In response, the next Office 2007 update, a so-called Technical Refresh (TR), will include changes to the Ribbon. Although an undocumented – or at least unpublicized – Ctrl-F1 key combination has “collapsed” the Ribbon since the very first beta to provide more viewing and working space for documents, Microsoft program manger Jensen Harris has outlined new ways that the feature will be called in future versions.

YES! By doing this, they’ve made the Ribbon UI truly digestable. Taking the Minimized Ribbon to the Max – watch the video to see what I mean. They’re really moving the ideas of menus forward, and I really wish the rest of Windows (and Microsoft) software would follow suit. Collapsing the Ribbon was an AWESOME idea. Now, as far as charging for Office betas is concerned – that was pure stupid.

Windows Media DRM is Corrupted

So, I’m getting ready for a trip to Colorado Springs for my future brother-in-law’s nuptuals. I figured I’d give the Clix a shot with Urge. I fire up the Windows Media Player and… blammo:

Your Windows Media DRM is Corrupted

“Your Windows Media DRM is Corrupted.” *sigh* I love DRM. It’s awesome. DRM is teh shiz. I want to make love to DRM, it’s so sexy. DRM is the ultimate. Give me more DRM. I want to spread DRM on my toast in the morning. I need DRM in my life.

Tagging Your Posts for Gnomedex

I’ve had a few people ask me what to tag their posts as for Gnomedex. I say (and have always said) just tag things “Gnomedex” and leave it at that. If you wanna get fancy, you can also do Gnomedex6, Gnomedex06, Gnomedex2006, or SirNotAppearingInThisFilm. For maximum flash efficiency, stick with “Gnomedex” and call it a day. The only other tag we’d like to recommend is “GnomedexDiscussion” – for the times when you’d like to make a comment on something that’s being said at the conference – specifically when we run out of time for a discussion on-site. If you want to watch what’s happening with any of the keywords, you can import any of the following into your news aggregator from TagJag:

TagJag outputs OPML and RSS without you ever needing to visit the site! Plus, it combines tag search directories (fresh, like Flickr, Technorati, or de.l.ici.ou.s) with traditional search directories (static, like Yahoo!, Ask, or MSN).