Back To Windows 7

The love affair with Windows 8 didn’t last long. I’m back with Windows 7. I don’t think it’s the difficulty of getting around Windows 8 that was the trouble. It’s just that Windows 7 just works for most people and it certainly did for me. I don’t know why Microsoft decided to change the entire look and feel of a product when people were just getting comfortable to it. Why change a successful product? Beats me. Another misstep from Redmond.

Kindle for the Mac

I was browsing the Apple App Store the other night, and I came across an application called “Kindle” for the Mac. And, it’s free. So, I downloaded the application and installed it. Amazon recently made the “Kindle Apps” available to anyone with a smartphone and a computer. You don’t need a Kindle device.

Kindle Apps will work on the PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry and the Windows 7 phone. If you own a Kindle, you can synch any of the Kindle Apps to work in conjunction with your Kindle device. So, Kindle owners are now able to read the books they’ve purchased, not only in the Kindle devices, but also on their computers and smartphones.

The Kindle app for the Mac comes empty. There are no books. You will need to download the books from Amazon’s website. To download, just click on the “Shop in Kindle Store” link on the top hand right corner of the window. You can purchase thousands of books, including the latest releases, as well as download all the free public domain books that are available.

If you already own a Kindle, you just have to register the application with your Amazon credentials. To synch the books you’ve already purchased, you just login and the application will download all your books. It will also remember the last page you’ve read as well as synch any annotations you have created on your Kindle device.

I downloaded two free books, the Art of War by Sunzi and The Adventures of Sherlock Homes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I can see reading on the Kindle can be an expensive hobby. Reading electronically does have it’s distinct advantages. At least, you don’t have to lug around a book everywhere you go.

Microsoft Introduces New Phones

Microsoft just unvieled several smartphones based on Windows 7 mobile phone operating sysyem. Three new phones will be available at AT&T on November 8 for  about $200. Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile will follow in 2011.

Microsoft latest entry in the highly competitive smartphone market with the Android, Blackberry and the iPhone already entrenched. Microsoft will have to rely on features to entice users to buy a Windows 7 based smartphone.

Integration of social networks, messaging and the Microsoft Xbox are standard as well a smartphone version of the Powerpoint presentation. The smartphones will also include Office Hub, which offers a free integration with Microsoft’s One Note software which shares documents online. In addition, AT&T customers will have Uverse TV service added.

In my opinion, I just don’t see Microsoft making any significant gains or dent in this competitive market. The new Microsoft smartphones just doesn’t have enough of anything to make people switch.

Even with Apple’s marketing and loyal fans, the iPhone manages to come third behind the Android and the Blackberry.

Grub and Windows 7

I’m not sure why it is so difficult to make Windows and Grub to co-exist. Oh, they do work. They work like a charm. The issue surfaces each time there is a new iteration of the latest Windows OS, in this case Windows 7. It blows off the Grub configuration and makes it unusable. It rewrites the Master Boot Record deeming your Grub configuration unusable.

How rude it is for Microsoft to assume that Windows is the only operating system available on a computer. One more thing, if you are going to have a dual boot system, it is advisable to install Windows first. If you install Windows last, it will rewrite the MBR making it impossible for you to get to your Linux distro. It’s not really gone. Windows just screwed up Grub and overwritten the MBR. You have to boot from a Linux CD and restore Grub.

I just wished Windows would behave well and co-exist with Linux. It’s this kind of provocation that alienates Linux users even more.

Windows 7 Complaints Trickling In

A recent article from CNNMoney stated that as many as 31% of Windows users have reported problems upgrading to Windows 7. Most of the problems are with the installation and migration of data.

One common gripe, experienced by 9% of installers, is that the half-hour to an hour-long upgrade process gets to the “62% completed” point and then freezes. It’s a problem that Microsoft is aware of, and can be fixed by rebooting the computer, going into advanced settings, and typing in a code that instructs the computer to ignore plug-ins.

Here’s the top 10 list of common problems:

  1. Problems with installation – 31%
  2. Missing applets or components – 26%
  3. Aero theme is not running – 14%
  4. DVD drive not found – 8%
  5. Hidden extensions – 6%
  6. Too many minidumps – 6%
  7. Aero snap problems – 3%
  8. iPhone won’t sync with Windows 7 – 2%
  9. Custom icons get changed with new theme – 2%
  10. Taskbar problems – 1%

If you are thinking of using Windows 7, you are better off not upgrading. The ideal is to get a system that already has Windows 7 installed. If you have Windows Vista now, opt for a clean installation. Backup all your data to a USB hard drive, install, and restore your applications and documents.

TuxRadar Loves Windows 7

Windows 7 seems to be generating a lot of interest towards Linux according to TuxRadar, an online website that provides news, reviews and tutorials of open-source software. Here are excerpts from TuxRadar’s blog:

We love Windows 7 because it seems to be providing Linux with a massive PR boost and indeed may well backfire on Microsoft – people are more curious than ever about how Linux stacks up against Windows 7.

Google is suddenly driving vast amounts of traffic to two particular pages of ours: Linux vs Windows 7 and Benchmarked: Ubuntu vs Vista vs Windows 7. You see, it seems that people who see the big marketing push for Windows 7 aren’t all immediately going out and parting with their hard-earned cash.

If you haven’t read the articles mentioned above, be sure to check them out. It gives detail comparison between Windows 7 and several Linux distributions.

Windows 7 Student Price $30

Microsoft has set the price of Windows 7 Home Premium for students at $30. Does that mean everyone is a student? Well, you need to be an enrolled student with a college or university email address. Microsoft may require proof of enrollment. Not sure how they will enforce it. Nevertheless, it’s a deep discount compared to the $199 price tag for the Home Premium for every one else. Complete Windows 7 Pricing. Article.

One Day Windows 7 Upgrade

If you plan to upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7, you might as well plan on doing nothing else for a day. Preliminary reports indicate that some Windows 7 upgrades can take as long as 20 hours. If you’re a heavy Microsoft user with a large hard drive and with many, many applications, stock up on coffee, pizza or beer. Or just have one of those upgrade parties with your friends.

ZDnet reports:

Over the weekend, several leading tech websites zeroed in on one alarming snippet of data that Microsoft tester Chris Hernandez published on his Technet blog: With enough data, on sufficiently underpowered hardware, Microsoft found that a Windows 7 upgrade from Windows Vista SP1 can take as long as 1214.86 minutes, which is (hang on while I fire up Calculator here) … 20 hours, 14 minutes, 52 seconds. Give or take a few milliseconds.

Ars Technica also reported:

The biggest thing that stands out about this chart is the very broad range of the upgrade time: from 30 minutes to 1,220 minutes. That second extreme is not a typo: Microsoft really did time an upgrade that took 20 hours and 20 minutes. That’s with 650GB of data, 40 applications, on mid-end hardware, and during a 32-bit upgrade. We don’t even want to know how long it would take if Microsoft had bothered doing the same test with low-end hardware.

Recommendation:
If you can, you are better off backing up your data and installing a fresh install of Windows 7. Total upgrade time: ~30 minutes.

Windows 7 Zero Day Reported

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into Windows. Well, apparently there is a zero day vulnerability with Windows 7. Zero day attack or threat is a computer threat that tries to exploit computer application vulnerabilities that are unknown to others, undisclosed to the software vendor, or for which no security fix is available. At least at the moment there is no fix. ZDnet writes that, “the flaw in Windows 7 could allow an attack which would cause a critical system error, or “Blue Screen of Death”, according to researcher Laurent Gaffie. Gaffie added that the flaw lies in a Server Message Block 2 (SMB2) driver. Read the article.