Steph Post’s short fiction, Champ, was published in Vending Machine Press, and is offered here for your reading pleasure. Enjoy writing from one of my favorite authors, and good friend.
Over the past couple of months I’ve played with the Technical Preview of both Windows 10 Pro for PC and Windows 10 for phones. I used the operating systems daily for a while and put them through the acid test of practical use. Of course there were bugs and things that just didn’t work properly. The versions were beta software and therefore not fully developed. But I have to say I liked the direction operating systems are headed and found them amazingly stable for the most part.
Having said all that, I am reverting back to Windows 8.1, at least for the near term. Microsoft just announced the official release for Windows 10, due out on July 29. Those who are running Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1 can reserve a copy for download and install the moment the new OS is released. To avoid the huge bandwidth traffic jam that might be expected, Microsoft will actually be downloading the new OS onto the machines of those who had reserved copies. The file is around 3GB in size and you will have the option of not installing it. However, the necessary upgrade files will be stored on your computer in advance of the release. If you opt to install the files your computer will be upgraded immediately. Having installed the betas of the software, I will say the process is about as smooth and effortless as anything I’ve ever experienced from any software manufacturer. It really is designed to allow you to sit back and relax during the process.
I have used Windows 8.1 on my phone for quite a while but I really hadn’t worked with the OS on a PC until I purchased a Surface Pro 3 back in April. Although I had a few days of asking my son (who has more experience using the software) how to do this and that, the learning curve was brief. And, like most MS products, if you don’t know how to do something with the new OS there is a way to accomplish it the old way, once you figure out where it is hidden and how to access it. Backward compatibility is important for businesses and that is a large part of the reason for Windows being the ubiquitous OS that it is for professionals.
As someone who had used various flavors of Linux, every version of Windows from 3.1 to Vista and Apple Mac OS from 9.4 to OS X 10.10 Yosemite I think I can speak to user experience and intuitiveness. Linux in all is variations is not for the newbie. Hands down Mac OS has been always the most user friendly especially for a beginner (yes, there still are some of those left in the personal computer world). I’ve personally taught novices how to use the OS in less than ten minutes. My youngest daughter used Windows 98 and XP for years and never really mastered it beyond rudimentary functionality but she learned Mac OS X to a high functional level in about a half day. My oldest sister used Windows 98 and Windows XP for years as well and uses a Windows based machine at work. About a year or so ago she switched to Mac OS X and has been using her new computer more often doing things on it she never learned to do with Windows.
Microsoft attempted to close the gap of usability with the much maligned Windows 8 Metro tiles. For a novice using a touch screen computer it is easier to learn. However, for someone who had used previous versions of Windows the experience of adapting was frustrating, especially if the user had never used a Windows Phone or was running Windows 8 on a machine not equipped with a touch screen. It was a little like playing Where’s Waldo when trying to figure out where the software developers had hid things like Control Panel and the desktop. Windows 8.1 addressed some of those issues, though not all.
Personally I like Windows 8.1. But then, I use a Windows Phone. My entire experience with Windows 8.1 for PC has been on a MS Surface Pro 3 which is designed specifically for that software. In fact, after upgrading to the technical preview for Windows 10 I missed some of the Tablet Mode features of 8.1 that have been removed. The Beta version of Window 10 has a good deal more flexibility and ease of use in switching back and forth between tablet and desktop modes and I found that I was using desktop mode a lot more often with Windows 10 than Windows 8.1, perhaps because it is simple to toggle. However, the version of Windows 10 I was using (Build 10074) had a nasty tendency to crash Tablet Mode when it first booted up, leaving a black screen. The work around was to CRTL+ALT+DEL to Sign Off and then Sign In and by then everything would work. My speculation is that the instability was related to a new feature that allows a transparency overlay for the background when in Tablet Mode.
There were other big issues with Window 10 Preview. One was the incomplete implementation of Outlook for email that prevented me from accessing a POP3 account I use regularly. Another was the OS’s tendency to keep wanting me to renew my Windows Credential. I could not turn that feature off for whatever reason though it is used mainly in Enterprise Editions. Annoyance level 4/10.
Another issue I had was a random Out Of Memory alert that would pop up that did not seem to be telling me anything at all about the functioning of my computer – i.e., there was nothing halted, crashed or running slow at the time and it even happened when I wasn’t doing anything at all on the computer.
The last thing I found vexing was that an internet based text entry box on Word Press that I use a few times each week runs extremely slow. And I’m talking about it being like entering text on Window 3.0 running on a i386 machine, as in I’d type ahead and the computer would catch up to me eventually. That was the deal breaker that decided me to revert back to 8.1. I’m sure this issue is related to memory management and it may have something to do with the reason for the random Out Of Memory alert. The same problem occurred, by the way, with MS Word if the document was more than 100 pages – like a manuscript.
#Microsoft #Windows #Windows10 #Windows Phone #MacOsX #Linux