Saturday, August 08, 2015

open a new window

Yeah, I know.  I am dredging deep when I need to rely on a Jerry Herman tune for a title.  But it may be a rather serendipitous choice.

I have mentioned before I am an addict.  I lust after everything electronic.  Or, at least, I once did.

For decades, I was an early adopter of electronic equipment.  Whatever was new went into my library.

Bose 901s.  Front projection big screen television.  VCR.  Laser disc.  Premium tuners and amplifiers.  And that was just the audio and video equipment.

Computers offered a completely different high.  A new tower every two years.  All the new programs.  And, of course, the Heaven-sent internet.

When I finally sold the Salem house, Goodwill and the county dump received what must have been close to $50,000 of equipment.  At least, when it was new.

When I moved to Mexico, I surrendered from the Electronics Wars.  My needs were certainly far easier to meet in retirement than in my status-striving days up north.

And I have remained a pacifist since.  For the main part. The best example is the recent release of Windows 10 -- Microsoft's latest operating system.

In years past, I would have read every review on such a momentous release.  And I may have even volunteered as a beta tester.

Instead, this release would have passed unnoticed if Microsoft had not been generous enough to offer me a free upgrade to the new system.  That is not because my marriage to Sonia Braga put me in good stead with the Gates family.

Anyone who has a current valid license for either Windows 7 or Windows 8 will receive the same opportunity to upgrade to Windows 10.  Just as long as they take advantage of the offer within a year of its release.  After that, they will pay just like everyone else who is not married to a Brazilian star.

Yesterday I decided to take advantage of Microsoft's offer.  In less than a half hour of downloading the new operating system, I was back in the captain's chair of Mexpatriate, taking the cut of her jib.

My first impression is that there is very little to get excited about.  I apparently was one of the few consumers who was quite happy with Windows 8.  But the rest of the computer world came to the conclusion that Microsoft had experienced its New Coke moment.  The clever boys and girls at Redmond had outrun their customers.

Part of that was due to the recession.  Sale of touch screens had not kept pace with the advancement in operating systems.  And laptop users were not prepared to see functionality as being transferable between a computer screen and a smartphone.

So, here are my first takes after spending a couple of hours on Windows 10.

First, those of you who hated the Windows 8 smartphone look will be pleased with the return of a start button -- similar to Windows 7.  But, only similar.  A lot of Windows 8's reliance on applications is still embedded -- even on the start page.

Second, the very utilitarian task bar is still present as it has been for the last few versions.  But it gets a new appearance and a snazzy look that shows which programs are open and operating.

Third, Microsoft continues its push to use its cloud storage system -- including OneDrive.  I have been tempted to use that multiple access function to discuss items with the church board.  If I do, I will let you know how it works out.

Fourth, there is a handy new option: task view.  In addition to being able to toggle through all open programs, task view opens all programs on a single page.  Obviously, that function works far more successfully with a large monitor, rather than my tiny laptop screen.  Fortunately, I have a large monitor at home where these little essays are displayed during drafting.

Fifth, another nice addition is a "search web and windows" box embedded in the task bar.  I far prefer it to searching for the magnifying glass in my old Windows 8 home page.

Sixth, there is a new iteration of Microsoft's browser.  Internet Explorer is dead.  Long live Edge.  Most of my readers long ago abandoned Internet Explorer.  I suspect for the same reason I did -- it was clunky.

Edge is a slick new model with incredibly high speed.  I am retaining Firefox as my default browser.  But Edge may be back in the running.  It will be interesting to watch my statistics to see how many readers switch over to the new browser.

And there you have it.  I know there is a lot more tucked away into this beauty -- such as, additional prices to be paid for services that were once free.  But that is fine with me.  I am not very fond of paying for services I never use as part of the underlying price of a product -- just to give some people the impression they are getting something free.

There will inevitably be bugs.  (See.  Bugs even show up in computer reviews here at Mexpatriate.)  And there will be plenty of patches.

But it is nice to simply open a new window.  Life without change is no life at all.
"Open a new window,
Open a new door,
Travel a new highway,
That's never been tried before"

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