The Microsoft Courier tablet PC has been on my wish list since I saw the “leaked” video from Gizmodo.
Looks bad-ass. Sign me up.
But, alas, Microsoft did not take advantage of the premier gadget event of the year–the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show–to unveil the coveted device. All Ballmer showed us was a semi-functional tablet PC from HP running Windows 7.
Fast-forward a couple weeks, and now Apple has revealed its much rumored, hyped, and speculated tablet PC dubbed the “iPad”. The iPad, despite all attempts by Steve Jobs to paint it differently, is essentially a very large iPod Touch. However, despite myself I still think it looks cool and I can think of some reasons I might be willing to part with $500 to get one.
That said, there are still a variety of reasons that a Microsoft tablet PC like the mythic Courier, or even the tablet PC’s running Windows 7 from the likes of HP or Lenovo, will make much better business tools than the iPad.
That said, there are also some good reasons that the iPad could be uniquely qualified as a business tool. And, for the millions of iPhone and iPod Touch users, the iPad provides a consistent, familiar experience–not unlike that which Microsoft customers could enjoy across different platforms if Microsoft ever releases Windows Mobile 7.
If you can’t be with the one you love (Courier), love the one you’re with (iPad).
It ranks up there in prescience with predictions like “Yankees will play baseball in 2010″, or “Families will eat dinner in 2010″, or “The Republicans will put special interests and big business contributors ahead of what is best for the country or the constituents they represent in 2010″. You get the idea.
Of course Windows 7 will face attacks in 2010.
Windows 7 is the most secure desktop operating system yet created–at least by Microsoft. It is significant quantum leap more secure than Windows XP, which still claims the majority of the desktop market share.
That said, Windows 7 is also the fastest-selling operating system to date–at least by Microsoft. It is the flagship operating system of Microsoft and it that, by default, paints a bullseye on its back.
Granted, attackers will also be focusing more on low-hanging fruit like Adobe, or on cross-platform attacks like Web-based exploits, but Microsoft holds a dominant share of the desktop, office productivity, and Web browser markets so attackers in search of the largest possible pool of victims will always look to exploit flaws in Microsoft software.
It won’t get you legions of followers willing to part with their hard-earned cash, or grant you the ability to throw lightning bolts, or turn lead to gold or anything, but there is an Easter Egg that has been uncovered in Windows 7 that implements a “GodMode”.
It’s all in the name. By simply renaming a folder in Windows Explorer with a specific string of text, the folder will instantly be transformed into a Control Panel of sorts with access to a diverse array of configuration settings that weren’t previously available.
It won’t make you a god, but it will grant you more god-like control of your Windows 7 environment.
Microsoft wants to make upgrading to the latest desktop operating system and office productivity suite as appealing as possible. That is why it implemented a promotion offering both for half off the suggested retail price of both through June 30, 2010 for Microsoft Open Value Subscription customers.
To be eligible, customers must be part of Microsoft’s Open Value Subscription (OVS) program and currently running one of the listed prior versions of those products. The original program–which expires June 30, 2010–included customers migrating from Windows Vista and Office 2003. Microsoft has now expanded the scope of the promotion to include customers upgrading from Windows XP and Office XP as well.
If you are a Microsoft OVS customer, now is a good time to start talking with your Microsoft rep about upgrading. Upgrading to Office 2007 for half-off will also include the Software Assurance plan so you can upgrade to Office 2010 for free once it becomes available.
Microsoft has as much ying as it does yang in the success department these days. Windows 7 appears to be a grand slam hit, but Internet Explorer continues to be a bit of a whipping post, the Zune is cool but offers little competition for the iPods of the world, and if Windows Mobile 7 is delayed any further users may forget Microsoft even has a mobile operating system.
A recent article in InformationWeek laid out a gameplan for Microsoft for 2010. I don’t necessarily agree with all of the points, but in a nutshell the article states that Microsoft should:
- Drop the price of Windows
- Cut the price of Office or make it available for free
- Provide more services
- Dump the Zune
- Acquire Yahoo
- Shake up the leadership
- Launch a game-changer
That last one seems to be a sort of catch-all trump card. If Microsoft, or any company, did nothing at all in 2010 except for launch a game-changer that would seem to…well, change the game.
Perhaps Windows Mobile 7 will rise from the ashes like a phoenix and shift the mobile operating system landscape? We shall see.
Upgrading to a new operating system is daunting enough without also losing all of the data and settings you have accumulated over the years on your old system. Microsoft developed Windows Easy Transfer to make the process of moving to a new operating system simpler.
This article provides a solid understanding of what Windows Easy Transfer can do, and what it can’t do, as well as a heads up on some of the caveats and pitfalls you should be aware of.
I will throw in one spoiler, though, because I think is important enough to repeat. Windows Easy Transfer will move data like–documents, photos, and music, and settings–like your preferences for configuring teh Windows desktop, but it will *not* move actual applications.
So, for example, if you have Quicken, Windows Easy Transfer will move the Quicken data files from your old operating system to your new one, but unless you actually install Quicken on the new computer it won’t know what to do with them.
Installing applications, unfortunately, is a manual process that still has to be done one program at a time. The silver lining on that cloud, though, is that it is an opportunity for you to weed out software you never really use and start with a nice clean slate.
Microsoft added a variety of features and made a number of improvements in Windows 7. Many of the improvements focus on making the operating system more secure, however Windows 7 is still far from invulnerable.
“…. I had downloaded AVG anti-virus in August. Nothing told me I had a virue. It was only when my computer did not improve with Windows 7 that I decided to pay a tech to look at it. The tech has me set up with the security that comes with Windows 7. He thinks this is better than AVG. So I also paid for AVG for 2 years and only used it for 3 months…”
To which the response was:
“…your tech person is a bit off base about Windows security. There is no anti-virus software with Windows 7. I recommend immediately reinstalling your anti-virus software.”
The writer is correct. Windows 7 has a number of security features. It does include the Windows Firewall, and Windows Defender anti-spyware, but no antivirus protection. However, Microsoft does offer its Microsoft Security Essentials antimalware software at no cost.
Windows 7 is a solid operating system, but that doesn’t mean it can’t use a little help. While Microsoft included a number of awesome bells and whistles in Windows 7 itself, there are also an array of tools and utilities you can use to tweak your Windows 7 experience and make your life easier.
PC World’s Jeff Bertolucci put together a detailed list of 10 Essential Windows 7 Downloads. Bertolucci’s list includes Microsoft Security Essentials, Winzip, Ultimate Windows Tweaker v2, Systerac Tools for Windows 7, and more.
I have to admit that I did not understand the hype and anticipation for the iPhone when it was first released. I am not one of the Apple faithful, and I had barely even heard of the device before its launch.
The first time I asked a friend what the big deal was, he showed me the iPhone app he downloaded that displays a video clip of a lighter–in case you’re begging for an encore at a concert and don’t happen to be a smoker. I thought “Seriously?? You stood in line for hours and spent hundreds of dollars so you could recreate the experience of lighting a $1 Bic lighter??”
Now the iPhone app store has more than 120,000 apps and, by comparison, the lighter app is actually one of the practical ones. The real point, though, is that sometimes its the bells and whistles that make all the difference.
The same is true for computer operating systems. You expect the operating system to perform the basic operating system functions. It should run software, connect with printers, access the Internet, etc. But, it is often the simple diamond in the rough of a bell or whistle you did not anticipate that really define your user experience.
Take a look at these secret hidden gems of Windows 7 to see what you may be missing.
I like my mouse, and I have a snazzy new 23″ touch screen monitor–so I prefer to navigate the Windows 7 operating system with the point-and-click method we have grown to know and love with graphical user interfaces like Windows.
I am, however, aware that keyboard shortcuts can be tremendous timesavers and that some people swear by them. Particularly for users who type a lot–your hands are already on the keyboard so it makes sense that you would capitalize on keystroke commands to minimize windows, open applications, etc., rather than taking your hands off of the keyboard, moving the mouse across the screen, and clicking two or three different options to accomplish the same thing.
Microsoft has always had some keyboard shortcuts, but with Windows 7 it made Windows even more keyboard friendly than before. PC World’s Rick Broida compiled a list of the common keyboard shortcuts for Windows 7 with detailed descriptions of how they work.