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  • Windows 10

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on March 24th, 2017 (All posts by )

    Recently I updated to Windows 10 on my work computer. I have worked with windows products for decades now, starting with the early DOS based versions and remembering the “Big Bang” of Windows 95 with “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones in the background. What I really thought was cool back in the days of Windows 95 was seeing the Weezer video for “Buddy Holly” through the windows media player since it was installed with the operating system. It was a first glance at actually useful video integrated with the device (or downloaded) rather than played through a CD or ultimately DVD.

    I was dreading this Windows 10 upgrade because many of my co-workers were having various problems with it on their devices. These weren’t problems with Windows 10 per se, they were tied with the way applications run as we move to more of an online mode. For example, if you are saving data on BOX in the cloud or using Office 365 (run from the cloud), your machine performance is more variable, tied with all the hand offs and routing up and down and depending on your network connection at the time. Many co-workers use tablets and a variety of machine types so there wasn’t a lot of common threads in some of the issues. Also, Microsoft now includes the “Edge” browser as default as they try to get rid of Internet Explorer (the worst browser) and many folks seemed confused because the links and bookmarks didn’t automatically port over to Edge.

    My experience was quite different – I downloaded Windows 10 onto my machine and it worked great, right away. My machine is newer (less than a year old) and perhaps that makes a difference. While you can’t buy a personal machine without Windows 10 installed (and couldn’t for a while), corporations can buy PC’s with older operating systems installed because they want to keep a homogeneous environment and upgrade all the machines in some sort of consistent method.

    Gone was the interminable boot-up wait of Windows 7 – my windows machine is almost as fast as booting up my 2011 Macbook Pro. After my outlook email and calendar migrated over (aided by the fact that I haven’t been in my job that long; at my prior company my outlook was gigantic) I was able to work without a hitch. As companies migrate more and more systems to the cloud, there is less data per se residing on your machine and you have fewer programs installed locally. It moved over all my internet connections and saved bookmarks and passwords so I was able to continue working right away and they seemingly thought of most everything.

    Microsoft tries to integrate some mobile phone / Apple type concepts into the experience, such as embedded news and weather and the like. This is kind of nice and I have a stock ticker and a few things but due to the way the standard internet has been infested with pop ups and the like it is hard to even click on news articles. I’m sure if I spent some time and installed pop up blockers and the like I could figure it out but it is annoying from the get-go. One area in which the Apple system is far superior is the fact that my messages and photos are synced from my phone to my ipad to my Macbook and I can access them from each device. Since Windows doesn’t really have any phone integration (I’m sure I could figure it out if I really tried) it pretty much is a work machine for me.

    One area in which I miss out with my Mac ecosystem is gaming – I would like to buy some of the newer wargames like “Strategic Command” but they aren’t really available on the Mac and I obviously wouldn’t install them on my work PC. But this is just as well because they are an immense time suck and I have a lot to learn having started a new job less than a year ago. Some of the games are starting to come to the iPad and I’m sure at some point there will be a more robust ecosystem of quite sophisticated and powerful games on that platform of the strategy type.

    All in, I thought I would dread my Windows 10 upgrade, but it was fine. It definitely improves my workday and I really like the fast boot time.

    Cross posted at LITGM

     

    12 Responses to “Windows 10”

    1. Grurray Says:

      Windows 8 was a terrible, nonsensical mess, but 10 seems to have at least fixed the worst of the obvious problems. I had a very product specific audio problem on my laptop when I upgraded to Windows 10. The upgrade erased the audio drivers, and the only way to fix it was to reinstall new drivers with old settings. It took me weeks to figure out the fix for the bug. There’s always some weird quirk like that holding Windows back.

    2. dearieme Says:

      “the links and bookmarks didn’t automatically port over to Edge”: that seems an extraordinarily crass decision. Is there some good, non-obvious reason for it?

    3. Gringo Says:

      FYI: Windows 10 is spying on almost everything you do – here’s how to opt out.

    4. Russtovich Says:

      And along with the Windows 10 spying, don’t forget Macs are pretty much doing the same:

      https://wikileaks.org/vault7/darkmatter/?cia

    5. PenGun Says:

      I grabbed it when it was free. Actually went though some installs, till I found one it liked. ;)

      I use it for games and things I need windows for. It’s a shame you can’t game on it, it’s definitely an improvement. I never actually thought of windows installs on my machine as ‘mine’, so it’s less of a conceptual leap for me.

      I don’t use it for anything important, I have a secure OS that I use.

    6. Brian Says:

      I use Classic Shell so I don’t have to deal with the ridiculous “app” interface. I don’t understand why Windows 10 seems to have much more frequent “upgrades”, and to be extremely unfriendly to the user about when they happen. For instance, I should NEVER walk away from my computer for an hour and find that it has installed an update and rebooted, thereby closing all my open windows and applications and interrupting work. And I should NEVER have to wait 10+ minutes for it to install an upgrade when I am trying to shut it down to go somewhere. Both of which have happened to me just this week.

    7. Whitehall Says:

      We’re on the declining utility portion of the tech curve. Personally, I see no advantages to Win 10 other than the faster boot time. Having to relearn and reorganize the control menus and screens is a PITA and for no discern able advantage, at least to my estimation.

      And I’ve been a user since Windows 1.1.

      Ask yourself, when was the last new app your IT department pushed onto your computer that really increased your productivity?

    8. David Foster Says:

      Whitehall…”Ask yourself, when was the last new app your IT department pushed onto your computer that really increased your productivity?”

      A lot of people in companies view their (usually very expensive) “Enterprise Resource Planning System” as a significant inhibitor to progress. Often, new business initiatives wind up getting tracked via a combination of spreadsheet and email, with interaction with the ERP system only where it can’t be avoided.

      As we have discussed here before, the Electronic Medical Record systems seem to have often be implemented in ways that do more harm than good.

      OTOH, there *are* systems that really do aid productivity. For example, the USPS system to request holding or forwarding of mail works very well. Tools like Dropbox and Google Sheets are indeed useful for geographically-distributed project teams.

    9. Carl from Chicago Says:

      I think that the tools for collaboration have dramatically increased in utility. We share screens and a lot of teams use Slack and other project management and communication tools.

      The ERP and other sorts of tools are much better in recent generations when they are consumed as SAAS and are available on mobile clients. For example Concur is much better at approving expenses than prior generations of tools.

      It could also be that I am used to a very low base of productivity, ha ha.

    10. yara Says:

      RE: For example, the USPS system to request holding or forwarding of mail works very well.

      When I moved from Delaware to Texas (I’m back!), I put in an address change request. Unfortunately, I put in the wrong zip code, so no mail was actually forwarded. I called the USPS to try to determine why i was getting no mail. Even they couldn’t find my request to determine the problem. Somehow I guessed the correct wrong zip code and was able to cancel my original request, but i had 6 weeks of lost mail.

      So, while it is a real help (5 minutes filling out an online form versus the trek to and from the post office and waiting in line), the tools to find and correct a mistaken request are either sadly lacking or the people they have manning the help lines are woefully under qualified for the job. This was something a simple SQL query should have been able to find in a few seconds.

    11. David Foster Says:

      Yara…I’ve had good luck with it so far, based on your comment I’ll have to remember to triple-check the zip code…

    12. Jason In LA Says:

      The SSD hard drive, which I’m assuming you have, explains much about the rapid boot time. And suggests how improvement in hardware has assisted Windows 10.

      You can see this current generation of Windows engineers/designers have taken to heart Steve Jobs’ focus on aesthetics. It’s an attractive operating system. Particularly when you use Bing as a homepage or screen saver.
      In terms of Edge, I’m ambivalent….MSFT claims it’s super-fast. But I haven’t noticed anything that differentiates from either Explorer or Opera.

      What I do find quite useful in Edge, and one that isn’t much talked about, is the ability to take notes or edit webpages online. For example, when a company I hold shares in issues its quarterly results, and hides key factors deep in the footnotes, I can highlight certain selections or take notes on the web page margins. Then I save them on OneNote for future refence. That is a substantial improvement.

      Also “Reading View” in Edge can cut down some of the internet clutter. But that does require an additional step. I rarely use that.

      In terms of spying, all three main tech firms do it. Of course that’s an insidious dynamic of our tech age. But pointing at one and pretending the other two don’t do it is silly. Opting out, if possible would be a healthy thing.