Tag Archives: techpaul

The Internet’s Thirty Second Rule

imageAs a blogger, I’ve long since made the observation that the Internet is a 30 second world. I’ve learned – if I don’t get a readers attention in the first 30 seconds – it’s over – it’s not going to happen.

The explanation is simple enough – the Internet has taught us not to read for content but rather; to skim for content. The Internet has conditioned us to believe – if it can’t be digested in 30 seconds or less, then it’s too involved to bother with. From a blogging perspective, I try to counter this perception by constructing a post using very short paragraphs.

Anecdotally, I know that the “30 second rule” is valid – based on my analysis of the “time on site” statistics on articles that simply don’t click with readers. But, there’s much more evidence than just my anecdotal experience with the “30 second rule”.

For example – Jakob Nielsen, over at Alertbox, reports on an academic study How Little Do Users Read?,  which focuses on how users read on the Web, that’s supportive of my personal experience.

Study Summary:

On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.

It seems to me then, that it’s no accident that Twitter tops out at 140 characters ….  it’s not just about economy of language (to placate the skimmers) – partially, it’s about attention span – or more properly – a reduced attention span.

It’s this skimming behavior, the lack of attention span, and the impact it had on two fellow bloggers, TechPaul from Tech – for Everyone, and Rick Robinette from What’s on my PC, which prompted me to post this article.

TechPaul:

Paul crafted an article Just Say “No” To mylife.com, which was so completely misread by readers (who believed they were on the Mylife site, and registered their complaints accordingly), that he was forced to publish the following disclaimer:

Attention: I am not Mylife.com, I am not in any way affiliated with Mylife.com, And cannot help you with Mylife.com. So, I have turned off comments.

Rick Robinette:

Similarly, Rick’s article bing – Microsoft’s New Search Engine ran into the same problem – readers who were skimmers or, who had the attention span of a doorknob, believed they were on a Microsoft site, as indicated by the following typical comments.

“Cancel bing from my computer…i did not ask for it nor do i want it”

“Please cancel and remove bing from my pc. It showed up a week ago. I did not ask for it and I do not want it.”

“Get Bing off my computer! It is intrusive & I don’t like it!!”

i want you to respond to this asap i want you to tell me step by step to get of you you hijacked my computer without my permission this is against the law you big bully!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

get this off my computer now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here’s a couple of comments from Rick to his readers.

I think you think I am the inventor of Microsoft Bing. I wish I were… You need to contact Microsoft, not some poor blogger.

What it is proving is that people do not understand computers and will lash out at anyone. You should see some of the comments where profanities are publicly made that I have banned.

Sadly, Rick’s posted comment had absolutely no effect – the dumb comments continued to play out like a broken record.

Both these experiences add weight, I think, to my earlier comment – “the Internet has taught us not to read for content but rather; to skim for content”.

Little wonder that cybercriminals are so successful with downloading rogue applications onto victims’ computers, when the target’s common behavior pushes reading aside in favor of a quick click on something they choose not to read in its entirety.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

13 Comments

Filed under Cyber Criminals, Education, Interconnectivity, Online Safety, Opinion, Point of View, Recommended Web Sites

TechPaul’s Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 – Software License Giveaway Contest

I recently reviewed Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 here (Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 – A Powerful “One Stop” Optimization And Maintenance Suite),  and judged it to be an impressive solution for a host of issues affecting a computer’s performance and reliability. BoostSpeed 5 can uncover bundles of issues and problems, and then correct those problems – often, with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Review takeaway:

If you’re an average user, disappointed with your computer’s performance, or you’re just tired of having to deal with reoccurring unexplained issues, you may find that Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 is worth its $49.95 purchase price.

If you’d like an opportunity to possibly pickup a free license for Auslogics BoostSpeed 5, and save yourself $50, then checkout TechPaul’s Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 – software license giveaway contest.

From the Tech – for Everyone site:

Folks, I had decided to not run any more contests; but, I recently received an email from a company I trust, asking me for a review. The upside for you is: the folks at Auslogics have generously donated three licenses (a license can be used on up to three PC’s) to me, to award to my readers.

So, I am going to do a random drawing contest from folks who “enter” by posting a comment. The drawing will close midnight (Pacific) Thursday, April 7 — the winners announce Friday — so act now.

How to enter? Residents of the US and Canada may enter the contest drawing by simply clicking on “comment” and entering a name and a valid e-mail (so I can send you the license key) in the form. Actually commenting is optional.

To enter the contest go here.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

12 Comments

Filed under Auslogics, Computer Tools, Computer Tune Up Utilities, Contests, Giveaways, Integrated Tune Up Solutions, Software, Software Giveaways

I’m a Canadian and I Now Own a Piece of Skype!

image Like most working Canadians, I am required to contribute a percentage of my earnings to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), a government retirement plan, which will provide me with a monthly pension benefit on retirement. Well, that’s the promise.

This is a bit of a joke, since I have yet to meet a retired person who could survive on this benefit – although there may be some, somewhere.

Since most of my family are Americans, I’m reasonably familiar with that country’s Social Security program as well. So, the lack of adequate income upon retirement produced by Social Security, is also a familiar refrain.

It’s not startling news of course that government run plans such as these, are generally poorly managed; often producing a less than adequate return on investment, which naturally leads to a reduction in income stream at retirement, for those who have contributed over a working lifetime

I was surprised then (actually I was shocked), to learn this morning, that the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has taken an investment position in Skype, my favorite Internet communication application. My first thought – maybe the Canada Pension Plan has decided to reassess its antiquated investment rules, and boldly step into the twenty first century.

It has long been rumored that eBay was looking for a buyer for its Skype internet phone service and today it appears it’s a “done deal”. eBay Inc. is spinning off Skype in a deal worth more than $2 billion US, to an investor group that includes the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. eBay however, will continue to hold a 35 per cent stake in Skype.

So, faithful reader, if you want to ensure my Canada Pension contributions add up to something more than a miserly sum when I retire, consider adding Skype to your list of must have applications.

You won’t regret it, and hopefully, neither will I since I’m sure to need the money on retirement.

All kidding aside, Skype is a terrific free application; an application I would be lost without. I use it through the day, every day, to communicate by video calling worldwide for free.

Take a look at my earlier review of Skype, and you might be surprised at the impact this application can have on your communications.

Skype – Right for Your Life?

Despite the fact that I’m an early adopter of most technology, surprisingly, it took me forever to give Skype a try. For communicating, I found the old fashioned telephone worked; and it does what it’s supposed to do with a minimum of fuss and bother. Just pick it up, dial and voila – instant communication. What could be simpler and easier than that?

As I found out, after giving Skype a test drive – maybe this free communication application! In fact, it has now become my preferred method of contact. I use the Skype video calling feature dozens of times a day to speak with contacts worldwide.

Kudos to my good friend TechPaul, at Tech for Everyone, for finally convincing me to give Skype a test drive. I’m glad I did.

In its basic form, Skype is a free communication package, using proprietary code, which allows users to make free computer to computer calls, including video calls, across the globe. As well, there are a bundle of additional features, that can be purchased at a low cost, which will expand the application’s functionality.

image

Fast facts:

Improved sound quality over regular telephones.

Secure end-to-end encryption.

Uses peer-to-peer technology for even more enhanced security.

Video calling – I have to admit I find this feature fascinating.

Conference calling – a very cool feature.

Online status notification – online, away, do not disturb, invisible, offline.

Contact creation, including groups, and importation from MS Outlook and Outlook Express etc.

Screen sharing – I find a lot of uses for this feature.

Chat – I find this a great help for sharing URL’s which can then be opened during a video call to facilitate the sharing of information.

Upgrade features:

Call phones and mobiles

Receive calls from phones and mobiles with an online number

Voicemail – Send and receive voicemails

Forward calls to phones

Transfer calls to phones and mobiles

System requirements: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux. Sound input and output devices – microphone and speakers, or a headset. Of course, for video calling you’ll need a webcam.

Download at: Skype

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

3 Comments

Filed under Communication, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Peer to Peer, Productivity Software, Skype, Software, Video Calling, VOIP, Windows Tips and Tools

Blog Comments That Make No Sense

Some time ago, TechPaul, in his Blog Tech – for Everyone, wrote a great piece on why FireFox users’ would benefit by installing the NoScript add-on. If you’re not familiar with NoScript, the developer describes it this way:

“The NoScript Firefox extension provides extra protection for Firefox, Flock, Seamonkey and other mozilla-based browsers: this free, open source add-on allows JavaScript, Java and Flash and other plugins to be executed only by trusted web sites of your choice (e.g. your online bank), and provides the most powerful Anti-XSS protection available in a browser.”

So I was more than a little surprised, to see a recent reader comment referencing this article, in which the reader (a self described “web developer”), complained:

“Ok, great! Block Javascript, IFrames, Flash and the like. Why not go ahead and block web sites from loading on browsers from now on? At some point you have to get real about web browsing. What you are doing by spreading this so called information is causing panic, and making people scared to browse”.

My immediate response after reading this uninformed reader’s comment was – What planet are you living on? What internet are you surfing?  How could you be totally unaware of the following?

Trojan horse programs

Back door and remote administration programs

Denial of service

Being an intermediary for another attack

Unprotected Window shares

Mobile code (Java, JavaScript, and ActiveX)

Cross-site scripting

Email spoofing

Email-borne viruses

Hidden file extensions

Chat clients

Packet sniffing

Yes, uninformed reader, you must be right – TechPaul and the following informed users, and reviewers, must be wrong.

CNET News: “Giorgio Maone’s NoScript script-blocking plug-in is the one-and-only Firefox add-on I consider mandatory.” (March 9, 2009, Dennis O’Reilly, Get a new PC ready for everyday use)

Forbes: “The real key to defeating malware isn’t antivirus but approaches like Firefox’s NoScript plug-in, which blocks Web pages from running potentially malicious programs” (Dec 11, 2008, Andy Greenberg, Filter The Virus Filters).

PC World: Internet Explorer 7 Still Not Safe Enough because it doesn’t act like “NoScript […] an elegant solution to the problem of malicious scripting

New York Times: “[…] NoScript, a plug-in utility, can limit the ability of remote programs to run potentially damaging programs on your PC“, (Jan 7, 2007, John Markoff, Tips for Protecting the Home Computer).

The Washington Post security blog compares MSIE “advanced” security features (like so called “Zones”) to Firefox ones and recommends NoScript adoption as the safest and most usable approach.

The final part of this uninformed reader’s self serving comment was as follows:

“ If you have half decent anti everything, the real nasties will be blocked by them and the need for these add-ons won’t be there. This is not great news for web developers!!!”

One of the aims of Bloggers like TechPaul, Sir, is to offer information to readers which allows them to determine, based on real information, what steps they need to take in order to enhance security to a level which is appropriate for their needs.

A self described “web developer”, such as you, would be well advised to keep the needs of his clients, and end users, uppermost in his mind. Otherwise,it seems to me, you may not remain a web developer, ‘”self described”, or otherwise, for very long.

6 Comments

Filed under Browser add-ons, Don't Get Hacked, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Personal Perspective, Windows Tips and Tools

Skype – Right for Your Life?

Despite the fact that I’m an early adopter of most technology, surprisingly, it took me forever to give Skype a try. For communicating, I found the old fashioned telephone worked; and it does what it’s supposed to do with a minimum of fuss and bother. Just pick it up, dial and voila – instant communication. What could be simpler and easier than that?

As I found out, after giving Skype a test drive – maybe this free communication application! In fact, it has now become my preferred method of contact. I use the Skype video calling feature dozens of times a day to speak with contacts worldwide.

Kudos to my good friend TechPaul, at Tech for Everyone, for finally convincing me to give Skype a test drive. I’m glad I did.

In its basic form, Skype is a free communication package, using proprietary code, which allows users to make free computer to computer calls, including video calls, across the globe. As well, there are a bundle of additional features, that can be purchased at a low cost, which will expand the application’s functionality.

image

(Credit: CNET)

Fast facts:

Improved sound quality over regular telephones.

Secure end-to-end encryption.

Uses peer-to-peer technology for even more enhanced security.

Video calling – I have to admit I find this feature fascinating.

Conference calling – a very cool feature.

Online status notification – online, away, do not disturb, invisible, offline.

Contact creation, including groups, and importation from MS Outlook and Outlook Express etc.

Screen sharing – I find a lot of uses for this feature.

Chat – I find this a great help for sharing URL’s which can then be opened during a video call to facilitate the sharing of information.

Upgrade features:

Call phones and mobiles

Receive calls from phones and mobiles with an online number

Voicemail – Send and receive voicemails

Forward calls to phones

Transfer calls to phones and mobiles

System requirements:

Windows, Mac OS X, Linux.

Sound input and output devices – microphone and speakers, or a headset. Of course, for video calling you’ll need a webcam.

Download at: Skype

6 Comments

Filed under Audio Applications, Communication, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Living Life, Peer to Peer, Productivity Software, Skype, Software, Video Calling, VOIP, Windows Tips and Tools

Congrats to TechPaul and Tech-for Everyone

thumbs-up My good friend, and fellow technology Blogger, TechPaul who writes the popular Tech-for Everyone Blog, has just turned the clock on half a million site visits. This is an enviable achievement – one that requires consistent daily effort to accomplish.

Blogging is tough. To consistently write useful content, for the reader, is one of the most difficult jobs going, and TechPaul now has more than 500 technical articles on his site. A terrific accomplishment – must be that California air!

Not only is Paul a great writer who is knowledgeable in the whole arena of technology; for me, he has been my sounding board, a great coach, and a special friend.

Congratulations Paul, I look forward with anticipation to many more of your insightful and timely articles.

Pay a visit to Tech-for Everyone , and you are sure to become a regular visitor.

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Filed under Interconnectivity, Living Life, Personal Perspective, Recommended Web Sites

Thanks a Million – Tech Thoughts Hits One Million Page Views

One Million People In the last few days, Tech Thoughts reached its 1 Millionth hit, in just 15 months.

Thanks, to all of you, who have helped make this site the success it has become. If you’re a regular reader of this Blog, a BIG thank you.

If you’re not, and you’re just passing by, a “thank you” to you as well; please consider Book Marking this site, since in the coming months, some exciting changes will be occurring.

In the last few months, a new feature has been added to the site – Guest Writers (The Reading Room), which has proven to be very popular. Thank you, to all the writers who have contributed to this popular feature.

Blogging is tough – to consistently write useful content is one of the most difficult jobs I have every taken on, and there are now more than 500 technical articles on this site. The great thing is, you do read and use the information I generate; the comments tell me that – keep them coming.

An important aspect of Blogging, for me, one I hadn’t considered at the start, is the friendships I have made through Tech Thoughts. This has been the ultimate reward; meeting and corresponding with people who are knowledgeable, savvy and concerned with the “greater good”. This has been an eye opening experience.

A special “thank you” to TechPaul, who has been my sounding board and a great coach and a friend, who knows how to motivate me when the terrible “writer’s block” creeps in.

For those of you who think you knew me in Utah, Cincinnati, Las Vegas, London, England; Dublin, Ireland; or 100 other places, thanks for inquiring – but I’m a Canadian through and through.

5 Comments

Filed under Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Living Life, Personal Perspective

A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7 – Part 3 – Improvements over Vista?

This is a guest post by Paul Eckstrom, a technology wizard and the owner of Aplus Computer Aid in Menlo Park, California.

Why not pay a visit to his Blog Tech–for Everyone.

I have now been using Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 7, for a week. I configured it to my taste (aka “preferences”), and installed my primary applications (and a few games) and done lots of things to try to break it.

bell_x-1 Yes, you read that last part correctly – I said “try to break it”. You see, there simply is no better way (many people feel) to test a thing than to fill it up with High-Octane, put the petal to the metal, use the gears to keep the RPM’s well into the red, and go! go! go! until a piston sails up and through the hood. Of course.. for this to really mean anything.. you must do this several times in a row.

Not only is this method fun, but this is how “limits” are discovered. Ask Chuck Yeager. (Geeks call this “benchmarking”).

Some findings: I have found that it is fairly easy to get a fail on IE 8, the newest release of the venerable Internet Explorer web browser (which is still a beta also). Open too many tabs (6+), or a Microsoft.com page using Silverlight, and you’ll get a “Not responding” fairly quick. But, I have also found that it is extremely difficult to get Windows 7 itself to fail. Win 7 is fast and it’s stable.

In fact, despite my best efforts and determination, I have yet to have a lockup, or BSOD¹. Improved multi-processor/multi-threading ability is noticeable. No Windows Update fails either, as still befalls Vista SP1 (you know the ones.. you have to reboot 3 times and/or use Startup Repair to get to your Desktop?)

After my admittedly amateur and unscientifical-style testing, I would be willing to quite prematurely guestimate that Windows 7 is one-hundred and thirty two point six times (132.6x ) more stable than Vista was, and at least .. oh, um, let me say, one magnitude more stable than Vista w/SP1.

All jocularity aside, only time will tell how accurate my estimates and impressions are. But I’m impressed. Quite impressed. This is a beta, after all. (I’m willing to wager that this is a historic first — “beta” and “stable” are never used in the same sentence. I’ll come back to some of the reasons for this.)

Plus number 6.

Other differences: While retaining most of what we’ve come to know in Windows, (such as, by default, the Taskbar is on the bottom, Start button on the left, everything “interesting” is found in Control Panel, etc.) there are some changes.. changes that affected me in my daily usage. First up on that list is the Taskbar has changed in appearance and behavior.

The Taskbar (aka “Superbar”) is similar to Vista’s in that it has a “hover” feature, as shown below… though it has been enhanced to show thumbnails of the program’s open windows (or tabs, as in this case) for easier selection, and direct-action “maximize”.

win_7_superbar

Windows 7 “Superbar”. (Click pic for larger)

But look closer. Quick Launch and tabs are combined into “pinned” icons, and the System Tray (the icons down by the clock) are now an “up arrow”. To make a program a “Quick Launch”, or visa-versa, you simply drag-and-drop (and select “pin to taskbar”, no more “lock”/”unlock”), and open programs – “tabs” – ’stack’ to the right.

It’s weird how much I miss the by-the-clock icons.. though they’ve never really served any truly practical purpose (except maybe as a source for context menu shortcuts). I find myself clicking the arrow, to make the System Tray visible, and reassure myself – yes, they’re still there.
I’ve been running (and troubleshooting) Microsoft operating systems since Windows 3.11, and I just expect those things to be there…

Speaking of things that are missing: menus have been consolidated and “pruned”. They seem to me less cluttered, more intuitive, and easier to navigate. This is most noticeable when trying to access system tools and the elements that make up the Control Panel. Long-time Windows users and über geeks may feel that Microsoft has unnecessarily moved a few things (and occasionally get annoyed, at first), but newbies and flexible-types will find things “friendlier”… IMHO.

Plus number 7.

And Defender is nowhere to be found in Programs or the Start menu: it’s in Control Panel.
(Don’t ask. Haven’t even a guess.)

And, when you first get started, “Network” is missing from the Start menu.
But that’s a topic for Part 4..

Link for Part 1 of this series, A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7 Part 1 of a series
Link to Part 2, A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7 Part 2 — Transferring Your User Account To Windows 7

¹ Blue Screen Of Death (see Troubleshooting the Blue Screen Of Death)

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved

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Filed under Beta Software, Free Full Versions, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Operating Systems, Personal Perspective, Productivity Software, Software, Windows 7

A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7 – Part 2 – Transferring Your User Account To Windows 7

This is a guest post by Paul Eckstrom, a technology wizard and the owner of Aplus Computer Aid in Menlo Park, California.

Why not pay a visit to his Blog Tech–for Everyone.

In Part1 of this series, A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7, I described the install process for Microsoft’s new operating system, and today I will proceed to the next step of setting up a new computer.. transferring all your stuff from the old machine, and ‘tweaking’ things to just your liking.

Last year I wrote wrote about the fastest, easiest, user state migration I had ever had — New PC? Migrate Your User Account The Easy Way — and described a Microsoft download that allowed me to not only transfer settings and preferences (aka ‘tweaks’) and my files (.doc, .jpg, mp3, etc.), but my installed programs as well. (Which to me was about the neatest thing since sliced bread?)

[Note: Microsoft has since removed the utility, Windows Easy Transfer Companion, referenced in the link/article above. Apparently, it doesn’t work on Vista SP1, and/or XP SP3.]

Should’a caught this sooner, but

For the purposes of this article (and, simulating what the typical user will do with a new computer and/or OS), I took an older machine running XP that had been one of my “daily usage” machines before being relegated to testbed duty and re-attached it to my home network (LAN).

Easy Files and Settings Transfer: On my Windows 7 machine, I typed “File an” into the search area of my Start menu, and Windows Easy Transfer showed up in the results immediately. A click launched the Easy Transfer Wizard, and I was asked if *I was on the new machine or the old?

New

How did I want to make the transfer? – Over the network. (the other choices were CD/DVD, or an external HD.)

Does the old machine have Windows Easy Transfer? – Um.. probably not, so, No.

It offered to provide the program if I would plug in a thumb drive, so.. I did.

It said “Finished” and told me to go plug the thumb drive into the old machine and let it “autoplay”, so.. I did.

The old machine (slow!) did its thing and presented me with a code, 123-456, and told me to go to the Windows 7 machine and enter the code, so.. I did.

Bingo, I was connected, and the Windows Easy Transfer tool started to scan the XP machine for “transferable items”.

transfr11

When the scan finished, I was provided with a result, and there were some default items already checked off — pictures, music, and documents. No surprise there, but I was very pleased to see the “Programs” folder.. could it be?

transfr21

So.. I drilled down into the “Customize” section and selected the applications I wanted to try to transfer to the new machine (though, I could’ve just done the whole folder). That will save time.. and hunting down install CDs!

I clicked the “Save” button”..

transfr1plus1

And presto. Seven minutes later my “user state” was now on my new machine. And so I have a new “easy champion”, and I confess.. I’m impressed.

Well, I ran long. Tweaking the Desktop, and “Superbar”, and other personalization’s will have to wait for the next article.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Free Full Versions, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Operating Systems, Personal Perspective, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools

A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7

This is a guest post by Paul Eckstrom, a technology wizard and the owner of Aplus Computer Aid in Menlo Park, California.

Why not pay a visit to his Blog Tech–for Everyone.

Part 1 of a series

Yesterday I downloaded the official Microsoft beta release of its new operating system – called Windows 7. (Technically, for those of you interested in this sort of thing, it is “Build 7000″.) I opted to install the 32-bit version, as I think this will remain the “standard” and most common.

TechPaul 1

I installed a “clean install”, though I could have “upgraded” an existing Vista install (I recommend ‘clean install’ as a Rule Of Thumb).

Microsoft is calling Windows 7 a whole new OS, and are expecting it to replace replace Vista.. in the same way that Vista is replacing Windows XP. I can tell you that it is not a whole new operating system. I can also tell you that it does not give us the new file system (WinFS) that was originally promised as one of the “three pillars of Vista”.

The install itself:

My “clean” install on a freshly formatted volume took just over half an hour, and involved at least two automated reboots. (It may have been three.. but I got up and walked away for a few minutes. I have performed countless Windows installs – literally – and watching one more isn’t my idea of a “good time”.)

Once I clicked “go”, I only had to answer three screens– my time/location, a computer name/user name/passwords (recommended), and did I want to set up a sharing network “HomeGroup“? That last, because it’s new and still unfamiliar, I chose “Not now. Ask me again later.”

My experience matched that of other reviewers: it was by far the fastest, smoothest, easiest Windows installation I’ve ever had. That this is a beta release makes this fact all the more remarkable.

Plus number one:

No device driver issues: I installed Windows 7 on a recent-vintage machine (it came with Vista Home Premium) and I had to install zero, zip, nada, device drivers — and this is a beta! Every device worked out of the gate, so clearly Vista device drivers work well on Windows 7.

Microsoft claims Windows 7 is the most ‘backwards compatible’ OS yet (I guess, maybe they learned from Vista’s release?) and I believe them. A beta.. and no device driver installs??? Amazing.
As a test, I connected to a rather ancient HP DeskJet 970Cse printer over my LAN. Windows 7 found the printer and installed it it with one “Yes” click.

Plus number two:

Once installed: As a Vista user, the change in Vista 7’s GUI (graphical user “interface”) was not that startling to me.. in fact, aside from the desktop and QuickLaunch icons being larger.. and a change to the System Tray/”Notification Area”.. it is Vista. The QuickLaunch now has (even more) shades of Macintosh OS X’s “Dock”.
Yes, it looks more “modern” (and makes XP look absolutely archaic), but is very, very Vista.

One nice change.. I noticed rather quickly that 7 has a Desktop slideshow feature (found because the default – plain, with a Chinese fighting fish in the center – was quite drab after Vista’s spectacular nature images), and your Desktop can alternate images very much like your screensaver can in older versions of Windows (see Show off your photos with a screensaver slideshow).

The Start button, menus, icons, etc. are (basically) all the same. With the exception of the new networking and media sharing features, this is a zero learning curve change for Vista users, and a very modest one for XP users. If you use Windows, you can use 7, and you won’t have to take a night class or read a For Dummies book to do it.

Plus number three:

Speaking of the Start button..
In Windows 7, Windows Mail, Windows Calendar, Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Contacts are part of Windows Live Essentials.

Windows 7 removes InkBall and adds online versions of Spades, Backgammon and Checkers.

It comes with IE 8.

Programs and applets – like Paint – have been updated, enhanced, and now sport the Microsoft “Ribbon”.. which was introduced in Office 2007.

techpaul-31

Well, I have only been using Windows 7 for a few hours.. and I will be writing more in this series.. so I’ll stop here for now. So far, I have installed both Call of Duty 5 and the original Call of Duty (patched to 1.4) and played a few rounds of each. Yup. They’re a tad faster than on Vista.

Plus number four…

Part 2 — Transferring Your User Account To Windows 7

Today’s free download: So.. you want to download the Windows 7 beta too? Click here.

Today’s free link: Mark Russinovich: Inside Windows 7 How has Windows evolved, as a general purpose operating system and at the lowest levels, in Windows 7? Who better to talk to than Technical Fellow and Windows Kernel guru Mark Russinovich? Here, Mark enlightens us on the new kernel constructs in Windows 7.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Beta Software, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Operating Systems, Personal Perspective, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools