Tools Toys and Technology

About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Tools Toys and Technology - About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Smooth Operators

The free upgrade to Windows 10 officially concluded on July 29, 2016. With more than 350,000,000 computers now running Windows 10, this has been Microsoft’s best ever operating system launch. We are now told to expect feature upgrades (new versions) roughly twice annually from this point forward – a pattern established by Apple and Android.

I am awed by the uncanny ability of Microsoft to give away billions of dollars of Windows 10 software while thoroughly annoying millions of users. The company is faced by class action suits in the USA and Israel for aggressive marketing maneuvers – including “accidentally” installing Windows 10 even when the owners had refused daily for months.


At their annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, Apple announced the renaming of OS X to macOS, with the new version named macOS Sierra. Updates to iOS 10 (phones and tablets), watchOS 3, and tvOS 10 were also announced. macOS Sierra is now in beta testing and is scheduled to arrive this fall as a free upgrade via the Apple store. Major versions of iOS are released annually. Right on schedule, a September arrival for iOS 10 has recently been announced.

Android has the largest installed base of all operating systems of any kind. Designed for smartphones and tablets, Android is also found on TVs, automobiles, watches, notebooks, game consoles, digital cameras and more. Android’s source code is released by Google under open source licenses (free) every six to nine months. Each new release is named in alphabetical order after a sugary confection; the newest version is Marshmallow. The next public release, Android Nougat, is expected this fall.

Android updates eventually install on consumer products after significant delays. Except for Google Nexus branded products, updates often arrive months after the release of the new version, if ever. Marshmallow was released on December 9, 2015 and installed on my Verizon Samsung Galaxy 5 in July this year. Each release must be customized for each product by each manufacturer, and then again by each cellular provider. reported in August 2015 that there were 1,294 brands of Android devices providing 24,093 distinct devices. Samsung alone produced 37.8% of the devices.

The original definition of a computer operating system describes a program that directs a computer’s operations, controls and schedules the execution of other programs, and manages storage, input/output, and communication resources. Operating systems upgrades typically offer greater speed, security and add new features. Some of these features are more valuable to the company than to the consumer. All too many new features are designed to enhance corporate coffers.

We are in the midst of converting the computer club classroom PCs to the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition for use this fall. You do not need to have Windows 10 at home to take any of our PC classes – it’s not all that different! There will be a free public presentation on October 17 in the MountainView clubhouse to help get you acquainted. We will update our classroom Macs to macOS Sierra when it proves to be a stable release (probably over the winter holiday season). We’re still trying to figure out how to offer Android classes!