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

Ready or Not, Here comes Windows 10

Microsoft has finally officially announced that the release date for Windows 10 will be July 29th. This is a few months earlier than the previous vaguely stated “before the end of summer” announcement, but months later than a flurry of rumors had wistfully predicted. Over a billion Windows 7 and 8.1 owners will soon be able to claim their free upgrade. For those not eligible for the free upgrade, new retail copies of Windows 10 and new computers with Windows 10 will also be available on July 29th.

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Windows 10: Hail Mary or Hallelujah?

“We are focused on making Windows 10 the most loved version of Windows ever,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has repeatedly stated over the past year. “Within two to three years of Windows 10’s release, there will be 1 billion devices running Windows 10,” Microsoft VP Terry Myerson said on April 29, 2015 during the Microsoft Build conference keynote address.

These are ambitious goals for a product expected to launch this summer, especially following the painfully disappointing introduction of Windows 8 in 2012. Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for current individual users of Windows 7, Windows 8 and 8.1 for the first 12 months of availability. Microsoft will support upgraded computers with security and system updates for the lifetime of those devices. Corporate computer systems and older versions of Windows are not eligible for this offer.

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Search Shenanigans

Internet searching has grown from a modest free service to an extremely profitable industry. Designated as the very first web search engine, W3Catalog started in late 1993 and retired in 1996. It was a simple collection of indexes copied from a few dozen web sites. By comparison, Google Search currently performs 100 billion searches each month (88% of all searches done) on over 30 trillion web pages written in 123 languages. This dominance was the leading factor providing Google more than $66,000,000,000 in revenues last year – over 95% of said revenues are from search and web page advertising.

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Windows 10 – Free to Windows 7 and 8 Users

Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade to current users of Windows 7 and 8.1. This offer will be extended for one year after Windows 10 launches. Once you’ve taken advantage of this free upgrade, you will continue to get free upgrades for the lifetime of the device on which Windows 10 is installed.

So, if you are one of those XP holdouts, this may be the greatest incentive yet to upgrade to Windows 8.1, guaranteeing you’ll get Windows 10 when it comes out. There is no free upgrade for Windows XP users.

What’s Hot?

Christmas shoppers have seemingly endless choices in personal electronics gadgets this year.

Smartphones are the hottest products of all, outselling all other computer forms combined by a substantial margin. Credit Suisse estimates that annual global smartphones sales will surpass 1 billion units in 2014. While the iPhone is a consistent media darling, Android phone sales command 84% of the market – and still continue to rise. Samsung alone outsells Apple by a better than 2:1 rate. Android smartphones generally offer lower prices and fewer features, but the soon to be introduced Samsung Galaxy Alpha is expected to provide serious competition with the iPhone 6 at the high end of the market.

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IoT: The Internet of Things

A tech oriented vision of the future is rapidly becoming reality. Alarm clocks can turn on your coffee pot and adjust the thermostat. Your doorbell can notify you at work via your cellphone and send you an image of the plumber ready to work on your plugged drains so that you can remotely open the door for him. Production line factory machines can order more materials or request maintenance automatically. Tiny devices monitor medical conditions and remotely report to medical practitioners. The notion of a network of smart devices has been discussed since at least 1991. Kevin Ashton, working in a MIT research consortium, proposed the term “Internet of Things” in 1999 to describe a system “where the Internet is connected to the physical world via ubiquitous sensors.”

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OneDrive – More Than Just a Name Change

Recently, Microsoft changed the name of their Skydrive cloud storage to OneDrive. That change was prompted by a copyright lawsuit that they lost.

But today, Microsoft changed more than just the name. And that’s good for consumers.

Previously, you got 7 GB of cloud storage for free or 20 GB if you are an Office 365 subscriber.

Today’s announcement ups that to 15 GB for free and a whopping 1 TB if you are an Office 365 subscriber. The incentive to get your Office software by subscription just got a lot bigger. With 1 TB for documents, photos, whatever, you’re not likely to run of of cloud storage space soon. You can now save your stuff to OneDrive without worrying much about the quota.

IE Still Struggling for “Love”


Let me be clear. I like Microsoft products, at least for the most part. So I don’t run around routinely dissing Microsoft. I even like Windows 8 … kind of. But I do have problems with Internet Explorer.

The Microsoft Internet Explorer browser has had a long and tainted past. It’s improved (I guess), but it still has its problems. It is still pretty dysfunctional when it comes to accepted HTML 5 functionality.

I teach a class on WordPress, for instance, and during one class things just weren’t working the way they should. I just couldn’t work it out. Then I tried Google’s Chrome browser and low and behold, everything just worked.

Microsoft is working on their IE image with the following ad, which clearly recognizes they have an image problem that they are trying to correct. Now if they’d spend as much effort fixing the browser as to do trying to fix their image, they might have something.