The Windows 7 taskbar has been reworked, perhaps not for the better. It will display icons for frequently used programs, with no particular attention paid to whether those programs are running or not. You’ll see hype about the convenience of the “jump list” that can be accessed for each icon – a menu for access to frequently used functions and information about any open windows for that program. The “jump list” is just a silly name for the menu that’s always been a right-click away, lightly enhanced to display a bit more information. Unfortunately, right-clicking still does not come intuitively to most people and I’m not sure this is going to change that. […] continued
Windows Mobile phones are seldom considered by people shopping for cell phones. All the attention goes to Blackberrys and iPhones and the latest sexy proprietary devices with flashy screens for the kids. According to one research firm, in the third quarter Apple shipped more iPhones than all 56 device makers that make Windows Mobile phones combined.
Microsoft deserves much of the blame. It developed its OS for phones as a miniature version of Windows, thinking that a Start button would be such a familiar metaphor that people would be attracted to it. It didn’t really work; instead of making the phones seem familiar and friendly, it just made them awkward. […] continued
This morning Microsoft released a patch for Internet Explorer to prevent an exploit that became publicly known in the last couple of days. The fear is that the bad guys will quickly come up with ways to demagnetize your credit cards and kill your pets if you don’t install the patch. Your computers will be updated automatically tonight and might restart. The patch has a severity rating of “Critical.”
You should install the patch. But the usual articles are appearing about how this demonstrates that Internet Explorer is unsafe and anyone using it deserves scorn or pity, depending on how generous the author is. […] continued
Windows Live Mesh has just been updated, as of about noon on Thursday 10/30. If you are using it already, you will be notified to install the update; it will stop working until the update is installed on each computer running it. If you are not using it yet, it has been fully opened up to everyone – read about it, make sure you have your Windows Live ID set up, and you are free to sign up.
Windows Live Mesh is a place to store files online, a program that runs on your computer to keep folders in sync on multiple computers, and a way to get remote access to your computer from anywhere. […] continued
Apple’s software for Windows has been causing problems on more and more of my clients’ computers. I’ve been wrestling with bluescreens caused by iTunes, file extensions hijacked by Quicktime, and now I’m suspicious that an uninvited service has been causing problems in Outlook.
An iTunes installation includes far more than a music library that syncs to your iPod. There are multiple services and kernel mode drivers and program addins, with very little of it included in any disclosure or presented with any options. Apple also installs its “software update” framework, which it has used to install additional unrelated software without adequate disclosure, notably when it used the update service to install its insecure Safari web browser a few months ago. […] continued
You might find something you can use in this collection of tips from David Pogue. Take a look! These are just examples from a much longer list:
I set up a new Dell Inspiron 518 desktop computer today – a nice home computer, a lovely case bristling with USB ports and shiny black plastic that will attract dust like nobody’s business, fast and well-equipped, shipped with the correct configuration and working out of the box, as usual with Dell.
Dell ships computers with less preinstalled software than most other manufacturers, even from the Home & Home Office division, so setup is easy. There were a handful of third party apps to take off – Google’s cluttered “Google Desktop” widget/search program and the rarely used Google Toolbar, one or two others. […] continued
T-Mobile introduced the first cell phone based on Google’s Android operating system to much fanfare a few days ago. Although Android has some interesting features and much promise, I don’t expect to see anyone holding the T-Mobile G1 in Sonoma County for a while, since T-Mobile is a fringe player with limited coverage up here (and certainly no connection anywhere nearby to its high speed 3G data network).
Android is a work in progress; comparisons to the iPhone are inevitable and at the moment Android comes up a bit short, but it’s early to make any decisions. In this first iteration, Android is tied in very closely to Google’s online mail, calendar and contact services, which are fully integrated and reportedly work smoothly. […] continued
Since the market for living room computers never developed, Microsoft decided to focus on “extenders,” a different way to deliver media to your television.
Huge numbers of people already have a computer in the house running Windows Vista Home Premium, holding photos and music. An “extender” is a small box for the living room that connects to the computer over a wireless or wired connection to display the photos on the television and play music on the living room speakers. If the computer is set up for it, the extender can also handle all the TV programming and record TV shows like a Tivo. […] continued
Apple reacted quickly to the reports that the latest iTunes update has caused some Windows systems to crash badly. Last night Apple posted another version of iTunes that rolls back the offending hardware driver to an older version. If your system is blue screening, all you have to do is uninstall iTunes, uninstall Apple Mobile Device Support, and then reinstall iTunes from last night’s release.
That’s absurd, of course. As one person commented:
“A kernel level device driver (like the USB driver that Apple installs rather than using the one built in to the OS) will always have the ability to take down the OS.