Windows 8 Ain’t That Great :(

This article started as another Today I Fixed It piece, but then morphed into a rant about why Windows 8 sucks, and how Google helped to make it not so bad.

When my Toshiba Satellite took a dump on me, it was a total bummer, but some good has since come from it.  This PC was the first time I had ever used a laptop as my primary computer. I have always made my desktop number one. Working on the go changed that.

My primary laptop recently became useless for a while. I used to give Toshiba high marks, but this recent experience has left a sour taste in my mouth that was already spoiled by having to stomach Windows 8. It failed when something went wrong with Windows, so I went to do a factory reset, but for some reason, Toshiba’s built-in software just wiped the HD clean.

I thought that this fault could be a good opportunity to put Windows 7 on my Toshiba because I did not enjoy Windows 8 and sadly, 8.1 wasn’t good enough for me either.

To my surprise, Windows 7 drivers for my network interface controllers simply do not exist. I probably could have used some tech trickery voodoo to make it work, but I’m not a kid anymore, hack job PCs are unreliable at best. It is the same reason I don’t root my mobile cloud device or jailbreak phones.

I was forced back to Windows 8.1! I could not even find my existing license key (it shoulda been a sticker on the computer), so I am using a 3-month trial of 8.1 Enterprise.

I tried to like the new Windows. The context menu from right-clicking the start button is nice, but meh. Some of the hidden menus and control panel items have nice new quick access features and have been redesigned with a more visual friendly interface. Some new features are nice, but I want a start menu to access applications and shortcuts–that’s how I like my PC to work. This new tiles interface is GARBAGE! I started using Windows at version 3.11 and that is the User Experience Microsoft has gone back to. Typing this makes me hit the keys hard because I’m angry about it. MS went back over 20 years! Take a look:

windows 311 ss01VS

Windows-81-new-Start-Screen-Customize-feature

Microsoft got rid of the way that I wanted to access their software, so Google stepped in and fixed that for me. Thanks Google! The new Google App Launcher sits right on my taskbar and displays web apps that I can launch right from the desktop. It would be nice if I could put shortcuts for my local applications in the launcher, but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. By taking away my start menu, MS opened the door for Google to step-in and allow me to more easily launch Google Documents than it is for me to run MS Office.

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I Moved to the Cloud

The Cloud is here to stay, and I’m moving there!

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I have recently had some technical issues with different laptops, which made my ability to work on-the-go more difficult to maintain. I was quick to realize and take advantage of the benefits of storing work, documents, preferences, and settings in the cloud.

The timing of this change in the way I work is very appropriate because I also recently upgraded my main communication device to a Motorola Moto G by Google. I am in love with my new device, and I am grateful that Google released it before they sold off Motorola to Lenovo.

Acquiring the Moto G gave me two strong incentives to become more Cloud Based. The ability to primarily use cloud telephony through Google Voice and an extra 50 GB of space on my Google Drive. Thanks big G!

Dealing with PC fails made me learn to sit down at any laptop with an internet connection and be able to pick-up where I left off on a different computer. Before flash drives were everywhere, I was in the habit of emailing documents to myself or keeping files stored on an FTP server. Without using cloud services, keeping documents and folders synced across multiple devices is a challenge and a hassle. Too many times have I loaded my work documents on a flash drive–only to discover an hour into working that I forgot to include one important file.

In addition to the way I work and store documents, moving to the cloud has greatly improved my ability to communicate. I am not embarrassed to say that I was a very late adopter of smart devices. I was just never really impressed with anything that was out there. When I got my Motorola, I did not migrate my number that I have had for 13 years. I kept my dumb-phone and its number, and I now use that as my home phone. I connected my smart phone to my Google Voice number that I have had for over 5 years. Google Voice is great, and inspired me to refrain from calling my Moto G a ‘phone’. I refer to it as my Cloud Device because that term more accurately describes the way I use it. It has a phone app (Google Voice), but I don’t even use that as much as the other features.

My favorite thing about using cloud telephony is the way my number follows me from computer to computer and device to device.  Whenever I am logged into Google and someone calls me, it starts ringing on the computer first. I can answer it on the computer, or wait a few more seconds for it to start ringing to my mobile device. The same works for video chats through Google Hangouts. Between a standing desk, multiple laptops, a tablet, and my new smart cloud device, Google Voice makes it easy to manage my calls.

So this story explains how I have moved to the cloud. When I want quite time, I can set all my communication programs to send to message, and anyone who wants to get in touch with me can use my home phone.

//insert clever cloud welcome mat greeting here

7 Tech Predictions for 2014

I feel compelled to make my first post of 2014 one of those non-evergreen prediction posts that will let everyone look back a year from now and see how wrong I was. Here’s my cliche New Year’s Post

It’s a new year in tech and that means we have another 12 months of new technology to look forward to.

I’ve already read a few tech prediction articles for 2014, so some of these may have popped in my head from somewhere else.

  1. Google+ will become more widely adopted as the platform is forced into relevancy by Google changing their web search algorithms to favor their social media users.
  2. A dominating Motorola phone will be released or announced. The iphone was brought down a few pegs by Samsung and its Galaxy line. I’m looking forward to seeing what Google does with its new hardware line.
  3. Windows phone will stick around. Poor Microsoft just can’t hit a winning streak, but Office 360 and the hardware in Windows phones will keep MS in the mobile game.
  4. Windows 8 Second Edition. There are a lot of great improvements in Windows 8, but they don’t make up for getting rid of the start menu. 8.1 helped a little, but it’s not done yet.
  5. Quora will double in size and popularity. It’s a great platform. Like Wikipedia back in 2005, but more social.
  6. YouTube will become a major TV network. This might take a little longer than a year to happen, but it will become much more obvious in 2014 that Google wants YouTube to be bigger than Fox.
  7. Twitter (TWTR) stock hits 100. I don’t know much about the market, but I know we’re just beginning to see what Twitter can do.

I think 7 is enough–that’s half of 14.

Happy New Year everyone!