Hello Again, Windows. Hello.


windows-7-logoAh yes, that Neil Diamond fave is coming to mind. I’m talking about “Hello Again” for you kids growing up on the Black Eyed Peas. Taking a cue from Om, I’m going to make a little switcheroo from the Mac to Windows. Unlike Om, who’s only going to run Windows on Fridays and Saturdays, I think I’ll make it more of a full-time venture — at least for a little while. Instead of alternating between OS X and Windows as needed, I’ll give up OS X for a few solid weeks.

Why do this? Well, I’ve recently said elsewhere that I’m OS-agnostic. That’s mainly due to my heavy use of web apps and services. But until we use nothing but a browser (next year, maybe?), there are still some daily  touch-points with the operating system. And I’m impressed with Windows 7 in general. Some would argue that it’s more of a service pack to Vista, but I don’t care if that’s true or not. I’m simply amazed that a beta hit last October and the final version is due out this October. That’s just one year from beta to release and it shows promise that Microsoft can make positive things happen quicker.

My OS X diet won’t start until August 6th, as that’s the first day I can possibly get the final RTM version. At times like this, I’m glad I have a Microsoft TechNet subscription since it gives me some early access. One caveat in this: the MacBook will still get used to record our podcast due to technical issues. We’ve recorded with a mix of machines in the past and have had audio synchronization issues. That’s something I simply don’t want to deal with. But for everything else, it’s going to be Windows. My MSI Wind will get the final Windows 7 build first, followed by the Lenovo x301 loaner that I just don’t like. Between those two machines, I have plenty of portability and horsepower for my day to day tasks.

Of course, I’ll still be living in the clouds. Nearly all of my data is there to begin with, so it will be a snap to get at what I need. Aside from installing some alternative browsers, I won’t have much setup work to do. And don’t worry — I’ll give Internet Explorer 8 a good go for starters, too. But if I find that Firefox, Chrome (s goog) or Safari (s aapl) are working faster for my activities, I’ll have no hesitation to make the switch.

Bear one important point in mind — my effort isn’t to determine the “best” operating system. The best one is the one that works for you, so I can’t tell you which is best. My intention is to embrace the new version of Windows and point out the good and the bad. It’s only when we’re armed with that information that we can determine which operating system is “best” for us, as individuals.



I don’t care for the cloud computing aspect that requires me to put my data on someone else’s server.

But, if the server is my own desktop at home, then I don’t mind it nearly as much, because it’s still my system to do as I please with. (Yes, having my desktop open for remote access could result in security vulnerabilities, but I doubt I’d be targeted as highly as some major business whose servers are used by many, many people.) My data and my apps are on my computer. Simple as that.

In fact, I realized just how much the Remote Desktop paradigm was inefficient a while back, and await the day that remote apps run on a client computer as if they were natively installed. Just double-click on a remote app shortcut, and it runs-even adapting its interface to the client computer if necessary.

(Why would I want to do that, you ask? My TC1100 can’t handle 3ds max/Maya/Lightwave/XSI/etc., Adobe Creative Suite, or Crysis, among other things. My desktop can. No mobile computer will ever match a desktop from the same era processing power-wise, especially where 3D graphics are concerned. The TC1100 is even further disadvantaged here because it’s several generations older.)

Allan Jones

Terry refers to the way Windows requires regular reinstallations. I recall that part of the publicity for Vista was that it would self-maintain, and not slow over the years. I wish I’d kept that publicity item because the Vitsa on my portable now takes an eternity to boot up, despite my doing all the things magazines tell you to do to speed up booting.

I’ll install Windows 7 in the hope that this kind of thing will at last have been sorted out, but I suspect I’m just being naive.


“I’m simply amazed that a beta hit last October and the final version is due out this October. That’s just one year from beta to release and it shows promise that Microsoft can make positive things happen quicker.”

Yeah that comment really doesn’t make any sense. There are various levels of beta and Windows 7 has been in beta for years now. Its really not remarkable that they simplified the Vista interface and did a few tweaks here and there. Like all other versions of Windows it will be beset by security issues and will be subject to Windows rot and require fresh installs on a regular basis to remain usable. It also requires much more care and maintenance. Defragmenting an OS in 2009? really? Life is too short to use Windows.

Give Microsoft a second chance? Oh, poor Microsoft. They have been making mediocre products from the very beginning.


I find life is too short to have a closed mind and spout stereotypical fud.


We need more platform agnostic reviewers like you. I also feel MSFT should be given a second chance now, with Apple’s head exploding.


I like the concept of living in the clouds. I have put non sensitive files on MS Sky Drive (photos, etc) and am happy. I do use online backup (Carbonite) and feel it is secure enough for me. I would be interested in your thoughts about secure cloud storage for financial files (tax returns, etc).


I for one could never “Live in the clouds”. I like having my data safe and secure on my machine requiring only my machine to access it; not my machine and a connection and a reliable cloud based word processor for example. Thats just asking for trouble, and pointless too

Kevin C. Tofel

Hmm… to each, his or her own of course. But, I’m curious: why would using web apps and storage services be “pointless?”

Tom Reestman

I don’t live IN the cloud, but I can’t imagine living WITHOUT it. I use local data with local apps for the performance and flexibility they provide, yet the cloud ensures no matter what device I use (mobile, laptop or desktop) the most recent data is there; I never have to think about it.

Robert Jones

I’m in love with the cloud. I love it’s convenience and was evangelizing the concept as far back as 1991. However, I feel that the problem with the cloud, as the Bush Administration so clearly illustrated (and as the Obama Administration has shown no inclination to fix/amend/reverse), is that data, especially date in the cloud, is not secure from unwarranted government search and seizure.

We still live under the USA Patriot Act, and you can still be blacklisted as a potential “terror suspect” based solely on the library books you check out. Even if the USA Patriot Act was repealed today, cloud data is not, and never has been protected data requiring a court order to obtain. If any level of Uncle Sam wants access to it, be it anyone from your local PD, all the way up to DHS, they can simply just demand it, and 95% of the companies out there hosting your data, will be more than happy to comply immediately. After all, compliance with such demands is usually deemed, “good for business.”

Not saying that anyone of the tens of millions of people using cloud networks, is doing anything illegal or necessary to hide from our beloved Uncle Sam. Let’s face it, most people in the cloud are doing something about as useless as Tweeting or Facebooking, anyway. But woe will be the day when your Google searches, or some private opinion you expressed on a document in a cloud word processor, can be turned against you.

The biggest thing that I have noted over the past decade, is that technological advancements are cruising along at a pace that is leaving Moore’s Law in the rear view mirror. However, the laws of the land, not only simply cannot keep up, but if observation serves me, over the past decade has taken a decidedly backwards stance, in most cases reversing almost a century’s worth of civil liberty protection other forms of data/media are covered under. I do not believe that I even have to bring up the DMCA (1998) and how it has negatively impacted the proliferation of online media, nor the rights of the user in relation to online media. Yet the DMCA serves as a prime example that almost everyone online is familiar with, of how laws and civil protection is trending in the digital age.

Until the day comes when lawmakers can finally catch up with fair and balanced laws that protect all parties involved, then sadly, the cloud is the worst place to keep your data. As it stands, almost every law in the books concerning online data or online media, puts all the power and protection on the side of the government or the corporations. And very few, if any protections, on the side of the consumer. And looking at recent government leanings in the battle for issues like net neutrality, and the recent refusing by the Obama admin to release documents pertaining to the ACTA treaty under the Freedom of Information Act, it is becoming increasingly clear, that even under this new administration, the rights of the end user, is not, and never will be, the focus of public agenda. So if you wish to keep all your data online, that is your business. Just do not expect any of it to receive the same level of protection from misuse that our parent’s generation took for granted of their own data and information.

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