"Life is divided into three terms - that which was, which is, and which will be." Today I want to apply the words of William Wordsworth to computer software; Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 10.
July 15, 2015
Today we are two weeks away from the official release by Microsoft of their latest operating system, Windows 10.
For the last few months, I participated in the Windows 10 Enterprise Insider Preview Program. Windows 10 Enterprise Insider Preview was a very early look at what’s ahead for Windows. After I installed Insider Preview, I automatically received updated preview builds as Microsoft moved through the development process. These early releases were an opportunity for me—as an IT manager/professional by necessity—to download and test those builds in my environment, and provide feedback that helped Microsoft improve the final product.
Of the eighteen workstations deployed at Bara Business Center, only one is currently running Windows 8.1, and for good reason. Microsoft went "whole-hog" (an Alabama Technical Term) for touch screen with the 8.1 version of their operating system. Touch screen is not something we could get excited about in our office environment. In fact, we've yet to buy a single touch screen monitor for any workstation; not in our front office, back office, accounting department, tax department or data center downstairs. Microsoft's idea that touch screen monitors for desktops would revolutionize the computer industry was totally misguided, ill conceived, and well, just plain BS.
Just as we chose to relegate Vista to a, "that, which might have been" status after testing it on one workstation, we similarly discounted Windows 8 just as quickly.
It will be a long time before we give up keyboards, number pads and the mouse. The 8.1 screen looks like a Rubik's Cube for goodness sake! Touching colored squares might be okay for something (though I've yet to discover what that something is), but it is not conducive or commensurate with my staff getting work accomplished. All of our programs that run on Windows 7 Pro, will run on Windows 10 and during my testing I discovered only one issue with hardware drivers. The graphics display issue with multiple monitors was quickly rectified. My Logitech bluetooth keyboard and mouse would not work, so I swapped them out for Dell wireless gear.
Windows 10 comes with Microsoft Edge, an all-new browser that’s built to give you a better web experience. For you die-hard fans of other browsers, don't panic, they will all work and IE 11 is still there too. With Edge, you can write or type notes directly on webpages and share them with others, read online articles free of distraction, and save your favorite reads for later access. And with Cortana enabled, you get instant access to key actions—like making reservations or reading reviews—without leaving the page you’re on. We do a lot of research and these new features have proven useful. I'm going to reserve my thoughts on Bing and Google for another article of its own.
There is no dancing paper clip in Windows 10 that will make you want to "go all Elvis" on your computer.
Remember Clippy? Or Clippet? Or whatever it was? The thing would appear out of nowhere anytime you attempted to use an Office program. "It looks like you're writing a letter. Would you like help?" No. I'd like for you to stop interrupting me so I can get my work done! Cortana works across your day and your devices to help you get things done. By learning more over time, Cortana becomes more personal and useful to you. Cortana’s also best at reminders, delivering them at the right time and place so you forget less and can do more. Although I don't envision staff members all talking to their computers, Cortana works great without the speach function. Apple kicked off the voice-enabled personal assistant trend with Siri. I admit that I've enjoyed using Cortana in the conference room and at my home office.
There are also some new features in Windows 10 that I'm pretty sure originated with the hardcore Windows 8 team members, like "Tablet Mode" (it could have just as easily been named 8.1 Mode, or better yet, Rubik's Cube Mode). Give it up guys!
On one occasion during the testing and feedback, I showed this tablet mode feature to the youngest member of my staff, thinking he might point out a benefit that I was not seeing. He quickly suggested that I let the developers in Seattle know that we do use smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktops all, here in Alabama. But converting a desktop to a tablet seems a bit like having a pick-up truck with fold-up sides that will convert to an SUV. Nah, just use the tool for the job you are doing. After further discussion we concluded this feature must be targeted to those "gizmos" that are like a small laptop with a detachable screen that can be used as a tablet.
Always use the best, most appropriate tool for the job, has long been a practice in my business. I recall buying one of those mini-laptop/tablet gizmos at Sam's Club way back when they first came out. I should have referred to it as a tablet with an attachable keyboard. That's all they are. After three weeks I gave it to my wife, who likes to read digital books. After another short three weeks, she gave it to our daughter. For all I know, that thing ended up in a yard sale after another three weeks. Now I'm sure there are people out there that use and love their gizmo, but a nine week life expectancy at my house doesn't bode well for any technology (it never made the trip to the office).
Microsoft is getting it right this time!
At this point I'm pretty sure that we will rapidly deploy Windows 10. I'm also fairly certain there is a small group of developers in Seattle who, to this day, get a chuckle when they share a few of the Alabama Technical Terminologies I taught them, amongst themselves of course.