GEEK! has been placed on an indefinite hold for the foreseeable future as I've ran out of time to keep it up to date. For the mean time it will remain alive at this address in archive form. You can reach me via @geekonthepc. Thanks to everyone who read and got involved with the site! Who knows - when I get the chance I might start posting again! Wish me luck at Oxford Brookes University studying Mobile Computing! :)
Quick note: Really sorry I haven’t blogged for a while – been busy with other things! Will try and keep a vague schedule for posts going.
I read in the news recently that Microsoft are stripping back some of the built in features that will be included in Windows 8. Windows 8 is Microsoft’s new flagship operating system that is expected to reach computer screens in the last quarter of 2012.
Two things came to my attention as I read these two (one & two) blog posts by Microsoft.
First of all, Windows Media Center is going to be an extra add-on to Windows 8. This means, unlike Windows 7, you’ll have to pay for it on top of the price of the core OS if you want – no matter whether you have the home or pro version of Windows 8. Whilst this won’t bother most people, for anyone using TV tuners on their computer (ie me), this could be a huge downfall. Media Center has a fantastic interface for TV and the EPG is great too – so I’ll be rather peeved if I have to pay for Media Center.
Secondly, Windows 8 will not be able to natively play DVDs or Blu-Ray discs. Why, you ask? Well, I’m not sure, but it does make some kind of sense to an extent. The key idea of Windows 8 is that it will be usable on tablets – which, in most (if not all) cases, won’t have a DVD or Blu-Ray drive – so Microsoft are probably thinking they don’t need to waste money on licensing codecs to decode the discs. However, this is no good for anybody who is planning to use Windows 8 on a laptop or a desktop.
I fear that Microsoft are going to fall into the same trap with Windows 8 as they did with Windows Vista/7. Windows 8 will be fantastic on new devices that have it preinstalled, but Microsoft will face the backlog of people using their existing machines with Windows 7. Then, years after Windows 8 has launched, there will still be a vast majority of people on older operating systems that are still supported.
At the moment, I can’t see any huge reason to upgrade to Windows 8. There’s nothing in it for me that stands out and makes me think “I really want that”.
Ah well, Windows 7 is going to be supported until 2020, so I think I’ll stick with that for now.
Inevitably, Microsoft has drawn the line from Windows XP and clearly they are attempting to slowly pull people away from XP and onto more recent versions of Windows.
I don’t suppose it concerns many people anyway – who wants Internet Explorer? Firefox is several times better and Chrome is another story altogether.
Nevertheless, it could prompt Mozilla and Google to start deciding when the pull the plug on support for XP for their programs.
If you’re still one of the 65% of us using Windows XP, you really need to consider moving on. Windows 7 is much more practical (despite the pathetic TV commercials by Microsoft). XP has really past it a bit.
Microsoft have posted on their blog some important dates for Windows users. If you are using Windows XP Serivce Pack 2, Windows 2000 (all versions) or Windows Vista RTM (ie with no service packs) – this affects you.
On April 13th 2010, Windows Vista RTM will loose support. To continue support, you’ll need to (at the very least) download Service Pack 1. You’ll be better off if you download Service Pack 2 as well.
On July 13th 2010, all versions of Windows 2000 will loose support. You must upgrade to a newer version of Windows (ie Windows 7) to regain support. Windows XP Service Pack 2 will also loose support on this date. You must upgrade to Service Pack 3 to regain support, but bear in mind that support for SP3 will end soon.]
That should tell you all that you need to know. If you need to get your hands on Service Packs, check Windows Update.
I love JustHost (it’s a referral link I know – if you join I’ll get a little cash for it. I have to make a bit of money for the site! Thanks very much if you do sign up – it’s no extra cost to you)- it’s perfect. I’ve been hosting GEEK! on it for about 6 months now and it has never let me down – not once.
Anyhow, there is one thing that annoys me. The United States gets free telephone support but us Brits don’t. Seems a little silly to me, but there is a way round it.
Instead of dialing the expensive 0871 number, get Skype and call the freephone American number on +1 888 755 7585. Since it is a freephone number, you don’t need any Skype credit for it. You’ll get through to exactly the same people, but it’ll save you a bit of money (especially as they usually take 10 minutes to answer the phone).