I have just upgraded my Nokia Lumia to the Windows Phone 7.8 (that’s the brand name, the software version is 7.10.8862.114)
Microsoft has improved the user experience with features like additional background colours, and the ability to resize the tiles. They also seem to have improved the resolution on the screen so content looks clearer.
There’s a blog here that provides more details.
At the geek 27Dinner event, we got the opportunity to see a demo model of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab – one of the tablet devices that will take on the Apple iPad.
It has a nice look and feel, and runs on the Android operating system which, to me, means a more open platform. To get more information and comparisons, see these TechRadar and Engadget articles, and CNN’s analysis of Sumsung vs. Apple.
Seeing the Galaxy Tab led to a discussion at my table about open vs. proprietary tablets – in other words, others vs the Apple iPad. Apple has history of bringing out proprietary devices and getting huge kudos and attention, together with early profits, only to be overtaken by a device with similar capabilities that runs on an industry-standard platform. The first case was the original Apple computer which was overtaken by the PC, the second one was the graphical user interface on the Macintosh which was surpassed by Windows. Will the same happen with the iPad?
During the dinner, we heard the news that Microsoft would hand over its Windows Live Spaces blog platform to WordPress.com. When we tried to figure out how what the upside was for Microsoft, Doug Vining of the FutureWorld think tank, commented that perhaps Microsoft would now develop a means for WordPress.org to be run better on the Windows platform (currently the preferred platform is Apache on Linux), this would provide pull-through for sales of more Windows platforms.
That led to a discussion on why companies should be prepared to cannibalise their own products in order to take advantage of new technology innovations and developments. Specifically, we wondered should Microsoft make Windows free, or almost free? The reasoning behind this is that the general device world (mobile + tablets + Netbooks + PCs) is an area in which Microsoft is losing its marketshare rapidly. The only way for Microsoft to get back into the game would be to make its operating system cheaply and easily available to device makers and so provide a viable alternative to Android and Linux. Making Windows free or very cheap would obviously affect Microsoft’s bottom-line in the short-term, but this would likely make Windows a standard and Microsoft could continue to get revenue from the Office product line. In a world where the personal device (tablet or phone) will become the de facto computing hardware, rather than a Windows-based laptop, Microsoft needs a basis on which to ensure ongoing revenue.
The reason many companies fail to adapt to technology change after dominating an area (e.g., IBM and computing, Sony and the Walkman) is that they believe that they have control. As Doug pointed out, in the 21st century, control is an illusion. Companies that institute IT standards for controlling Internet and social media access believe they can control how their staff access the Internet, forgetting that employess will use their mobile phones. In the brand arena, companies that think they control their brands are mistaken; it is the public that determines how the brand is communicated. For countries, a number have learned that it is practically impossible and hugely expensive to try and control their currencies.
A few of the points Doug raised I have blogged about already when commenting on Don Dodge’s new platform post. The concept of making Windows free is radical, however. It would require a lot of courage and commitment from Microsoft, as well as a major organisational change project. Do you think Microsoft needs to do it, or has the capacity to accept such a proposition? On the issue of devices, could Apple’s proprietary stance lose out to the other tablet manufacturers using Android? Lastly, will businesses ever be able to accept that they do not have control, but should rather focus on trust?
As a result of a problem with a previous desktop search, I have been testing out some desktop search applications available. My PC runs Windows XP so I didn’t include the Vista search. The three I tested were:
Of the three applications, the Windows search has the best user interface in my view. It searches file/email titles and contents, and search results are quick. My major problem with it were the search applications that run on the PC. There were several times when two programs - searchprotocol and searchfilterhost – took over the CPU and memory of my PC, rendering it inoperable for 15 minutes and longer. After a particularly bad experience when I could hardly use my PC for a day, I deleted Windows desktop search, and that’s when I started looking at other solutions.
I was made aware of Copernic via a comment on Twitter. The user interface was reasonable, but the free version I downloaded only searched file/email titles, not contents. After a short experiment, I deleted Copernic.
I turned to Google’s desktop search after another comment on Twitter. The user interface is browser oriented, which while not the best for me, it is acceptable. It searches file/email titles as well as contents. From a performance persepctive, the Google desktop search programs run surreptiously and don’t consume CPU or memory. The only problem is that Google have not made it easy to change the location of the search index. However, I found the following article on how to change the index location.
After a few weeks, I am still happy with the Google Desktop Search. I am interested in testing other applications if anyone wants to send me the information.
I am one of those people who have resisted the move from Windows XP to Vista. But I have one major issue with XP: there are two operating system utilities – svchost.exe and wuauclt.exe – which run everytime I boot up the PC. The problem is that they take a lot of CPU, memory and disk I/O resouces, which means I usually have to wait over five minutes after I switch on the PC before I can start using any of the applications. Wuauclt.exe is a major time waster as it can scan 200+ megabytes of diskspace and slows down every other application.
If anyone knows how to pause or stop these utilities from running, please let me know.
I have been getting messages from Windows Update that I should install the Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) on my PC. When I tried to install it from the SP3 CD, I got a message that it couldn’t be loaded because a previous fix – KB925877 – needed to be removed. Straightforward? But when I tried to uninstall that KB, the system listed a very long list of programs that would be affected. So I have abandoned XP SP3 for a while.
I recently bought a Toshiba laptop computer as a 21st birthday present for my elder daughter. Beforehand, my wife and I decided that my daughter would need a machine that had horse power as she is doing engineering at university, but price was also a factor. In the end I found a Toshiba Satellite Pro which had a duo-core processor and 1 Gb memory. By default that configuration came with Windows Vista, but if I had selected a different (older, lower, smaller) configuration, it would have had XP.
Now some weeks later my daughter is complaining that Vista is a pain to use and doesn’t work as easily as XP, which she is used to elsewhere. She would like to have XP installed on the machine instead … or Linux. Unfortunately, the technical guy at work says it would too much of a hassle; its not just XP but all the associated drivers that need to be found, and loaded.
By coincidence I saw Ed Bott’s article about how XP and Vista are doing in the market. Apparently SMBs (small-medium businesses) prefer XP, consumers prefer Vista. I am not sure whether consumers prefer Vista, or whether they don’t have much of a choice (as in our case). Businesses on the other hand can often do with the older/lower/smaller configuration – cost is also lower – so it doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise that XP rules there.
What is Microsoft’s main revenue source for Windows – business or consumer? I would say business, and probably the bigger companies.
What are their plans for Vista roll-out? From what I read, those plans are not going to happen very soon.
How will that impact on Microsoft’s revenue in the quarters to come? We wait to see.
Despite claims that Vista would shoot out of Microsoft’s warehouse onto desktops, my experience with customers made me sceptical. They were all very happy with the XP they had, and really didn’t see the need to spend more on desktop software and new PCs at the moment.
I didn’t remember that it happened before, but an interesting article shows how previous versions of Windows took time to get adopted – Slow start for Vista.
So in a few years most of us will be using Vista, but it will be years not months.