Friday, March 24, 2017

Windows 10

Recently I updated to Windows 10 on my work computer. I have worked with windows products for decades now, starting with the early DOS based versions and remembering the "Big Bang" of Windows 95 with "Start Me Up" by the Rolling Stones in the background. What I really thought was cool back in the days of Windows 95 was seeing the Weezer video for "Buddy Holly" through the windows media player since it was installed with the operating system. It was a first glance at actually useful video integrated with the device (or downloaded) rather than played through a CD or ultimately DVD.

I was dreading this Windows 10 upgrade because many of my co-workers were having various problems with it on their devices. These weren't problems with Windows 10 per se, they were tied with the way applications run as we move to more of an online mode. For example, if you are saving data on BOX in the cloud or using Office 365 (run from the cloud), your machine performance is more variable, tied with all the hand offs and routing up and down and depending on your network connection at the time. Many co-workers use tablets and a variety of machine types so there wasn't a lot of common threads in some of the issues. Also, Microsoft now includes the "Edge" browser as default as they try to get rid of Internet Explorer (the worst browser) and many folks seemed confused because the links and bookmarks didn't automatically port over to Edge.

My experience was quite different - I downloaded Windows 10 onto my machine and it worked great, right away. My machine is newer (less than a year old) and perhaps that makes a difference. While you can't buy a personal machine without Windows 10 installed (and couldn't for a while), corporations can buy PC's with older operating systems installed because they want to keep a homogeneous environment and upgrade all the machines in some sort of consistent method.

Gone was the interminable boot-up wait of Windows 7 - my windows machine is almost as fast as booting up my 2011 Macbook Pro. After my outlook email and calendar migrated over (aided by the fact that I haven't been in my job that long; at my prior company my outlook was gigantic) I was able to work without a hitch. As companies migrate more and more systems to the cloud, there is less data per se residing on your machine and you have fewer programs installed locally. It moved over all my internet connections and saved bookmarks and passwords so I was able to continue working right away and they seemingly thought of most everything.

Microsoft tries to integrate some mobile phone / Apple type concepts into the experience, such as embedded news and weather and the like. This is kind of nice and I have a stock ticker and a few things but due to the way the standard internet has been infested with pop ups and the like it is hard to even click on news articles. I'm sure if I spent some time and installed pop up blockers and the like I could figure it out but it is annoying from the get-go. One area in which the Apple system is far superior is the fact that my messages and photos are synced from my phone to my ipad to my Macbook and I can access them from each device. Since Windows doesn't really have any phone integration (I'm sure I could figure it out if I really tried) it pretty much is a work machine for me.

One area in which I miss out with my Mac ecosystem is gaming - I would like to buy some of the newer wargames like "Strategic Command" but they aren't really available on the Mac and I obviously wouldn't install them on my work PC. But this is just as well because they are an immense time suck and I have a lot to learn having started a new job less than a year ago. Some of the games are starting to come to the iPad and I'm sure at some point there will be a more robust ecosystem of quite sophisticated and powerful games on that platform of the strategy type.

All in, I thought I would dread my Windows 10 upgrade, but it was fine. It definitely improves my workday and I really like the fast boot time.

Cross posted at Chicago Boyz

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