7 Alternatives to 7 Flavors of Windows 10

 Windows  Comments Off on 7 Alternatives to 7 Flavors of Windows 10
Jun 022015
 

7 Alternatives to 7 Flavors of Windows 10

If you’re scratching your head over which version of the upcoming Windows 10 operating system is right for you, I’m inclined to say the correct answer is ‘None of the Above.’

Given Microsoft’s inglorious tradition of promising the Sun and the Moon but ultimately delivering operating systems that are sub-mediocre, bug-ridden and hacker magnets, one might be forgiven for not getting too excited about Windows 10!

Now don’t you believe the schmuck hacks and paid flacks who’ll tell you there’s no alternative and that computing Nirvana comes only with Windows 10.

Despite the babble from hordes of naysayers, there’s no lack of choice in mobile, desktop and server operating systems.

Let’s consider the seven versions of Windows 10 and alternatives for each of them.

1. Windows 10 Home Consumer Edition

Targeted at PCs, Tablets and 2 in 1 Tablet PCs, the Home Consumer Edition of Windows 10 features new stuff like the Cortana personal digital assistant, Edge web browser, Continuum tablet mode for touch-capable devices and Windows Hello face-recognition, iris and fingerprint login.

With Windows 10 Home Consumer Edition, updates are automatically installed without giving any say to users. What happened to consumer choice or, God forbid, if there are issues with the update?

* Alternative for Windows 10 Home Consumer Edition

Linux Mint 17.1 Rebecca with Cinnamon or Mate desktop for PCs is a good alternative to Windows 10 Home Consumer Edition. The frequent freezes that used to plague Linux Mint 17 have vanished and you now have a solid consumer friendly operating system that runs well on old hardware too.

Linux Mint 17 won’t give you a personal digital assistant but, seriously, how many of us really need such bells and whistles on a PC when there’re plenty of free add-on applications available for Linux.

For tablets, I’d recommend you go with iOS, which is the underlying operating system for Apple iPads and iPhones. The huge ecosystem of apps and accessories for iOS cannot be beat anytime soon.

2. Windows 10 Mobile

Aimed at smartphones and small tablets, Windows 10 Mobile will supposedly run apps built for Windows 10 Home as well as a touch-optimized version of Office.

The tall claim is that users can leverage the Continuum feature to use a Windows smartphone like a PC by connecting it to a monitor. I’ll believe it when I see a functioning model.

* Alternative for Windows 10 Mobile

There’s no question that Apple’s iOS operating system running on smartphones and tablets is a slick piece of software offering (mostly) a smooth experience. That’s the reason hundreds of millions of consumers happily pay a premium for for the iPhones and iPads and the humungous choice of apps in the Apple App Store.

Google’s mobile OS Android too is getting better.

The apps and accessories ecosystem for iOS and Anrdoid is far superior to that of Windows mobile devices.

3. Windows 10 Pro Desktop Edition

Targeted at small businesses, Windows 10 Pro Desktop Edition is for PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s.

The Pro Desktop version comes with extra features like faster access to security updates, support for remote access and controls over update deployment.

* Alternative for Windows 10 Pro Desktop edition

Ubuntu 14.04 and 15.04, Fedora 22, CentOS 6 and CentOS 7 and Linux Mint 17 are a few alternatives for Windows 10 Pro Desktop edition.

On the tablet side, the iPad is a solid alternative. Tens of thousands of small businesses including restaurants, florists and contractors use iPads attached to the Square payment system as point of sale devices. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 9:46 am

Surface 3 – A Sure Flop Hits the Market

 Tablets, Windows  Comments Off on Surface 3 – A Sure Flop Hits the Market
May 062015
 

Surface 3 Tablet - A Sure DudSo far Microsoft’s Surface tablets have proved to be a huge dud.

Consumers across the world have largely yawned or shown the device their collective middle finger.

When it comes to tablets and their use on the Internet, consumers have flocked to Apple’s iPad. Even Google’s Android, despite the many vendors supporting the platform, has failed to crack the iPad citadel.

But it’s Surface’s dismal failure that has attracted attention since the product comes from the Microsoft stable.

Microsoft’s repeated discounts and price cuts have not helped Surface to curry favor with digital media consumers.

By our calculation, Microsoft has lost over a billion dollars on its disastrous Surface foray.

Microsoft’s mistakes with Surface were several – Late to market, too few apps, lacked the cachet of iPad, not a solid device, and too pricey.

A more sensible company would have thrown in the towel. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 6:44 pm

Samsung Ditches Notebooks in Europe

 Products, Windows  Comments Off on Samsung Ditches Notebooks in Europe
Sep 232014
 

Samsung Kills Laptops, Chromebooks Business in EuropeSamsung has pulled out of the notebook market in Europe.

The South Korean giant said it would stop selling its Ativ Windows notebooks and Chromebooks in Europe but left open the possibility of a return to the business at a later date.

A Samsung rep told PC Advisor:

We quickly adapt to market needs and demands. In Europe, we will be discontinuing sales of laptops including Chromebooks for now. This is specific to the region – and is not necessarily reflective of conditions in other markets.

PC Market Slowdown

Tablets, phablets (large screen smartphones) and smartphones are eating into the PC market hitting most vendors. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 5:10 pm

You Can’t Beat Microsoft’s Sense of Humor

 Smartphones, Windows  Comments Off on You Can’t Beat Microsoft’s Sense of Humor
Sep 262013
 

Microsoft may be faring miserably in the mobile arena with pitiful market share for its Windows Phone and Surface tablets.

But never let it be said that the folks at Redmond don’t have a jolly sense of humor.

Microsoft Trade-in Program for iPhone$200 for Your iPhone 4S or iPhone 5

iPhone Trade-in Program

Starting tomorrow, September 27, 2013 and through November 3, Microsoft will offer an iPhone trade-in program.

Consumers can bring in a iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 to a Microsoft store and get a minimum of $200 that they can use toward the purchase of a Windows Phone.

I needed a good laugh this morning!

Thank You, Microsoft! 😉

Microsoft already has an iPad trade-in program which gives users who bring in their gently used iPad 2, 3 or 4 tablets (with a power cord) a $200 Microsoft Store gift card to be used toward the purchase of a Surface Pro or Surface RT tablet.

 Posted by at 1:53 pm

Microsoft Starts Screwing Windows XP Users

 Security, Windows  Comments Off on Microsoft Starts Screwing Windows XP Users
Sep 092013
 

Windows XP Support Hard to Get

Microsoft has already started making life difficult for Windows XP users as the company gets ready to end support for Windows XP (and Office 2003) on April 8, 2014.

I recently got a preview of Microsoft’s non-support vis-a-vis Windows XP will be like.

I removed my hard drive from a legal copy of HP Windows XP Media Center Edition (purchased at the now dead Circuit City in 2005) and popped it into an old Acer machine whose hard drive had failed.

Since the hardware for the two computers was different, the Acer computer asked me to validate the copy of Windows XP. I tried doing it online but it didn’t work and the screen gave me a telephone number to call.

Since this is the era of outsourcing, my call went to India.

When I explained my activation problem, Microsoft’s activation center in India gave me an extremely hard time repeatedly refusing to help me in getting my legal copy of Windows XP activated on the new hardware (Acer).

Multiple excuses were offered by Microsoft’s activation team in India to refuse to activate my old Windows XP:

It’s an old product….Product key has exceeded the number of activations…..Windows has to live and die with the hardware.

None of the reasons were justifiable. Some like it’s an old product were outright illegal.

Plus, this was the first time I tried to activate Windows XP (when I bought the HP Windows XP Media Center Edition in 2005 it was already activated).

Only after more than 60-minutes of cajoling, pleading and escalating my requests through the support chain was I able to get my legal copy of Windows XP activated on the Acer computer.

My difficult time with Windows XP is a harbinger of what other XP users can expect starting April 9, 2014.

Only amplified a million times because of the absence of any support.

Windows XP – Security Nightmare Coming

Since Windows XP was the last fully baked operating system without too many issues, millions of customers sat on the sidelines when Microsoft released subsequent versions of its operating system – Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Nearly 34% of desktop computer users were still running Windows XP in August 2013.

The majority of computer users in China and India are on Windows XP.

If customers don’t upgrade to newer versions of Windows and newer hardware, then Microsoft and its hardware partners like Dell, HP, Acer, ASUS and Lenovo won’t make money. One of the reasons the PC market is in a big slump today is that customer upgrade cycles are getting longer.

To ensure that customers get the message on upgrading, Microsoft has been driving home the point that after April 8, 2014 Windows XP users will not get new security updates, non-security hotfixes, Windows updates, free or paid assisted support options (there’s been some backtracking on the support but at a very high cost of $200 per PC per year) or online technical content updates.

In other words, Windows XP customers are screwed from April 9, 2014.

As Microsoft’s Director of Trustworthy Computing Tim Rain wrote in the company’s security blog last month:

The very first month that Microsoft releases security updates for supported versions of Windows, attackers will reverse engineer those updates, find the vulnerabilities and test Windows XP to see if it shares those vulnerabilities. If it does, attackers will attempt to develop exploit code that can take advantage of those vulnerabilities on Windows XP. Since a security update will never become available for Windows XP to address these vulnerabilities, Windows XP will essentially have a “zero day” vulnerability forever.

In short, a security nightmare awaits Windows XP users starting April 9, 2014.

 Posted by at 11:38 am