Posts Tagged ‘microsoft’

Windows 10 Installation Notes

I downloaded Windows 10 as an ISO from Microsoft. To make a bootable USB disk, I followed the instructions in this article, basically using the Boot Camp Assistant.

The installation went on without a hitch. I was never asked for any product key, presumably because Windows 8 Pro did boot on my device once, before it was wiped to replace it with Ubuntu a few months ago.

Updating software makes sense of course so I did that. I found it odd that you could login to Windows using your Microsoft ID (i.e. your email address + password). Good thing it supports setting up a PIN, because I use a password that I can’t remember (hello 1Password).

Setting up Chrome and ensuring you’re logged in means you get a similar environment everywhere (so for me, this is the same across the Mac and the Chromebook).

The Lenovo ThinkPad X240 comes with a fingerprint reader and once your PIN is setup, you can ensure that the fingerprint reader works as well. I followed the instructions on the Lenovo forum.

Figuring office software would be important, Office 365 was installed in a rather quick fashion. To save a license seat, I removed it from the Mac using AppCleaner, saving 7.61GB of space!

Drivers seem to be something one needs to install (which is unfortunate). Lenovo requires their System Interface Foundation, and the Lenovo Settings application, since the battery management benefits from it (otherwise you get a famous message, “plugged in, not charging”). Lenovo Battery Gauge is another from Lenovo’s support site. Shockingly, you have no idea what you need to install to get things going.

Windows does have an app store now but it’s not complete so to speak (i.e. some apps require things outside the app store so you get it via a browser). Installing software that affects the system naturally means you go through a reboot cycle fairly often (which is still an annoyance in Windows land it would seem).

I enjoy my Caps Lock key being an additional Control key, and the easiest way to do this is via Ctrl2Cap. Unsurprisingly, this also requires a reboot to take effect.

Unfortunately travel beckons, and I am only planning to take one laptop with me, so till the next month till I provide updates on my Microsoft Windows adventures.

Microsoft’s reaction to open

It’s interesting to follow what Microsoft has been doing, especially in relation to their reactions to the open world.

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project was always interesting. It ships with Linux as a default, and it didn’t take long for Microsoft to offer Windows on this device. Though its likely that there were never any large deployments for this.

Now, you find that Microsoft Windows 10 is basically a free upgrade for users from the days of Windows 7. And it looks like upgrades are going to be free going forward. This follows what Apple has done with OSX, and if you look back even a decade, this seemed like an odd choice – there was money to be made with the OS. This will adjust some TCO calculations for sure.

Now there’s the Raspberry Pi 2. It is also the first Raspberry Pi to be able to run Windows for IoT devices. Apparently this will also be free (for makers; whatever that means). You’re buying a $35 computer, and using the SD card as an easily swappable OS.

I should probably also mention that you can run Linux on Azure, their cloud platform.

So all in, it’s interesting to watch Microsoft, the company once the epitome of being proprietary, now learning to embrace open.

The quotable Satya Nadella

Microsoft has its third CEO in its entire history (started 1975), Satya Nadella. Some choice quotes & thoughts…

Via WSJ:

What drives me every morning and what keeps me up every night is one thing: this business is not about longevity, it’s about relevance.

Via his letter to his employees:

Our industry does not respect tradition – it only respects innovation.

Many who know me say I am also defined by my curiosity and thirst for learning. I buy more books than I can finish. I sign up for more online courses than I can complete. I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things.

This starts with clarity of purpose and sense of mission that will lead us to imagine the impossible and deliver it. We need to prioritize innovation that is centered on our core value of empowering users and organizations to “do more.”

I truly believe that each of us must find meaning in our work. The best work happens when you know that it’s not just work, but something that will improve other people’s lives.

Not sure about this “one microsoft” idea (I hear too much of 1Malaysia), but the elements required to aspire to change the world stand strong: talent, resources, and perseverance.

Definitely an exciting time to see what Microsoft can bring to the table. Not to mention that opensource and cloud computing is pretty much everywhere these days…

A trip to the Microsoft Store

Today instead of stepping into the Apple Store on Stockton St, I decided to walk past it and head to look for the Microsoft Store. It is inside the Westfield San Francisco mall. There are plenty of signs to tell you its next to Bloomingdales on the 2nd floor. 

I finally reach the store and its bright. There’s lots of light to ensure that the place is bright. It reminds me very much of an Apple Store – the clothing worn by staff look like I stepped into an Apple Store. The layout is very similar as well.

Staff are aplenty. They are very eager to help you. People are also aplenty. Yes — many people are interested in getting their hands on devices.

I played with a Surface RT with Windows. My pod had a Touch Cover. I tried typing coherently but it seems that every substantial sentence had about one or two errors. Considering the Type Cover isn’t far off in terms of price, I don’t know who will buy the Touch Cover. It takes a little while to get used to the Metro interface, but for some reason, you get a stock Windows look & feel when its time to launch applications like Word. Hmm. This isn’t a tablet. This isn’t a laptop. It’s some kind of hybrid. I’m not so sure, considering I’ve been using “modern” tablets since the iPad first came out.

Then I moved over to a laptop. This was one made by Asus. I saw a stylus next to it, so I tried touching the screen. A kind store employee told me that this particular laptop/tablet hybrid was weird, and closed the lid, only to reveal the tablet at the back of the regular screen. That was touch screen and you could use the stylus or your finger. What an odd hybrid!

I went back to the Surface RT with Windows to see the store employee demoing it to two people. When asked what they used at home, they said they had a MacBook Pro. Oops. The employee could have done a better job at understanding what the Finder, etc. was all about, but he had no clue about the Mac. Which makes it really hard to sell to switchers, especially if you’re selling the Surface RT with Windows as a laptop replacement! During the demo, he tried to show how cool the augmented reality maps were to work, but when he started moving it around and turning, the display didn’t turn, so the demo failed. Poor chap.

There were many devices and so many devices that are iMac lookalikes. I am impressed by all the makers of devices. There are other things for sale, like accessories. A small corner for Nokia exists too – to showcase their phones.

I saw many people checking their emails, doing things that they would do at a cybercafe. I wonder if they were treating it like a cybercafe?

A few takeaways:

  1. Real estate matters. Location, location, location. Apple is at street level. The Microsoft Store needs to tell you how to find it (inside Westfield, next to Bloomingdales on the 2nd floor).
  2. Teach the staff what the Mac is all about. It will help sell to switchers.
  3. Make sure canned demos exist. There’s nothing like a failing demo when you try to sell something.
  4. I didn’t check to see if there’s free WiFi in the store, but if there isn’t, make sure its like the Apple Store – this is one reliable thing you can find in any Apple store.

Switch to Linux if Windows 8 is a hassle

Retreat in sales of PCs turns into rout – “‘At the beginning, retailers don’t know how to explain it to customers,’ says Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. ‘Marketing the new [operating system] to consumers takes extra effort.’”

Well, skip Windows 8 altogether and just switch to Linux. And for more elegant hardware, there’s always the Mac.

The link between Yahoo!, Microsoft, Facebook, Nokia

Written 23 July 2012, but for some reason it never got posted. Better late than never I guess.

I tweeted (17 July 2012, 4:40am UTC+8): 

There’s an interesting link between Yahoo!, Microsoft, Bing, Facebook and Nokia. The bigger picture is competition against Google, Apple

This was literally moments after the news broke that Marissa Mayer resigned from Google to become the CEO of Yahoo!. I thought I’d expand on this link that I see.

Search is today not something that Yahoo! cares about. Its served by Bing from Microsoft. Bing is also the default on Windows Phone, the operating system that Nokia has taken a bet on (when in the USA, I use a Lumia Windows Phone and cannot complain). Search on Facebook is also powered by Bing thanks to a deal that Microsoft has with Facebook. Bing is a strong contender to Google’s search, and this space is clearly still getting investment (see how DuckDuckGo recently got VC funding too).

Yahoo! has mail that is very popular (it might still be the most popular out there). Microsoft has Hotmail. Facebook has “Facebook messages”. Nokia canned Ovi mail services. Yahoo!, Microsoft Messenger and Facebook Messenger also has instant messenger (IM) capabilities. Imagine a day when they all interconnect? It would be a straight fight against Google Chat.

Picasa is Google’s photo sharing site. Today the stream might be Google+. Yahoo! still has Flickr which is the Picasa equivalent, and for streaming? Imagine if there was a quick link to Facebook. Nokia can build in sharing to Flickr and Facebook quickly from their phones (they already have been doing this from time-to-time between phone releases including their MeeGo stint).

Videos seem to be missing from this big picture. Google has YouTube, and the rest of them have nothing with the exception of Facebook.

Maps? Nokia has got great mapping technology loaded on the Windows phone. It can supply this quite easily to everyone.

I haven’t once mentioned Apple yet. They use other search engines (and maybe the longer term strategy is something like what the Dolphin browser does: use Siri to search multiple search engines and aggregate the results so the user has no idea what search engine is being used). They have their own messenger service in iMessages. They have their own photo & video storage site – the iCloud. For maps, they are using OpenStreetMaps after having ditched Google Maps. I see Apple building their own ecosystem and going it alone.

What about developer appeal? I see many a developer hacking on a Mac OS X laptop or a Linux laptop. With the Apple ecosystem, it is obvious to develop on OSX. With the Google Android ecosystem and the rest of their toolkit, its clear you can be OS-agnostic (they support Mac, Linux, Windows). With the Microsoft/Nokia ecosystem? It seems like you need a Windows box, and that automatically turns me away quite quickly (though upcoming HTML5/CSS/JavaScript will allow more development on this platform, in an OS-agnostic sense). Facebook is OS-agnostic too.

It is an exciting time ahead. All of this is great for consumers! Ecosystems are a building and it is awesome to see alliances being built