Tag: windows 7
I remember when Windows 7 came out one of the new features they were touting was the ability to connect “sensors” to make the computer more self aware of its surroundings. It’s basically an attempt to give the computer the same abilities that are common in smartphones now like GPS or cell tower location awareness, accelerometer movement awareness, or ambient light sensing abilities.
This all sounds well and good; it would be cool if you could sit in a coffee shop, search google for nearby dining or shopping venues and get a location aware result rather than responses that may be located hundreds of miles away.
But who has a Laptop with GPS built in right now?
I know that come Dells and other computer are making it an option but lets face it, 99% of the world doesn’t have any use for Windows 7 sensors.
Well today How-To-Geek has a great writeup on how to put geosense on your laptop to get geolocation abilities without GPS. It’s funny that I was reading this article in a coffee shop, downloaded, installed, and had location aware abilities, all within about 5 minutes.
The install is fast and simple, the accuracy isn’t GPS level but it’s certainly good enough for weather results and nearby shopping opportunities.
As all this tech is new for laptops there isn’t a lot of abilities yet:
- Geosense made a location-enabled Google Maps client.
- Windows Sidebar “Weather” gadget: Detects location and give local weather.
- MahTweets: Geotags tweets and Flickr photos
But now that the ability to be location aware is free and simple anybody can get it, and as the number of people with it grow the apps to do more will follow. Since most of us smartphone users are getting used to these abilities from the phone it’s nice to have the laptop catchup so all of our devices are equally useful.
I’m upgrading my PC to Windows 7 soon. And I’m going to load a full legal copy onto my netbook (replacing the Beta version).
Even though both systems can be upgraded rather than completely reinstalled I like refreshing my installation every few years. I’ll admit that not all the programs I load on my computer are stable mainline programs, a lot of betas and unsupported programs go on and after a year even the best well maintained computer starts to collect dust (KDE on windows can goto hell, talk about screwing with your system!).
Anyway I’m well familiar with the process, usually done over the course of 3 hours on a lazy Saturday afternoon:
1. Backup documents, pics, songs, vids, etc.
- You should be doing this by default but so many people don’t. Personally all my files are kept on separate hard drives which backup to network drives. So wiping an OS has no affect.
2. Backup OS and program files and settings.
- I’ll admit, this mostly involves copying video game saves to a safe place. But some things like Firefox and other frequently used programs may have settings that can’t be exported (although they should!). Write down what you might forget to put on the new system, especially passwords, logins etc. (use xmarks on firefox to sync bookmarks and passwords to the cloud beforehand).
3. Make a list of the programs you have on your existing system so you can add them to the new one.
- This is a good time to eliminate old programs you don’t use. And get upgraded copies of the programs you do use. I keep all installation files in on a separate drive so I can download and replace those copies in the days leading up to the switch and avoid doing it on the new machines.
4. If any driver files are needed get updated copies and load them onto a separate drive so you can load them without a network connection (especially network drivers if needed).
5. Plug the laptop into the second monitor, watch a movie, and start the reformat->install process.
6. Spend the rest of the night installing and testing programs on the computer.
This time should be a bit easier, Techcrunch mentions a new site Ninite that allows you to install multiple programs in one big batch. I’ve seen similar programs to this before but they were all mostly hacks made by individual programmers that worked good customized for their system but was a bit sketchy if you didn’t have the exact same circumstances as they did.
It doesn’t cover all programs but it does cover the core programs that usually get installed first. In fact going over the other programs I have to install Ninite will be doing about 80% of the work that takes up the last and longest step of reinstalling an OS.
Anyway I must truly be a geek at heart, I’m already looking forward to spending the night upgrading my OS. I’ve got chips, salsa, beer, and the Rifftrax for Transformers: revenge of the fallen (plus the RT of Twilight on standby if the install goes long).
I added the “yet” at the end of the blog title because that reflects the findings of the survey and that survey is hardly surprising. By leaving off the “yet” the title mirrors the hundreds of business-tech stories today, and blurs the truth.
This is a perfect example of what I’ve mentioned many times before that the tech community gets too wrapped up itself and forgets how the rest of the world sees technology. Survey says:
6% are going to Win 7 in 2009 (ie immediately)
34% are likely upgrading in 2010
60% have no definitive plans.
Tech blogs and news sites are focusing on the 60% number and changing it to the statement “60% of businesses AREN’T upgrading to Windows 7.”
In reality this is an entirely normal breakdown of businesses trepidation at upgrading their computer infrastructure. Considering that Win XP –> Win 7 also involves a huge requirements upgrade (nearly 8yrs of computer evolution) I’m surprised that 40% are switching over in the first year; time to invest in Dell computers. Although I shouldn’t be too surprised, my personal upgrade path for Vista was inline with the 40% group, for Win 7 I was onboard through beta and will convert at least one computer immediately.
Of course I believe Win 7 is really nothing more than a service pack of Vista, and since I was on Vista a year late and missed all the compatibility issues I’ve never had any bad experiences with that.
My point is that this idiotic story is just a way for tech media to make a big deal out of nothing. Some are saying it puts Microsoft on shaky ground since Vista didn’t go over well (they have 90% of the OS market, they’re not in trouble), other are even saying that businesses may go to new competition like the new Google Chrome OS, which is probably the dumbest comment I’ve heard in regards to this story so far. If you think there’s apprehension about Windows 7 ask a business what they think about an OS whose only specs and capabilities consist of some blog announcements and a lot of speculation.
I bet if the same poll was reissued with another option that said “Are you going to switch from Windows to ANY other competitor in the next two years?” the percentage would be 6% or lower.
Ignore the media hype, this is a non-news item. Businesses are always resistant to change, and hesitant to upgrade in the first year or two. It’s actually good business policy because by staying off the bleeding edge you don’t get cut by the initial growing pains. Once the bugs are fully worked out you’ll see a lot more adoption (so long as companies are willing to update 2001 era computers to something a bit more modern to run Win 7).