Tag Archives: Confusion

Windows 7

windows-7

If I didn’t know better, I’d say that Microsoft were trying to confuse us.

The approach for naming Windows appears to change with every release.Back when I first started using Windows we were running 3.11 which we then upgraded to Windows 95 (although NT 4.0 was also available).Next we switched to Windows Millennium Edition (although a rather similarly sounding Windows 2000 was available) then we moved on to versions named after aspirational monikers such as XP and Vista.

It seems confusing as to whether they wish to name the Operating System after the version number, year of release or an alternative name but thankfully they have decided to make it ‘simple’ by settling on Windows 7 for their next release.This however is the point where the confusion arises once again; Windows 3.11 was obviously a later release of version 3, Windows 95 was commonly considered version 4, Windows 2000 was version 5 and Vista version 6.The more astute among you may notice that Windows XP, possibly the most common Operating System on the market, doesn’t seem to feature in this numbering system so I am therefore assuming that Windows XP must have either been considered unworthy of its own version number or that Microsoft cannot count.

Anyway, back to the point, Windows 7 (although I argue it should be called ‘Windows 8′) will be the next Operating System release from Microsoft.Penned in for a Beta (test) release in early 2009 with the final product becoming available in 2010 I thought it would be worth looking at some of the features they have planned:

Sensors - Windows 7 will include the ability for applications to obtain information through a number of different sensors and act on the information accordingly.An example would be using a GPS sensor so that the OS could establish that you were at work and change your profile accordingly or a proximity sensor that could determine that with no one close to the machine that it could enter power saving mode.

Multi-touch - Windows 7 will include integrated support for multi-touch displays.Conventional touch screen has never particularly excited me but with multi-touch, rather than simply allowing you to crudely point at something you want to click you are able to use multiple fingers from both hands.An example of a practical use would be to select multiple items on screen simultaneously or select an item with your left hand whilst flicking through windows to find somewhere to drop it with your right.Alternatively you could use it in a photo application to resize an image by pulling or pinching either side of it with the index fingers of either hand until you get it to the size you desire.

Speech and Handwriting Recognition –Unfortunately speaking to your computer is embarrassing and writing by hand is usually slower and more laborious than typing although there is the very real need for speech recognition to continue to improve for those with disabilities who cannot use a keyboard.That said, there are those that do see a future in these technologies so they will no doubt be delighted by their inclusion.

The graphical interface has reportedly been tweaked and the user interface is very much customizable with support for ‘gadgets’ (small lightweight applications) that can be added to areas of the Operating System such as Windows Explorer or Media Centre.Of course, a lot of what is being planned is ‘under the hood’ so to speak with Microsoft claiming that Windows 7 will have improved performance on multi-core processors, improved boot speeds and extensive kernel improvements.I will bring you more information as and when I get it.

 

About the Author – Chris Holgate works at the UK based supplier of cartridges, Refresh Cartridges. They supply a range of compatible and original Kodak 10 Cartridges at a low price.

Handsfree Kits

I realise that last month a stated that I would be reviewing sites that would save people money on the run up to Christmas but as one of my readers helpfully pointed out, I had completely neglected to cover the new legislation coming into effect that bans the holding of mobile phones whilst driving. Whilst this article is primarily concerned with computing I do like to think that I cover other areas relating to technology in general and of course mobile phones are one of them.

The new law that came into effect at the beginning of the week basically allows the Police to issue on the spot fines of £30 to anybody caught holding a mobile phone and that could rise to £1000 if convicted. This is obviously a fair amount of money and so it makes sense to look at means of complying with this legislation even if not for a financial point of view then of course for a safety point of view.

The main confusion arises from most drivers not knowing exactly what keeps them within the law and what accessories are still legal. Essentially, any piece of equipment that means that you don’t have to physically hold the mobile is legal; so for example, a little earpiece which you could pick up for a couple of quid would be considered legal, a £20 plug and go car kit or of course a £200 fully installed job would all do the trick. If using an earpiece then the mobile does have to be placed in a secure holder and not just placed in your lap!

I did look for a clarification on the Internet as to what exactly happens when the phone rings if you’re not allowed to physically touch it which of course wouldn’t pose a problem in the case of a fully installed car kit but if you had a little in-ear headset then in the majority of instances you’d actually have to touch the phone to answer it. Another point that I don’t understand is that if you had a headset plugged into your phone and it started to ring then you’d have to take your hand of the wheel to fish around trying to find the headset and putting it into your ear. Of course, the alternative would be to keep the headset in your ear throughout the entire journey, whether you are in a conversation or not but I wouldn’t like to drive around all day with the hearing in one ear completely impaired.

There is of course the flip side that suggests that the main risk with using a mobile phone when driving isn’t the physical act of holding it but rather the fact that you’re drawn in to a conversation which distracts you from driving. At first I found this hard to believe as when I’ve had four other people in my car nattering away then I’m not particularly distracted nor am I when listening to the radio but after having tested a fully installed car kit I’ve concluded that this doesn’t seem to be an accurate comparison; I was far more drawn into the conversation I was having on the phone than I would have ever been if the person was in the car with me. Why this is I have no idea but it does seem that conducting a phone conversation took my focus off of driving than having a conversation with someone sat next to me.

Bottom line is that I’m in business and so often need to use my phone in the car and so I’ll be taking the lesser of two evils by getting myself a fully installed car kit next week to keep me legal and I suggest that any of you who often use your phones whilst driving do the same. I don’t believe that any of the other methods are particularly safe, practical or viable so I’d suggest that you either do it properly or pull over to make your calls. With Christmas coming up then what better time to ask for something that could really come in useful; retailers like Carphone Warehouse have full car kits from £60 that you can install yourself.

Whilst I believe that all the details relating to the product pricing and the law are correct I suggest that the information I have given here is for guidance only and should be checked before any action is taken as a result.

ADSL problems part 3


You know you’ve struck a cord with the general public when you get stopped in the street by people you’ve never met who ask you how your installation of ADSL is going. For those of you who haven’t seen my last couple of articles, I’ve been running a feature promoting the benefits of getting a high speed always on Internet connection (ADSL) and the difficulties that I personally have had in receiving it.

As the last word on this, BT have now decided that I am unable to get the ADSL service after weeks of continually changing their mind and they have no idea when I will be able to. I recently received a letter from Eddie Bent from E-Strategy Net who offered the following advice to those people in a similar position to myself:

“Dear Mr Holgate,

I am writing in response to your article in Saturdays edition of the Herald Express, titled BT confusion with ADSL.

In my experience of ADSL (5 years working for a couple of well known ISPs), BT are generally thought of as the last point of call for information regarding issues such as these. You might be better off speaking to a more customer focused ISP. It is a myth that BT staff are more knowledgeable simply because ISPs have to use their backbone.

With reference to your telephone number (01803 555981), it does appear that it is not yet recognised by BT as a valid number. There are usually two reasons for this; either it is a new telephone line/number or your telephony service is provided by another supplier (Eurobell for example).

The current situation regarding the rollout of ADSL is based, purely, on a pre-registration scheme. BT have looked at the exchanges that have yet to be enabled and have set a trigger level for registrations. For example, if the trigger level were set at 400 for TQ4 7QH, then you would require 400 definite requests for orders of ADSL before the exchange would be enabled.

This scheme is, in my opinion, a stalling opportunity. The trigger levels describe the level of subscribers required before BT can reach a break-even figure. In effect, they are unwilling to invest in any further exchanges unless there is a guarantee that they won’t make a loss. Good business sense perhaps, but this doesn’t assist with the governments objective that Great Britain will be a leader in e-business by 2005.

However, as the ADSL market is changing frequently, I would perhaps hold fire on ISDN and either wait until the end of the year or explore other options including wireless and satellite (a little more expensive though!).

I hope this information is of some assistance. My experience in this industry enables me to provide balanced and impartial advice, which appears to in demand judging by my inbox.

Kindest Regards, Eddie Bent (www.e-strategy.net)”

Eddie Bent makes some interesting points, especially that BT shouldn’t be considered the only choice when thinking about getting Broadband installed in your home. There are literally dozens of ISPs out there that are willing to supply you with broadband access and although the service they offer will still ultimately depend on BTs ability to provide an ADSL line in your area you may find that there customer service will be superior to that of BT.

For a list of broadband providers that support ADSL try visiting the following website - https://www.broadband1.bt.com/getting_broadband/suppliers.asp where you will see a list of all those that give you the ability to supply you at home, your business or those that are prepared to register your interest in the service to pass along to BT if your local area isn’t currently ADSL enabled.

I have summed up the benefits of ADSL over the past couple of weeks by recommending it to people who use the Internet a moderate to high amount although as I’ve experienced myself, a lot of people will not be able to receive the service. Check on their website and if you can get ADSL then I’ve seen it working and even in these early days it’s extremely fast so go ahead and order it.

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