Stop the presses!

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I’m admitting that I may have been wrong. Yup. That’s right. I MAY have been wrong…

Last summer I battled with 64-bit Vista and lost. I wrote about the experience here and here and here. One of my readers — a young computer genius named Paul from St. Norbert took issue with me in the comments saying…

Used x64 Vista for a full year… contrary to what they told me, all of my 32-bit drivers worked just like they were supposed to. The speed increase over XP was enormous.

Upgraded to win7x64 the day it came out, even better…

Granted most of my software is still 32-bit, but a 64-bit processor will run in 32-bit mode anyway – it just uses half of the register length. I don’t see why using x64 should slow anything down…

Well, contrary to what my wife and children say I’m not close-minded. At least not on technology issues. Or something like that. Let’s not go there…

Anyway, I had a chance to use Windows 7 64-bit on a project for a week. My assessment? It doesn’t suck. Far from it. I hesitate to say it, but it may even rock! Read more of this post

My favorite Windows utility…

…just got upgraded and it finally works with Windows 7! Tune-up Utilities 2010 just hit the internet yesterday and like previous versions, it just keeps getting better all the time! You can see the complete list of features here

I like this app so much that I actually pay for it! Not that I steal apps, but most of what I need is available as free open source software and can be downloaded either from the Google Pack or Ninite. What most people don’t realize is that a computer is somewhat like a car in that it needs regular maintenance. As time goes on, people add software that wants its share of memory each time the computer starts and the files become more and more fragmented. As a result, the best day with your new computer is probably the first. This app, however, fixes those common problems and will make every day the best…

For that reason, Tune-Up Utilities is the one commercial utility app that I actually think is worth buying. Their ‘1 Click Maintenance’ is all the optimization most people need…

Download a free trial here!


TuneUp Utilities 2010 - Download Now!
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Good-Bye XP. Hello Windows 7? Not so fast…

How long will it be before the average computer user rebels against these ‘shotgun upgrades’ from Microsoft?

“Microsoft has wanted to kill Windows XP for years. There was only one problem. The users refused to let it die. Now, that Windows 7 is almost ready to go, Microsoft is, once more, trying to ax XP.

Microsoft did this to themselves. Vista was a flop. Even now, according to Net Applications’ Market Share, Vista has only a lousy 23% of the desktop market. For a while, Microsoft ignored the fact that even their own executives were horrified by just how bad Vista was. But, then the Linux-powered netbook came along, and Microsoft was frightened enough by its early successes that it un-retired Windows XP Home.

Now, Microsoft wants to kill off XP again. Step one will be bringing free support for XP to a close on April 14th. Step two is letting anyone and their uncle get a free copy of the Windows 7 release candidate sometime in May. The timing is by design. ” Source: Good-Bye XP. Hello Windows 7 – Computerworld Blogs

For me, the end of the line was last year. I resolved never to pay another penny to Microsoft and so far, I’ve been successful. In addition, my two-year long relationship with Vista ended last week, but it had been on the rocks for a long time…

I was forced into using Vista two years ago on a day when I had to walk into Sam’s Club and buy the best computer I could get at that particular store [don’t ask — it’s a long story!]. Well, for the past couple of years I have been living the old proverb about ‘marry in haste, repent in leisure’. My experience with Vista was so bad, that I started to look into Ubuntu and I have never looked back. Don’t get me wrong — Ubuntu cannot totally replace Windows. Yet. However, in many ways, it’s a better operating system than XP. And it’s free which is why every school, church and small business should think about getting off the Microsoft upgrade cycle and start using at least a little Ubuntu in their organizations…

I said my relationship with Vista ended. I hated that Sam’s Club computer so much that I actually traded with my college student son for an older computer just so I could run an xp/Ubuntu dual boot machine [which is very easy to set up — easier than a Windows XP/Vista dual boot!]. Using his computer properly configured has been like falling in love all over again. I can’t think of a single Vista feature that I’ve missed — not even the 17″ monitor on the machine which made the computer just too darn big to lug around, but that’s not a Vista feature, either. By the way, the computer I’m now using is an HP DV6000 series which you could ‘buy now’ on eBay for as low as $349. Also, I got off the Microsoft Office upgrade cycle, too. I now use OpenOffice 3.01 which is ‘built in’ to the Ubuntu download and available as a free download for XP [or Vista].

Bottom line? Here’s the thing you need to think about. Microsoft’s need to generate OS and Application licensing revenue forces users into an expensive, Microsoft driven upgrade cycle that doesn’t serve most organizations well. Smart leaders need to think about ways to stop the insanity by purchasing used computers on eBay and using free or inexpensive open source tools like Ubuntu and OpenOffice in conjunction with cloud computing solutions like Google Apps.

By the way, if you’re stuck using Vista and aren’t brave enough to set up a dual boot arrangement with Ubuntu, at least use the Vista Services Optimizer to shut off all the dreck you don’t need, although I highly recommend trying the dual boot option for those times when all you need to do is check email and surf the web quickly. Call or write on the contact page if you want to talk more about these options…

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Soluto: Anti-Frustration Software

This is the most innovative Windows trouble-shooting software I’ve seen in a verrry long time. Combining technology and crowdsourcing, Soluto works automatically to solve one of the most difficult issues Windows users face; taming all the applications that want to launch on startup and suck the life out of their computers…

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=11786742&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=00adef&fullscreen=1

Scoble talks to the brains behind the organization here…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GM8w-HcaRM

I tried it last night and the initial results are good — got my Windows 7 boot time down to 90 seconds — not as fast as Ubuntu, but not bad for Windows. Also gained some additional memory and system resources. Check it out…

Windows Maintenance Tips: The Good, Bad, and Useless

Lifehacker has a great roundup explaining the good and the bad of maintaining Windows. Definitely worth reading in its entirety! Click the ‘via’ link…

While you were sleeping 2/19/2010

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Here’s a weekend project for you. Speed up Windows 7!

“No matter which version of Windows you use, you will find your PC slowing down after a few months of regular use. This holds true for the latest incarnation as well – Windows 7. There are several third-party utilities that optimize Windows, but it is not safe to run system programs from unknown developers.

In this guide, we will cover speeding up windows 7 and how to optimize your Windows 7 PC or Laptop in a safe manner. These steps do not involve any “hacks”, so you can safely use them without harming your system in any way.” Source: Speeding Up Windows 7: Everything You Need to Know

John Jantsch is jumping on the mobile bandwagon after reading yesterday’s post

“As mobile devices evolve to powerful hand held computers, smart marketers are embracing this evolution with mobile centric marketing initiatives.

Everything about your marketing online and offline must begin to consider that entire market segments use the mobile device to find everything from food to legal services locally and abroad.” Source: Mobile Marketing for Small Business | Small Business Marketing Blog from Duct Tape Marketing

As is Sarah Perez of ReadWriteWeb…

“A recent study from Ruder Finn revealed that Americans are spending nearly three hours per day on their mobile phones. And what are they doing there? Educating themselves, conducting business, managing finances, instant messaging, emailing? All of the above, as it turns out, and then some. But perhaps the most interesting finding from the new data is the fact that more people are using the mobile web to socialize (91%) compared to the 79% of desktop users who do the same. It appears that the mobile phone is actually a better platform for social networking than the PC.” Source: Social Networking Now More Popular on Mobile than Desktop

One last post that will really ‘bake your noodle’ as the Oracle would say; should you really be reading this post?

“Let’s say it’s 8 p.m. on a weekday. Or 2 p.m. on a Saturday. Or maybe 3 a.m. in the middle of a night when you can’t sleep. Whatever time it is, assume it’s a time when you have an hour or two free — you can do whatever you want. What would you do?

If you’re like me, you don’t always do what you should do — something that would move your life forward, or at least relieve some stress, rather than something that just provides a temporary squirt of pleasure. I may read yet another book about World War II rather than work on an article that’s due. I’ll let myself get sucked down the email rabbit hole instead of transferring that IRA to a better broker. I’ll turn on ESPN and watch other people exercise instead of doing it myself. ” Source: » Should You Really Be Reading This Post? | Get Rich Slowly

Happy Friday — last chance to make a dent in the working week until Monday…

“The more efficient a force is, the more silent and the more subtle it is.” Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948), Indian activist

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Jacques was right…

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Did you know that yesterday was National Clean out your Computer Day? It’s true…

“It can be hard to remember to routinely clean out your computer — whether that means running virus scans or organizing your files. That’s why having a day devoted to making sure that your computer is working well and that you can find anything you need on it is a good idea. The Institute for Business Technology originally sponsored a National Clean Out Your Computer Day several years ago, assigning it to the second Monday in February. It’s a holiday well worth adding to your calendar.” Source: Feb. 8 is Clean Out Your Computer Day – WebWorkerDaily

Seems silly to have an ‘event’ like this on the 2nd Monday of February — like there’s not enough to do on Mondays anyway…

In any case, this ‘event’ got me thinking about a post I’ve been meaning to write for awhile, namely, that ‘Jacques was right’…

Who is Jacques? Jacques was a legendary systems engineer in the Chicago office of Apple Computer, Inc. [He has since moved on as part of the ‘Apple Quality Eradication Program’]. When I was a reseller, and later an Apple account executive, Jacques and I used to go round and round on the issue of shareware, freeware, add-ons, etc. Jacques was a minimalist whose philosophy was that there are some things that need to be removed immediately in order for a Mac to even run [which in hindsight was very true in OS 9 days — that operating system was held together by paperclips and rubberbands!]. My approach? If an operating system is well written, I should be able to install anything I want and expect it to run just fine. Forget about the fact that my Mac was crashing 5 times before lunch — I insisted that my way was right. I mean Guy Kawasaki was telling us that system crashes in those days were ‘God telling you to hug your kids’ or ‘get a can of Coke’. In hindsight? Jacques approach was right regardless of whatever OS you’re running…

Over a decade later, I have to admit that I’m getting more and more like Jacques every day! Last summer I had a horrible daily struggle with 64 bit Vista. In hindsight it appears that I was the one creating my own hell by installing 32 bit apps and drivers in the wrong directories on the machine. I had such a bad experience that I ‘downgraded’ to 32 bit Vista and wrote a rant about it here. Fortunately, a budding genius from the IT department at St. Norbert encouraged me to give 64 bit Windows 7 a chance and the rest is history. Since upgrading at the beginning of the year, I’ve been having a rock solid computing experience but only because I think twice about every app I install and watch it like a hawk to make sure that Windows puts it in the right directory…

My advice? Here are a couple of random thoughts…

  • Use the old carpenter adage of ‘measure twice and cut once’; think twice about installing that untested software…
  • When testing new things, use VMWare or VirtualBox to install test applications before messing with your ‘production machine’…
  • Maintain your computer! I used a combination of Tune Up Utilities [which is the only utility I buy] combined with CCleaner, Defraggler, and Revo Uninstaller. You can download the latter free applications [as well as many other good ones] here.

Finally? Here’s another beauty I’ve learned this year; limit the number of computers you use. Continuous futzing with operating systems is a huge time suck! At the end of last year, I was working on 5 computers using three operating systems. I’m now down to 3 with two operating systems and life is better! Use only the computers and os’s, along with the apps, you need

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