Thursday, October 03, 2013

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro? tempting

So it seems Microsoft is trying to make a push for Windows 8.1 being released in a couple of weeks by offering Windows 8.1 free upgrade (for Windows 8 users) or full-blown Windows 8.1 and 8.1 Pro installations and not upgrades from existing Windows.  (source) Of course if you are installing 8.1 and not upgrading from Windows 8 you will need to install all of your applications and files afterwards.  If you are doing this on a build-it-yourself computer or on an already blank box then this is a non-issue.

  • Free upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1
  • $119 for Windows 8.1 installation DVD (not an upgrade)
  • $199 for Windows 8.1 Pro installation DVD (not an upgrade)
Which brings me up to my temptation. The family desktop is currently running Ubuntu 12.04 and works fine for the most part.  Unfortunately it does not play some of the games or applications the kids want or need.  Not to mention feature that Windows has when working with other Windows on a network, peripheral compatibility (wireless printer, network drive, tablet, etc.) that are available with Linux *if* I want to put all of the pieces together (assuming I know how).  And it isn't just the kids, either.

I am not shy about saying that if MS Office was made available for Linux natively (100% compatibility) I would be willing to pay for it but it doesn't quite work yet and it doesn't include my wanting Visual Studio and/or WebMatrix for my web development.  I haven't quite been happy with the solutions on Linux yet.

So the temptation is that for only $199 I can get a Windows Pro installation DVD, so I don't have to upgrade from XP to 7 beforehand, compared to $264.59 (free shipping) for Windows 7 Professional from Amazon.  I could be saddled with Windows 7 Home for less than $100, but I have already run into the issue of Home's inability to back up to the networked hard drive (Professional or higher version required).  Not that I am looking at changing that system to Windows 8.1 (I think my wife would kill me ;) ).

Windows 8 is very touch-focused and the idea of working with it on a non-touch device is not a very enticing.  In fact, I dreaded the idea. With Windows 8.1 you can automatically go into the more familiar Desktop mode and have a Start button available giving it essentially a traditional Windows-like interface with the option of Windows Store apps and the Metro interface.  Some argue that Windows 8.1 should have been what Windows 8 was released as.  Oh well, at least it is here now.

Tempting, but we'll see. Now I wonder about dual-booting.... :)

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Do I bother putting Flash on?

I think it is a good idea to refresh your computer system every so often and not only to clear out “cobwebs” and remove unused programs and libraries.  I think it is good to do a refresh so that you can take a moment and figure out what you have used, and what you haven’t. What should you keep and what to dump.


Take for instance I just installed Fedora 19, Gnome, on my laptop.


This laptop is older (pre-Lenovo deal) IBM Thinkpad with not a ton of horsepower compared to modern devices (Pentium M @ 1.8 GHz, 2GB of RAM), but it is adequate to doing most things.  It runs Windows 7 fine, so long as I don’t do too much in the way of heavy compiling or video editing.  The good thing is I don’t do that too much already and now I have a desktop to handle some of the heavier tasks.


So now that I have a fresh Fedora 19, Gnome, installation once my updates are done I will be able to start looking at which programs I want to install and actually use, and which programs I usually install but never use.


The first item coming to mind, though, is Flash; do I really need it?


YouTube plays many of its videos using HTML5 instead of Flash and outside of a couple of games I really don’t use Flash all that much as far as I am aware.  If I have a need for Flash, I can still use the desktop or switch to the Windows 7 hard drive.


Probably one of the more used, at home, Flash application I use is to listen to Pandora. Pandora has years of my music preferences collected and I have my stations pretty much the way I like them so I am not too interested in trying another music service that allows streaming over the Internet which I need to “teach” all over again.  Not to mention, to hope that it will recognize that if  like one song flagged with “rap”, that I am not suddenly interested in “gangsta rap” in the middle of my Christmas-themed radio station!


Thankfully I may be able to fulfill this with the use of Pithos.

So between Pithos and HTML5, I am going to see how far can I get without Flash before breaking down and installing it.