Reasons for not upgrading to Windows 10

If you are like me, running an older PC with Windows 7, you may be wondering if you should upgrade to Microsoft’s latest and greatest OS.  There is certainly a lot of information on the Internet listing the virtues of going to Windows 10.  In addition, Microsoft has been trying various means to get its loyal users to make the jump, including surreptitiously loading it onto to PC’s unbeknownst to their owners.  Well, I am still on the fence and you may be too once you read my top 8 reasons to stay on Windows 7.

  1. Privacy Concerns
    With its latest OS update, Microsoft is entering the world of Google where much of your email and calendar data is being examined, this is nothing new if you are already using Google’s free set of apps.
  2. Missing Windows Media Center and DVD player
    Windows 10 just does not support WMC, if you were using it along with any TV tuners in Windows 7 or 8, they will not work in Windows 10. While Microsoft claims that the reason it is no longer supporting this feature is because it not widely used, it remains a popular choice for home theater PC users. Microsoft would like you to use your Xbox, if you have one although other options are available (e.g. Roku and Apple TV).
    Also, another feature that will be removed in Microsoft 10 is the ability to play DVD movies. The reason for this is simple, it will save Microsoft from paying licensing fees for the codecs such as MPEG-2 that are required to playback movies. This is not that significant a loss since most people download VLC or other free, open sourced media player.
  3. Lack of Universal Apps
    While it has spent a lot of effort getting developers to make apps for its new OS, there are still not many available.
  4. Key apps are not fully functional
    Key applications such as Mail and the new browser, Edge, are not quite up to par with its previous versions.
  5. Forced updates
    All patches and updates are applied on Microsoft’s time scale. This is usually a good idea, but what happens is problematic updates gets pushed to your system.  For example recent updates have had problems with reboot cycles.
  6. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it
    If you are happy with your system and it’s capabilities and you no longer rely on Internet Explorer you may want to keep using that older OS, especially if you’re running Windows 7. In addition, Microsoft will keep issuing security patches for Windows 7 until January 2020.  Windows 10 fixes a lot of the sore points for Windows 8 users, such as awkward touch interface and the lack of a Start menu therefore there are a lot more benefits to upgrade if you are currently using Windows 8.
  7. You have old peripherals or software
    It is not always possible for Microsoft to update its drivers for older peripherals (e.g. printers and scanners) as a result if you have some older devices they may not work in Windows 10. You can always search the internet to see if your devices are supported but this is not always a guarantee. The same can be said about older software which has been known to have problems when major updates to the OS are made.
  8. Avoid early adopters headaches
    No matter how much beta testing is done on an OS, early versions always have bugs that aren’t quite worked out of the system yet. If you don’t want to become a “beta” tester for Microsoft you may want to wait for the next version or two before updating your system.

Source: Infoworld and Computerworld

If you are not ready for Windows 10, you better keep an eye on those automatic Microsoft updates

It’s no secret that Microsoft really, really wants all of its users to update to Windows 10.  Not only are they giving it away for free (in classic Apple style) but they have also made it easy to upgrade by installing a Windows 10 icon on the system tray.   It has also recently been confirmed by Microsoft that it is downloading Windows 10 installation files on to those computers whose users have opted into automatic updates.  Therefore many users have already downloaded all of the files necessary, 3-6 GB worth of them, to start installing Redmond’s latest and greatest operating system whether they wanted to or not.  Engadget has just reported that Microsoft has taken this a step further by now ticking the “Update to Windows 10” box in the Windows updater by default.  Both the Windows icon and installation files can be removed easily enough but turning back the clock on an entire operating system update requires a little more time and finesse.  Although Microsoft has told Ars Technica that making the OS install take place by default was an error on their part and that they will correct this, it might be a good idea to keep an eye on that next round of automatic updates so that you don’t get more than you bargained for.

New Raspberry Pi available

A new version of the credit card sized computer was announced today. Although the Raspberry Pi 2 looks exactly like its predecessors it packs some extra horsepower. The major change is the processor which is a now a 900 MHz quad core loaded with 1 GB of RAM, the previous models had a single core 700 MHz processor with 500 MB of RAM. It was also announced that Microsoft will be making a specialized version of Windows 10 for the pint sized computer. Rounding out the good news is that the price will remain the same at $35 US.

The new model is already up for sale on the Newark site and the Canadian site Buy a Pi is hoping to have it available by February 27.

Adware Removal on Mac Computers

More and more people are being infected by Adware lately, especially since its creators have now expanded into the Apple universe. Adware is basically software that gets installed on your computer’s browser. In the best case scenario it causes endless popup menus to show up on every page that you open; in the worst case you are unable to browse the internet. This type of malware is often packaged together with other software installers. So if you notice that you are suddenly being bombarded with unwanted advertising and pop windows you were likely infected by software that you recently installed sometimes inadvertently.

Since Adware is not officially malware, most virus removal tools can’t detect and remove it. Luckily people have devised ways to remove it. I recently became infected with Downlite adware on a Macbook Pro and a Macbook Air and this is my story.

Christmas Music 24/7

If just can’t get enough Christmas music, there are plenty of ways to satisfy your needs in the digital era.

From your computer, the easiest way to access your holiday favourites would be to find an online radio station. If you have a favourite terrestrial radio station, you should be able to find an online version that lets you listen live. Other stations that are dedicated to playing seasonal music can be found by searching for “Christmas music online”, you will find hundreds of streaming stations. Most of the stations are free of charge, although some may require registration. There are all sorts of genres to meet your needs, most play music continuously with only minimal interruptions for advertising. A music service that I find particularly well done is that on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) website (music.cbc.ca). On any computer you can access over 50 streaming stations, including two limited play Christmas channels, Seasonal Favourites and Classical Holiday.

You can access most of these same online stations described above using your smart phone or tablet through the browser although the user interface is much better if you are able to find an App for it. For example, the CBC Music application for iOS makes all of their Radio 1 and Radio 2 stations from across Canada available along with all of their streaming stations. Another application that I find quite good is “TuneIn Radio” which lets you listen to more than 100,000 stations from around the world. You can find dedicated Christmas stations, one of my favourites is Radio Santa Claus from Finland.

Seasonal music is also available through your television if you have a Smart TV or a set top box such as Roku or Apple TV connected to it. Most of these devices have a channel or application that allows access to online radio stations. For example, the Apple TV has a Radio application that provides access to hundreds of streaming stations under a number of genres. You can find Christmas music stations under the Religious category. If you don’t have a connected television and get your service through cable or by satellite, most providers have dedicated music channels. I am not talking about Much Music or MTV, but instead channels that play only music with no video, these are usually located in the higher numbers. For example Rogers Cable has approximately 20 music channels provided by Stingray Music, including Holiday Favourites, located on channel 222 and 710 in Ontario, Canada.

So if you’re like me and can’t get enough Christmas music there are many ways to satisfy your obsession.

Do you have any other suggestions? What are some of your favourite radio stations? Send a comment in below and share your experiences?

Happy Holidays.

Netflix going up by $1 (update)

Netflix has certainly given ample us warning of their price increase, well now it is happening. Today it’s customers are receiving notifications that a monthly subscription will now cost $8.99. If you are already a subscriber your price will be locked in at $7.99 for two years.

Update: If you are quick you may still be able to get the old $7.99 price. The Netflix website still indicates the old price.

Source: Engadget

Social insurance Numbers taken from Revenue Canada

As it turns out the Heartbleed bug not only caused the shutdown of Revenue Canada’s online tax portal last week but it also resulted in the theft of 900 Social Insurance Numbers (SIN). According to the CBC, the Canada Revenue Agency will contact those affected by registered letters only. Therefore if you are contacted by someone by email, telephone or other means with your SIN, they are fraudulent. The Agency also stated that credit protection services will be provided to those affected at no cost.

Source: CBC