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

BBC to shutdown it’s Global iPlayer service

For those of you who like to get their fill of BBC dramas and documentaries from the international version of the iPlayer, you may soon be out of luck.  BBC has just announced that it will be shutting down its international version which was available in 16 countries, including Canada.  According to the Engadget story, auto renewing series subscriptions will end between May 26th and June 26th.  British subjects need not worry as this closure only applies to the Global iPlayer and not the version available in the UK. 

Source: Engadget and BBC

Netflix to stream The Interview

According to Engadget Netflix will have the controversial film The Interview available for streaming in Canada and the US starting on Saturday January 24. This is just a month after its unconventional release on Christmas Day. Sony has reportedly already made $40 million from its online sales and will release it on Blu-Ray on February 17.

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.

Rogers Nextbox 3.0 versus Nextbox 2.0

Here is a quick summary comparing the Rogers Nextbox 3.0 versus Nextbox 2.0:

  • 8 digital tuners: this allows the simultaneous recording of 8 programs at the same time compared to 2 on previous Rogers models;
  • 1TB hard drive: this allows for the recording of up to 120 hours of HD programming, previous models had only 160 GB to 500 GB of capacity;
  • the Nextbox 3.0 has the ability to output 1080p to your television; some previous models had this as an option but it did not work well;
  • Outputs: HDMI (1), Component (1), Composite (1), Digital Audio, eSATA, LAN; previous models had these same outputs but in addition they had a S-video output;
  • you are no longer able to power devices by plugging them into the back of the box as was possible with previous versions;
  • smaller footprint: the new model is about 40% smaller thanks to having the power transformer (power brick) outside of the box; and
  • although you no longer get any coaxial cables, an HDMI cable is included with the Nextbox 3.0.
  • Rogers Nextbox 3.0 – Real Life Review

    I just recently exchanged a Rogers Nextbox 2.0 for a new Cisco 9865 (Nextbox 3.0) HDPVR. I was willing to give Rogers one last chance before abandoning them altogether and signing up with Bell Fibe TV. It’s not that the Rogers television service is bad or the monthly fees are out of line with its competitors, it was just the PVR’s that are supplied by them are atrocious. Based on my return record, I would say more than 80% of them had problems, since I rented the equipment it did not cost me anything to exchange them but after the 4th or 5th time it was getting frustrating. The reasons for the returns included: non responsiveness, endless rebooting, incorrect scheduled recordings, the list goes on. I sometimes think that this bad record is due to the fact that I was likely getting refurbished PVR’s every time I exchanged them but similar problems are described by people purchasing new units from third party suppliers such as Future Shop or Best Buy. I can’t imagine that it makes good business sense from Rogers’ point of view, having so many dissatisfied customers that can’t view their services because the hardware they get from Cisco/Scientific Atlanta is of such low quality. They should just stick to the business of providing good television services and leave the hardware supplying to company’s that have proven track records, a company such as TiVO. With this as a background, I decided to give them one last chance. Click here for my Real Life Review of Rogers Nextbox 3.0.