Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Beware the Windows update ?

I apologise in advance, this post might bring out the inner geek :
But I'll try to keep that under control. If not, leave a comment and I'll come back and do what I rarely do ... fix my mistakes !

People with PCs will have seen a new icon today ... it's a bit of adware installed (without your permission, although permission is implied by the update settings) by Microsoft to beg you to go sheepishly to Windows 10.

Are you detecting my reluctance to fix something that's not quite broken ?

It's a free offer but it's time limited. I think you have to register your interest by the end of July and you can choose when to install. The blurby app tells me it's a 3GB download which will arrive ... sometime. You should read the various news outlets for better detail on when the bomb drops.

For me, Windows 10, if I decide to adopt it, will require some hardware to go with the software. My desktop PC Pumpkin (so called because it was built on October 31st) has a primary drive which is only 60GB. That's barely enough for Windows 7, with just 7GB spare after some nasty space saving measures were taken. The Windows 10 download will absorb 3GB of that and you can bet that when it's installed, it'll gobble up more than what's remaining.

Where do the games go ? There's a couple more drives installed with loads of space. But they're slow conventional drives.

Aside - there are 2 types of drive. Slow and fast. Slow drives are the old spinny platter things, fast ones (SSDs) are memory devices. The reason we are so frustrated with our work machines now is because they are built on the old spinny platter drives, which take ages to find all the bits and pieces of Windows that are scattered all over it. A reader arm has to physically reach over the platter to find the data and the platter has to spin at the right rate to pull the data off in order. The more scattered the data, the more those physical limits slow everything down. The SSDs aren't tethered to those physical limits.

Too geeky ?

Conventional drives = slow to pull the data off, very slow to find the data, bigger capacity
Solid State Device drive (SSD) = fast to find the data and to send it round the system. Much smaller.

As part of my upgrade, I'll acquire a 250GB drive that'll cost me around £80. You could get a 2TB (8 times bigger) conventional drive for £75. But you'd be looking at the Whirly Waity Wheel a hell of a lot if you put Windows on that.

But you're not interested in the hardware bits.

Windows 10 or not to Windows 10 ?

Microsoft have had a sketchy record, ever since Windows 3.11. But that's history, although we have learned more recently to be very scared of what they come out with.

Me ? I'll be holding off on committing to Windows 10 until the early adopters have had their say. This is after dodging the unholy abomination which was Windows 8 and 8.1. There are curious features in there, there are useless features in there. Having a peek at the blurb app :

Start menu is back - it should never have been removed.
Touch interfaces - curious but ... they make fingerprints on the screen. I'll stick to mouse+k/b.
Start fast, resume fast - how about operate fast ? I only start my work machine once a day and that time is irrelevant. What is relevant is how much time is wasted between click and response, partly due to unnecessary shinies built in (the animations) and mostly due to broken disc algorithms.

Work with current hardware and software - I'll believe that when I see it. I can't use my favourite flightstick any more (a Microsoft FF Pro) because they don't do drivers (bigger problem - it doesn't plug in on new hardware). And my Windows 7 desktop cannot talk to my camera and is unreliable talking to my printer. That's just one example. Although ... Mac isn't blameless there, my Macbook Air can't talk to my old Airport Express because Apple did their thing with not supporting older components.

Beware the dependency between hardware and software.

Cortana - keep it away. It's bloatware that soaks up memory and slows things down. Anyone had the Stickykeys pop up when they're in a game, only for it to kill you in the game ? I see Cortana as a similar threat.
Stream from Xbox to PC - Why would you do this ??? Games are crippled at the moment by the publishers need to have them on consoles which are vastly inferior to the modern gaming PC. Even an older gaming PC like mine (mostly 4 years old, 2 year old graphics) is vastly superior to a console.

New software - "browser, Photos, Maps, Messaging, Music and Video" you mean the stuff we had already ... However, a new browser will be welcome. Internet Explorer needs to be taken out back, shot and buried in a lead lined coffin.

Windows store - scary. App stores are the first step towards fixing the software that will run on a machine. Beware.

But the big final "Don't upgrade yet!!!" nail in the coffin is that the current Windows 10 is not ready. It's not complete. And they're looking to deploy in under 2 months.

I'll be holding off on the change for now. There will be plenty of keen people out there who will happily throw themselves into the Next Big Thing. My advice ? Don't be one of them, let them test it out (and find some of the bugs) for you.

Perhaps the next time I end up in Portsmouth (my IT component supplier is now only based there) I'll pick up one of those bigger newer SSDs. That way, I can use Acronis TrueImage (used it before, I'd recommend the time limited free version) to copy this Windows 7 over to the new drive. And then I'll have a backup to go back to in case Windows 10 is a horrible mess.

It's weird actually. When I built this machine, I knew that Windows 7 would likely be the last Microsoft product I would buy. My laptop went Mac, Linux is competent but not quite there yet in terms of supporting all the games. But now I'm considering falling for Windows 10. It shows how much of a stranglehold the software companies have on us, we feel compelled to have the latest software in order to be : safe, secure, interoperable with new devices, in with the crowd.

Whichever way you go - be careful. Our software companies are a shadow of what they used to be.
Beware what might be in the tasty goodie offered to you.

And on that cynical note ... cya ! Need to fish a Happy Post idea out of that Bonza Post Ideas magic hat next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment

So much for anonymous commenting ... If you would like to leave a message and don't have a suitable account, there's an email address in my profile.