A Mid-Year Roundup and Windows 10

Hello July of 2016!  I said in December I wanted to post more than once in 2016.  Today I make that mark a reality because today I posted my second post in 2016.

I know, lame.

Anyway, I have some time to myself (sort of) and I just thought I should give my tumbleweeds a shake here at the Sidewalk.

Item 1 – some free time.  So back in December I posted about a large project that’s been consuming most of my time.  It still is.  But thankfully it’s at a point where I’m adding features instead of squashing bugs.  This gets me back in to a groove, a happier state, where I can develop and see my vision play out instead of sifting through thousands of lines of code trying to find the variable where an end user has discovered if you enter the exact string “10001110101” the programs causes the server to crash.  (I kid, of course – but you get the point).  Give me feature requests every day.  But I don’t want to hear that the report didn’t print correctly – especially when the problem is you forgot you don’t have a printer at your desk.  So that makes me happy.

Next up on the docket, Windows 10.  I jumped in.  I knew it was getting close to being time a few months back – I had been running it on my laptop for about a year and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to hold off on my desktop PC.  My desktop, which is a new(er) Dell 9020, I had shipped with Windows 7.  And while I like to explore new technologies, changing the OS on the machine I derive half my livelihood on didn’t sound like a smart move.  Update horror stories aside, Windows 10 just doesn’t feel as polished like Windows 7 did.  Windows 7 I felt had the stability and possible longevity that Windows XP had.  But Microsoft has other ambitions – to unify everyone on a single OS for phone, tablet and desktops, while building an App Marketplace like Android and iOS that works on everything.  That’s ambitious.

Don’t get me wrong – Windows 8 was a mess.  So much so that Microsoft wanted to jump two versions in front of it.  That, but also they wanted the last version of Windows to be a nice round number.  Oh stop gasping.  Look at Apple – they did it too – and in fact they’ve cemented it now by changing the name of their OS from Mac OS X to simply macOS.  But getting back on topic, Windows 10 is light-years ahead of Windows 8.  But I have three main gripes:

  1. Notifications.  I get it, this is how we interact with all our mobile devices, so why not our desktop?  And to be honest, I am starting to like notifications a lot more compared to the pop-up bubbles in Windows of yesteryear.  But Microsoft doesn’t know how to use notifications themselves.  Case in point: about once a month I get this:
    So I click on the notification and I’m brought to my profile screen in system settings.  Nothing there says anything about my credentials need to be updated.  Furthermore, why would they?  They haven’t changed.  My security settings are all the same.  Why do I need to update them?  I then click on the Manage button on My Account and Edge opens up a web page at Microsoft where all my profile details are posted.  No login.  No password verification.  No alert of any kind that something needs to be updated.  What the heck Microsoft.
  2. Settings.  I had this complaint with Windows 8 and – while its better – I still find it awkward.  You want to adjust some network settings.  You click on the Network icon in the system tray and whala – a link to your network settings – great.  Except… it’s a page with about 5 links on it.  Each link I click on brings be to the old school Control Panel counterpart.  If all we’re doing is linking to the Control Panel pages…. why don’t I just go through the old Control Panel???
    I get it – there are so many dialogs and options and settings that redoing all of that takes time.  But guess what – Microsoft is a big company, and they have the manpower to make this right.  There’s no excuse for a year after it’s release to still have this type of half baked OS.  I’m sorry Microsoft – I expect more from you.  You can do better.
  3.  Edge.  Oh Edge.  See, I’m a purist when it comes to my browser.  I don’t want to add browsers to my computer when my computer comes with one.  When I open up an Android phone, Chrome is there.  I use that to get online.  I’m not going to download a different browser when the OS provides a perfectly good option.  And, as much to your dismay, Internet Explorer was an absolutely fine option (the later versions, like > 9 – before that you had Windows XP and Internet standards be damned!).  Seriously, most people who switched away from IE 11 did so because “that’s what everyone does” and “no one uses IE except to download a different browser.”  But for daily use (and coming from someone who designs websites for a living) it worked just fine.  IE 11 in fact worked so well with the typical standards that after designing a site and previewing it solely in IE, and then looking at it in Firefox and Chrome when done it came out perfectly.  Seriously.  It wasn’t a bad browser.  It’s biggest fault – it was Internet Explorer.  And IE has had such a bad rap that Microsoft’s only hope to stay in the browser game was to “make a new browser.”  Unfortunately for me, and much like the rest of Windows 10, it’s half baked.  I get it, its stripped down so it can be fast.  But fact of the matter remains that it’s most notable feature is the Web Note feature which lets you draw on a web page so send to people.  Do you know how useless that feature is?  Seriously, I clicked on it once – just now – and still don’t know why I would use it.  Oh, and while I’m complaining, seriously Microsoft why is it that you added and promoted this great feature with Windows 7 about pinning web sites to the task bar from IE, a feature that I use religiously, and have since taken this away with Edge.  That doesn’t sound like it would be that difficult to copy over that functionality.  But I doubt that’ll come anytime soon.  I was probably the only one still using IE to notice that feature.


So that’s all I have for this evening.  I’m off for now.  But I sure hope to be back here soon to bring you more insight to my mind!

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