Posts Tagged ‘Windows 8’

I’m not in the market for a new laptop, but I’ve been eyeing the Microsoft Surface Pro 2. Unfortunately, it isn’t offered here in the country, and buying it on the gray market will set me back twice its actual amount. And it’s not inexpensive to begin with.

Then I saw this:

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It’s the 10.1-inch Tablet/Hybrid from Asus, the Transformer T100TA. Simple, but I find elegance in it.

I wanted to buy it from the moment I laid eyes on it. But I held back, decided to check out the specs first.

Its 10.1-inch IPS screen has a resolution of 1366 x 768, powered by Intel HD graphics. Hardly anything to write home about, but it’s decent for that size. Windows 8, and this is important, is the OS, albeit SL (Single Language). Not RT. Which means you can run regular Windows programs in desktop mode in this.

Being a tablet  of course means that it’s a touch screen. And a touch screen is where Windows 8 UI shines. I know because I’ve been enjoying the touch functionality on my Toshiba Satellite S40T for a while now.

Processor is a quad-core Intel Bay Trail Atom Z2760, clocking in at 1.3 GHz. Not bad.

Now the let-downs. It only has 2 GB RAM, and it being a tablet, no provision for an upgrade. Hard disk is a 64-gig SSD, but with Windows and the recovery partition, it shrinks to about 32-gig usable space. It does come with a microSD slot, though, and the dock/keyboard half has a lone USB 3.0 port.

An added perk is a copy of Microsoft Office 2013 Home & Student. Doesn’t have Outlook, but okay.

Given these specs, I decided that I still like it after much thought. What kept me on the fence initially was the price tag. Its SRP is Php23,995 (roughly more than $530 at today’s forex rate). It’s way higher compared to other countries. If you search for its price, on say, the US, it generally retails for less than $400. Customs, am I right?

So today I made up my mind. I’m gonna buy it. I dropped by the ASUS store at the mall on the way home.

I asked the store attendant if there really is no way to bump up the memory; just wishful thinking. I was biding my time looking at the brochure since they had another customer who came in earlier than I did; they were busy setting up his purchase.

When the customer and the other attendant went to the cashier to settle the bill, the attendant I asked earlier gave me some more information.

Information that ultimately made me change my mind about buying the damn thing.

He said that the models that are now being sold only had 32-gig HD capacity on the tablet. They compensated with a 500-GB regular HD on the dock/keyboard part.

I was disappointed. See the thing above regarding Windows and the recovery partition? That meant the SSD will have very little, if at all, free space left. The 500-GB hard drive on the dock, though spacious, is leagues slower than an SSD. Not to mention it will keep me anchored to the dock for my files unless I immediately shell out more money for a microSD.

Sir, p’wede n’yo naman po lagyan ng microSD!” was his last attempt to get me to buy it before out the store I went, empty-handed.

I imagined my wallet heave a relieved sigh.

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Windows 8 Annoyances

Posted: December 9, 2012 in Blurbs, Technoloy
Tags: , ,

I’ve been using Windows 8 since the public test versions, and I like it. I don’t get the issue other people have with the Metro modern UI – I find it a nice change actually. I liked it enough that I’ve upgraded my laptop’s OS the day Windows 8 officially got released.

That said, I do have a few complaints. Some minor, others, well, just see for yourself.

First thing is I miss the aero glass of Vista and 7. While I understand the idea of a chrome-less simplistic interface, the aero glass feature is something I quite grew fond of. I find these flat opaque windows boring.

On the browser sider, IE10 has gotten better, especially when you compare it to older versions. It’s responsive and niceties that Microsoft added (finally!) such as the ability to remember your session elevated it to be my primary desktop browser. What I don’t like, however, is it tends to have amnesia, particularly when I use the Metro version.

There are two versions of IE in Windows 8, one is for the modern UI, the other for the classic desktop. My issue is that whenever I launch the modern version, and then drop back down to the classic desktop, when I launch IE, it loses all of the pages I had left open on my last visit. It’s annoying as hell!

I have two user accounts set up on this laptop. One is the primary, Live-linked account. The second one is purely local.

Being that these are separate accounts, I expected they’d use separate sets of applications and data, exclusive to the current account logged in. But not IE, apparently. I was logged in my primary account and decided to switch to my local account. I fired up IE and opened Outlook.com. Lo and behold, my session from the other account appears and is loaded. I thought at first that I might have saved my login information from a previous session so I logged out of there, and logged back in using another Live account. I closed the browser without logging out when I was done. Then, realizing I still needed to check something online, I opened IE again. IE has managed to keep its head so my previous sessions were reloaded automatically (note that this behavior needs to be set explicitly in the Options).  Or so I thought until I got to the Outlook tab. Instead of the account I used last time, the page opened with my other account. Puzzled, I cleared everything – history, cache, cookies, and restarted IE. When I surfed to Outlook.com, still my other account came up, all without me entering the username and password.

So I unpinned IE, and now using Firefox exclusively on that one account. I added a third, Live-linked account but I didn’t observe the problem.

Social apps are still missing from the Microsoft store. No official Facebook or Twitter apps, and those free third-party ones, are not really up to par. I’ve been using Tweetro, but recent changes in the API forced it to go as a paid app. I’m not shelling out $9.99 for this.

At least there is a Music and a Video app already available on the stock install of Windows 8. Both are for the modern UI. These are library-aware, whatever media you link to your library will appear on these two apps.

Inside the Music app, you’ll be greeted by the XBox Music brand, with your collection taking the leftmost side. I’ve played a song or two before, but last night I left it playing before going to bed. It stopped and I didn’t bother to check ‘til this morning. When I finally did, I saw a message to the effect of it asking if I’d been travelling and then, helpfully, asked me to register for a music pass to continue playback. Get that? I have to get a premium service to continue playing songs I have on my computer? What the hell is wrong with you, Microsoft?

Then there is this weird and confusing, not to mention disconcerting, message that suggests my Windows OS is not activated! I’ve come across this when setting the lock screen using images I have saved on my local drives. I fully expected that such a mundane task as setting a wallpaper will go along without a hitch. But no, even this simplest of tasks is riddled with hurdles the likes of which pirate people will likely scoff at.

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I need to what now?

This last message had me rushing to check on my PC activation status. As can be seen here, my Windows is genuinely legit, so why am I being harassed by this message? It doesn’t make sense.

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Oh, Windows 8, sometimes you make it hard for me to really like  you!

This may sound like an advertisement.

If you’re looking to upgrade your OS (Windows from XP beyond), and your machine still is newish or you think you may still get some years off it, then take a look at the new Windows 8.

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If you have a valid license from a previous Desktop PC or laptop, be it XP, Vista or 7, then you are eligible to a special upgrade price of $39.99. And that’s the Pro Edition.

You can add Windows Media Center for free, too.

But do a little research before you jump the gun. If this is the first time you’ve heard of Windows 8, better read about the change in the interface. Be aware for example, that the Start Menu has been removed, that you boot up to the Start Screen with live tiles representing your installed apps, and that you have to click on the Desktop tile (or use shortcut keys) to get to the familiar Windows-7-like desktop. This can be disconcerting, but as a user of the Public Preview of the OS, my advice is to just take a few moments to get used to the interface. Once you get past the initial shock, you may end up liking this new way of doing things in your desktop after all.

If you’ve done your due diligence and would like to get your hands on the new OS, go to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/buy and take advantage of the cheap promotional price. The offer stands until January 31, 2013.

Now if you are a Windows Media Center fan, the bad news is that Microsoft has unbundled it from the OS. WMC is now available as a paid-for feature. The good news is, it’s free for Windows 8! Go to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/feature-packs to download. Like the Windows 8 promo, WMC is also offered for free until January 31 next year.

Windows 8 went live midnight of October 26, with events all around the world to kick-off the launch. If you’re in the Philippines, go visit the Cyberzone at SM North EDSA to check out what they have in store.

As for this blogger, I’m now officially running Windows 8 Pro with Media Center!

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If you’re curious about my computer’s name, it’s a reference to Apple CEO Tim Cook comparing the Microsoft Surface (the tablet pitted against iPads) to a flying car.

Tim Cook: “I suppose you could design a car that flies and floats, but don’t think it would do any of those things well.

Windows 8: A Preview

Posted: June 4, 2011 in Technoloy
Tags: , ,

Say a lot of things about Microsoft, but something good has to be said about their recent products. Windows 7 is a solid modern OS. Kinect has been selling like hot potatoes, making it the fastest-selling consumer electronics device. Even Windows Phone 7, despite lagging in the Smartphone arena, seems to draw positive reviews from those who gave it a serious look.

And now, just a couple of days ago at the D9 Conference, Microsoft has officially unveiled its next OS. Windows President Steven Sinofsky and VP Julie Larson-Green presented the demonstration of “Windows 8.”

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Microsoft is aiming to run its next OS in various platforms – from PCs to Tablets. And from what they’ve shown so far, they might just pull it off.

Incorporating tech from Microsoft’s other divisions, like the Live Tiles from Windows Phone 7 and the Metro UI from Zune, Windows 8 radically changes the interface, with focus on touch-centric devices such as Tablets, but users can easily switch to traditional input devices, aka the mouse and keyboard.

With a new shell, you’d think this is going to add more bloat, yet somehow, Sinofsky’s mentioned that Windows 8 wouldn’t require more “oomph” than what Windows 7 is requiring now. They’re also saying that it will run traditional programs as well as new apps built with JavaScript and HTML 5. So there will be two types of application that you can run on Windows 8.

See Microsoft’s YouTube video to see more of Windows 8 in action.