Windows 10 and Microsoft’s Bullying

There’s been a lot of buzz around the internet lately about the tactics Microsoft is using to get users to update to Windows 10. For much of the summer, it’s been “automatic downloads” this and “automatic installation” that. But Windows 10 is better than Windows 7 or Windows 8(.1), isn’t it? True, I’ve heard plenty of testimonials from people who’ve gotten the new OS and love it. It has a completely rebuilt browser, Microsoft Edge, that allegedly blows Internet Explorer out of the water (not that Microsoft is above scaring novice computer users when they try to switch to Chrome…

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Credit to St. Kate’s Computing Services

A while back, I about an annoyance in update scheduling on the computers at St. Catherine University. While my experience was disrupted for that one night, I don’t think I made it clear enough that overall, the St. Kate’s IT department runs things very well. Because of when that incident occurred—during —I wasn’t in the best of moods, and I think my writing the following day reflected that. Compared to other institutions at which I’ve had the privilege of computing, St. Kate’s actually leads the pack in most areas. Augsburg College provides an especially good contrast to St. Kate’s: Operating…

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A Thought About Efficient IT Administration

I’m kind of calling out St. Kate’s Enterprise Computing Services department in a way, because I want to know why they would schedule a restart-required software deployment an hour before the computer lab is to close. Can anyone with experience in Information Technology and management of company/school computer networks tell me why the times chosen to deploy new software are chosen? My experience last night of a new software deploy completely disrupting my very limited time on the computer happened at Saint Catherine University, which has a generally great library (unlike Concordia University in Saint Paul, though Concordia used to…

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Windows Vista: Problems and Advice for Microsoft

I’ve been sitting on this post idea for a while, since about the beginning of last month, if not a few days before that. In that time I’ve tried to come up with some good answers to the question Chris Pirillo posed at the end of his “Windows Vista’s Rants” video (it starts around 16:30 into the clip). Here are my thoughts on Vista (rather than ) and, if I’m lucky, a few good ideas that Microsoft would do well to take to heart. The Complaints Don’t take this post the wrong way; I haven’t forgiven Vista in the least…

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StartClock: Save Taskbar Space

You know how Windows has that clock in the taskbar? It takes up a good 50 pixels on my screen, and that’s valuable space where taskbar buttons or tray icons could be. And I know exactly what that big (green) button in the lower left does, so why do I need it to say “start” all the time? With the freeware StartClock, you can change this: to this: What it does, through some AutoHotKey magic, is put a clock where your computer’s taskbar usually says “start”. The Start button functions normally; it just has numbers in the place where letters…

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GIMP Script to Make SW Robotics Thumbs

After making a whole bunch of thumbnail images for the member and mentor profiles on the Southwest Robotics site this past season, I finally decided last night to automate the process with a GIMP script, in preparation for next year’s new people. So, what does it do? It takes the image it is run on, scales it (gimp-image-scale) to 120px x 90px, and utilizes script-fu-drop-shadow to add a correctly-positioned drop-shadow. (Correctly is, in this case, the same as all the other images I did manually.) It’s a rather simple script; here’s the code: ; Script-Fu script to automatically; resize and…

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Internet Explorer Upgrade Nags

Fortunately, Microsoft hasn’t pushed out a required upgrade to Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP yet. They’re definitely trying to get people to upgrade, though. A few times now, I’ve had the Internet Explorer download page from Microsoft.com open on me, instead of my homepage (iGoogle over HTTPS). At the moment, it says, “Upgrade with confidence,” right under the first heading (normal text, below “Internet Explorer 7 downloads”). Sure I have confidence in how much better IE7‘s rendering engine is, but I don’t like the new interface or their implementation of tabs. That’s why I still use Internet Explorer 6.…

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Windows Update Reboot Prompts

No, I wasn’t recently annoyed by one of these, but I thought I’d mention them while I’m out of town and unable to keep up on the latest news. So every PC user has probably seen a restart prompt by now. Windows pops them up every ten minutes after installing updates, trying to get you to reboot the computer and apply the new code. What Windows doesn’t take into account is the fact that you might be in the middle of something that takes more than ten minutes. Granted, there are workarounds (like using the Group Policy Editor), but it’s…

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Funny Randomization: Microsoft Downgrades Vista

Found a little site called isyournewbicycle.com, which allows you to plug in any word before the domain (such as I did for this with microsoft.isyournewbicycle.com) and get back a randomized phrase. On the third or fourth try, I got this little gem: Great fit for the company that made the worst operating system I’ve ever heard of, eh? Just thought it was funny. Any takers? Beg-to-disagree-ers? Hit the comments; I’m waiting to hear from you!

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UK Schools Advised Not to “Upgrade” to Vista, Office 2007

The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA) has issued a report advising UK schools not to upgrade to either Windows Vista or Office 2007. Neither new release offers any must-have features over the previous release, and the $350 million deployment cost (only about 30% of that would go to Microsoft) just wouldn’t be justified by any significant gains. We already know that , being the worst operating system to come out of Redmond since Windows ME, but I haven’t written much about Office 2007 yet (I plan to rectify that in the next couple days). Needless to say, my…

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