Saturday, February 9, 2013

Whither Windows 8?

Most of us seniors have grown up (old?)with Windows.   Windows is now getting old.   We are now faced with a major dilemma with Windows 8. Windows 8 may not be in our future. It is expensive, buggy, hard to learn, and tablets offered by Microsoft have poor battery life. We suspect there will be driver problems for peripherals. There is a very good chance that major businesses will not want to expend the resources needed to switch to Windows 8.. Unless it is fixed Windows 8 may become an orphan.

Faced with writing a book on Windows 8 for users, David Pogue of the New York Times has expressed his exasperation with Windows 8, and the editor of PC World, Jon Phillips, has indicated some of what needs to be done to it to make it more satisfactory.

Click or Tap for Pogue on Windows 8

Some of us who help other seniors with Windows are concerned about exposing them to the difficulties of Windows 8. 

So what are the alternatives ?

One alternative is to stay with Windows 7, universally well liked. Then obtain a tablet to keep up to date. That is what I am doing.

Click or Tap for Windows 7

There are several other alternatives.

One alternative is simply to switch to an Apple iPad or Android tablet for everything. This is a good one if you can handle document creation satisfactorily. It is not difficult in most cases to add a keyboard to a tablet, and for some capable tablets even to plug them into a large display. Works.

Click for Windows 8, iPad, and Nexus Tablets

Then there is the expensive route of switching to Apple Macintosh , the Mac Book Air being a splendid alternative with its solid state indestructible hard drive. 

The new Chromebook laptop, an inexpensive as $199, separately offers a Windows like experience and corrects two major Windows 8 deficiencies cited by PC world: . Long start up . Continual updates needed The latter are required to deal with viruses, whereas Chromebooks use a system anchored in the Internet cloud which is updated invisibly without any change to your local computer. Chromebooks start instantly.

Click or Tap for the ACER ChromeBook.

Another alternative, and certainly not the least, was offered to us by the Willow Valley Computer Club expert, Al Williams recently. This is an intriguing solution. The solution is to switch to Linux. Linux can give new life to an old system. Linux can even be made to look exactly like Windows itself. Linux is virus proof.

Click or Tap for How to make Ubuntu Linux Look Like Windows 7

I have a version of Linux called Zorin running on an old Dell for which Windows 7 had no display drivers when I attempted to upgrade from XP.

Click or Tap for Zorin

Al gave an excellent talk on the possibilities. That presentation is available in slide form from Al here at Willow Valley retirement community. 

Linux can be run from a thumb drive installed alongside an old version of Windows. It can be run directly from thumb drive, and even without being installed without any alterations to the computer.

Click or Tap for Ubuntu

Another way for some of us and for a few older computers it is to install tablet software.

And then new cheap thumb drive computers can replace your tower by plugging in between your old keyboard and display. These run Android tablet software.

Click or Tap for Mini Tower

Which alternative to take?

I can only add that more and more Chromebooks are coming out from the major manufacturers and these are beckoning to a great inexpensive solution. Chromebooks do require a connection to internet at all times and wireless internet service. Otherwise they are a fine solution. 

Dictated to my Nexus 7.   Click or Tap for the Nexuses