Surfacing & Best Buy?

Good news here. I have just received information that the “Microsoft Surface” which is basically only available at Microsoft’s website will be available through third party retail outlets, including Best Buy starting in January. In addition to the easier availability the newer model of the “Surface” will come with Windows 8 Pro or to Windows 8 RT. I of course recommend the Pro vs. the RT.

It’s important to remember that the “Surface” is the first piece of computer hardware made by Microsoft itself. This in itself is exciting. Once you have Windows 8 Pro operating on a Microsoft Surface I believe that this tablet will truly be a wonder.

Time is Running Out for Windows XP

Did you know that Windows XP has fewer than 500 days left to live?

The 11-year-old operating system will exit support April 8, 2014. What this means is that if you are still using Windows XP after April 8, 2014 Microsoft will no longer support the operating system which includes no more security patches.

Why are so many people continuing to use Windows XP anyway? Well I believe there are a couple of reasons.

1. Windows XP which was released in 2001 was a really good, crisp and easy to use operating system. It worked mostly the same for both consumers (at home) and corporate (at work).

2. Microsoft’s follow-up, “Vista” (2006) was clunky, buggy and therefore never enjoyed wide acceptance in the marketplace. In addition the corporate world never adopted Vista which left out a huge customer base.

3. By the time Windows 8 arrived in 2009 many consumers had lost confidence in Microsoft due in large part to “Vista” and many simply delayed or refused to upgrade to Windows 7. This is unfortunate because Windows 7 was an excellent improved over XP and obviously Vista.

4. Windows 8 is only now premiering and it brings major changes to the Windows interface.

As a result of all of this Microsoft is ending support for XP and the pricing for Windows 8 upgrades have been set very low (about $40.00) in order to entice as many users as possible to finally move off of XP.

Happy Birthday Text Messaging

Happy Birthday text messaging! Although text messaging could be traced all the way back to 1920 when RCA introduced the first “telex” service the text messaging we have all relied on for years was born on December 3, 1992. It was on this day that Neil Papworth used a personal computer to send the text message “Merry Christmas” via a Vodaphone network to a cellular phone.

Fast forward to 1995 when paging services starting appearing everywhere. It was during the mid and late 1990’s that text messaging really exploded. Just watch a movie or TV shows from this time period and you will often see the characters with pagers on their hip. These text messages were usually limited to 160 characters. Often after reading the text message the recipient had to then go find a phone. Just think about that!

As cellular phones became available and affordable in the late 1990’s “pagers” started disappearing as text messaging become a service of the cellular phone itself. The popularity of smartphones in the mid 2000’s ended the reign of pagers altogether.

Even with all the technical changes and enhancements since 1992 “text messaging” itself has continued to grow in it’s use and with many of us is actually used more then actually using mobile phones for their primary purpose, “talking”.

Services such as “Twitter” are an out growth of that very first text message way back on December 3, 1992.

Think Before You Click

Did you know that many programs–especially those that are free install additional software on your computer? First it is important to know why they do this. They do this as a form of advertising, and they may make some money off of it.

This situation gives you an additional responsibility, especially if you care enough to keep your computer running efficiently. If you’re not careful about how you install software, you can end up with a lot of unwanted programs. In addition to causing your computer to slow down these programs leave messes all over your PC.

Here is one of the biggest questions I get. “Bill, why don’t antivirus programs block these programs from installing unwanted software?” Well it is because these programs are legal, and because, annoying as they are, they’re not anywhere near as bad as real malware or out and out viruses. In addition these unwanted programs don’t hide their existence.

What’s very important to know is that, in almost every case, you can install the program you want and bypass the unwanted add-on programs. You just have to pay attention while installing and stop clicking before you think.

A good practice when installing programs, especially free ones is that you should never select the “Typical” or “Automated” installation–which will almost certainly be the default. Select the Custom installation or a similar option. Then read each option through the install process and unselect any unwanted programs or add-ons from the install. Not only will you find you can unselect unwanted applications but this is where you can stop the madness of having multiple internet explorer toolbars and search windows. These also will slow down your internet browser.

In the end, the only way to protect yourself from installing unwanted programs and internet browser add-ons is by first, selecting the “advanced” install and unchecking any unwanted options.