Sunday, February 3, 2013

Office 2013: Your Data and The Big Game Analogy

This week I ‘Subscribed’ to Microsoft’s new Office 2013. I am impressed. I had played with the Beta version of Office 2013 for a bit however it started giving me problems so I decided to wait for the finished product. It was worth the wait.

One of the first things you notice is that when going to open or save a file Office 2013 wants you to go to Skydrive, Microsoft’s online storage service. I found this fascinating. I use Skydrive and have for quite some time. I have a great deal of files on Skydrive. I might add that it will also take you to SharePoint if that is what your company is using.

In my case I also use Dropbox and Google Drive both of which can be accessed easily from Office 2013. The online world is coming alive for everyone and therein lies a conundrum.

A long time ago I realized that when enough major players put their money behind something it generally works out. Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, and many many others are taking a big stake in the online or mobile world of data.

On the way to coffee this morning I began thinking how your data is like Big Game. It is Big Game to both you and to the builders of the preserves, or those online storage services.

In my Big Game analogy my concern revolves around the ability of the builders of these large preserves to keep the poachers out. At the moment I do not mind putting up mundane or pedestrian files however how am I assured that my critical files are safe?

My personal critical files are no different or less important than those of a Fortune 100 company or the government. If I am treated differently not only will I not place my files in the care of that preserve, I will not recommend that any one else do either. At issue is how long does it take for us to feel secure?

Small business can really take advantage of these online services/preserves. It helps keep the cost down. Like the new Office subscription services you can keep your costs inline and on a timely basis, without a great deal of up front investment. Now the advantage lies in the talent you have – you being yourself or your small business.

I think that Microsoft, and others, are investing in their future and it could be a gamble but I think it will pay off. I think it will pay off for you also.

Now if I could just get them to put their office apps out there for the other devices like the iPad or Android products.

It’s Sunday and I need more coffee……

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Windows 8 Upgrade Get’s Real

OK, I have had some problems however Windows 8 is LIVE now on my HP notebook. In the past I have always thought that to do a clean install was the best, this time I tried to do an ‘upgrade’ (keeping settings and files) on my HP notebook.

It really did not work and back to the ‘somewhat’ clean install.

windows 8Of the issues that I had I do not believe that any were related to or with Windows 8, most of the issues were operator haste and some were the result of my HP notebook configuration. Some confusion could also be laid at the feet of websites at (HP) which looked easy however sometimes went in circles. Website design and development is becoming more difficult, but that is another subject.

Although this HP notebook is just a little over a year old I was surprised to find that; 1) the RealTek drivers for the installed card reader, which was initially the biggest issue, do not work with Windows 8. This would cause the upgrade to hang. This was followed closely behind by 2) the ATI Catalyst Control center. I had been warned by Windows Upgrade Assistant, don’t upgrade without running it first.

I did verify a BIOS upgrade and all other things recommended by HP and Microsoft. After that I upgraded asking it to only save files – no settings. I have to admit that it did so nicely. On the other hand this was the fourth try.

I did install Windows 8 on my desktop first (also HP) and was quite pleased. It went through on the first try. Very clean. I was greatly surprised to find that Creative did not have drivers for a sound card (on the desktop) that worked beautifully with Windows 7. I had to buy a new sound card which I did but not from Creative (knowingly).

I really like the speed of Windows 8 both in turning it on and in closing it down. I also appear to be getting better battery life on my notebook although that may not be related.

I have learned to work with and adjust the Tiles on the Start screen and actually find it better than the old Start button. There are so many advantages that I think I should have purchased a few extra copies of Windows 8 Pro while it was on sale for $39.

I do not have a touch screen, would like one but don’t need one. Windows 8 was not made JUST for a touch screen. I really do find the touch screen fascinating since getting used to smartphones and tablets however I do quite well on my monitors with a mouse. 

I would highly recommend a recent blog post at Computerworld to read; Windows 8 tips, tricks, and hacks. I like two right up front; the GodMode folder and the Applications folder for the desktop. Both really neat hacks.

Now to sit back by the fireside and read the Windows 8 SECRETS (on the Kindle) by Paul Thurrott & Rafael Rivera. It is also available in paperback if you need the tactile feel of a antique book.

I would also like to mention that Newegg has become a more recent resource and I find them also to be fair and quick. Between Newegg and Amazon, shopping at home gets easier all the time .

Updating word of caution: In my case neither HP or AMD make it real easy to get updates to drivers needed for the upgrade. Microsoft was better at letting me know the potential issues. HP’s web site tended to go around in circles and AMD just flat out does not make it easy. AMD wants you to deal with HP and HP did not have the drivers – at least as far as I could find.  Could not find anything at HP or RealTek for my card reader drivers. I will admit that HP did have a long article on the upgrade and directed at my notebook however some of the links off of it just did not work.

Rock on Windows 8.