Sunday, September 13, 2015

Windows 10 slow & unusable

After waiting a year for the overly hyped next generation Windows, I finally did the upgrade two weeks ago. Last night, I downgraded back to Windows 7. Why? Because despite what Microsoft & it's PR says, it is a complete disaster.

My machine is a HP Pavilion desktop, probably 5 years old. 640 GB hard drive, 4 GB of RAM. Have never had a problem with it. Until I installed this virus ( that's what 10 is, because it wrecks performance).

Hows this for an improved OS: Turn on your computer, wait 5 minutes for the OS to load, except that it still hasn't. The little blue circle is still spinning, your desktop icons are still not on the status bar & you can't even click on settings or the power button. Therefore you have to hard shut the computer (which is NEVER recommended), & reboot. Sometimes I did this three times before it finally loaded. It also, when it was actually working, wouldn't close properly. Meaning you would click shut down, the monitor would go blank but power was still on for several minutes. Wow, what a POS.

Now why did this happen? Because Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, released this pile of junk before it was ready. It was never supposed to come out in the middle of summer. Maybe the fall. But they were in a hurry to get publicity & get new computers on the market with 10 for the fall school sales.

So I am back on Windows 7, the last good OS. It took a while to boot this morning because last night it had to load 17 updates that I missed the 2 weeks I was on Windows Snail. Take my advice; stay away from this joke. Heck Chrome OS is probably better & that's just a browser. Linux? Well I hate that & MacOS is quite pricey. Maybe all I need is an iPad, except that I like my 18" monitor.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Apple Users Complain About Free Music

Last week when Apple announced the new iPhone & the Apple Watch, there was a controversy. Not over the extremely large size of the iPhone 6 Plus (won't fit in a pocket), or the uselessness of the watch (doesn't work unless you have an iPhone nearby, so what's the point?).

No, the controversy was because U2 (one of the most popular bands of all time) released their new album for free. OMG! "It's in my library! I didn't ask for it! That's a violation of my privacy!" Of course  everyone is on Facebook, the biggest violators of privacy ever, but we'll ignore that. LOL.

How exactly does this violate your privacy? It's a freaking music album. And it's not in your library anyway. You have to sign in to your account, click on "purchased", and download it.

My theory: Apple users are opposed to getting something for cheap or free. It's unseemly. "Why this is Apple, therefore it must be crap if it doesn't cost three times what every other CD would cost". So if U2 had offered the new album for $50, no one would care, but because it's free, that's a problem. (BTW- Apple supposedly paid the band $100 million). Ah, Apple fanboys, you really are entertaining.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Goodbye Firefox

Last night I removed Firefox from my computer. It was my one and only browser for years and years. I loved the personalization you could do. Most of the add-ons I had were security related. Things like No Script, Ad Block Plus & Cookie Monster. Not to mention WOT.

But since version 29, the browser has become unusable. I have no idea what the people writing the code have done, but they have ruined it. How am I supposed to use a browser that crashes within a minute of opening? This never happened before. I go all the way back to Firefox 2. At the time I was using a slow XP machine with only 64 GB of storage & 128 MB of RAM. My current machine runs Windows 7 SP 1, has 640 GB of storage & 4 GB of RAM. I also have double the speed of my previous machine & get double the speed from my ISP. So that's not the problem.

So a few months ago I was forced to install Chrome. If I could, I would continue to use Firefox because it's just a better experience, & I like that Firefox has a sidebar. But I can't use it because of its crashing problems. Again yesterday was one of the few times I had opened it in the last month, & within a minute it crashed. Meanwhile I still use Thunderbird, which has no issues. Want to know why? Mozilla stopped developing it a while back, so they weren't able to ruin it. Just amazing.

Maybe some outside group can create a usable fork that works. I suspect Mozilla wouldn't like that because everyone would move over to that. You know, like how everone moved from Open Office to Libre Office.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

John Oliver on Net Neutrality

For those of you who have heard about Net Neutrality but are not actually sure what it means or why it's a big deal, I would suggest you watch HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

This was a 13 minute description of what the cable companies are trying to do. Yes, it's a comedy show, & there were plenty of laughs in the segment, but Oliver, a former Daily Show "correspondent" gives the best and most complete explanation out there. Shame on CNN & all the other networks for ceding the job of providing information to a comedy show on a premium channel.

Here's the good news- the entire segment is on YouTube. All you have to do is go on YouTube & type in Last Week Tonight & all videos will show up. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Why Netflix Can't Stream Some Shows

The technology term of the year is "cord cutting". This is a referral to getting rid of cable & watching everything online, as if the system is easier than  using Comcast or Directv.

It's not a perfect system because of the contracts studios & networks will make with various online partners. For instance: Hulu puts up shows 7 days after broadcast per the wishes of the networks. This isn't for all shows, but does apply to some. You also can't go back more than a few episodes. CBS puts up everything the next day, but the player is horrid & freezes up to the point that it's unwatchable.

Some websites ask for proof that you are a paying customer of a cable or satellite subscription. This defeats the purpose of watching online & the only reason for the existence is if you were out when the show was broadcast & this is the only way of seeing the episode. HBOGo does this, but in that case it is a premium channel afterall. However it is pretty well acknowledged that lots of subscribers are giving their passwords to non subscriber friends & relatives. That would explain Game of Thrones having the viewership of NCIS. HBO doesn't appear to mind, because it gives the show a buzz it wouldn't have otherwise.

The other problem is exclusive agreements. Take for instance the FX series Justified. Netflix doesn't stream this show. Not back episodes, nothing. You have to rent the season DVD's. So for people who aren't renting DVD's, you're out of luck. Now Netflix does stream Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Dexter & other shows of that type. But Justified is only available for streaming on Amazon Prime. So you would have to not only pay $8 a month to Netflix but another $99 a year to Amazon for the privilege.

This is where the supposed future of viewing gives way to the reality of the present. The networks & the studios will always do what is in their supposed best interest. Regardless what you or I think, or podcast hosts like Brian Brushwood, this isn't going to change anytime soon.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Windows Explorer Has Stopped Responding

Sometimes Windows likes to play tricks. Today was one of those times. After about a half an hour of entertaining myself on Reddit, I decided to close my browser. I was doing something else at the time, namely some laundry. Heard the dryer go off, so I decided I would delete all the history, then put the computer to sleep.

Well, it appeared Chrome had other ideas. Namely it sort of froze while deleting. Somehow I managed to close it, then tried to re-open it, & it kept closing. So I said "the heck with this", & tried to open Firefox. Same thing.

So I decided to restart the computer. I couldn't even do that because apparently Explorer wouldn't shut down. I was forced to do a hard boot, something not recommended, but at least that worked. I guess things are alright now.

I had already run my anti-virus scan this morning, so that's not the problem. I just think that all computers have these glitches once in a while. I do not use this machine like some people. I'm not a power user.

I watch Netflix on this computer because I'm a poor soul. I have no Wi-Fi & my TV isn't a flat screen HD set. It's a 25" tube TV, no HD & obviously no HDMI port. So no streaming through a blu-ray player or a Roku. (Funny thing is I work for a company that makes hard drives for Roku boxes)

I know what some of you will say "get a mac". What is the difference? I seriously don't believe a mac is any better than my HP. I like to say Apple sells $500 computers for 2G. Am I wrong? There was just an article yesterday in the SJ Merc about the highly touted "Genius bar", & how much they're used. If macs were so great there would be no need for these. just my 2 cents.

Anyway, I had to vent. I was thinking of returning to blogging. I just didn't think it would be about this. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

iTunes Update Messes Up iPod Synching

I tend to ignore the constant updates Apple does to iTunes. The reason is the reputation of major problems following updates. This could be solved if there was a different system in place. This is the only software I know that makes you install the entire 200 MB package all over again.

So here's what happened to me. After several months of ignoring the update, I finally installed it a couple of weeks ago. Then yesterday I bought the iTunes LP "The Resistance" by Muse. (Amazingly the extra stuff like photos, videos & lyrics took longer to download than the entire album) Fine. Then I burned a CD like I always do. The reason is to make sure I have a backup. Plus it's an audio CD I can play, so I know the download actually worked, & I can re-install it if something happens to the computer.

Again this worked fine. Then I plugged my 4th generation nano into my computer. Not so fine. It never showed up in the sidebar. So I unplugged the nano, plugged the USB cable into a different port. Still nothing. Went online, looked for info. Lots of convoluted explanations of what to do. Finally shut down iTunes & restarted it. Then it worked. Whoopee!

All I can guess is that I haven't syncronized my iPod in quite a while, & certainly not with this version. This also is not the first time this has happened. It seems to be a problem with new downloads. If I add a Cd in my collection it doesn't seem to do this. Meaning that strangely, iTunes sometimes has issues with it's own files, which doesn't seem to make sense. It should have more problems with outside devices like CD's,especially since you don't have to be logged in to upload a CD.

I still contend, although Apple would disagree, that the music store should be separate from the manager/player. Put the store online, meaning make it a website like Amazon. After all, you can download from Amazon & have the file sent directly to iTunes, so that shouldn't be an issue.

Once you do that, iTunes becomes a smaller program, with probably less need of absurdly large update files. The use of Quicktime appears to be an issue to some people. Not sure if thats my issue or not. Not popups saying it is, but I notice in the support forums that it is for a lot of people. Remove it, either use the hated Flash (I've never had an issue- all video works fine on my computer), or HTML5. Size diminishes, meaning less problems.