Full stack web developer, interested in all the things, but especially the web, code, design, Linux, OS X, PHP, WordPress, JavaScript & robots.

Tagged: microsoft

Why I left Mac for Windows: Apple has given up image/svg+xml

I don’t say this lightly, but Windows is back, and Microsoft is doing a great job. Microsoft is getting better, faster at making Windows good than Apple is getting better at doing anything to OS X.

Another post by another Apple user switching to an alternative OS, this time it’s Microsoft. Also, see the follow-up post for details about how the author has set-up their new Windows development environment. The interesting part for me was this remark about Hyper:

OK, there are a few weird bugs. For the most part, I’ve managed to avoid them, but there’s one I’m yet to figure out: how to escape nano. There’s no way to CTRL + C out, and you end up needing to close the terminal.

I’m pretty sure this is a known bug with Hyper and something that I experienced too. In my case, I was trying to detach a screen session with CTRL+A D, pretty basic stuff and I was surprised Hyper couldn’t handle it. I’m sure this will get fixed in the future, but until that happens, Hyper will be unusable to me, which is disappointing.

An Interview with Paul Thurrott: Top 10 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10 NOW! image/svg+xml

I sat down (virtually) with Microsoft’s Dan Stolts on TechNet Radio to discuss my top 10 reasons to upgrade to Windows 10: It’s free, automatic and regular updates, Windows Hello, Edge, Cortana, Action Center, the return of the Start menu, Continuum, personalization, and the Universal Windows Platform (UWP).

I have a lot of respect for Paul Thurrott, he knows his stuff when it comes to Windows. The interview is quite high-level, but it’s still interesting to hear his top 10 reasons to upgrade.

On a personal note, I’ve been switching between OS X, Linux (Ubuntu) and Windows 10 quite a lot lately and I’m finding that I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with Windows than I have in the past. Maybe I’m truly becoming an OS agnostic?

Microsoft accused of Windows 10 upgrade ‘nasty trick’ image/svg+xml

Microsoft has faced criticism for changing the pop-up box encouraging Windows users to upgrade to Windows 10.

Clicking the red cross on the right hand corner of the pop-up box now activates the upgrade instead of closing the box.

And this has caused confusion as typically clicking a red cross closes a pop-up notification.

Has it ever. At work, we’ve received a number of calls from users who have fallen foul of this and have had their systems upgraded. The users have all been remote workers, which has compounded the issue as providing support has been tricky. Our support team are now in the process of blacklisting the update. Users on our internal network have been unaffected as the update was already blacklisted on our Windows Server Update Services.

I know Microsoft are eager to upgrade as many users as possible, but this really is a “nasty trick”, and what’s more, it’s a terrible user experience and a real PITA for our support team. Bad Microsoft.

A couple of notes on Windows 10

First note: In December 2014, I purchased a copy of Windows 8 and installed it on an old desktop machine that I was using for testing. About a year later, when I purchased and built my hackintosh, I moved the Windows 8 license to it, dual-booting with OS X, and decommissioned the old desktop. Moving the license to my new machine involved a telephone call to Microsoft, but I explained the situation and the process was quite painless.

A few months later, I removed Windows 8 from that system, and ran OS X exclusively. Then, when Windows 10 was released last year, I reinstalled Windows 8 on a dual-boot partition and upgraded it to Windows 10, before removing it, again.

Yesterday, I needed to test something with Edge, so I installed Windows 10 as a virtual machine on my hackintosh. The install was super-easy and I had Windows 10 running in no time, but it was not activated. Not wanting to purchase another copy of Windows, just for testing purposes, I figured I’d attempt to activate it using my original Windows 8 license key. To my total surprise, it worked! WTF?

Second note: Becky has been running Windows 10 on her Lenovo X220 since it was released. For the most part, it worked okay, but every now-and-again the laptop would just turn itself off. When this happened, I would look at the event logs, but they wouldn’t shed any light on the matter, which was somewhat frustrating, more for Becky than me.

Anyhow, on Friday, the laptop turned itself off a few times in quick succession and I feared Becky was about to hulk-out and smash it to smithereens. So, to pacify the angry one, I offered her my old white MacBook as replacement machine, which she gratefully accepted.

This morning, I was feeling a little curious about Becky’s X220 and I found myself questioning what could be wrong with it. I figured it was possibly a hardware issue, but I should probably attempt to eliminate the possibility of it being caused by software. So, I wiped Windows 10 and installed the latest release of Ubuntu Desktop on it. It’s early days, but the laptop has been running continuously and so far there have been no problems. I’ll continue to use the machine over the next couple of days, but at the moment, it looks like the issues could have been Windows 10 related.

Ubuntu on Windows – The Ubuntu Userspace for Windows Developers image/svg+xml

I’m in San Francisco this week, attending Microsoft’s Build developer conference, as a sponsored guest of Microsoft. That’s perhaps a bit odd for me, as I hadn’t used Windows in nearly 16 years. But that changed a few months ago, as I embarked on a super secret (and totally mind boggling!) project between Microsoft and Canonical, as unveiled today in a demo during Kevin Gallo’s opening keynote of the Build conference….

An Ubuntu user space and bash shell, running natively in a Windows 10 cmd.exe console!

More information about yesterday’s Microsoft/Ubuntu partnership announcement. The details of how it works are better than I had imagined. To be honest, it all sounds too good to be true and I’m really looking forward to trying this.

Microsoft and Canonical partner to bring Ubuntu to Windows 10 image/svg+xml

According to sources at Canonical, Ubuntu Linux’s parent company, and Microsoft, you’ll soon be able to run Ubuntu on Windows 10.

Blimey. If this is true, it’s fabulous news. I can’t wait to read more details about the partnership.

Update: Here’s how Microsoft will support Bash on Windows 10

Based off developer feedback we’ve done a couple things: First we made investments that improve cmd, PowerShell, and many other command-line tools and developer scenarios. Second we decided to grow our command line family by adding real, native Bash and with it support for Linux command-line tools which run directly on Windows in an environment that behaves like Linux.

Wow. Again, fabulous news.

Internet Archive Does Windows: Hundreds of Windows 3.1 Programs Join the Collection image/svg+xml

Windows 3.1

Windows 3.1 running in a web browser.

We’ve now added over 1,000 programs that run, in your browser, in a Windows 3.1 environment. This includes many games, lots of utilities and business software, and what would best be called “Apps” of the 1990s – programs that did something simple, like provide a calculator or a looping animation, that could be done by an individual or small company to great success.

I can barely remember Windows 3.1, it seems like such a long time ago. Anyway, I think this is just brilliant, not Windows 3.1, but the fact that you can run it in a browser. Kudos to the Internet Archive, they are doing excellent work.

New Year’s Resolutions 2015 – The Results

It’s nearly the end, the end of the year that was 2015. Unfortunately, this blog was not around last year, so I didn’t publicly record my New Year’s resolutions for 2015. However, anyone that knows me will no doubt know what those resolutions were. Actually, there was really only one resolution and that was to embrace proprietary software on the desktop.

I think I can imagine how that might sound to the uninitiated (easy right?), but for me, it was a big deal. Having spent the last 10+ years as a Linux only guy, switching to non-free operating systems was daunting, scary, unknown and at times, a real ball-ache.

For the first seven months of the year I opted to use Microsoft Windows. Windows 7 & 8 to be precise. Windows 7 at work and Windows 8 at home. Coming from Debian, the move to Windows was truly a baptism of fire. At first, I felt as if I had lost all or some of my senses. Software and tools which I took for granted in Debian were suddenly not available and I knew I would have to quickly change the ways I did things. I found this to be somewhat strange as I was used to bending the operating system to fit around me, instead, I found myself bending to accommodate Windows. After a while, I guess I just gave up fighting and changed my mindset.

During those seven months, I came to love and hate Windows. I loved that I didn’t have to worry about things like driver support (to be fair, Linux driver support is generally pretty ace) and tasks such as setting up home networks and file sharing was scarily easy; so easy that it left me feeling worried about how secure my network was. I also loved Steam, in fact I loved Steam a little bit too much and I wasted many hours playing games, which made me feel really guilty (damn, I’m getting old).

Now for the Windows hate. I’ll try and keep this brief as I’m not a natural hater. Firstly, the lack of a decent terminal and Shell. Seriously, how does anyone get any proper work done on Windows? Yes, I know all about PowerShell, but for some reason, I just could not bring myself to learn/use it. Maybe that is my loss, but if my time on Windows taught me one thing, it is that I am Bash guy. Secondly, Window’s Explorer. Without doubt, Windows Explorer is the worst file manager I have had the misfortune to use. For anyone that is not aware, in the Linux world there are a plethora of file managers and in my opinion, nearly all of them are more pleasurable to use than Windows Explorer. Shortcuts, Favourites, Libraries, WTF? Just show me the files and their real paths! Finally, the font rendering. It is simply horrendous.

So, that was a quick summary of my experience with Windows. For the most part, I got things done (apart from when I was killing Space Marines), but I never felt truly comfortable using it.

Towards the end of July, I made the switch to OS X. OS X 10.10 “Yosemite” to be precise. Interestingly, or not, I had never used OS X before (not for longer than a few minutes) and I instantly felt a lot more comfortable. It was almost like the feeling of coming home after taking a really long holiday (in a shit resort with terrible weather). I had a decent terminal and Shell again. I could just stop here, but there are so many things to love about OS X that it would be remiss of me not to mention some of them.

So, firstly, it has a usable terminal and Shell (I know, I’m repeating myself, but hey, I can use Bash!) Secondly, the file manager, it’s not perfect, but it’s a lot more usable than Windows Explorer. It shows me my files and their true paths. It’s also very similar to Nautilus in GNOME (or Nautilus is similar to Finder), so I am super-comfortable using it. Thirdly, the font rendering is superb. Fourthly, there is a large collection of quality software available. No, it’s not all free software, but to fair and IMHO, the quality is far superior to a lot of free software (this probably warrants a separate post in the future). Finally, and somewhat shallowly, it looks beautiful! Now, I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it is very subjective, but I think OS X is the prettiest OS I have ever used. And despite the naysayers, I think there is probably something to be said for surrounding yourself in pretty things, I think it certainly helps to encourage inspiration and aspiration.

Anyway, that was a summary of my 2015 New Year’s resolutions. I think I’m going to chalk it up as a success. And if you are asking if I will switch back to Linux on the desktop in 2016? No. I’m more than happy to continue using and loving Linux on my servers, but I’ve no plans to move away from OS X on the desktop.

Next up, 2016.