Tags: windows

Why I left Mac for Windows: Apple has given up [↗]

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.
¯_(ツ)_/¯

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.

Review of My Software and Hardware Choices

Prompted by Chris Coyier’s post, Review of My New Computer Equipment, I thought I’d post a review of my current software and hardware choices. So, six months ago, I wrote:

On reflection, I’ve replaced all but one of the OS X specific applications, and the change was painless. As with the previous post, and if I remember, I’ll take another look at this list in another 6 months. I’m wondering if I’ll still be using desktop Linux? I’m thinking that I probably will.

I thought wrong, well sort of. I’m actually using macOS, Linux and Windows. Yup, I’ve ditched the silly idea that I need to run the same OS on every system and I now use whatever I fancy, or, I choose the best tool for a given job.

My workstation consists of 3 systems and they’re all sharing the same keyboard and mouse via Synergy. Throughout the day, I switch seamlessly between macOS, Ubuntu and Windows 10, across a total of 5 monitors. It’s fucking glorious.

I run macOS on my 2013 MacBook Pro, Ubuntu on a Dell desktop and Windows 10 on my X220 ThinkPad. The machines all vary in age, but they’re all fitted with solid state drives and their performance is more than adequate.

When I’m at home, I also have the same 3 operating systems available. My hackintosh desktop runs Windows 10 (mostly for Steam). I run macOS on my MacBook and both Ubuntu and Windows 10 on my X220 ThinkPad.

It’s quite liberating when you realise that you don’t have to belong to a particular OS camp. Computers and operating systems are just tools and whilst it’s normal to have a favourite or preferred tool, it’s not good to exclude everything else in favour of using it, especially if there’s a better tool for the job.

On reflection, I’m really pleased that I decided to breakout of my comfort zone and I’m really enjoying my current setup. My choice of software and hardware is like a melting pot of the best tools available and it enables me to get stuff done. It also provides for a varied experience and prevents me from getting too bored with one system.

If you’ve found yourself in the position of using just one operating system, whether that’s Windows, macOS, Linux, or some other exotic OS, I’d wholly recommend mixing it up and taking full advantage of what’s out there. OS variety is the spice of life.

The 6 Biggest Ubuntu News Stories of 2016 [↗]

6. Bash on Ubuntu on Windows 10
It happened. Hell froze over and Microsoft wrapped its chilly arms around a cynical Linux community uncertain as to its motives. Is it a gesture of love (like they say) or the cynical embrace of a company trying to regain lost relevance?

That’s for you to decide. But one piece of the ‘Microsoft Loves Linux’ puzzle that slotted in to place this year was the arrival of the Windows Subsystem for Linux in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (no, really. It happened).

Is it a little bit sad for Ubuntu that one of its biggest stories of 2016 was its involvement in the Window Subsystem for Linux? Don’t get me wrong, I think it was a nifty thing to happen, but I’m not sure how Ubuntu/Linux benefits? It certainly doesn’t appear to help fix Ubuntu’s bug #1.

Microsoft has a majority market share in the new desktop PC marketplace. This is a bug which Ubuntu and other projects are meant to fix. As the philosophy of the Ubuntu Project states, “Our work is driven by a belief that software should be free and accessible to all.”

Anyhow, it’ll be interesting to see if anything happens with this in 2017.

Bash in Windows 10, it’s weird

Bash in Windows 10

Bash shell in Windows 10.

Last weekend, I finally pulled my finger out and got around to installing the Windows 10 Anniversary update on my dual boot X220. The installation was painless and I didn’t experience any horror stories, thankfully.

After the update was installed, the very first thing I did was to enable the new Windows Subsystem for Linux feature.

Now, I’ve read an awful lot about Bash on Windows, but reading about it and actually trying it are two totally different experiences. Using Bash in Windows just feels weird. Good, but weird. It almost feels like I’ve been transported into some sort of twisted parallel universe where I’m using something that simply shouldn’t exist. Not that I’m complaining, I think it’s marvellous, and weird.

Anyhow, putting the weirdness aside, for someone like me who turns to Bash for all manner of tasks, this elevates Windows into the league of “proper” Operating Systems, along with Linux and OS X.

Kudos to Microsoft and Canonical.

5 Simple Steps To Enable Bash on Windows 10 [↗]

Windows 10 Anniversary Update is here, and it’s rolling out now.

Among the new features it brings is Bash for Windows — an Ubuntu-based tool lets you run familiar Linux apps on Windows natively.

I was pretty excited when I first heard about this and I’m itching to give it a try, but I’ve read some horror stories today about users who have had their disk partitions removed after installing the update.

Currently, I’m thinking that I’ll wait a while before performing the update — I very rarely boot into Windows, so it’ll be no great hardship to wait until things have settled down.

The #davegoeswindows Finale [↗]

It’s been one year since I uprooted my dev environment and made the switch to Windows. I’m happy to share that after a year of ups and downs, I’ve made the decision… dramatic pause …to… more dramatic pausing …stick with Windows.

I have recent experience of switching operating systems (Linux to Windows to OS X and finally back to Linux), so I found Dave Rupert’s post pretty interesting. Unlike Dave, I decided not to stick with Windows, but I can certainly appreciate some of the reasons why he is.

Regardless of the outcome of Dave’s (or my own) experiment, I think more developers could benefit from long-term exposure to different environments — my experience of using Windows and OS X has definitely given me a greater appreciation of Linux and a better understanding of both its strengths and weaknesses.

An Interview with Paul Thurrott: Top 10 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10 NOW! [↗]

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?

Stupid Geek Tricks: Create a Shortcut to Quickly Edit Your Hosts File [↗]

My quick and easy solution to this problem is so simple that it barely deserves a full article, but we’re going to cover it anyway—basically, you just create a shortcut to edit the file in Notepad, and set the properties to always start as Administrator. The final step is to create that shortcut in the Start Menu, so it will be easily accessible with the start menu search engine.

Nifty tip. I’m constantly editing my system’s hosts file on OS X and Linux, which is trivial once you set-up a Bash alias, but I can’t do that on Windows, yet, so this tip came in handy.

Microsoft accused of Windows 10 upgrade ‘nasty trick’ [↗]

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.

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