Archive for July, 2012

Computers and things

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

I’ve been intrigued by discussions and blogs relating to Microsoft’s new tablets, the latest Google tablet and how they will all change the world.

The debates get very partisan – people do seem to get very attached to their preferred software!

I’ve recently been thinking about the need to upgrade or replace some of our equipment.  We have a mixture of Mac OS, Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.  And we run three different versions of Microsoft Office – depending on when we aquired the various computers.

Not ideal, really!  We could do with a bit of rationalisation around here.

So I’m looking at Windows 8 to try to decide whether to get everything (except the Mac) onto that or whether Windows 7 would be a better option.  My main PC runs Windows 7 and it’s been a great improvement over XP.  That said, my old Toshiba laptop still runs XP with no problems and does everything that’s required of it.

So now I have Windows 8 running on my Acer tablet, with a trial of Office 2010 for good measure!  I forgot to mention that tablets figure prominently in my thinking as I really want to end up with lightweight, easily transported equipment.  We’re out and about a lot delivering workshops and could do with making everything as transportable as possible!

So, how’s Windows 8 doing so far?

Initial impressions are very favourable.  It’s noticably faster than Windows 7 and the Metro interface works really well on a touch screen.  The live tiles look like they will be interesting for a while but I wonder if I’ll get fed up seeing everything constantly updating.  Don’t know, time will tell.  One interesting thing is how much the system now relies on having an internet connection – that’s how it keeps all the tiles updated.  Might be an issue. Or maybe not?  Time will tell, I suppose.

One slightly odd thing is how often you get dropped back into what looks just like Windows 7 when you need to do things like browsing the local network (all our systems are networked, so we can share stuff).  You go from an interface designed for a touch screen to one better suited to a mouse.  Not a major issue – it still works! – just a bit odd.

Overall though, Windows 8 makes using the tablet so much smoother.  It wasn’t exactly hard work with Windows 7 to be honest, but Windows 8 just makes using a touch screen that much easier.

So it’s looking as though I might end up using a tablet to deliver workshops, especially if I can find a decent, affordable wirelsss projector.  Now that would be really good!