I’ve Gone Open Source!

While I seek to re-enter the normal workforce my small business has been suspended. … No more work for fees.

If you are a former customer you may contact me directly and I will still diagnose your problems for no charge.

When I find someone I trust and respect I will post their contact information here. And, when my web hosting contract is up for renewal I’ll decide whether to maintain the blog.

Thank you all, Norman

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Primary: The UI has Two Faces

Sorry for the lapse in posts, blame it on the holidays and an illness.

I’ve decided the thing about Windows 8 that irks me the most is its schizophrenic user interface. The Windows Desktop that we know and feel at home with is subjugated to the new Windows Start Page. To put it nicely, the new interface is plain, boring, and cartoonish when compared to the Aero Glass interface introduced in Windows Vista. And you get flipped between the two interfaces way too often.

Three of my customers have bought new computers with Windows 8 installed. Their reactions echo confusion and displeasure. What WAS Microsoft thinking?

I stand by an earlier quote, “Windows 8 makes my thousand dollar desktop look like a hundred dollar cell phone.” I don’t like it.

Is there anything I do like in Windows 8? Come back for my next installment.

PC Doctor

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Elementary, the Windows 8 Case is Afoot

Cue the scratchy violin music and watch out for punishing humor. I have replaced my main desktop with a new machine running Windows 8 Enterprise.

If you read my previous post you know I am not terribly excited about this endeavor. I don’t have a touch input device and I still find the new Start Page non-intuitive for keyboard and mice users. It is as though the better we knew and liked the previous Windows interface the more put off we will be with the new paradigm from Microsoft.

So I am requiring myself to use it. Give me a few more days and I will continue the case.

PC Doctor (not Watson)

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Windows 8 First Thoughts

We’re going to be hearing a LOT about Windows 8. Whether on a Windows 8 Smartphone, a Surface (or other) Tablet, or a new laptop, desktop, or all-in-one PC.

If you ask Microsoft, “touch” is the finally ready for prime time next wave. I know this because I watched some of the Windows 8 Launch Event on the Internet and I attended a Houston event last Friday. While I don’t have a touch enabled device I have now installed Windows 8 on a fairly powerful desktop system.

After seventeen years, starting with Windows 95, the familiar Windows Start Button has been replaced with the new “Modern” tile based Start Page. I will reserve comment on its utility until I give it a proper shakedown, but will admit the first thought through my head was, “Great! They have made my $900 PC look like a $100 Smartphone.”

Are you getting a new PC for Christmas? Would you be interested in a two hour class to ease the transition? If I get enough interest I plan to create just such a class. Let me know with an email to pcdoctor at cypresspctech dot com.

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Apple Numbers: 4, 5, and 6

Apple has released the very successful iPhone 5 and has included the new IOS version 6 as its operating system. Google Maps is gone, as is YouTube.

Apple has included their own map application and, to say it nicely, “It has problems!” Updating and correcting this map app is a new high priority for Apple. I expect them to  correct it ASAP to get their critics to be quiet.

YouTube can easily be re-installed from the Apple Store.

Key benefits to the iPhone 5 include faster speeds, 4G network support, and an improved camera application. But these are not compelling enough for me to replace my iPhone 4.

Users of iPhone 4 and 4S can upgrade to IOS 6. Some of those who have done so have reported degraded battery life. I personally haven’t seen this on my iPhone 4.

PC Doctor

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Check Online While You Shop In-Store

Three local businesses provide free WiFi while you push your buggy down their aisles.

Lowe’s and Home Depot both have free WiFi, as does Office Depot. Now if Hobby Lobby would offer it I could stay busy while I wait on my wife. At the three I mentioned I am too busy shopping to go online, but it is still nice to know I could.

PC Doctor
Don’t forget to email questions or comments to pcdoctor at cypresspctech.com

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More No WiFi Zones

Sad to say it ’cause I like the places, but add Newk’s and Spring Creek Barbeque to the no WiFi spots in Cypress.

But that’s OK. In a day or two I’ll tell you some “sit down and eat” places that do offer free WiFi.

PC Doctor
Email questions or comments to pcdoctor at cypresspctech.com

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Want Java with your WiFi?

I promised more about free WiFi in the Cypress area. This weekend I checked out Internet access at two local coffee shop locations.

First I visited Starbucks, the location between Best Buy and Target. They always seem busy, and I had to wait behind three other groups of customers for my cup of coffee. But I got online right away. Free connection after reading and responding to terms and conditions, followed by redirection to starbucks.com. No problem. As I sat down I ran Comcast’s free SpeedTest Android application. The result was a respectable 1124 kb/sec download and a surprising 1666 kc/sec upload. Nothing like my home speeds but certainly fine for email and web surfing.
Plus: Free refills with registered Starbucks card
Minus: Crowded

Next I visited an independently owned neighborhood location, Jitterbug Cafe, found on Mason Rd. just north of Cypresswood. I have been enjoying this business for a long time. The staff are all friendly, the prices are good, and for me, I can avoid Hwy 290.
Internet access is by passphrase, so there is no delay in getting to your content. It personally bugs me to launch email only to remember that I must use a browser to actually get online first. Not an issue at Jitterbug. Note: They do update the passcode at times, but not that often, and only to protect themselves from “sidewalk signal surfers.”
Speed was nice too! 27137 kb/sec download, 4768 kb/sec upload!!
Plus: Friendly, local business, optional coffee club tracks purchases for discounts
Minus: Hours shorter than Starbucks, you have to find it first

My take-away: Support your local business and get to know Jitterbug Cafe in Fairfield. Tell them Norman sent you.

PC Doctor
Send questions or comments to pcdoctor at cypresspctech dot com

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Who Doesn’t Have WiFi?

This is an imcomplete list, but I still wish it was shorter. I guess fast food means “In and out fast” to these businesses.

Arby’s, KFC, Chick-Fil-A, Smash Burger, Whataburger, Panda Express.
If you know others please email so I can update this post.

I love Chick-Fil-A and know that other franchise locations offer WiFi. I was told that our location used to have it too but took it out to improve customer flow. They are good, they are successful, and they are busy to prove it. Seems folks were standing with tray in hand at the busiest times.

The best response to my phone questions regarding WiFi came from an employee at Arby’s. “If you sit on the west side near the window you may pick up Lowe’s signal.” Gotta love it!

Next time more formal dining spots with WiFi.

PC Doctor
Send ideas or questions to pcdoctor at cypresspctech dot com

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Want Fries with your WiFi?

At least two fast food restaurants in Cypress offer free WiFi.
I recently visited McDonalds and Wendy’s for an iced tea and a speed test.

McDonalds access requires responding to terms and conditions with your web browser, then connects you to the Internet. I never have a problem connecting here, but the speed isn’t blazingly fast. Makes me wonder if they are sharing a DSL line with us.
Ping: 79 ms, Download: 1133 kb/sec, Upload: 379 kb/sec
Plus: Reliable
Minus: Slow but Steady

Wendy’s also has free WiFi, also with browser acceptance of terms and conditions. And they make McDonalds look fast! Ping was 602 ms. The other speed tests failed on two different days effort. Don’t plan on watching Netflix here.
Plus: Good value menu and free senior citizen drinks
Minus: Did I say slow?

Next time, “Who Doesn’t Have WiFi?”

PC Doctor
Have questions or suggestions? Email pcdoctor at cypresspctech dot com

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