Monday, October 19, 2009

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Windows 7 - Thursday's the Day

Just a short post for now, but Windows 7's release this Thursday should be an exciting event for those of us planning to upgrade. Apparently, some in the UK got a little lucky already.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

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Mossberg Pumps Up Windows 7

He may trash Vista in the article, but WSJ tech author Walter Mossberg enjoys his experience with Windows 7. He mainly boasts about the usability of the operating system, and how it finally gives XP users a reason to abandon the now 8 year old operating system. Despite seeming to be somewhat of an Apple fan, I've never read his articles before, Mossberg mentions he feels Windows 7 beats out OS X in terms of taskbar and window organization, as well as touch features.

The real question, and one that I've felt was answered for me in my testing with betas, was whether Windows 7 was faster than Vista in terms of booting, loading applications, etc. PC World seems to think not, particularly in terms of loading apps. Performance within the applications, however, once they were loaded seemed to improve with 7. I guess we'll all just have to see for ourselves October 22nd.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

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Are Apps the Answer for Verizon?

Despite being known for its great 3G and voice coverage, Verizon has struggled lately compared to AT&T with its phone selection and applications. has looked into why the smartphones aren't there, but they also mentioned something briefly that's equally as intriguing.

When Verizon launched the LG enV Touch, the phone I currently use, they repeatedly claimed that it was "app friendly." Great, what apps? All I see everyday are things like the Guitar Tuner and a WeatherBug app I have to pay $3 a month for! The ridiculously small selection makes Verizon's recent price increases for data plans even more infuriating for the consumer. Luckily for me, I locked into my $15 unlimited date VCast plan before they eliminated the option with the launch of the highly touted Samsung Rogue.

One reason for the price increase, however, may be the looming launch of Verizon's App Store this holiday season. Verizon would like to avoid the same network troubles that AT&T's been having with Apple's iPhone, and increasing the prices, as well as placing caps on data may be their way of avoiding it. The App Store is supposed to drastically lower any fees that developers have normally had to pay in order to get their applications on the Verizon network, hence the monthly subscription fees. Also, everyone knows that Java's been a bit easier to develop for than Verizon's BREW, and rumors have it that Verizon may be switching to Java as a result.

The new data caps may take away from the potential for Verizon to make its own footprint in the mobile apps sand, but the removal of subscription fees could push the pendulum in the other direction. Applications for Twitter, which was apparently just released using BREW, but with a subscription fee, Facebook, and Gmail would be great for Verizon feature phones. But hey, you could always just go all-out and pay $30 a month for data on a new Verizon Google Android smartphone, right?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

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Windows 7 Student Discount - Tips and Tricks

Obviously this information's been out for a while now, but I'm hoping to add a little bit to what you may have already heard. The website is running a promotion, managed by Digital River, that allows "students" to purchase copies of Windows 7 at a discounted rate. The Windows 7 copies available are upgrade versions of either Home Premium or Professional. Now to the interesting aspects of this promotion:

Trustworthiness - For one, you may be suspicious of the website, as there appears to be little to tie Digital River, or the website itself for that matter, to Microsoft. Things should be kosher, however, because Digital River actually ran a promotion for Windows Vista, of which I was a participant, that resulted in FREE copies of the FULL VERSION (not upgrade) of Vista Business.

Who REALLY can participate? - Next, the fact that only "students" are supposed to be able to participate in this promotion can seemingly be easily worked around. All that appears to be required is an academic e-mail address by an "approved institution." As a recent alum, and also a result of having attended a higher education institution during the digital age, I have an academic e-mail address. Many of you may as well, or you may know someone that does who is also a recent alum, or a current college student. This is a great way to save approximately $80 on the Home Premium upgrade, or a whopping $170 on Professional.

Pricing - Speaking of the price for Professional, I was informed that it may be $39 compared to the $29 for Home Premium, but I have yet to see that confirmed outside of a rumor. The $10 difference may be worth it anyway, but there are differences between the two versions that you may want to take a look at before pulling the trigger, whether upgrading with this promotion or otherwise.

Where's Professional? - Also, in regards to actually ordering the Windows 7 Professional upgrade through the promotion, it's been my experience that it's very difficult to find. I can't precisely recall how I stumbled upon it, but I believe the option comes after you've registered for the promotion and clicked the link e-mailed to you. Once you navigate to that page, there should be an option somewhere for you to go after Professional instead of Home Premium. It's out there, and is well worth the extra effort if the promotion price is the same for Professional as it is for Home Premium.

How is it delivered? - How the download of the product is going to work, or even how it's going to be formatted, still remains a slight mystery. I've heard, and suspected so far, that it will come in the form of a disc image, or ISO file. The website also lists an option to have a physical disc delivered to you, but it'll cost $12. If you've got a DVD burner with some blanks laying around, I'd probably just fire that puppy up, but, if not, the physical media may be worth it considering the deep discount you're already getting on the product.

It may seem simple, but this is, clearly, one complex promotion. If you follow these steps, and consider these options, however, you should be in pretty good shape with your wallet once general availability hits on October 22nd.

NOTE: The student discount offer will run through January 3, 2010.
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Back Again!

Haven't been around in a while, but I've got time to type, so I figured I'd take advantage. I was a law student for the past three years, but I graduated in the spring. I'm still awaiting my Michigan Bar Exam results, but that means I've got time for tech blogging prior to employment (which I'll hopefully attain sometime soon).

As you can see, I've been primarily blogging about the development of Windows 7, and other PC news. So, if anyone who frequents this blog, if there is anybody, wants me to expand my horizons, please comment at the bottom of my posts and let me know! With that said, here we go!