Impressions of Windows 8 for the family

I’ve been running Windows 8 on one my laptops since it’s release and put in the kitchen for my family to use.  It’s a powerful laptop, i7, 12 gb RAM, nice graphics card.  I’ve used it, as has my wife and my three elementary age kids.  My teenagers have their own PCs and laptops.  I’m now replacing this laptop (need to give it back to IBM) with another.  It has Windows 7 on it.  Note, neither laptops have a touchscreen.

My first thought was to reformat with a fresh Windows 8 install, since it will be the new family machine.  Windows 8 has family controls built in to the OS, has PIN logons, and the Metro look and feel is very nice.  But I started thinking about how many family uses it.

My wife was constantly frustrated about trying to get stuff done on it.  The Metro version of IE has some shortcomings, mainly not running flash unless Microsoft approves it.  She googled how to recreate a Start button, and if she uses this machine, she goes directly to the desktop.  She never used one of the Metro apps, but she also has her own laptop with Windows 7.  She installed Chrome and stopped using IE 10.

My boys (ages 6 and 8) love the Bing app.  They can spend hours just searching various star wars names and looking at the image results.  But IE has problems with various sites like starwars.com and lego.com.  I put a Chrome icon on their Metro home page.  It of course runs in the desktop.

My 10 year old daughter does a lot of homework online.  Half of her sites don’t work in IE 10, so she uses chrome, too.  My 8 year old boy attends an online school.  Again, IE 10 doesn’t work.  Word processing is via Symphony, on the desktop.

Even though I installed a bunch of free Metro games for the kids, they don’t use them.  They want the games on PBS, Star Wars, Lego, American Girl, and other web sites.  They each got their own Android tablets for Hanukkah, so all those Metro games have similar ports on Android and are more fun to play on a touchscreen device.

The only positive things out of Windows 8 is the Bing Search app, parental controls built it, and my kids learning how to use the new OS.  But in the end, most just go to the desktop and launch Chrome.  The new laptop has a fingerprint scanner, so there’s no reason for a password or PIN.

I think I will leave Windows 7 on the new family laptop.  I get my new work PC next week.  I will contemplate putting Windows 8 on there for a while and see how it works for work.

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Finding an adapter for an old Roku.

I have an older Roku, an N1000. It’s only 720p and no WiFi.  I dug it out once I freed up my Ethernet over power adapters. Now want some streaming love in my bedroom. Unfortunately, I could not find the power adapter! I dug through my big box of extra adapters, but nothing was 5v and 2A. I went to Radio Shack to see what they had. They wanted $45 for the adapter kit!! Can you believe that?! I’m not sure this Roku is even worth that much.

I hit the interwebs and was happy to find a D-Link AF1205-B Power Adapter DC 5V 2A 120V for only $9. I got it today, and it works!  So if you are looking for a power adapter for a Roku N1000, the D-Link adapter is the winner!

Teen Calls Bush’s Secret Phone; Creates Security Scare

An Icelandic teen, MSNBC reports, figured out President Bush’s
private phone number, and called it recently, leaving a message saying
he was the president of Iceland and wanted Bush to call him back. When
police visited the teen, after being alerted by Secret Service, he
would not say how he learned the top-secret number. Big Head DC is speculating that he somehow deciphered the code from when Jenna Bush called her parents during a recent taping of the Ellen show.

From Big Head DC.

iPhone 1.1.1 to 1.0.2 downgrade instructions released!

Well would you look at that, instructions are now available for
downgrading your iPhone from 1.1.1 to 1.0.2. It won't downgrade your
baseband, meaning so far you can't re-unlock an iPhone that's been
1.1.1-ified, but it's still 1.0.2 in all its third-party application
glory. The iPhone Dev Team folks are working on a way to downgrade the
new firmware to let people unlock their phones again, but for now
AT&T users sitting pretty, and non-AT&T folks can at least do
the WiFi thing. There's a video tutorial after the break.

Read – iPhone Dev Wiki instructions
Read – Hackint0sh thread where the magic happened

From Engadget.

How to Download iTunes Store Previews and Use Them As Ringtones – UPDATED AND WORKING

Ok, so we know how to use your own ripped CD’s as ringtones on your iPhone but here is an updated way to download and use iTS previews with your iPhone – AKA FREE RINGTONES of your favorite songs.

Now, this isn’t for the feint of heart. It requires command-line access and Perl and only works on OS X.

Go on over to UNEASYsilence to get the instructions.

BSA to pay up to $1 million for piracy tips

The Business Software Alliance announced on Monday the launch of its
“Blow the Whistle” campaign and said it will offer up to $1 million as
a bonus for employees that turn in their employers.

The campaign, which lasts until October 2007,
rewards end users that tip off the the software industry's lobbying arm
and offer evidence about companies that have installed unlicensed
copies of software. Until the end of the campaign, the BSA will pay a
bounty to informants based on the settlement with a maximum fee of $1
million, up from the normal top tip for tattlers of $200,000. Under the
guidelines of the program, end users cannot have been the ones to install the software unless they were ordered to do so by a supervisor.

Will you be a rat?  Read the full article on SecurityFocus.


New Computer Program to Reassemble Shredded Stasi Files

Millions of files consigned to paper shredders
in the late days of the East German regime will be pieced together by
computer. The massive job of reassembling this puzzle from the late
Cold War was performed, until now, by hand.

It's been years in the making, but finally software designed to
electronically piece together some 45 million shredded documents from
the East German secret police went into service in Berlin on Wednesday.
Now, a puzzle that would take 30 diligent Germans 600 to 800 years to
finish by hand, according to one estimate, might be solved by computer
in seven.

Low tech decryption.  Good article from Spiegel Online.