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Clippy Trivago Video

Remember Clippy? That animated paper clip thing that zipped around trying to offer help with Microsoft Office?

He was as annoying as is the Trivago commercial guy.

Here is something else I find annoying. I click on a link to an interesting article only to find out when I get there that it’s in fact a video. Now that means I have to put on my headset so I don’t disturb my coworkers, wait for all the junk arranged around it to load up and permit me to hit the start button, skip past commercials, and listen to someone deliver what one would rather read.

And how do you speed-read video? To be honest, most times I just click the exit button.

Am I the only one who doesn’t like video?

Clutter-free

So Microsoft introduced this “awesome new feature that helps filter your low-priority email”. It is called Clutter, and works like this: A new folder has been added to Outlook, called Clutter, and if Outlook deems certain messages are low-priority, it moves them there. According to Microsoft, this feature “learns” so for example if you move an email back from Clutter to your inbox, it will notice this.

I guess the idea is, once in a while, you’ll go through this folder and read your low-priority emails. I don’t know about you, but I have no intention of putting time aside specifically for low-priority emails, so I turned this whole Clutter feature off. Besides, I have a better way of dealing with low-priority emails. If I really do want to read it some day, I’ll flag it so a reminder will pop up later, and I move it out of my inbox. If I don’t want to read it, I just delete it.

I have enough clutter without Clutter.

What Happened to Windows 9?

In case you haven’t been paying attention, Microsoft is releasing a new version of Windows, going from Version 8 to 10, and the quick answer to my question is another question: “Why should you expect a Windows 9? When was Microsoft ever known to assign operating system numbers sequentially?”

To prove my point, I went back and checked. There have been variations and minor editions, but the versions of Windows of consequence for desktop computers are: 3.0, 3.1, Windows for Workgroups, NT, 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, and now 10. Not exactly a straight line.

(So if ever you’re doing one of those “sequence” test, you’ll know the answer to “what comes next: NT, 95, 98, ME …”)

There are a few possible answers I was able to find for skipping 9. One of them is that 9 is apparently considered to be unlucky in Japan. Another one is that there are hard-coded instructions in Windows to check for if the operating system number starts with 9, intending to treat 95 and 98 as special.

Another theory is that Microsoft simply wants to create more distance between version 8 (actually 8.1 if you want to be technical) and the new release. 9 just seems too much like a small step whereas 10 seems like a whole new operating system. When XP was retired, a lot of organizations migrated to Windows 7 even though 8 was available. And many who do use Windows 8 do so in “Windows 7 mode”, with a task bar at the bottom. (Remember the “where is the Start Button” brouhaha?)

I’m buying that last one. Microsoft is hoping Version 10 will be taken more seriously.

Microsoft Cloud has Familiar Look-and-Feel

Kudos to Charles and Orin in our Technical Support team for having done a seamless in-house migration to Office 365. The event was carefully planned, the instructions very well communicated, and the execution flawless. Now Nicom doesn’t just install clients on cloud computing – we actually use it ourselves! (Always good to eat your own cooking, but with a server room and techs on hand, we didn’t really push too hard on getting this done.)

When we start getting into Office 365’s features for communications and file storage and sharing, we will start enjoying the benefits of cloud-based computing. We have a roomful of servers because that’s what we do, but many small businesses don’t, and can now have many benefits that once only businesses with servers could enjoy. And no need to worry about hard drive failures and power outages, or backups and software updates.

With its browser-based interface, Office 365 users are able to create and edit Word documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, etc. from anywhere in the world, and share them with other people. All they need is a computer with Internet connectivity.

Many vendors have cloud offerings. The advantage Microsoft enjoys is that billions of people worldwide already know their products, and their cloud offerings have a familiar look and feel, as well as common features. Their integration between cloud-based products and on premise software is also very natural and seamless.

 

Personal Computer Legacy Applications Will Be Around For Some Time To Come

Towards the end of each summer, I participate in the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s “star party” at Smiley’s Provincial Park, a weekend of camping, star gazing, and lectures. It allows my inner geek to roam free, unencumbered by the constrictions of the corporate world, and it feels good.

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