A Business Technology Place

Confessions from using Mac Linux Windows Chrome Android iOS

I’ve used them all.confession

Call me an equal opportunity technologist. I’ve given them all a try. From Windows to Linux and everywhere in between. Do I have my have opinions? Absolutely. Do I participate in the “Holy wars” for OS? Yes, on occasion, for entertainment in my life. So I thought it would be fun to write a few confessions about my experience. It’s purely for entertainment. 🙂

Mac OS

  • The ultimate OS right? Yet so many run Windows Parallels and I find that ironic.
  • I inherited a MacBook hand-me-down from daughter. To my frustration, Apple capped the MacOS upgrade level. It also ran super hot around the power cord connector so I had to download a special app for fan control and heat. I found these were common complaints via internet search. In the end, it was not a great experience.
  • Can we just agree on keyboard keys and shortcuts please?
  • Many Mac OS X zealots may not realize that  Mac OS is a Unix based operating system.
  • While viruses aren’t as prevalent on Mac OS. Mac OS is not immune to viruses as some have told me with a smirk.

Windows

  • Oh please Mr. PC tell me why you get slower with age? If your registry is bloated then give me a way to release the blockage please.
  • A breeding ground for viruses. Virus scanners are pricey and taxing to system performance.
  • Windows XP and IE 6. A match made in heaven and a marriage that outlived many attempts to kill it.
  • I have confirmed how long it takes my PC to boot in the morning. I turn it on. Then I go to the break room to put my lunch away and to get a cup of coffee. When I return, it’s ready to go. That’s Windows 7 and a platter based disk. (I’ve seen better with Windows 8 and a SSD.)
  • Windows 8? I get it.

Ubuntu Linux

  • It gave a few of my old PCs new life because it has less hardware requirements than Windows.
  • You can’t beat the price!
  • Software availability isn’t the best. Open Office has the basic features needed for word processing and spreadsheets. But it can lack the advanced features for power users and may not fully read a document prepared in MS Office.
  • Support is plentiful on internet forums. But I’ll admit, you have to be a geek to understand it.

Chrome OS

  • You’re right Google. I mostly just need a browser to complete my computing activities.
  • Google Docs is great. But just wait until someone passes a MS Office document to your non-techy spouse using a ChromeBook.
  • Boot-up time is amazing.
  • It’s really a “cloud” terminal.

Android

  • It works well for me because I’m in the Google ecosystem. Google docs, Gmail, Google contacts, Google+ and Google Voice.
  • Performance tends to lag at times. But I realize it’s tough to make judgements on this. Google doesn’t lock and control the hardware. So many combinations, so many possibilities.
  • Android phones don’t focus on simplicity. Some customizations can be hard to find, like speed dial and email account setup.

iOS

  • It’s not perfect as some make it out to be.
  • My daughter had reception problems from a dorm room in the basement of a building. I asked her to use wifi-calling, but found out it’s not supported yet. I’ve been using that for years on my Android device.
  • The marketing at Apple is the best. I’m not an Apple fan-boy, but their ads have won over an allegiance and created a brand title wave.
  • Let’s be honest, Apple die-hards are a bit snobby.

Windows Ready Boost and other system performance ramblings

(This isn’t my typical blog post. But I recently went through this exercise, so I thought it would be good to write it down.)

It happened again. My work issued Windows laptop is taking longer and longer and longer to boot. It’s one of those wonderful features of Microsoft Windows. In addition to going through the standard set of recommendations from Microsoft I tried a new feature this time which appears to have some immediate impact. Will it last?

Dualing OS

Can I get Ubuntu on my work laptop?

Here are some specs to set context:
Windows 7
Intel 2 Duo CPU P8700 @ 2.53GHz
3GB RAM

The boot time becomes so slow that some days I don’t fully shutdown, I just put the machine in sleep mode. It’s just too painful waiting for the boot. Oh, and I guess I’ve been spoiled by boot time of my Chromebook and Ubuntu Linux netbook. I know comparing the boot time of a Chromebook to a Windows OS machine isn’t a fair comparison. But the Linux machine is a fully functional operating system too. More on the comparison later.

Back to Windows for moment.  I went through the normal routine of speed improvements for a Windows machine. I deleted temporary files and cached files, ran disk fragmenter, checked for malware, removed some startup applications, and ran a free registry cleaner.  All this did provide some marginal help.

Then I also tried something new as well. I added a 1GB SanDisk to the system and dedicated it to Windows ReadyBoost. It’s essentially acting as another disk cache for memory and is designed to speed up disk reads because the flash drive provides faster access than standard disk drives.

So here’s my unofficial, unscientific, and non certified boot time measurement results:

With 1GB SanDisk in using ReadyBoost –
Boot  to Windows Login = 2:05m
Windows login to background visible= 50s
Background to finish load of startup = 30s
Total boot = 3:25m

Without SanDisk using ReadyBoost
Boot to Windows Login = 1:21m
Windows login to background visible =  2:13s
Background to finish = 22s
Total boot =  3:56s

The difference was 31 seconds and the machine booted faster with the SanDisk as part of the system. That’s good enough that I will leave the ReadyBoost active.

Oh. Just for fun I timed the Linux boot time and the Chromebook.

Ubuntu Linux (v12.04) test
Boot to Linux Login = 30s
Linux login to background visible =  20s
Total boot =  50s

Chromebook from boot to usable system was about 15s and I needed time to enter the password.

Time is money right?

Your operating system. Now you see me, now you don’t.

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What operating system(OS) does your PC use? Did you make a conscious decision to pick that OS or was it picked by the manufacturer of your PC? Microsoft and Apple like to sell the features of their latest OS versions because they want to show how their products add value to your computing experience. Linux teams promote their OS because its free to use and open to anyone to contribute improvements.

But for most people, the brand of the OS is really not a concern to them. They just want their PC experience to run without problems and errors. They use the PC as a tool to complete a task, share a memory, or research information.

Now you see me

Think back to when PCs were becoming common place in our homes during the 80s and 90s. At that time, you would go to the store to buy software that you then installed locally from a set of disks or a CD disc. Everything ran locally on your PC. Your OS was important in this model because you had to make sure that the software was ‘windows compatible’ or ‘MAC compatible’.

Now you don’t

As the Internet became part of our lives, and maturation of browsers to run applications and display information, the OS became less of a focus for software tools. Think about your personal computing usage this week. You didn’t install any extra software to run Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo mail, or online banking. Today you can run all of the standard office productivity suite, check email, balance your check book, pay your bills, research a new purchase, etc. all through a single piece of software, your browser.

There are still specialized software programs out there that require local installation. Computer aided design, digital artwork, film editing, etc. But for the most people, they can run all the software they need through a browser. You don’t really see or think about the OS in this model.

Now you see me again

The latest trend is mobile computing and running applications on your mobile device. Do you know what OS is installed on your mobile device? You might not know the specific OS name, but you do know that application you just downloaded only works on an iPhone right? It’s interesting to note that in some ways the mobile applications are similar to the early PC days. An application only runs on iPhone or runs on Android.

Now you don’t see me again

I think over time, the mobile device applications will go the way of the PC applications. They’ll run through the browser on your mobile device. The OS will stay invisible and you can still send that picture of Johnny to your friends. Software makers will be start to either make mobile versions of their online applications or they’ll take mobile devices into their design considerations.

And with that thought I’m outta here…..(poof!)