I have a few random opinions to pass along during this holiday season. I hope your holiday is safe and happy and I look forward to helping you again next year (or this year, don't you want the new laptop all set up and ready as a gift?)
Windows 10: I have had a chance to work on many computers that started in this world as Windows 7 or Windows 8 and I can honestly say I am still not super impressed by upgrading to Windows 10. Some of you have upgraded without a hiccup and that's great. But the users that end up calling me are the ones where Windows 10 breaks something that worked fine. For example, I am working on a Dell Inspiron laptop right now that worked fine in Windows 8. As soon as the client upgraded to Windows 10, the Broadcom wireless adapter (aka Dell 1704) started flaking out since it is not fully compatible with Windows 10. In order to fix it, I had to uninstall the adapter and actually retrofit a Windows 7 x64 driver. Not a lot of fun for a user where everything used to work fine. I know that Microsoft is pestering the life of you with pop-up windows to upgrade, but try to delay the pain just a little bit longer. Unfortunately for you, starting early next year some time, Microsoft is going to move the Windows 10 upgrade from an optional to an automatic. Then the fun really starts. Now, if you buy a new computer, get it with Windows 10. Windows 10 has a lot of cool features and it's very quick. Also, the assumption there is that the hardware has already been tested and will be fully supported by the factory shipped operating system. Why should Broadcom or Atheros or Realtek take a 5 year old piece of hardware in a $300 laptop and upgrade the compatibility? Right, they probably won't.
And if you do install Windows 10, make sure to install Classic Shell from www.classicshell.net. It's an excellent FREE start button replacement tool.
Finger-Pointing 101: Microsoft makes and sells Microsoft Office. They offer a yearly subscription called Office 365. When Office 365 first came out, it was Office 2013. Apple makes iCloud for Windows. iCloud lets you synchronize your contacts and calendar with Office. Microsoft just released Office 2016. It's an almost automatic update for users who have Office 365 ("Hey, how about installing the newest version since you're paying for it!"). Outlook 2016 doesn't work with iCloud... Yet. If you install Outlook 2016, iCloud will tell you it's broken and needs to be repaired. And guess what doesn't help? The repair, that's what! There's no fix as of yet. Apple doesn't like Microsoft. Microsoft doesn't like Apple. And neither company likes Google.
High Speed Landscape: It looks like 2016 will be the year that we go from Fast Internet to WOW THAT'S FAST INTERNET. Right now, AT&T is rolling out GigaPower fiber networks in Dunwoody that will take their U-Verse service from 18-24 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps. Yes. Super Fast. I am going to sell my house and move to Oxford Chase just so I can have it. Google Fiber is NOT coming to Dunwoody, but Sandy Springs will get it with a similar speed with Google. And of course we still have Comcast which is also planning on rolling out a super fast residential service. I am a Comcast 105 Mbps Extreme client (no phone or TV) and pay $89/month. I can guarantee once the GigaPower gets a little more traction and into my neighborhood, I will jump at the chance to switch for the fastest bandwidth I can receive. Based on what I've seen so far, it will only be marginally more expensive than what I am currently paying and a whole lot faster.
Crypto Viruses: I got a call today from a client. "Adam, I am having trouble opening my documents. It says they are encrypted". Not good. The client tells me she bought a new computer in August. It came preloaded with McAfee. She entrusted her middle school son to install Avast, a decent free antivirus. First of all, he didn't install Avast. Secondly, he let McAfee lapse after the 30 days trial period. So since about Mid-September, she had NOTHING protecting her against bad guys. The bad news is once your data gets encrypted by the virus, it's next to impossible to recover it. The worse news is that she let her backup with Carbonite lapse when she got the computer. She never transferred the license from the old laptop. She effectively lost all of her data. Whenever I set up a new computer, I will always put an antivirus in place. No antivirus stops everything but it is certainly better than nothing. In my opinion, an antivirus + common sense is the best protection. Please back up your data. Visit partners.carbonite.com/dunwoodypc to buy a year of Carbonite for $59.
Minecraft Modding: For those of you with young kids who play Minecraft for Windows, you know about Mods. Mods are independently developed code enhancements for Minecraft. There are literally hundreds of them. Kids want them all to customize their game playing experience. Mods are available all over the internet. The problem is that they are usually hidden behind websites that get a kid to agree to download all sorts of junk software in order to get to their download. Whenever I see programs like Optimizer Pro, Weatherbug, DefaultTab, and others, I usually ask "You have a kid who plays Minecraft?" And I'm usually right. One of my kids, Luke, is a Minecraft expert. To the point that I have absolutely no idea what he's talking about. Luke is also an expert on safely installing Minecraft Mods. If you have a kid who likes Minecraft and instead of paying me $100/hr to clean your computer after the fact, you'd rather pay a computer genius 13 year old (I wish I had half his skills at his age...) $20/hr to install all sorts of Minecraft enhancements, please let me know. I offer after school drop off service in Dunwoody for this budding entrepreneur.
Again, Happy Holidays, and see you next year!