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Saturday, November 3, 2012 - Page updated at 11:30 a.m.
Windows frustration: Is switching to Apple the answer?
By Patrick Marshall
Special to The Seattle Times
Q. I’ll admit this is a rant. I do have some questions in the last paragraph and would like your advice.
Janet Tu’s description of Windows 8 left me very scared. Now your no-hype answer to a reader’s question in the Oct. 27 Q&A column has confirmed and intensified my fears. I will not be installing Windows 8, nor purchasing a computer with it installed.
I am disturbed that the current flood of tablet and phone devices is driving operating-system technology for all personal and home computers.
I am irritated by Windows 7, which came installed on my new PC. Specifically, I find Window 7’s Windows Live Photo Gallery confusing and difficult to use, as compared with Vista’s Windows Photo Gallery, a simple, capable and very user-friendly tool.
I am further irritated that Windows 7 Home Premium will not accept Windows Virtual PC, which in the past has been my salvation because it allows me to run favorite apps Microsoft has left behind.
Is the lack of provision for Virtual PC an intentional attempt to force me to buy an upgrade? Or is Microsoft so engrossed with the gaming and tablet business that it has no talent available to retain previously user-friendly features for traditional PC users?
Facing my disgust with the progression of Windows “improvements,” I have considered several options. Should I remove Windows 7 and install Vista? Should I convert to a dual-boot installation, with Window 7 and Vista? Should I convert to Linux? Should I take the advice of friends and make my next computer an Apple?
— Elliott W. Brogren
A. I sympathize. At the same time, I don’t think we can expect any software maker to keep supporting applications that are more than 10 years old.
So if it were me — and it is me, because I have grappled with many of the irritations you have — I would stick with Windows 7 for now and find the best applications I could get to run under it. Windows 7 is more stable and secure than previous versions of Windows.
As for Windows 8, I’m sure I’ll have to move there, too. I just hope that before I do, Microsoft makes some fixes, such as allowing users the choice of whether to use the tablet interface or a Windows 7 interface when working on a desktop or notebook computer.
Linux is not a bad option, though that won’t solve your problem about being able to run the applications you like. And moving to Apple is not a bad idea, either — so long as you’re willing to pay the extra dollars.
Unfortunately, all operating systems tend to leave older programs behind and eventually they won’t work with newer versions of the operating system.
Q. We are interested in a performance that will be available via live streaming coming up soon. Unfortunately, it will be taking place in Great Britain, which means we’ll need to start watching around midnight to see it live.
Can we record the live streaming performance and watch it later? We have a Lenovo desktop with Windows Vista software.
— Kneal Hollander
A. While I don’t know of a free video-capture program that includes a timer feature, many retail capture programs do.
Three that I know offer timers are liteCam ($19, innoheim.com), WM Recorder ($39.95, wmrecorder.com) and Total Recorder ($53.95, totalrecorder.com).
There are other programs available, too. Just search the Internet for record streaming video schedule” (And since I haven’t used either program, don’t consider this a review or specific product recommendation.)
Questions for Patrick Marshall may be sent by email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail at Q&A/Technology, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/
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