Category Archives: Tough Love

Windows – what is still Missing! Free + cheap must-haves!

Must-have-Windows-8-apps-for-your-PC-or-tablet

Window 10, Windows 8.x, Windows 7, Windows XP Users!
We have a LIST for you…

I find it a bit surprising I have to download so many things for a 30 year old OS. Microsoft has plenty of money to buy all of these and bundle into the OS. But here is what I download on any new Window installation. It makes Windows a lot more productive, powerful and friendly.

Advanced Users (novices ignore): Rather than install these one at a time go to https://ninite.com/ and let it install many of these at once, and keep them up-to-date all at once 😀

Very Good Lists (with different choices) on others Blogs!

The downloads divided into groups

Everyone will want to download the Productivity group. Other groups just depend on how you use your Windows machine.

programmer_creattica_full

Productivity

  • Clipmate – because cut and paste in Windows is very limited. This fixes all of that in a dreamy way.
    Download @ http://www.ClipMate.com
  • Chrome by Google – because IE sucks. Chrome is much more secure than IE and FireFox. patched faster for years in response to new threats. Blocks malicious software if users download and try to install.
    Download @ http://www.google.com/chrome/

  • Search Everything – because Windows search sucks. This is tiny and super fast. can find anything on your disk durn near instantly with very little overhead.
    Download @ http://www.voidtools.com/
    Read more about it @ http://techsuperheroes.com/?p=361
  • EverNote – a good cloud note taking system to keep lists and notes on your Windows that you can get to on your phone, tablet, Mac, work PC, etc.
    Download @ http://www.EverNote.com
  • FireFox – because IE sucks, and FireFox has a few add-ins I still need that Chrome do not.
    Download at http://www.GetFireFox.com

  • FoxIt PDF Reader – a FREE lighter, faster version of Adobe Reader. More secure. Uses less memory. Loads faster.
    Download @ http://www.foxitsoftware.com/Secure_PDF_Reader/
  • GoScreen Wish you had 2 or more monitors but cannot afford them? Way better than Windows 10 virtual desktop. Way Better. Virtual Monitors done right for people with only 1 monitor.
    Download @ http://www.goscreen.info. Not FREE, but under $30 and worth every penny.
  • TextPad+ – Because Notepad sucks. Only needed by people who edit tons of text files.
  • Download @ http://www.Textpad.com
  • Tor Browser – Allows you to browse sites your company forbids and blocks. Hides the site you browse from everyone who monitors your network. For something even better than Incognito/Private mode (some corporations may not allow this)
    Download @ https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en
  • UltraMon – If you use 2 or more monitors this setups 2 or more separate task bars with relevant programs on the correct task bar (not all same programs lumped on several taskbars).
    NOT FREE – approximately $40 but I love it.
    Download trial @ https://www.realtimesoft.com/ultramon/
  • XMind – I think MindMapping is even better way to take notes than Notepad 😀

IE-Browsers

Web Browsing!

Here is the list anyone serious about browsing the Web and Safety needs to have:

These should really make you able to browse with more power (and safety) and speed.

irfanview-screenshot

Graphics and Photos and Webcam Goodies

I have picked the programs that are easiest to got started with graphics, photos, and your webcam.

cloud-computing

File & Disk Management & Backups & Cloud – oh my

If someone else manages your computer, you do not need these. But if the person managing your computer is not using these, you may need a new computer person 😀

computer-mechanic   Computer-Woes

System Maintenance / Troubleshooting

If someone else manages your computer, you do not need these. But if the person managing your computer is not using these, you may need a new computer person :D

  • Belarc Advisor – must have for system survey. Not sure what hardware or software you have. This makes a nice multi-page report including product keys, product version numbers, etc. Allows you to answer anyone’s questions aobut “what kind of machine?”, “what software is installed”, etc.
    Download @ http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html
  • Long Filenames or Pathnames keeping you from deleting, copying or renaming a file?
    Get help @ http://longpathtool.com/
  • PC Decrapifier – remove all the extra junk software the PC makers added to your machine to save disk space and memory. Easy to use. Eezy peezy Japaneezy.
    Download @ http://pcdecrapifier.com/
  • Process Lasso – because Task Manager is sucky and weak and missing key features.
    Download @ https://bitsum.com/processlasso/
  • Oracle Virtual Box Not for everyone, for people who want to install other operating systems on their computer (other versions of Windows, Linux, hacintosh). Because free Virtual PC is too weak and VMWare is too expensive.
  • Registry Workshop to make registry editing a dream @ http://www.torchsoft.com/en/rw_information.html
  • Speccy – detects some things that Belarc Advisor does not. Gives you every technical spec on your system if any tech support asks you what your PC model, graphics card, disk drive, etc. is
    Download @ https://www.piriform.com/speccy
  • Take Ownership – when Windows screws up a file permission set so bad you can’t open a file. Read the fix @
    http://www.askvg.com/add-take-ownership-option-in-file-folder-context-menu-in-windows-vista/ (the fix works for Win 7/8/10)
  • Unlock Files that will not allow deletion or rename or the like – see the article @
    http://www.howtogeek.com/128680/how-to-delete-move-or-rename-locked-files-in-windows/
  • TeamViewer If you try to help family and friends far away this lets you take over their machine, see what their monitor sees, use the keyboard and mouse on their machine as if you were there. Because the Windows remote desktop client is stone age compared to this and hard to setup and use. And decent multi-monitor support if the target machine has 2 monitors. It is multi-platform. Nothing new to learn on other platforms. iPad or Android can control a Windows machine and vice versa.
    Download @ http://www.TeamViewer.com

Music, Movies, Music and DVDs and CD Goodies

Yeah music and multimedia rocks and here are the ways to get your computer rocking, dancing and singing (well rocking and singing at least):

* If you do not know what an ISO File is, you may not need this. But it is a pretty amazing thing I will attempt to explain here. Rather than load a CD/DVD into your computer’s drive to install software, you can transfer the CD or DVD into an ISO file (CD Burner XP is one way to do this). Or if a boss or co-worker wants you to install something rather than a CD or DVD they may just give you an ISO File. ISO mounting software lets you double-click on the ISO file and make ti pretend to be a CD/DVD drive then you install software while putting nothing in your CD/DVD drive. Very nice huh?

Why so many Add-Ons?

These tools should be built into Windows. Its a question people should be asking to Microsoft employees, at press conferences, in blog comments and when being begged to get excited about buying yet another site license and upgrade.

We are at Windows 10 by 2015 and after 30 years I should not need these many add on products to make it usable.

When this kind of consumer neglect kills Windows, I will not grieve for the lack of interest in Windows machine (and people using their phone as a PC or tablets, or buying Macs or Chromebooks) because this was easy and cheap to fix.

 pcguy_death

Windows still missing some BIG STUFF Microsoft

What I wish Windows had built in that sadly it still does not. Such huge omissions after 30+ years of Windows and over a decade of DOS are one of the many reasons people won’t trust or buy MS Operating Systems any more for personal use:

  • Security – unfortunately your newly purchased Windows 7/8/10 is still highly insecure. If you want security for your PC, friends or family, there is a WHOLE other set of Security add-ons you must download for free and/or buy and learn how to use.
    • MS spent billions fighting DOJ and Europe to force a browser on you even after FireFox and Chrome are way better, so you do not need IE.
    • MS threatens Dell and HP and all PC makers to not dare install a better browser for you that makes IE look bad, but does not stop them from installing so much crapware that  PC Decrapifier  @ http://pcdecrapifier.com/ is a THING you must download.
    • MS won’t fight DOJ or Europe to make your PC Windows as safe as Mac, Linux, iOS or Android. But instead they will spend a few hundred million encouraging their staff and loyalist bloggers to spread very inaccurate FUD about Mac and Linux and Android (and running Ads that Windows 7/8/10 is the most secure Windows ever).  But apparently the world’s safest OS needs another set of FREE and paid downloads to protect it.
  • Partition recovery tool – Every fricking tool that fixes this costs $50-$200 and you will use it for an hour. You will not need it again for years. And its all because the stone age MS partitioning tools do not support an Undo.
    • I guess Microsoft missed that day at “we care about the user” school.
    • Many Live Linuxes have this. So a bunch of hippies deliver something free a company with several billion does not?
  • File recovery tool – Many Live Linuxes have this. So no matter how much you pay for Windows, your boss pays, and your PC maker pays Microsoft does not care if you lose your files but a bunch of Linux hippies do… In fact Microsoft thinks if their OS loses your files with no UNDO you should pay a $50-$200 penalty and have to buy something to fix a Windows you pay for, your boss pays for, and your PC makers pay for. Pay for many upgrades by 3 sets of people and Microsoft could not put a crowbar in their wallet and recover your files they allowed you to delete without an undo feature? FT.
  • Basic Cleanup Toolssee this post!
  • A Desktop App Store (the Mac has one) – you should be able to buy Windows apps (not Metro/Modern apps) in their own store.

They have OUR Money and Profits! Spend some on Windows

I hope the new Microsoft CEO that replaces Steve Ballmer fixes 20+ years of neglecting customer needs on Windows. So far he does not seem to be, as Windows 10 has none of this. They can spend billions on Skype, AQuantitive, losing tons on Xbox and not spend a few million on either making all this unnecessary or just buying and integrating these products.

Still Using XP on a Machine – we got your back and some advice

This is what we have for you:

Hope this LIST makes your Windows more productive – Charles Carroll

photo-me-profile-beard

Windows UI Fails: Dissecting Upload dialog box

File Upload Dialog Box in Windows

Graphic_11_15_2014 2_29_08 PM

This is a very common task. It affects so many people it should be right. The internet and cloud we are always uploading files, so our perception of Windows is resting on this among other things. They have APIs for this dialog and they have updated and tweaked these APIs with little regard to end users and maximum regard to programmers.

This box appears on:

  • Every Web Site that has a default upload (Facebook, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.)
  • so many places that it really deserves to be a first class experience.

Those who say we give them an API. it’s the application programmer’s fault we have several answers:

  • This dialog box comes in all browsers YOU WROTE THIS MS
  • You strong arm programmers all the time about APIs and break them, and ditch them and change them. But suddenly now you can’t to help your customers?

I know whose fault this is not. It is not the User’s fault. They have every right to expect a big successful product that cost them money with expensive upgrades to be easy to use.

Windows 30+ years to get it right… Still waiting…

Windows has been around a while 1, 2, 3, 3.1, 95, 98, ME, NT 4, 2000, XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 8.1, Win 10 they have had plenty of time to get this right.

We have paid and paid and paid and paid (and our bosses paid, and our PC manufacturers paid) premium prices for our OS. Money was paid for premium support and per incident support. Bosses paid for annual software subscriptions even when no new OS releases were happening for years. OSes are free now in post PC world from Apple, Google, Amazon, etc. and you still have the gall to consider charging XP and Vista and Win 7 users for Wins 8.x and Windows 10. Wow! Really.

Really Microsoft? Really?

And your OS is full of dialog boxes like this for core features and enough UI Gaffes whole books can be written about it. Yet boo hoo, nobody trusts you and nobody wants to buy your OS and hardware any more.

If your primary strategy for keeping customers is

  • Stockholm Syndrome
  • We know more than the users
  • paid support and demanding the users file reports you ignore and close for years without fixing…

Maybe you should reconsider your business model. Or just accept that you created the post-PC era by consumer computing neglect, so the consumer mistrust of you and trust of others is your own fricking fault for inability to take consumer computing seriously for decades.

Windows 10 does not fix that

We pay a fortune in Windows license fee around the world. So does Dell, HP, Cmpaq, etc. on tour behalf because they pay a lot for our license to bundle it with our computer. They sure are not spending our money on perfecting Windows.

Sigh maybe by Windows 20 and another decade of upgrade fees and subscription

Uploading a file in Windows (in this case a graphic)

Here is the upload dialog.

Graphic_11_15_2014 2_29_08 PM

Let me list the flaws:

  • The preview can only be resized / split by grabbing a tiny 1 pixel strip to the left of the scroll bar. WTF with that much screen real estate and a huge monitor??!!
  • No maximize button.
  • Preview Tile is irrelevant when you have an extra large icon option.
  • Most of the time when I go to select the icon size it looks like I switch to another app entirely till I select it the upload Window actually looses focus.
  • Text Search does not work on Filenames or Folder when I am in DropBox or Google Drive (which can be done easily technically Mac Spotlight Search does it as does Void Everything Search a freebie for Windows)
  • Filename on status bar does not wrap when extra long (not surprising since Windows support for long path and filenames is still broken at many levels)
  • Filename is in TINY PRINT what is this a phone instead of a 2-5 million pixel monitor?
  • Button names like Open and Cancel are very ambiguous and not user friendly. They should be labelled by “application context” i.e. “upload pic to Facebook” and “cancel FB pic upload” plenty of room to label it we have 1920 x 1080 and larger monitors.
  • Print for all filenames captioning files is so small, illegible font, and NOT scalable. Do you just hate older users? They are the ones most likely to be using Windows instead of some post-PC solution. Have you just never seen a Mac Retina display? Have you never learned that responsive design is not just for the Web and post-PC devices.
  •  Drag and Drop folders works but no undo or confirmation. So anyone with no co-ordination could accidentally drop a directory somewhere they could never find it again.
  • I can rename a file with F2 or right click and choose rename. But if I rename and then select it and click “Open” it gives an error message about the old filename and I have to select it again.
  • If I right click a file there is a copy and move option. Neither offers a directory picker which means either opening a new window for drag or drop, or navigating to new place and then losing the original folder context.
  • Title is NOTHING which is ambiguous. What app/location/context are we uploading this too?
  • No check boxes for multiple selections. This is not Windows 3.x no one should have to learn about Ctrl and Shift and hold keys down.
  • No icons for select all or filtering to select a group.

What they got right on Upload

Its a short list unfortunately:

  • The icon sizes including extra large are nice. It never remembers it consistently so you will be constantly choosing “Extra Large” so many times if you upload a few dozen files.
  • The “Recent Places” is a godsend. Wish it noticed every interaction and added every folder instead of just most of them.
  • Nice they stole the ability to add shortcuts to the left from the Mac. Also very nice.

microsoft-mug

Get it right Microsoft!

Or

  • Don’t complain when Android, Mac, iOS becomes beloved because they are releasing fixes for their UIs several times a year and listening to customers and they are releasing their OS upgrades free. You have been charging hundreds of $$$ each for OS upgrades since Windows 1.0 and there has been Win 1, 2, 3, 3.1, 95, 98, Vista, 2000, XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, and Win 8.1. We paid you thousands of $$$ to get this OS right, as did our corporate bosses.
  • Microsoft Bloggers, quit writing blog posts about the imperfections of your competitors you need to enter the market to offer an alternative for.
  • Microsoft Bloggers, quit writing about platform fragmentation on iOS and Android unless you have 100% of PCs running Win Latest (8.1 at moment) you are typically at 20% adoption or less of a new OS the first few years of its release. Android and iOS have that beat by a wide margin.

Broken-Windows

You had one job in 30 years!