An unimportant Americanism (and something important about Windows 10)

By | September 14, 2015
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You probably know that the Americans tend to lead the technology field nowadays.  Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook – they’re all American companies.

So it’s not surprising that they’re designed with Americans very much in mind.  Over time they’re getting better at giving options for other countries – so you can usually select Uk English instead of American English, you can have the date written the right way round and in some of the latest versions it can even spell favourites correctly!

But there are some things that give away that they were designed in Manchester, Edinburgh or indeed Millom.

Yesterday I was testing the latest update to Siri – a feature on Apple’s iPad and iPhone that lets you talk to it and ask it questions or tell it what to do. It’s a pretty nifty feature (and the new Windows 10 has an equivalent called Cortana – more on that in another email shortly).

I asked it a few questions, like where the nearest petrol station was (it showed me a map) and so on.

Then I asked it “Will it be warm today?”  And the answer came back “Not really – about 21 degrees Celsius.”  (that’s about 70°F)

Well, I suppose in sunny California that might be considered a bit chilly, but here in Millom I count that as a nice warm day!

Still, it’s a clever feature and it’s fascinating to play with – I still can’t quite believe I can literally talk to the iPad and it’ll give me sensible answers.  And aside from being impressed at how clever it is, I think it could actually be useful as well – being able to ask it about the weather or the way to the petrol station or to remind you to buy milk tomorrow is easier than working out how to check it on the web or to set a reminder up “by hand”.

Anyway, having chuckled at 21 being described as not warm, I told it “You’re from California aren’t you?”.

“Who, me?” came the answer.

It seems to even have a sense of humour.  Well, just about.

Something important about Windows 10
A few people have asked me about this and it’s important, so I thought I’d clear it up here in case anyone else is wondering.

Several people have heard that Windows 10 is only free for the first 12 months – after that (so they’re told) you’ll have to pay a subscription to keep on using it.

Understandably, it’d put you off upgrading to it, especially since no-one knows how much the subscription is.

But don’t worry – the reason no-one knows how much it is is because there is no subscription.

It’s understandable, though.  What Microsoft said was “The upgrade to Windows 10 is free for the first 12 months”.

Well, you could easily take that as meaning that after 12 months, you have to pay.

But what they actually meant is that if you do the upgrade in the first 12 months, it’s free.  After that if you want to upgrade, you’ll have to pay to get it.

Either way, there’s no subscription.  It’s just that if you get it by June 2016, you can download the upgrade free, after that, you’ll have to pay to get it.

So if you are thinking of upgrading from Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 to Windows 10, don’t leave it too long – but you do have until June next year.

Something else important if you’re thinking of using Windows 10
Which reminds me, you may be aware of the books Computers One Step at a Time and The Internet One Step at a Time.  I first wrote them back in 2005 for Windows XP and they’ve been hugely popular since then.

The latest version is just finished – completely updated for Windows 10.  I just sent them off to the printers last week.  So they’ll be available to order shortly.

If you’re upgrading your PC to Windows 10 or getting a new PC with it already on, and you’d like some help setting the new system up and learning how to use it, you might want to have a look.

The new version is completely based on Windows 10 (though we still have the older ones for Windows 8, 7 and so on) – it’s completely updated so all the pictures of the screen are from Windows 10 and the completely new features (like Cortana that I mentioned earlier) are covered too.

Anyway, it’s not available to order just yet – I’ll let you know when it is.  I’m expecting the books to be back from the printers next week and I’ll give you a bit more information then in case you are thinking of moving to Windows 10 and would like a bit more help.

6 thoughts on “An unimportant Americanism (and something important about Windows 10)

  1. bob green

    W10 to earlier system. Gather that if you want to do it in 6 months time, rename windows.old to and w10 will not delete your old o/s, then later you can rename back to windows.old, and then go back to your old o/s.

  2. Helen Cheesbrough

    I am very pleased that you will soon have help fo Windows 10, I shall be waiting patiently for it, as I do not seem to be able to cope as well as XP or windows 7. Thanks to all your work.

  3. Allan Dennis

    As a self appointed representative of the octogenarians I look forward to the said book on Windows 10 and sincerely hope you have had us in mind when writing it,kindest regards

  4. Richard de Verteuil

    I actually tutor computing for the ‘silver surfers’ in our community and I downloaded and installed Windows 10 on one of my spare machines just to have a look at it. I presently run Windows 7, 32 and 64 bit on a number of personal computers and laptops, and have been doing so for some time now. I do not know much about Windows 8/8.1 – yeuk!
    A colleague who has Windows 8/8.1 says he will upgrade and another has already done so and prefers 10 to 8/8.1 so will stay with it. On the other hand I gave 10 a try out and although it presented very much as Windows 7, except for some desktop changes, I reverted back to Windows 7 after three days. Some of my reasons:
    1. I find the sidebar very useful and there is none in Windows 10. I have heard all the chat about how insecure the sidebar is but my included AV and anti-malware programs seem to be keeping me safe.
    2. I find that Cortana is not particularly helpful, more a gimmick than an answer and results from questions do not seem to be much different from Google listings, so what is saved – a bit of typing?
    3. I never liked IE and Edge is colourless and very bland. I prefer to use Sea Monkey and it suits me. I like the Download Manager it has and this means that downloaded files are really easy to find for copying etc. They can also be run directly from the Download Manager.
    4. I only recommend setting Windows Update to Automatic for novices, and Windows 10 does not give the option to look at updates before installation. Microsoft have already proved that enforced updates can be dangerous to operating systems.
    5. I use VLC already but Microsoft seem to be slimming down the windows ‘includes’ to the point where more and more ‘everyday’ software will have to be sourced elsewhere and will not be updated by them as part of the Microsoft ‘other software’ updates. I normally use Media Player or VLC.
    6. So Windows 10 will be free for the first 12 months but not to operators of Windows Vista or XP. XP is widely praised as opposed to Vista – my wife uses Vista and has never had a problem with it. I have not had much experience of XP, but no complaints. I went from Windows 2000 to Windows Vista the to Windows 7. When Vista is phased out I will put Windows 7 on her laptop.

    In future I may be persuaded to ‘learn’ Windows 10 for tutoring, but I will stay with Windows 7 at home.
    I will be 75 this December!

  5. John Hyde

    Look forward to the book to help me through Windows 10. Currently I have a ‘Critica Error@ stating:” Start menu and Cortana aren’t working. We’ll try to fix it the next time you sign in.” Had this for 3days and it is still there! Cannot get to Microsoft so I just wait, unless you know something I don’t!

    1. Richard de Verteuil

      Why not try and Restore your computer to the previous operating system? When I restored mine to Windows 7, it was exactly as I had left it before the upgrade. Windows 10 sets a restore point before it carries out the upgrade so provided you can get there, it should work. Try looking at this link that explains how to restore your previous operating system providing it was Windows 7 or 8/8.1.


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