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.