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  • Windows 8.1 is an excellent choice

    Posted on November 7th, 2018 at 09:13 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    More interesting mail this morning:

    My clients are frustrated with [unexpected and frequently destructive Win10 patches] and I don’t have a good answer other than one I have chosen myself. I moved my personal computers, except for one laptop back to Windows 8.1 as it seems to be clear of the update mess and it has update support for about 4 years. Do you recommend this as a solution to individuals who don’t care to know that Microsoft screwed up, they just don’t want their Windows 10 computer to have to be repaired again via a clean install of Windows and then manually reinstall all applications and user data? I don’t know anyway to protect them from unrequested updates that may then cause their machine to not boot. Telling them to backup is beyond the skill of most average computer users and even if so, how would you know when to do a backup as the updates happen in the background without warning.

    Excellent question.

    Windows 8.1 remains the most stable version of Windows — even more stable, of late, than Win7, and considerably more stable than any Win10 version. It has the fewest patches, the fewest bugs. You can block updates until you’re ready to install them (hopefully with an eye to the AskWoody MS-DEFCON setting). General usability ain’t much, but if you install a Start menu replacement like Start10 or Classic Shell (now open source), it’s fine.

    I’d say get ’em on Win 8.1, and gradually move them over to Chromebooks. Any dissenting opinions?

  • Chromebooks may get the capability to dual-boot into Windows

    Posted on August 13th, 2018 at 07:56 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’m gradually weaning myself away from Windows-only apps, using cloud-based apps (through both Chrome and Firefox) to get most of my work done.

    There’s an interesting update on the XDA Developers forum about Campfire, Google’s Bootcamp-like project that will (if all works according to plan) allow you to run Windows programs on a dual-boot Chromebook.

    Interesting stuff.

  • If you want a Pixelbook, now’s the time

    Posted on July 17th, 2018 at 12:38 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Google’s going to release a new Pixelbook one of these days, but for right now this is a deal that’s too good to pass up.

    To quote Google:

    Save $250 on a Google Pixelbook, originally from $999, now from $749. Offer valid starting July 16, 2018 at 1pm PT through July 17, 2018 at 11:59pm PT. Available only to U.S. residents aged 13 years or older with U.S. shipping addresses. Our offer can’t be combined with any promotional codes or with other bundle offers running at the same time.

    i5, 8 GB, 128 GB SSD for $749

    i5, 8 GB, 256 GB SSD for $949

    i7, 16 GB, 512 GB NVMe SSD for $1,399

    Pen costs an extra $99. Two USB-C ports that can be used to charge. “OK Google” enabled. (Google had a similar sale in June.) All three ship tomorrow. All have 24-month 0% financing available.

    Discounts like this don’t come scot-free. There are rumors of a new Pixelbook 2 in the wings — 4K display (3840 x 2160), Win10 compatibility. But if you don’t want to wait, this is an amazing deal.


  • Even Chromebooks get the offline blues

    Posted on December 6th, 2017 at 10:05 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Looks like many – most? – Chromebooks veered offline yesterday, after an update broke existing WiFi connections. You could still log on to a network manually, but if your setup (or company or school) relies on an existing internet connection, your machine turned belly-up.

    Frank Catalano has the story on GeekWire.

    Microsoft-itis. It hit Apple last week. Now ChromeOS.

  • Is there a Chromebook in your future?

    Posted on November 16th, 2017 at 11:41 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    No, you don’t need to spend $1 K on a Google Pixelbook, or $500 on a Samsung Chromebook Pro. There are good, cheaper Chromebooks that still pack all the oomph most people need, such as the smaller $311 Lenovo Flex 11 and the older – but still good – $290 Acer Chromebook 14. (All of those are affiliate links – click on them and AskWoody gets a tiny percentage, with no increase in price to you.)

    Whatever your poison, check out JR Raphael’s 40 Chromebook tips for maximum productivity for some “hey, I didn’t know that” advice. Good stuff.

  • An uber-review of the Google Pixelbook

    Posted on October 26th, 2017 at 12:31 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Excellent article by JR Raphael in Computerworld:

    The common conclusion with Google’s Pixelbook is that you’d have to be crazy to buy it, but that assessment is based on a flawed and myopic premise.

    I’m thinking my next laptop will be a Pixelbook. In fact, I’m crazy enough to wonder out loud if it’s “good enough” to function as a desktop replacement – just plug it into my big monitor, attach the mechanical keyboard and mighty mouse, plug in the Ethernet cable and maybe bring in the external hard drive.

    My 7-year-old’s school is adding Chromebooks, not iPads and certainly not Windows PCs. Good move, IMHO.

  • ChromeOS as up-and-coming underdog

    Posted on October 10th, 2017 at 07:45 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Y’all know how much I prefer Chromebooks to Windows computers. Far as I’m concerned, for folks who don’t absolutely require Windows programs, the Chromebook’s the way to go.

    It’s a bit tougher sell in companies, though. Lots of inertia. Security concerns. And, admittedly, lots of apps that require Windows.

    That’s why I really enjoyed James A. Martin’s article in Computerworld: 7 reasons Chrome OS computers are ideal for enterprises.

    I would add three more:

    1. They’re cheap to buy
    2. They’re cheap to run
    3. So far, they have very few security holes

    And there’s one big downside: Google snoops mercilessly. There’s not much you can do about that. It’s what they do.

    Keep what little hair you have left. Consider Chromebook.

  • Want to switch to a Chromebook? Have $450?

    Posted on October 7th, 2017 at 11:36 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Many of you are asking me what kind of Chromebook I would buy, right now. If I could, I would wait a couple more months because the holidays are coming. But in the sea of $200 to $300 Chromebooks, there’s one that stands out – and, no, it isn’t the new Google Pixelbook. In fact, you could buy two and a half of these little babies for the price of a Pixel.

    Look on the right for an affiliate link to buy the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA.

    Intel Core-M3, 64GB storage, 4GB RAM. 12.5-inch flip-over touchscreen at 1920 x 1280. 10 hours. Pen. Runs apps from the Google Store — a bit rocky right now, but the Android-apps-on-Chromebook scene will settle down a whole lot faster than the Microsoft Store will beef up.