Windows 7

Catching up with news on the CustomPC website and there’s an interesting article entitled: Microsoft strips email and photo apps from Windows 7.

Next version of Windows will come without the clutter of extra software as standard, although you’ll be able to download equivalent software from Windows Live.

Market share

Hmm … that seems like a brave move. I was reading in an article in (I think) this month’s PC Plus magazine that Windows’ market share has been declining over the last few years, mostly to both Linux and Mac. The latter helped along by the “Hi! I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” adverts, and … well, the unpopularity of Windows Vista.

It just works!

Mac has the tagline: “It just works!”  Perhaps Windows should have: “Never a dull moment!”

But one of the things that I’ve heard from converted Mac users is how great it is to plug in a new Mac and just get on with things: email, photos, videos, surfing the Web, office tasks.

And yet Microsoft are moving away from this?

To do these sort of tasks Windows XP came with:

  • Outlook Express
  • Paint
  • Windows Movie Maker
  • Internet Explorer
  • WordPad

(Why no calendar application?!)

From what I’ve heard, not really in the same league as the built-in software in Mac OS X Leopard, for example; perhaps with the exception of Movie Maker, which is a decent piece of basic movie-making software.

My verdict

Personally, at the moment, I’m not convinced that this is the right way to go.  It just seems to me to making things harder, not easier, for new or inexperienced PC users to just get on and do stuff with their new PCs, without first having to download and install a bunch of applications from Windows Live.

I could, of course, be completely wrong and we’ll discover that the user-interface for this is wonderfully simple and intuitive to use … I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Woohoo! I’ve just installed Ubuntu

I’ve just updated the previous post, but I’ll say it again:

Woohoo! I’ve just successfully installed Ubuntu 6.06 LTS.

Here’s how:

  1. Updated the BIOS to the latest version (08 August 2003)
  2. Ran the Live CD
  3. Used GParted to manually delete the current partitions
  4. Ran the Ubuntu installer
  5. Er…
  6. That’s it!

It’s now installing 186 updates … Woohoo!

Now … what Microsoft software is available for it? I much prefer Microsoft software to any of that homemade stuff. They’re a proper company and everything.


p.s. I’m only teasing. I love Open Source software.

Why is ActiveSync so slow?

I’ve probably said it before, I’ll say it again:

Why does Microsoft ActiveSync take such an inordinate length of time to synchronize Outlook 2003 with Outlook Mobile?

My Xda Orbit is currently doing an initial sync with Outlook. It has taken 75 minutes so far and it still says “Processing”.

My Psion Series 5mx or Series 7 on the other hand will do an initial sync in less than 10 minutes. Using software from the turn of the millennium!

Update #1: that’s the two hours mark now … still “Processing”.

Update #2: … and three hours passes … still “Processing”.

Update #3: … and four hours passes by. The really annoying thing is that there is no feedback other than “Processing”. The rest of ActiveSync is working fine, e.g. Explore and Connection Settings … but is it synchronizing with Outlook?

Update #4: I eventually cancelled the synchronization, deleted the ActiveSync profile on my O2 Xda Orbit and within Microsoft ActiveSync and then reconnected.  I then set it to sync only Tasks — that completed; then Tasks and Notes — that completed too; then Tasks, Notes and Contacts — that’s completed.  Just Calendar to do now, and I should be done. At last!

Synchronizing Outlook with Google Calendar


At last! My online experience is now complete. For this afternoon I managed, using the wonders of modern technology, to synchronize my Microsoft Outlook 2003 calendar with my online Google Calendar.

I used the excellently simple SyncMyCal which allows you to synchronize your Google Calendar(s) with either Outlook or Pocket Outlook (on a PDA).

The free version allows you to synchronize appointments for a maximum of only 7 days (3 days in the past, today, and 3 days into the future). The full version (£13.50) allows you to extend your synchronization period AND setup an automatic scheduled sync (the default is every 15 minutes).

It really couldn’t be more simple. Now Jane can really keep an eye on my goings on, because if anything knows what I’m supposed to be doing it’s my Outlook calendar.

Other options

You may be interested, while I was searching for a solution to sync Outlook with Google Calendars these are the three options I looked at (as well as others folks have recommended in the comments):

  • SyncMyCal (Lite for free, or Pro for £13.50)
  • gSyncit (US $9.99)
  • RemoteCalendars (Free OpenSource)
  • Calgoo