Ken's Korner Newsletter Logo
April 2015
Windows 10 is coming…
… and it is a good thing!
Microsoft's Windows 10

Microsoft has announced the new Windows 10 operating system. They have not yet announced exactly when it will be available, just this summer. It will be a free upgrade for all Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 users for the first year. After that it will be available for a price which has not been announced yet.

Key points:
It will run on your machine!
If you currently have a Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 machine it will run the new Windows 10. The new version is actually more efficient than the previous versions with better compression. It does not require a more powerful machine like so many new versions have in the past. That is really cool! I actually have it running on some very old “archeological artifacts” from the Windows XP days and it is stable albeit a little slow.

Internet Explorer is out.
There will be a browser of course but it won’t be MSIE. The current name for the replacement is Project Spartan but it is unclear what name it will have when it is released.

Cortana is in,
a personal assistant similar to Siri or Google Now. Cortana can find, display and print documents or look up information that you have requested. You just talk to it, (Cortana what is the weather going to be like this week?) and Cortana will find and display the information. Cortana can talk too and remind you of events on your calendar.

Your world in 3D!
If you have one of the new 3D cameras like Intel’s RealSense you can do away with passwords.

Previous face recognition attempts were flawed. A person wearing a mask with your picture could impersonate you. But this camera sees in 3D, both visible light and infrared plus it can measure distance so it is not so easily fooled. It measures a number of points on your face and hand so that even a “Mission Impossible” type of mask won’t work. It is not hack proof. It does make it a little harder on the hackers but it makes it a whole lot easier on you.

Touch screens are great but now you don’t have to even touch the screen just wave your hand. It can tell which way you are moving, what you are pointing at and it responds to your hand gestures. You can open programs, create artwork and operate devices just by waving your hands in the air. Of course the keyboard, mouse and voice commands work too.

Now you can take a picture in 3D and then measure from one point to another on the picture. How much air did he get? How many square feet is that? Just look at the picture. You can even refocus the picture after it has been taken.

Currently Dell and Acer have laptops and tablets available with the RealSense cameras and they are reasonably priced. Recently Intel announced that it has a version small enough to fit in a cell phone.

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Backup your stuff!
backupWhy backup?

As the IT guy it is my duty to nag you about backups. Nobody thinks about backups until you need one and then it is too late! Backups are cheap insurance against data loss. If nothing else at least copy the files to another drive or device. If storage space is a problem you can go with one of the cloud based backup programs.

Starting with Windows 7 there is a pretty good backup app built in. You can create a drive image and startup disk and then run incremental backups from that point. For most businesses I recommend at least two separate backups on two different external hard drives. One of those hard drives is to be stored off site.

Beyond that there are third party apps like Acronis True Image which is a very good backup program. It is a little pricy but cheap compared to the cost of recovery if you don’t have a backup.

Desktops are easy, just set the backup to run every night and leave the external drive attached. It is automatic from that point. Laptops and other portable devices are not so easy. They are not usually on at three in the morning when the desktop is backing up. You will have to do this manually. Make a note to run a backup at least once a week during a time when you are not using it. Start the backup and go to the gym or the store or take you dog for a walk.

If you fail to do your backup
and your laptop ends up at the bottom of the pool or something are you out of luck? Not completely, about ninety percent of the time at least some of the data can be recovered but this is no small trick.

The hard drive is carefully disassembled in an ultra clean environment and the actual disk platen removed. The disk is then mounted in a substitute device with appropriate support hardware and firmware. From here the data is transferred to another device and you, (and your data) are saved. If you get out of all this for under $20K consider yourself lucky!

Back it up!

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