Saturday, October 27, 2012

Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro upgrade is not a straight forward upgrade for all Windows 7 editions.

I decided to buy the Windows 8 Pro upgrade from the Microsoft Online Store this morning. I have an older development machine I’d like to install Windows 8 Pro on. The machine is currently running the trial version of Windows 8 Enterprise Edition which expires after three months. I opened my notebook and went to download. From the first screens presented on the Microsoft Online Store I couldn’t just buy and download Windows 8 Pro and then burn it to a disk. The screens take me through the steps of checking my machine and at this point I decided I’d rather go to Officeworks and buy Windows 8 Pro on special for around $9 more. I’m hoping the special also includes the DVD so I don’t have to spend the time downloading and burning a DVD.

The problem I find with downloading programs is things can and do go wrong. When I support people I take into account people have a range of skills. If things go wrong for me, then they’ll go wrong for others and really, I want people to have the best experience they can, given what technology often puts us through. On a number of occasions when I’ve assisted people who have downloaded their software, they don’t have a copy of their software to reinstall when there is a major problem. This means to fix the problem they have had to buy the software again. In other situations people have lost their product key, or the product key is in their emails on their computer which is no longer working. People should have a copy of their software and their product key stored separately to minimise the chance of having to incur additional costs and delays.

One big surprise for me was the following statement on the Microsoft Online Store.

“If your PC is running Windows 7 Home Basic or Home Premium, your files, programs and settings will easily transfer to Windows 8. If your PC is running Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate, Windows XP or Windows Vista, you will need to reinstall your programs. Some features such as touch may require a new PC. To check compatibility, visit your PC manufacturer’s website and check out www.windows.com/upgrade to run the Upgrade Assistant to check for compatibility and get more details on system requirements.”

To me an upgrade is you insert the disk, run the program, the upgrade occurs and you continue working. This is generally relatively easy for anyone who is comfortable working with technology. Having to reinstall all your programs is much more time consuming. You never know if you’ve got all the disks, the licence numbers and even if some of the programs such as drivers will even work. Reinstalling your software can often wipe existing data for some applications and that is pretty scary if you don’t know what you’re doing. I’ve often reinstalled Windows and then spent hours downloading and updating drivers for sound cards, video cards and other devices in the computer. An upgrade to a new version of Windows can mean some of your peripheral devices don’t work and may never be able to be used again with your upgraded computer.

What surprised me and I didn’t know, even though I’ve spent numerous hours researching, installed Windows 8 Release Preview, installed Windows 8 Enterprise Edition, and attended a Microsoft day-long seminar, that the upgrade will only work easily with Windows 7 Home Basic or Home Premium. I mostly now support micro and small business clients (as well as home users) and for business I’d always recommend the Pro version of Windows. People buying Home editions would often bring a computer into a large business or government environment wanting to use their computer for work, but couldn’t because it couldn’t connect to their network at work. There were also other features missing in the Home edition. Thus it was safer to purchase the Pro edition of Windows.

Now every one of those computer running the pro edition of Windows 7, will now effectively have to do what is nearly a complete reinstall of their computer. That is a very costly exercise if you are using an IT consultant to upgrade your computers. I wouldn’t upgrade a machine without first doing a review of the machine, determining what programs and data the user has on their machine, performing a backup of their hard disk, and then installing the new operating system, reinstalling all their applications, bringing across their data and then fixing any issues that have been created, such as drivers for hardware or peripherals not working. This could easily be a $300-$500 (or more) cost per machine. I personally find it hard to justify putting that amount of money into an older machine.

Windows 8 is not a simple upgrade anymore and it is now an upgrade you need to think seriously about. If you have to pay $300-$500 to upgrade an older machine, that sum of money could easily go a long way towards the cost of purchasing a new machine. With a new machine at least you know the machine has been designed to run the new operating system. You don’t have to try to fix things that didn’t work in the upgrade. Because your data is still on your old machine you can take your time to migrate your data and applications. I often leave the old decommissioned machine with the client for two weeks just in case something they hadn’t realised the was something on their old machine they needed to be migrated and now doesn’t work on their new machine. Then after that period the old machine can be cleaned and reused in another part of the business.

As an extra tip I don’t generally buy the Office software licence with the machine as that software can only be used with that machine. I purchase the more expensive stand-alone version of the Office. That enables me to use the software on two machines (a desktop and a notebook) and to transfer the software to a new machine. (I’ll need to recheck the licence to see if this still applies.) I’ve had clients who have had their computers stolen. The insurance companies won’t pay for the software and the software is only licensed for the machine that was stolen. The client can’t use the software on the new replacement machine and are thus out of pocket hundreds of dollars. I’ve also confirmed this with Microsoft.

Until today I didn’t realise that only the Home editions of Windows 7 will be a relatively straight forward upgrade exercise. That means for me, the majority of machines could potentially be equivalent to a reinstall and that is a much more time consuming and thus expensive exercise. Many of those who purchased a machine recently running Windows 7 with a $14.99 upgrade to Windows 8, will probably now be regretting they didn’t just wait and buy a new computer and save themselves the time and energy required to upgrade. I’ve recommended that my clients defer purchasing machines until after Windows 8 ships. Retailers who just wanted the sale would have been pushing out machines and not advising clients of the time and effort to upgrade. Consultants who have advised clients to purchase a Windows 7 machine and then to later update may get some agro from their clients. Some consultants would have done this knowingly to obtain additional support work and others would not have known the upgrade wouldn’t be a simple upgrade.

I’m posting this article to all my blogs including my Online Connections blog (www.blog.onlineconnections.com.au) and also each of the JustLocal postcode blogs I maintain, to ensure people I support now know if they are thinking of upgrading to Windows 8, there is more work involved than previously anticipated.

If you’d like to be kept informed with technology related news, most news is posted to my Online Connections blog (www.blog.onlineconnections.com.au). For clients I also provide the MyAnswers solution database where I post problems and solutions I find when working with clients. This enables me to share solutions between clients reducing the costs overall for all clients. You can keep updated on new solutions on the MyAnswers site (www.MyAnswers.biz)  by looking at the Recent solutions posted. I expect to post quite a number of issues and solutions relating to Windows 8.

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer advice and support.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham, Templestowe Lower, Lower Plenty, Doncaster East, Montmorency, Bulleen, Warrandyte and Research with no travel or call-out fee. For suburbs outside this area travel time is chargeable.
 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Windows 8 release date in Australia is today. Windows 8 Pro upgrade available now.

Windows 8 Pro upgrade is now available for download from Microsoft’s Online Store for $39.99. There are a number of things you should keep in mind.

1. Whilst at $39.99 the Windows 8 Pro upgrade is a bargain compared to previous upgrades, if you have an ageing computer think about whether it is best to save the money and put it towards a new computer, or to install Windows 8 Pro to keep your existing computer going and use the latest version of Windows.

2. Keep in mind Windows 8 is very different from what you are used to. At first this will be frustrating for most, but as with all past changes, once you get used to it, it won’t really matter.

3. Around 10% of older computers I’d estimate won’t be able to be upgraded. I estimate there will be over 100 million computers currently being used worldwide which won’t handle the upgrade. Check Microsoft’s refund policy, or the policy of the store where you purchase the software. The system requirements stated on the Microsoft web site do not take into account many computers which exceed the minimum requirement cannot install the Windows 8 upgrade. This is based on testing the Windows 8 Preview Release and I don’t believe this has changed.

The Microsoft Online Store provides a link to the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant which you can use to test if your computer can install Windows 8. I’d recommend running the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant before purchasing the Window 8 Pro upgrade. On the netbook computer I use (it is around three years old) 11 issues were found and one was quite serious.

4. Keep in mind only upgrading from Windows 7 is what we’d normally consider a real upgrade. Windows Vista and Windows 8 will require reinstallation of your applications and isn’t an upgrade to me. My concern here is people running the upgrade on a Vistra or Windows XP machine will end up with a machine where there programs won’t run if they don’t understand how the upgrade works. I’d suggest Windows XP and Windows Vista users consider the upgrade to be like a fresh install. If you had to do a new install of your computer what do you need to save first.

5. You should perform a backup of your data (including programs you may have download and any settings your programs may store) before you perform any upgrade to your computer.  

I’m suggesting to my clients they should purchase the upgrade to Windows 8 Pro even if they don’t install the upgrade right now. Until January 31st 2013 you’ll be able to buy Windows 8 Pro via download for $39.99. After that date the price will most likely revert to the very expensive upgrade prices of past, which means it may no longer be worth upgrading an older machine. This of course may change and Microsoft may decide to keep the upgrade prices at a reasonable level, but I wouldn’t count on it. Based on what I’ve read the upgrade to Windows 8 Pro on DVD could cost as much as $290. To me it doesn’t make sense to pay that much money to upgrade an older machine when that money could go to a new and faster machine.

You can buy Windows 8 Pro upgrade from a retailer, or save some money and download the upgrade from the Microsoft Online Store. The upgrade from a retailer will cost around $20-$30 more. I’m not sure at the moment, but I suspect the retail version may include a DVD. You should check if the DVD is included in the purchase from a retailer.

As I find issues with Windows 8 I’ll add the issues and solutions to MyAnswers for clients. I’ve already identified and documented a shortcoming of Windows 8 Mail which largely stops me from using Windows 8 Mail and may stop others.

Most importantly, do run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant first to make sure upgrading your computer won’t cause you any grief. Well, no more grief than normal.

If you forget where you can download the Windows 8 upgrade, the Microsoft Online Store is available on the main page of JustLocal (www.JustLocal.com.au). JustLocal is an advertising service I’ve created to help local businesses advertise cost effectively.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

NOTE: The link to the Microsoft store above is an affiliate link. Purchasing using this link means I receive a commission but does not affect the price you pay.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gourmet Living Templestowe Village

Gourmet Living, a specialty foodstore, opened last week next door to its sister-restaurant The Living Room.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Manningham Council approved the rezoning of the open space at Parker St recreation centre

A TEMPLESTOWE recreation centre will be rezoned and potentially sold to developers under the new Templestowe Village Management Strategy.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Templestowe resident Emad Nayef won gold at last month's Global Powerlifting Championships in Slovakia

NOT even a shoulder reconstruction and bicep reattachment could keep Emad Nayef from powerlifting.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Brooke Cairns is hoping to raise enough money to pay for her horse, Ace's, cancer treatment

Mrs Cairns, a single mum of two, who lost her own horse to illness earlier this year, said the support of the community had been wonderful, and she was proud of Brooke.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Women warned over sex pest

WOMEN are being urged to travel in pairs at night and carry a phone in their hand as police continue to investigate a spate of sexual assaults across Manningham, Whitehorse and Boroondara.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Google search Australia and Google advertising has now been removed from JustLocal.

Recently Google updated their search algorithm which resulted in my dictionary page going from the number one position in Google when people search for “Australian dictionary” to nowhere to be seen. That means around a thousand people each week using my free Australian English dictionary service will no longer find a free Australian English dictionary service. If Google can do that to me so easily, they can do it to any business.

I’ve also noticed that between 25% and up to possibly 40% of searches coming to my site have no search term, which means people are logged onto a Google service and whatever they search for is being tracked to them individually.

These actions concern me. I don’t want to encourage people to put time and effort into creating a presence in Google search results when any time, effort, or money they outlay, could easily end up being wiped away so easily. I’m also very concerned about the privacy of Australians. Over 90% of Australians use Google for searching with 25-40% of those having their search activity tracked to them individually. I’ve read this information can be handed to law enforcement agencies without a court order. How this information is being used by others is not known to us and for me that is a concern.

Whilst I can’t stop using all Google services, I’ve decided at this point to remove Google advertising from my site and the Google custom search engine.

JustLocal has been designed to provide single click access to businesses in an area. Something which is very difficult and time consuming with a search engine. For example, a very popular fish and chip shop called Shark Tank Seafood opened a few months ago in Templestowe. My blog entries appear in Google’s search results, but the page with the menu at http://www.justlocal.com.au/clients/shark-tank-seafood-templestowe/ cannot be found. If you visit www.JustLocal.com.au/3106 (the page for Templestowe), you can access the Shark Tank Seafood menu with a single click.

JustLocal offers single click access to local businesses. Google offers endless searches with no guarantee of finding what you want.

By continuing to include Google’s custom search in JustLocal, people will continue to unproductively search for local businesses often being presented with large overseas businesses, or business not in the area with deep pockets to advertise. Once people realise there is a better way to find a local business using JustLocal, JustLocal will grow to service locals better. Shark Tank Seafood receives over a hundred views of their menu a month as a result of JustLocal’s efforts to promote them. That’s a lot of potential business.

 

Thank you for your continued support and I trust JustLocal assists local businesses and residents.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au
Help to build a stronger local community through stronger local businesses.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Grace La Vella and Gus Morello shared billboard in Templestowe





Local politics is serious business in Templestowe. I noticed this billboard of Grace La Vella and Gus Morello at the Water Tunnel car wash.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Police directing motorists into Templestowe Reserve on Porter Street Templestowe

This morning I noticed police directing west bound traffic on Porter Street Templestowe into the Templestowe Reserve. Most likely performing checks on cars but not sure. On second check looks like a random breath/drug testing.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Seat-belt and mobile phone blitz in Templestowe

DONCASTER police will start a Manningham-wide blitz on seat-belt and mobile phone offences next week.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Spate of tool thefts in Templestowe and Bulleen

POLICE are urging tradies to watch out for white vans after a spate of tool thefts in Templestowe and Bulleen.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Veterinarian Durelle Esnouf said pet owners should take precautions to prevent deadly and costly encounters with snakes

Dr Esnouf said pets had been bitten from Westerfolds Park and the Maroondah Aqueduct Trail through to small parks in Montmorency.... Read More

- Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

Will the government automatically refund red-light camera fines and demerit points they weren't entitled to?

Eight red-light cameras have now been shown to have an incorrect timing for the amber light causing thousands of motorists to be fined and lose demerit points.

The cynic in me wonders whether the government will show integrity and refund the money and points they weren’t entitled to. If the government requires people to lodge some form of request they know full well there will be a large number of people who won’t be bothered and many who simply won’t even realise. A way to gain revenue I do not consider to be ethical or appropriate.

For those who were fined at the red-light camera on the intersection of Doncaster Road, Manningham Road and Tram Road I’ve posted videos of the traffic lights as they were when people were fined when the amber timing was set to 3 seconds, and after they’ve been corrected which shows the amber light at 4.5 seconds.

Manningham Road, Doncaster Road, Tram Road Red-Light Camera. Amber Traffic Light set at 3 seconds

Manningham Road, Doncaster Road, Tram Road Red-Light Camera. Amber Traffic Light set at 4.5 seconds

The first picture is taken 0.5 seconds after the light turns red which would indicate anyone with a fine of up to 2 seconds may be entitled to a refund.

The details of the red-light cameras which were not set to AustRoads guidelines are the following:

Terminal Drive & Centre Road, Melbourne Airport
AustRoads guidelines: 3.5 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 16 Nov 10 - 24 Jan 12

Doncaster Road and Williamsons Road/Tram Road, Doncaster
AustRoads guidelines: 4.5 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 5 Oct 11 - 7 Aug 12

Fyans Street & Moorabool Street, South Geelong
AustRoads guidelines: 4.0 secs
Actual time: 3.5 secs
Incorrect amber period: 11 May 10 - 24 Aug 12

High Street & Mahoneys Road/Keon Parade, Thomastown
AustRoads guidelines: 4.5 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 20 Oct 11 - 26 Sep 12

Warrigal Road & Centre Road, Bentleigh East
AustRoads guidelines: 4.0 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 1 Aug 10 - 16 Aug 12

Heatherton Road & Gladstone Road, Dandenong North
AustRoads guidelines: 4.0 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 29 Dec 04 - 16 Aug 12

Foster Street and McCrae Street, Dandenong
AustRoads guidelines: 4.0 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 18 Oct 10 - 16 Aug 12

Stud Road & High Street, Wantirna
AustRoads guidelines: 4.5 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect amber period: 28 Dec 06 - 23 Aug 12

Whilst I haven’t confirmed (as I was not able to get through on the Fines Victoria telephone line) you should review your fine with regards to the time difference and keep in mind the first picture is taken at 0.5 seconds after the light turns red. Thus I suspect you should be able to add the 0.5 seconds to the time difference between the AustRoads guidelines and the Actual time.

In an ideal world the money and points should be automatically refunded. Being far from an ideal world it would be prudent to lodge a submission for a refund of the money and points.

There is still no guarantee the government will be refunding anything, just that the situation will be reviewed.

My own experience at the Manningham Road/Doncaster Road intersection is that during the time whilst the amber light timing was incorrectly set it created a very dangerous situation for drivers. Whilst approaching the lights at normal speed, well below the 70kph speed limit, the amber light changed so quickly you have to brake much harder than normal which could easily cause a car behind to crash into the rear of a vehicle. I believe the intersection should also be reviewed for crashes which may have occurred as a result of the amber light timing being incorrectly set.

Please let others know about the situation at the intersections mentioned above. The number of people who have been incorrectly fined could easily be in the tens of thousands and may be someone you know. They may not have even mentioned being fined as many people are embarrassed by being fined. In this case they could have easily been fined for something which was not their fault, but the fault of VicRoads, if VicRoads is in charge of setting the timing for the amber light.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

Monday, October 8, 2012

Doncaster Road and Williamsons Road/Tram Road red-light camera

“The Government has asked Victoria's Road Safety Camera Commissioner, His Honour Judge Gordon Lewis, to broaden his investigation into the issue of amber light timing at red-light camera intersections after a VicRoads review identified seven additional sites that were found to be inconsistent with the Austroads guidelines.” – State Government Victoria Fines site.

Doncaster Road and Williamsons Road/Tram Road
AustRoads guidelines: 4.5 secs
Actual time: 3.0 secs
Incorrect Amber period: 5 Oct 11 - 7 Aug 12

- Kelvin Eldridge
www.JustLocal.com.au

UPDATE: For more information and links to videos of the lights before an after the change visit http://justlocal.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/will-government-automatically-refund.html.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bus stop relocation for routes 305, 318, 905, 906, 907 and 908.

On the Smartbus 905 I noticed a bulletin which read the following:

"Bus stop relocation for routes 305, 318, 905, 906, 907 and 908. Effective Tuesday 25th September 2012 until further notice.

Due to construction works, the city terminus for bus routes 305, 318, 905, 906, 907 and 908 will be relocated east of Lonsdale Street, near the corner of King Street."

Allow extra time for the walk to the station and a brolly for Melbourne's often unpredictable weather.



Kelvin Eldridge
www.OnlineConnections.com.au
Call 0415 910 703 if you require help with your computer.
No problem too small.