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Installing Windows #rant

I am a Mac user, and there is a reason why I switched to OS X a while back. Well, apparently there is a Windows only program that I have to use. So, here’s an adventure in installing Windows 8.1 on my Macbook Air.

First thing first, I would need an ISO of Windows 8 for OS X’s boot camp. Why Windows 8? I have a Windows 8 upgrade key, and no, Windows 8 key cannot be used to activate Windows 8.1, despite Windows 8.1 being a free update. It’s amazing the things Microsoft went through to make sure legit users are inconvenienced.

Now the ISO itself. Guess what, Microsoft does NOT provide one. Yeah, Microsoft has gone above and beyond to ensure that you rather purchase a new Windows 8 computer. If you have a friend with a Windows 7/8 PC, you are in luck as you can simply download the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant and it will allow you to download the installation set and create an ISO.

But what if you are stuck with only a Mac at your disposal? Well, Microsoft does provide an ISO for the Windows 8 Enterprise trial. (Hint: their link for the 64bit actually will download the 32bit version, and vice versa.) Yes, Microsoft, a huge software company, cannot even put the right link to their software. Just another step to discourage user from downloading an ISO, I guess.

After downloading that and running boot camp, I managed to install Windows 8 Enterprise trial. Can I use my key to activate this into a regular Windows 8? Nope. Apparently this trial version cannot be used for anything other than a trial. But at least I have a Windows installation now that I can use to download Windows 8 upgrade assistant, right? Nope. Apparently Windows 8 was not available for download in my area for some reason. WTF Microsoft? Still, all hope was not lost. I Googled “upgrade windows with only a product key,” and Microsoft has a utility that can download an ISO for Windows 8. Great, progress.

Now that I have a real Windows 8 ISO instead of the trial, I purged the Windows 8 Enterprise trial install, created a new boot camp with an actual Windows 8. So far so good. But then it cannot be activated since my key is an upgrade key. Yes, Microsoft makes sure that you cannot use the product you bought. Good thing there is an easy workaround for this one, using the “rearm” technique. I still had to make a phone call to a Microsoft rep that gave me a set of numbers, but finally my Windows 8 install was activated. So time to update to Windows 8.1. Easy, right?

Nope. Windows 8.1 is available from the Windows store, and Microsoft forces you to download it from the store (no ISO). If you use the utilities I mentioned above, they will tell you to go to the Windows store. Problem is, downloading Windows 8.1 from the store would always result in an error and failing to install. This was extremely annoying as the error happened AFTER I had to wait for the 3+GB download to finish. Subsequent retries forced me to redownload the whole thing again and again. Oh my Lord.

After browsing the net to find a solution, I finally decided to do a “reset” of Windows 8. This is a nice feature of Windows 8. It basically “re-install” your Windows 8 installation without deleting your data. Programs not from the store will be deleted, but it’s still more convenient that having to do an actual full re-install. Problem is, this process uninstalled all the Apple drivers and boot camp, so I had to re-install those afterwards. Oh, and of course there were 92 patches that I needed to download and install for every fresh Windows 8 install I did.

After days of downloading, installing, and installing stuff, finally, Windows 8.1 update from the store managed to run properly. Yes, finally! Such a ridiculous process. Really, does Microsoft expect a lay person to be patient enough to go through all these just to use a Microsoft product?

So Microsoft, if you want people to install Windows from your store like Apple, make sure it fuckin works. If you cannot do that, the least you could’ve done is to provide straight ISO downloads so people can simply do an update the traditional way. But no, you rather have your legit customers annoyed and confused.

There is a reason why I switched to OS X.

/rant

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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Apple WWDC 2012 Keynote Impression

Well, Apple’s WWDC 2012 Keynote is now online.

Let’s do a recap and impression.
Just like any Apple keynote, it started with Tim Cook talking about stats here and there, how great WWDC is and will be, how great the App store is, etc. Oh, and also the obligatory touchy feely warmy video. Apple really do quite a bit of work to make their devices and OS more accessible imo. Surprisingly, this segment is a bit short this time as Apple had a lot to show.

Phil Schiller started with the new Macbook Air. Ivy bridge, Intel HD graphics 4000, USB3, 720p Facetime camera, all expected. Phil kindly reminded us that all the USB ports are USB3, unlike those Windows laptops. Sure. Okay refresh. Shipping that day. Same price points as before.

Next, a light refresh on the existing Macbook Pro. Same stuff, Ivy Bridge, Intel HD graphics 4000 for the 13″ and nVidia Geforce GT 650M for the 15″, USB3. Nothing much changed though, still has the optical drive, same screen resolution (the 13″ MBP is still lower res than the 13″ MBA). Shipping that day. Same price points as before, but 17″ went bye bye.

Of course, the one more thing. This is what we’re waiting for. The Next Generation Macbook Pro. This is the MBA-styled MBP. Super thin, 15″, Ivy Bridge, GeForce GT 650M, USB3, no optical drive, SSD only, HDMI port (!), but no more Firewire nor ethernet ports. The trade-off, you get 2 thunderbolt ports, and Apple will gladly sell you a Thunderbolt to Firewire 800 and a Thunderbolt to Gigabit ethernet adapter. But the big thing is, retina display. Yes, the 15″ screen has 2880 x 1800 resolution. It’s mind boggling. Editing photos on this is going to be amazing. I mean viewing photos on the iPad 3 is already amazing enough. Just like the MBA, the next gen MBP has most of its inside filled with battery, with 7 hours battery life. Oh, you can put in up to 768GB of SSD, if you have the money that is. Basically, this is THE Macbook Pro you want, not the ones that just got updated. Oh, Johnny Ive wants you to know that it has asymmetrically spaced blades in the fans. Yeah, in case you’re wondering… Priced at $2199 starting. Expensive, yes, but for that screen, it’s probably decently priced. Oh, shipping that day.

See the pattern? Every single products announced are shipping that day. Compare this to the other OEMs that cannot even ship their tablets, phones, ultrabooks, on time or in more than few countries. This is why Apple is winning, the fact that they actually deliver their products so people can buy them. The competitors just talk big during announcement.

Next stop, OS X Mountain Lion. I remembered when a new OS is announced, the features that people are talking about would be the file system, things like Open CL, etc. Well, OS X is so mature now that what Apple is talking about is more like consumer features. All the stuff parodying iOS, like Messages and Documents in the Cloud. Not new concepts, as we’ve seen the basis of these before. In any case, that free 5GB storage on iCloud will soon feel small. I do like the idea of having iOS-style (or Android-style if you want) notification system. It would be more intuitive. Amazingly, it is pretty much a built-in twitter client too as you can post tweets right on it.

Dictation on the Mac. I don’t think this is new, but it’s just more featured. OS X also has quick sharing to Twitter or Flickr. Great way to share stuff on Twitter without having to cut-n-paste URLs and whatnot. New Safari now has an awesome bar, one bar for URLs and search, just like Chrome. It will also sync its tabs through iCloud with iDevices and Macs. So careful when you have that porn site up on one of your tabs. 😛

Power nap, keeping your Mac up to date while it sleeps. Err… is this why my iMac with Lion now refuses to sleep automatically? Looks like it’s only compatible with the 2nd gen MBA and the next gen MBP. System wide Airplay is long overdue, previously only available on iTunes. Game Center is a meh. I never use it. Steam is where gaming is. What is interesting is that Craig was showing Game Center and a game playing over Airplay to Apple TV. Is this a hint of something coming?

Next is the intensive improvements of Chinese language support and integration with various Chinese services like Baidu. This is huge. I bet many US tech blogs and analysts will skim over this, but Apple’s decision to support these Chinese sites shows what Apple thinks about China. Even Craig said “get your apps ready for China.” That is a big hint.

OS X Mountain Lion, next month, $20, for ALL your Macs. Yup, just $20 will upgrade ALL Macs you have, even from Snow Leopard. Take that Microsoft. How much do you have to pay for a single license for Windows? And only Upgrade license? Yeah.

Scott was up next with iOS6. He started with an obvious jab against Android, and how iOS 5 is more prevalent than ICS Android 4.0. Yeah, suck on that Google. I love my Galaxy Nexus though. 🙂
Improvement on Siri, now you can have her launch apps. Oh, she also learned a LOT more languages, including Spanish, Chinese (both mandarin and Cantonese), and Korean. Scott is showing off Siri knowing a bunch of sports info, pulling restaurant info from Yelp and partnering with Open Table for reservation (something that the old Siri could already do, before Apple bought it), and pulling movie information. Cool, but my iPhone 4 doesn’t have Siri, so bah.

An exciting feature is Eyes Free. It’s basically Apple working together with car manufactures to integrate Siri’s voice commands, and those manufactures includes Honda and Toyota (but no Nisan, and clearly absent, Ford). All I want is for car manufactures to have a slot for an iPad as the center console.
Oh, and finally, iOS 6 will enable Siri on the new iPad.

Next, Facebook integration. Considering how sucky the Facebook app is becoming, this is highly welcomed. Sharing photos has been quite a chore as Facebook’s own app is dog slow. Being able to do that straight from the photos app would be great. Contacts integration and birthday integration with calendar is great too. Oh, the app store will have Facebook like button now. Wonder what would happen to Ping.

Other features include call options, including features to text a reply quickly or set up a reminder when somebody is calling. Then there’s a “Do not Disturb” toggle. Hmm, that’s the point of having silent mode, no? The nice thing is it has granular control, eg. allowing certain calls to go trough. Facetime over 3G. Big whoop, all the carriers are already imposing draconian caps that I doubt people would use this. Heck, even Singapore carriers are now axing down their data quota to 2GB, mimicking the US carriers. Video calls over cellular is dead.

Safari on iOS6 allows you to upload pictures on websites. This is huge as before, iOS didn’t allow access to the filesystem via the browser. Photo Stream finally can be shared and selectively. This is the answer to the missing feature in iPhoto that used to be called photocasting. Flagged inbox in mail is nice too.

A new app, pass book. It’s collecting stuff like boarding passes, store cards, movie tickets, etc in 1 app. This is Apple testing the waters on mobile transaction. Guided Access, allowing fine tune control of UIs on apps, even disallowing the home button to exit the app. This is great as it finally allows you to lend your iDevices to your friends, without being afraid they mess with your other stuff (like checking out your porn tab in the new Safari that got synced with your desktop).

Oh and it’s final, Apple ditched Google Maps. New maps app, with local search and Yelp integration (nice), traffic service with incident reports, and the biggie, turn-by-turn navigation complete with Siri integration. So yeah, finally those ads about iOS not having turn-by-turn navigation can be cancelled/taken down. This is great and huge, pitting iOS squarely head to head with Android. Another thing is 3D flyover, another jab at Google’s own Maps and Earth. Cool, especially on an iPad, but it’s just eye candy imo. I can’t wait for the turn-by-turn direction feature, but I wonder if Apple would make it work on the iPhone 4 without Siri.

Couple on the side features, Lost Mode, allowing you to send a call-able phone number on your lost iPhone screen. Also, a new iPad clock app. FYI, the iPad didn’t actually have a clock app before. And another huge hint, the integration with China web services.

iOS 6 shipping this fall (with new iPhone too probably), and it’s for iPhone 3GS and later, iPad 2 and later, and iPod Touch 4th gen. Err…. did you see something’s missing? Yeah, no iPad 1 and no iPod Touch 3rd gen. Thing is, these 2 devices are faster than the iPhone 3GS hardware wise, so it’s interesting that Apple decided to ditch those 2 devices. The iPad 1 is practically useless anyway, it’s so slow that even browsing the net with it is no longer enjoyable. Still, I was hoping for a bit more longevity.

The keynote ended with Tim Cook promoting how great it is working at Apple. It’s a recruitment!

Let’s recap on my prediction:
1. OS X Mountain Lion. I thought it would be free, but $20 is still cheaper than $30.
2. iOS6. Still no shuffle-by-album? The ditching of Google maps is well-known already.
3. Hardware: No updates on the desktops. I did guess right that the new MBA_style MBP was the “one more thing.” Although they did axe the 17″.
4. And yes, no iPhone nor iPod Touch.

Ok, new tasty Apple products, as always. Great keynote despite not having Steve Jobs. I’ll just wait for the new iPhone though.
Enough with WWDC and Apple, time to go back to making another Accel World AMV (and patiently waiting for Accel World Ep 10). 🙂

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2012 in apple, impression, Keynote, WWDC

 

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