Monthly Archives: October 2010

WP7 is here

Wow it took a long time, but Microsoft finally got into the modern smartphone game.  And it seems like a good showing too!

My history:  I was a long time user and quite frankly a fan of Windows Mobile phones.  Yes, they were clunky and cumbersome.  BUT, I could get things done.  A lot of things.  I relequished my WM platform love to the iPhone in the form of the 3GS.  This is a great phone.  I now own an iPhone 4 and love it too.  But, I miss some of the more open and ultimately more configurable platforms.  I have looked longingly at Android, but have been afraid of the open source style of programming for this phone.  That type of programming leads to slowing support and quite frankly, a real lack of security.  Don’t get me wrong, I support Open Source very strongly.  But there are places for it, and places where it’s not quite that simple.  The mobile platform still has a long way to go, and Android is not quite the pavement that will carry that travel.

When I first heard of WP7 I was excited.  Then I heard it would NOT be business friendly at first and was depressed.  But I am enlighted that the platform does look really really good.  Apps for this platform should flow as quickly as they did for the iPhone, though I hope it doesn’t turn into the “1 out of 1000” ordeal that the iTunes app store has turned into where you are lucky to find an app that fits your needs due to the sheer number of utterly useless or extremely poor apps there.  My iPhone crashes often these days due to those really poorly written apps.  iTunes’ app store is a mess today.  Sad.

Microsoft seems to be taking a middle ground between Android and the iPhone.  Somewhat open like Android in an application sense, not in an Open Source sense.  Though they might allow this type of programming, well just have to wait and see.  And somewhat like the iPhone were their app store will probably have a much tighter control to not allow apps that mis-behave like they do on Android.  It should turn out quite nicely.

Add to that the simplified and much more robust application development platform that stems from decades of experience from Microsoft, and the apps that come to the WP7 platform should be top knotch, if it the top period.  People seem worried that apps won’t come to WP7.  I’m 100% convinced they will come, and come quickly and easily.  This is a BIG plus for Microsoft, and should pay off soon.

I’m also highly impressed by the hardware.  3D games already look better than on other platforms.  And the specs for most phones match at the least all other higher end devices on the market.  I read that all of the HTC phones have HD video recording.  And some have 3D Dolby sound processing.  That blows anything Apple out of the water.  Which in my opinion, Apple has always had 2nd rate sound abilities.  Sad for such a big player in the audio market.  Also, I love that they use the Zune audio library, which is much bigger than iTunes.  I own an original Zune 30Gig, and an original iPod touch.  My total CD colletion returns only about 1/2 of the album covers in iTunes, but almost 90% of the covers show up in Zune.  That speaks LOUDLY to me that Zune has more market ability than does iTunes.  That and the Zune software is 10 times more stable and easy to navigate than is the iTunes junk software.  Talk about bloatware, just install iTunes then try to un-install it.  You’ll be working hours to get all of the Apple mess off your computer.  Zune software is one quick install, and is clean, small and very efficient in comparison to iTunes.  Plus no add-ons that you just don’t need.

I will say though that I will treat WP7 the same way I did the iPhone on launch.  I won’t get the V.1 hardware.  I’ll wait for at least version 2, to see how things iron out.  I still need strong business support in the phone and right now it just doesn’t seem to have it yet.  Microsoft will pull through I’m sure on this.  (fingers crossed)

Anti-Virus? How good are they?

As per expecatations, I would never recommend running a system without antivirus software installed.  It’s just not a good idea.  (few exceptions, very very few)  But I often wonder what is worse:  The virus?  Or the anti-virus?  Why do I say that, you might ask.  Simple, if you check the definition of a virus it is a piece of code that causes your system to slow down, hang up and run poorly.  Well, unfortuantly most anti-viruses fit that same description.  So what do you do?  There’s a lot of opinion out there on what anti-virus software is the best.  I even have my own.  But for each his own on this, because none of them are 100% perfect by any stretch of the imagination.

One very interesting thing I’ve found over the years is that the paid anti-viruses often tend to be the worst.  Not always, but most of the time they are the culprit for causing all types of system problems.  In the past 10 years many versions of free anti-virus software have become available.  They have all turned out to be quite good in comparison to paid versions.  But they too can be troublesome at times.  There are some rather expensive options, and those I’ve found to be among the best for keep your system running well and still provide a good amount of protection.  So, in a sense you do get what you pay for.  Not all the time though.

At this time, I’m using the Microsoft Security Essentials AV on all my home machines.  I’ve found it to be extremely good at not slowing down my systems or causing grief with other software packages.  It’s also quite high on marks for catching things.  Keep in mind though that NO AV software will ever catch a zero day virus.  AV software is a “block known bad things” type of software.  If the virus is not known yet, they can’t block it.  With e-mail and web sites being lightning fast these days, viruses can propagate the internet in minutes.  It usually takes most AV software days to find, catagorize and update their known list of viruses.

The best anti-virus?  YOU!  Learn how to surf safely.  Don’t open any e-mail attachment or a link in an e-mail unless you know that you are supposed to get it.  Even if the e-mail is from a friend, keep in mind that the “From” field in an e-mail can be forged to look like it’s from someone you know but can actually be from a virus maker.  Links in e-mails can also be manipulated to give false information.  And, don’t just Google anything and go to any site without consideration of what site you are visiting before you click that search engine link.  Virus writers love to pick on well searched topics to make a temporary web site, push it into the search engines and catch unaware users.  Basically try to stick to known sites.  In the real world a dark alley is easy to see, easy to recognize and you don’t go down it.  On the Internet the “dark alleys” are well lit, sometimes even inviting and even can look like a familiar place.  Very dangerous.   So, in today’s internet I would never recommend surfing aimlessly.  Know where you are going and go there only.  That way you know you are as safe as possible.