OS Smackdown: This Time It’s Personal

Sunday: 4:00-5:00

See what all the excitement is as ITS panelists Wes “The Penguin” Hamilton, Scott “iEverything” Kehoe, and Rick “800-Pound Gorilla” Levine face off with demonstrations and discussions of the latest and greatest offerings in operating systems.

Rick Levine shows Windows 7Windows 7 (Rick Levine)
Anyone like Vista? Not so bad, but Windows 7 is better. Some of Win7’s best features are already in Vista, but Microsoft didn’t do a good job of letting us know.

  • Lets you customize to make user experience better (“don’t dim the desktop”)
  • Wordpad is new and improved, to the point it looks more like Word 2007 (with ribbons et. al.) – it still defaults to .rtf, but can also open and create .dotx
  • Other new/unknown items: gadgets aren’t stuck in the sidebar; no more My Documents: instead it’s all just in a user “library” (similar to Windows Media Player libraries to organize music – lets you organize into “categories” regardless of where it actually lives in the directory structure); actually helpful troubleshooters; just start typing in Start Menu to find things

Taskbar is very different – not quick Mac’s rollover/icon zoom thing, but more useful – rollover application, and it shows thumbnail of every window open in that application to make it easy to go right to a window. Things can also be pinned to taskbar or Start Menu – and pinned items stay in the same place on the taskbar, instead of icons being ordered by the order in which they were opened. Quickstart is gone, but pinning can sort of replace.

By the way, all of this needs good graphics card.

Alt-tab has fanicer applications scroll (two options).

Shortcuts: Peek = taskbar icon makes active windows transparent so you can see the desktop; Shake (just click/hold/shake active window minimizes all other windows; Snap: automatically snaps two windows side-by-side, without you having to resize both windows.

Compatibility mode: older windows let you pretend to run application in Vista as XP. Win7 actually creates a virtual machine so the applications really are running on that OS – only comes on some Win7 editions (maybe only the lowest doesn’t come with it) – Rick recommends getting Professional edition.

Wes Hamilton has fun with UbuntuUbuntu 9 on Linux (Wes Hamilton)
Ubuntu 9 is designed to fix a lot of problems from other distributions. Bootup should take no longer than 18 seconds.

Very easy to install – everything just worked. Designers tried to make a lot of decisions for users, by bringing together lots of software and combined it all together, polished it so it all works well together, and makes desktop very clean and simple. OS is an all-in-one system – includes Firefox, Open Office, and everything is up-to-date (don’t have to go to Windows Update six or seven times to get latest versions).

System has many notification alerts, to always let you know how things are working (or not working).

Some pieces are still missing – sound and video comes to mind. Sometimes it’s because proprietary systems are involved which prevents developers from including in install – but usually they are available.

Desktop is a “cube” so you have four desktop to flip through. OS is very keyboard-centric (Windows is usually mouse-centric).

Windows 7 is designed to be a replacement for WinXP, as computers will need to be replaced (Vista just did not cut it). Ubuntu is designed for people who can’t afford replace their computers – it will run just fine on older machines.

Soctt Kehoe gets to the PointSnow Leopard on Mac (Scott Kehoe)delicious links
Macs are good for libraries, because it’s what many kids use in school. And, no virus (which is why it’s good to have a mix of Windows, Linux and Macs, or at least be familiar with them, because this mix is not going to go away).

Only one version of OSX (no different editions like Windows) and no product keys (like Windows) so upgrade works with just one disk and reboot.

Scott’s favorite features:

  • Time machine: makes backup to external or network drives easy (can also be automated) – do it hourly, so you can almost always get deleted things back. It also self-manages, so it can delete old files when it runs out of room.
  • Exposé: show you everything you have open, using different numbers of finger combinations and button clicks
  • Hot corner: lets you have multiple desktops, easy to flip between them (including just by clicking that icon in the Dock) – this is a feature shared by all three OS’, so it is something to get used to
  • Finder: (heart of the Mac; Windows equivalent is Windows Explorer, but Finder is better) – when dragging and dropping into a folder, that folder opens up so you’re sure you’re putting it in the right place. It also gives you a thumbnail preview, which can be zoomed by clicking on spacebar
  • Spotlight: search for anything on the computer – not just file names, but also body of files, emails, and shows results in realtime (not like Windows that has to run search while you wait)
  • Built-in pdf support (including editor), so you don’t need Adobe Reader at all
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