I saw an add for a laptop somewhere. It might have been one of these Facebook ads, it may have been in email, I am not sure anymore. Anyway, I checked it out and the laptop looked pretty good. It was on sale for $329, $70 off.
I was not looking for a workhorse system or a gaming system. Essentially, I needed something that I could use for email, Facebook, blogging – nothing fancy.
It doesn’t have a CD or DVD drive, but really, do I need that any longer? I mean, if I have to install something, I can either share the DVD drive on my desktop computer or I can copy the contents to a USB stick. It has a 14″ display and a pretty good resolution. It has HDMI out which is good and has a USB 3.0 port as well. It is an AMD processor, a first for me, 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive. Believe it or not, that is the largest hard drive that I have ever owned. I doubt that I will ever coming close to filling it – guess I will see.
Anyway, for those who are unfamiliar with Windows 8, Microsoft has greatly changed the interface. There is no familiar Start menu (although it comes back in Windows 8.1, more on that later). The “main screen” has a bunch of program tiles. There is an app store where you can download programs and they do have a large collection of programs available, both free and ones that cost.
You log onto the computer using an email address – it can be an existing email address or you can setup an Outlook.com address. I decided to log in using my email@example.com address. I really don’t need another email address. If I did have one, I am sure that I would simply forward messages from it to my main address.
So, I logged in and configured the programs. The built in email program is pretty good. Most of the built-in programs are. For some reason that I really don’t feel like resolving, is that the calendar program does not read my calendar items from Google. Not sure why. So, I disabled it and downloaded a free Google Calendar program – it works. Problem solved.
I downloaded and installed Google Chrome, I really don’t like Internet Explorer. Not surprisingly, Microsoft, or Windows, doesn’t really seem to like it when IE is not the default. Well, live with it. 🙂
I had heard about Windows 8.1 and some of the benefits of it so I decided to take a look at it. Apparently, it is only a “preview” release and, according to Microsoft, it is for IT Professionals. Well, aren’t I lucky? I AM an IT Professional. So, I download it. 3.5GB in size, it takes about an hour to download and then less than an hour to install. It reboots my computer a couple of times and then is ready to be logged into.
Well, off of the top, Windows 8.1 doesn’t look a LOT different than 8 did. They are true to their word though. When you open the “Desktop” app which essentially makes it look a LOT like Windows 7, there is a “Start” menu. It brings you back to the list of programs in tile format. Not exactly what I was looking for, but whatever. I am not really all THAT attached to the Start menu anyway.
Thus far, the computer is running pretty well and so is Windows 8.1. I presume that I will be able to run this preview version until the released version is available. I am told that the upgrade will be free. That is a good price.
I am hoping that all will go well. If not, I may remember to post an update on this entry.