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Windows 11 after all

 In the world of rapid development cycles nothing stays the same for long. Microsoft have now moved Windows 11 testing into the more stable "beta" channel. I am still nervous about moving my PC into a beta environment but I am a long time user of Windows, professionally and personally, so what happens to Windows matters to me.  The Windows Insider programme has three levels of entry. DEV. This is the most frequently updated and buggy version released for public comment and testing. BETA. A version for professionals and enthusiasts to see what is coming next with a less frequent update schedule and fewer problems.  RC. A release candidate version. The last version before formal release of a production ready product. A version for businesses and developers to see what the next released version will look like.  All of these will provide feedback and telemetry to Microsoft. The beta channel is most suitable for people who want to feedback to Microsoft on how Windows 11 is really

Windows 11 or Windows 10

  Windows 11 has been available to Windows Insiders since launch. Being a Windows Insider means that you switch on more Microsoft telemetry data and you test new versions of Windows before they are released to everyone. The good news is you get the very latest Windows that it's possible to have. The bad news is that the Dev Channel and Beta Channel have buggy versions of Windows.  If you have a PC that you use every day and is important then you should not put it on the Insider programme. You should use a different machine to avoid your main device being unusable. The problem with that approach is that you are not testing in a real scenario. From that perspective using another PC that is not used for normal work is going to be mis-leading as a test machine. If you just want to see what the next Windows is going to be like then using a non-production machine, or a virtual machine, is fine. To do real testing you need your production machine updated. If you really go for it then ma

Windows 11 - The Open Platform

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 Windows 11 has been announced . In a virtual global livestream, the current head of Windows Panos Penay, showed off the new OS.  This is a consumer Windows. The main thrust is to make Windows look "modern". Modern is always an ill-defined word for Microsoft, but it seeks to frame using a newer version as "modern" and everything thing else as "old". Obviously, from a marketing standpoint, everyone wants to be "modern".  There is lots of eye candy to make it look beautiful. Under the new screens it is a variation of Windows 10 plus a lot of the 35 year legacy of a mature operating system.  Consumers haven't been shown a lot a love by Microsoft. The core things consumers care about like music, video, mobile phones, personal tech, speakers, instant messaging and social media have been abandoned or de-emphasized. When WindowsPhone was discontinued you had to take the extra step of downloading apps on an iPhone or Android device to access Microsof

Retiring Alexa

 Alexa has been fine. In 2017 I decided to buy one of the earlier smart speakers. At the time I would have preferred to get a Cortana enabled speaker. The Invoke speaker was something I looked into. The Invoke was designed to work with the Cortana virtual assistant from Microsoft. I owned a Windows PC, a WindowsPhone, used Microsoft services. The natural thing was to go for the Invoke. The one problem was that the Invoke speaker was only available in the USA. It assumed US regional settings. This included things like the voice and understanding transport from the perspective of car ownership. It also didn't understand that weather should use celsius in the UK. In the long term Microsoft had no interest in smart speakers and it disappeared from sale everywhere.  The choice in 2017 seemed to be Google Home and Amazon Alexa .  Privacy worries play into this. Whatever the choice these devices will have microphones in my home. Google seemed to be cheap, privacy invasive and poor sound

LG TV

 Its been ten years since I bought a TV. It was a Samsung. Over time the entertainment world has changed. The TV used to be primarily for receiving broadcast channels or a cable. You may have had a DVD or Blu-ray player. Bill Gates, the former CEO of Microsoft, said, when Sony won the Blu-ray format war, that Blu-ray would be the last format. He was correct. In the last few years streaming services have become a major consumption medium. My new 48inch (121cm) screen with OLED dominates the room. You literally can't get a smaller OLED screen unless you mean a mobile phone. The TV is now a computer. It has a WebOS operating system and an app store. The familiar model used by mobile phones. In another nod to our mobile world everything is an app. The broadcast TV channels are not at the centre of the viewing experience. TV is an app.  I am still settling down to the 4K Ultra HD TV. However, like many changes in the tech world, TV has evolved to meet the expectations of mobile phone us

AirPods part deux

After the tech support session with Apple an a few days with a cheap Chinese Bluetooth earbud set I reached a conclusion. I needed to figure this one out. I cleaned the AirPods with some alcohol making them usable by someone else. I then passed them to my wife. She doesn’t have an Apple Watch, no Bluetooth conflict. [link] Fortunately, eBay had sent me a £5 voucher so I looked for AirPods on there. A few minutes searching an a boxed Apple set were available at £22. Deal. The new ones arrived. The serial number appeared on the device. No conflicts.  I am suspicious my old ones were dodgy Chinese copies. Maybe.  Finding bargains in the Apple ecosystem is possible.

Airpods

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 Like many things Apple the Airpod is a piece of Apple genius. They removed the 3.5mm headphone jack on their iPhone and came up with a preferred wireless future of earbuds. Not just any earbuds but something that works best with iPhone.  When I got an iPhone 8 Plus a while back I got some Airpods. From Ebay where I didn't pay full price. The good news was always that it paired immediately and  "knew" when I took the Airpods out of my ears. It worked well with the Apple ecosystem. Things have moved on. Upgrades and picking up an Apple Watch have out me further down the rabbit hole of all things Apple. The first time using Airpods after getting the watch had my music not playing, sound apps running slowly and things not working. I had read that Airpods had received firmware updates so I went looking to see whether my Airpods were up to date.  Looking on my iPhone it seemed the firmware version and serial number were missing. It struck me that maybe this was a counterfei