Windows 11 – First Impressions

Windows 11

So, I’m a bit late to the game of Windows Insider builds for Windows 11. It seems that they’ve been available since June 2021. I’ve been preoccupied with other matters lately. Now I’m catching up:

My 2nd run with Win11

I missed the leak of the .iso that seemingly set the Windows tech media on notice. Not that I would have installed an .iso from a random website on my primary PC, but I do usually keep up with these things.

Windows 11 will be, at the minimum, the 21st edition of Windows that I’ve used personally and professionally. Like many others, my love-hate relationship with Microsoft goes back to Windows origins. For the large part of my everyday computing, I now use some form of Windows, despite many years of struggling to maintain a Linux, or UNIX-based daily driver.

At first glance, it might seem that not a lot has changed. One might even decide that, beyond it’s Mac-like centered Start button, nothing is really all that different. For most users, that will be the case.

What’s Really Different About It?

Internet Explorer

One of the first things that I noticed was the removal of Internet Explorer. This could be of concern for companies that still need to support clients using enterprise web-based applications that simply will not work on modern and contemporary browsers. Though it doesn’t seem as though IE has much of a market share, there are quite a few people and IT orgs that still use it. Internet Explorer has an end-of-life-support date scheduled for June of 2022, so it may not seem as if it were a large problem for most, but it will become a very large problem for many IT organizations, very soon. There is a considerable amount of “technical debt” to be reconciled, not just on the front end, but on the core back end of these applications as well.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is now part of the Windows 11 UI. Skype and Skype For Business are nowhere to be found. It seems inevitable as Teams is subsuming nearly all business support applications such as Yammer, the traditional Sharepoint UI, and MS Classrooms. We’ve seen the user counts grow from 13m in 2017, to 150m today. I see a future where Teams is the OS for enterprise devices.

Microsoft Account

While, it’s not impossible to run a Windows PC without a Microsoft account, it’s not easy either. Windows 11 makes it even more difficult to operate a computer without one. A very large part of Win11 features will not be available without one and it is not easy to obtain a copy without one either. This has been a major privacy concern for quite a few people since Windows 8. It seems inevitable that one will not be able to use Windows at all, without one.

Windows 11 Interface

The UI elements are another step towards improving ease of use characteristics, readability, and standardization of UI functions. For me, these are welcomed changes. Fonts are clearer, better spaced, and there is more uniformity throughout. These are very, very subtle changes, but noticeable to me. Round cornered windows (though not completely universal), modern icons (again not universal), and the Start button has essentially become a launcher, not particularly a applications list as it has been for the better part of 25 years.

Overall Look and Feel

There are quite a lot of changes that are universal throughout. For most right-click events, the menu is stark and simple and all of the dozens of right-click functions that were accumulating are buried under “Show More Options.” There is considerable use of transparent items, rounding, and window tiling (snap layouts) that make it seem more modern, polished, and generally better.

File Explorer

At first glance, again… it will seem as if not a lot has changed with File Explorer. File Manager, Windows Explorer, or File Explorer has been around since at least 1990 and it’s core functionality remains largely the same. Essentially, a user interface that provides a metaphorical way in which to interact with files, subsystems, connected devices, and cloud storage schemes. But, we still spend an enormous amount of time in it. For many, it’s still the way in which we interact with our content. So for those, like me, even the smallest changes have considerable impact. Windows 11 File Explorer, in my opinion, is much better. It’s more readable, more configurable, and while it may appear simpler, it is more powerful. Newer icons, ribbons, and right-click menus are present.

There are some UI quirks that will likely be worked out, hopefully. For example, folder previews seem gone and are now merely indicate, if files exist in a folder and not very well. There’s now only a tiny white strip to indicate if a folder contains files, or not.

Windows Subsystem for Android

Though not in the initial preview releases, the Windows Subsystem for Android is reportedly able to allow Windows 11 users the ability to install and run Android applications, from Google Play, or the Amazon app store (perhaps even at the .apk level as well). It seems to have shown up in the Windows App Store, but apparently it does not function. It currently is not in the Windows Insider preview builds.

Great, but is it any good?

It does feel a bit strange having a centered taskbar. 25 years of muscle memory has had most of us instinctively reaching for the lower left part of the screen. To me, it was not, nor is it a huge paradigm shift. I was used to it very quickly, as in just a few minutes quickly. I have not used the “auto hide the task bar” function in many years and I’ve found myself trying it on again.

It’s smoother, faster, more readable, font sizing and spacing is finally very nice, and most of all it seems more mature… another “finally.”

Like most Windows releases, there are good and bad ones. I think that, for me, I rather do like what I’ve seen thus far. Gone are the Windows 8.0-era metro design elements like tiles, which I feel were not good. I never used them, set them up, or integrated them into my workflow.

I suspect that some things will change significantly when the first release is available. Windows 10 is still under long term support until 2029, so there’s not a huge hurry to rush out and try it. Unless you are an enthusiast, developer, system builder, or IT professional, there is no need outside of curiosity and a desire to be an early adopter.

How To Get It?

If you want to run Windows 11 now, there are two ways to get it, that are official, though in some cases not fully supported. Make sure that your device is robust enough to satisfy Microsoft first, however.

1). Join the Windows Insider program:

Within Windows 10, under the “Update” section of your PC, you can join the Windows Insider program and opt for one of the three “bands,” or “channels” of Windows previews. “Release Preview” “Beta,” and “Dev.” The Beta and Dev channels will automatically download and install Windows 11 preview builds if your system meets the criteria. The Release Preview will only deploy Windows 10 pre-release features.

If you navigate to the Windows Insider homepage, you will see that you can, in fact, download .iso files for clean installs.

2). Download and clean install the .iso from elsewhere, not Microsoft (not a great idea for most use cases):

Go to uupdump.net and find the version that fits your hardware and edition use case (ARM/Intel/AMD). Make a bootable USB key with Rufus, or similar bootmakers. And follow your system to boot from USB and install the version you selected. Likely, if you know how to do all of that, you don’t need me to explain any of it. If you do NOT know how to do any of that, I recommend you avoid this pathway. This methodology is strictly for systems administrators, systems builders, and application developers who have a lab, spare hardware, and time to explore these builds and learn how they will affect their support, build, and development processes.

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Just toying around with some JavaScript vs the WordPress native block.

Busy Work

During the pandemic I’ve continued to work the day job and I’ve launched a few new projects:

I also continue to maintain The East Village Magazine and Pure Pro Wrestling, which we recently redesigned. I’m working on a redesign for The East Village Magazine, which is rather long overdue.

Top Rope TV is a division of Pure Pro Wrestling that is gearing up to launch thousands of hours of video content for a subscription audience. Though it’s not nearly ready for launch, it’s online and ready for early registration.

Pure Pro Wrestling was more than ready for a redesign as the last iteration was built on the Wix website builder and had many, many thousands of lines of theme overburden, coupled with very slow server response times, and a high monthly cost for a basic and static site. The new design is more dynamic, lighter, more device independent and allows the non-technical staff manage their own content.

The Meridian Weekly is a woman-owned publication based in Ovid Michigan that has operated for over 30 years producing and delivering a newspaper that serves Clinton and Shiawassee counties. They really only wanted to be able to publish the .pdf version of their paper, but they are starting to publish articles and utilize social media to create new advertiser opportunities and reach beyond their physical limitations.

So, with some of these projects launched, I’m starting to see a pathway to being able to start new projects and take on more work in my off-work hours.

Sort By Controversial

  • There is an article, or rather, short story that I keep looking for and keep losing. Here’s “Sort By Controversial.” This fairly well explains the revolting developments of the last 3 years
  • Eh
  • Moderate” is a conservative trying to look cooler
  • “You’ll have to have a press conference. They would like to interview you,” Prince point blank said, “I don’t do interviews.
  • GOOD POINT” – (fipi lele)
  • Facebook “When you’re here, you’re family” Part 2 (of 2,387,449)
  • GM wants you to have another Hummer, this time it’s electric
  • Jesus made you to laugh, so lighten up ffs.

Salad Days

  • Sleep – Holy Mountain [Full Album | 1992] is a nostalgic run up… This is much better
  • This dude has been posting the same dinner on Instagram for six freaking years (thx fipilele)
  • Byte, from the Vine people is out of beta and ready for regular schmucks. “good. because TikTok is a cancer” – Verge commenter
  • Here’s a Vox article which articulates what we mostly all already knew. They have literally obscured reality with dense fabric of complete chaos and bullshit.  “…democracy cannot function without a shared understanding of reality…”
  • Megavalanche Megacrash
  • The presidential assassination that no one talks about
  • So, you wanna be a SoundCloud rapper? Well, Pharrell Made Only $2,700 In Songwriter Royalties From 43 Million Plays Of ‘Happy’ On Pandora

This is a typical news brief. I did many hundreds of these over the years. Whatever I was reading, that I though was interesting, or that I picked up along my travels, I would capture and drop into a list for others.

Pure Pro Wrestling and paxtonland

Since October 2018, we’ve been on the road wrestling, training, and putting on shows. Dash has wrestled in front of thousands of fans, learned about the business of professional wrestling, and has performed at over 50 live shows.

Pure Pro Wrestling and it’s owner Joe Byrd (Xavier Justice) have become part of our extended family and most of the entire company as well.

We’ve been training kids for over 14 months now and our program has grown from six to nearly forty students. Some of the kids are definitely not going to be ever “picked for the team” and have long been ostracized from organized athletics programs. But, at Pure Pro Wrestling’s Jr Grapplers program, they are welcomed.

I’ve watched kids swell with confidence, enjoy the benefits of fellowship, improve in school, and live out their dreams in front of a live audience of hundreds of people. Some of them doing so well, that they are growing beyond our own hopes. Some of them, having disabilities, have finally found something that they can do and have been accepted into unquestioningly.

Professional wrestling, often dismissed, looked down upon, or even ridiculed, is one of the last pure forms of performing folk art around. The work they do, the love that wrestlers have for their craft, and the real risks they endure at each performance and practice are very real.

I think that a proper analog for this form of athletic art could be considered as “athletics theater.” In fact, there are many parallels with traditional live performing theater. There is plot, a written script, sets, costumes, a great amount of effort in setup, and the actual performance.

I couldn’t be happier with my wrestling family and I couldn’t be prouder of our entire organization. If you’re in Michigan, please come out and see our next show. You can buy tickets in the box below.

Meridian Weekly

We launched the Meridian Weekly website a couple of days ago. There were a number of difficult things to overcome, but it’s live. Also created facebook and twitter accounts for them to begin using.

The Weekly is published in Ovid Michigan by a small staff and is living proof that print not only isn’t dead, it lives in small and almost unnoticed segments in our society. It’s just not what we think that it is, or rather what our idea of it was.

Anyway, check them out, give them a follow. Support your local media content producers.

News Briefs – Put That Thing Back Where It Came From Or So Help Me

Last space shuttle tank leaves New Orleans — by sea, not air — for its journey to L.A.

First this then that?

Titanic sinks in real-time – A 2 hour and 41 minute simulation. Fascinating.

I’m sorry

1906 San Francisco earthquake photos are captivating

The British Library has begun streaming more than 1,000 recordings made in India between 1912-1938.

On Vanishing – Alizheimers and it’s invisible caregivers

Waze is an awesome driving app that also lets hackers stalk you

There is a subreddit for anything

How the Myth of the “Irish slaves” Became a Favorite Meme of Racists Online

30 years after Chernobyl – Some of my friends would probably go mushroom hunting there… ffs.

Netflix remakes Watership Down – Wow.

Those who know me, know that I’m how happy that I am to report this.

News Briefs – “I can’t conform to your normal”

Tinker with a neural network

The Guardian’s breakdown of the Panama Papers

The Verge reviews the phone I was most anticipating this year, the HTC 10. I’m disappointed. On to the Google Nexus 6p, most likely, or wait for the Galaxy Note 6.

Remember that time Ted Cruz hated dildos?

What is voter suppression really about?

There’s a new 2+2 Buick convertible. The Cascade? Casandra Casaccaa? Quesadilla? Anyway it has all the appeal of a 2002 Pontiac Sunfire… *whomp wom*

Charity analysis of the 50 biggest US businesses claims Apple have $181bn held offshore, while General Electric has $119bn and Microsoft $108bn

Astronomers find a supersized black hole in a cosmic small town – It’s 17 billion times bigger than our sun

Well, it really is… we all are.

On my block. No one know what house, or who snitched

Millennials trash talking themselves

New, new Godzilla movie, Godzilla Resurgence.

3D printable digital sundial

News Briefs – Naked Schadenfreude

Mountains of Mouthiness – I’m crying laughing at this.

Texas Governor Orders Guard to Monitor US Military Exercises – “Hi, I’m athe paranoid delusional that you elected governor! Don’t question me!”

True schadenfreude is delicious

Somebody had a better idea than latitude and longitude or street addresses for communicating location to other people – Not.

Anti-gay rights republican turns out to be gay – I think there needs to be a “Wide Stance Republicans” party

Check out the PBS documentary, Last Days in Vietnam –  For a short time, PBS is streaming the film, here’s the site for more 

Classic films summarized by someone who has never seen them – Kind of great, in a not-so-great way.

The Avengers ’78! – Is kind of great in a super great way.

Nina Simone documentary with never-before seen material coming to Netflix

This ridiculous gym startup is trying to teach members how to pick up women – Bro

Two women are chased through a shopping mall by a cannibal. 1983.

How Safe Are Artificial Sweeteners, Really?

The naked corn paradox – Seth Godin

What happens when you give up sugar?

Microsoft can guess your age from a pictureFairly well, I might add.

1997 Hunter S. Thompson –  On internet journalism, “Well, I don’t know. There is a line somewhere between democratizing journalism and every man a journalist. You can’t really believe what you read in the papers anyway, but there is at least some spectrum of reliability. Maybe it’s becoming like the TV talk shows or the tabloids where anything’s acceptable as long as it’s interesting.”

Hey, Yall gotta cigarette? (Trap Remix) – Is a small bit of awesome.

Mad Max Fury Road – final trailer – Kind of resembles a fever dream that I once had.

News Briefs – The links keep on coming…

Jon Stewart: why I quit The Daily Show – I really don’t care for Jon Stewart, there are those that do, more the better for ya

Meet the New Wave of Chinese Designers – Assimilation will be total. I, for one, welcome our new fashion overlords.

Trapped Into Selling Magazines Door-to-Door – I’ve wondered for decades if this was some sort of scam and how it was engineered.

China home to largest Buddhist settlement in the world – 40,000 Buddhist monks and nuns. They can’t have TV, but they can have iPhones…

Scientists Target New Painkillers From Spider Venom – Not opiates…

E.U. vows to boost migrant search-and-rescue efforts and Why Libya is springboard for migrant exodus – BBC News – This will become a very large humanitarian issue, it already is.

FDA Ponders Putting Homeopathy To A Tougher Test – Finally, the FDA may start testing homeopathic medicines.

Please read this epic obituary of Vivian Nicholson – The “Spend, spend, spend” lady was an epic person, who had an amazing life, and owes nothing to anyone, least of all an explanation.

The First Apple Homepage (via Waxy.org: Links Miniblog) – I remember when it looked like this. Of course, there wasn’t anything anyone wanted to see, but they where there!

The new spam: interactive robo-calls from the cloud as cheap as e-mail – Prepare your anus, er… I meant blocked caller lists.

Marvelous DB – A User-Friendly Website Filled With Information About Almost Any Marvel Character and Comic Book.

News Briefs

Republicans push for a permanent aristocracy

A.A. Sponsor Turns in Evans Woman for Underage Party. This story keeps getting better as you read it: Attorney for Evans Party Mom Releases Statement

Candy Crush Saga: Man tears tendon in thumb from playing mobile game too much

If you are an Android user, go to Google.com type in “find my phone.” You may have to log in to be verified, but it’s a very new(ish) cool thing.

David Hasselhoff performs the Kung Fury theme

The Age of Hubble a (2015) Documentary about Space – [50:01] – An army of high-tech telescopes, led by Hubble in space, has delivered an unprecedented chain of discoveries about how galaxies took shape, how stars live and die, and how life arose. What are we learning about the universe and ourselves in this Age of Hubble?

(So, every few days, I like to put links to things that I read, see, or that you’ve linked in your world. I hope you enjoy, I’ll try to keep them going)