Friday, May 19, 2017

**REVIEW** Windows 10 Creators Update

There was a lot of buzz about this last year:

Image result for windows creators update

It's no longer on the way. It's here.

By the way, I kind of need this to be an open letter/apology to Microsoft but I'm embarrassed at my own ineptness. Let me explain:

I am part of the Windows Insiders Program (don't ask me how or why I got myself signed into that). In general, this is kind of cool because I get to preview different Windows products. It's when I get down to specifically using some of the products that there are problems. And this is not always (or even mostly) because of the product. I take the blame for 99% of my frustrations. No, that's not entirely true. What I blame is my cognitive confusion. Some of you know that I struggle with this issue but, when I tell you about my experience with the MS update, you might really start to understand the "cognitive confusion" impacts me on a daily basis.

(Consider this post a sort of "Dummies View Review" if you will!)

Yesterday, I got a reminder that I was eligible to update to the Creators version of Windows. That reminder was very clear and precise but all my brain picked up on at the time was "update". When I hit the button to install, I was expecting the usual security updates that we've all been seeing so much of the past several days. I figured the update had something to do with all the malware and PC attacks. Now, I did briefly flash on the "Creators" part of the wording, but ~shrug~. Here are the highlights of getting the update and then using it.

Takes a while to download/install. Quite a while

I was doing some packing and cleaning for my upcoming move so I didn't pay attention to my PC once the updated started. After about an hour, though, I glanced over and noticed that the install was still running (and was only at about 35% or something like that). That struck me as a little odd, but I still shrugged it off.

Now, remember that I've also been having serious cell phone problems. The dang thing shuts down and restarts whenever it feels like it, regardless of what I might be using the phone for. All my family and close friends are no longer surprised when our calls drop or I just sort of disappear in the middle of a text conversation. (I think this all has to do with a software update that got interrupted). That's not really important, but I want you to realize that I was dealing with my phone for the next half hour or so. I forgot all about the computer and the Windows update.

Almost 2 hours go by before the update is finished. That's when I realize this was no ordinary update.

I get a Welcome screen and an offer from Cortana to help set up. Unfortunately, my phone did something strange (or maybe just stranger than usual) and started making a long uninterrupted buzzing noise. I had to deal with that and by the time I finished, my PC had shut down. I restarted and that's when I realized I had something more than the usual update.

The Edge browser is a lot cooler than before.

The first thing I see is the new and improved Edge (browser) page. And I like it. The look is very Chrome-looking and I prefer the look of Edge to Chrome.

(By the way, one thing that hasn't changed is that Edge still has the ugly Internet Explorer icon. Ugh.)

Edge was kind of nice pre-update but I liked Chrome too much to swap out. Now, I would totally use Edge on a regular basis. Except for one thing.

Changing cookie options is... impossible?

At least they are in my experience.

Since Edge had such a nice look (and all my Chrome bookmarks were transferred over - from when I tried out the original Edge), I was excited to use it. I came straight here to my Blogger login page and... Could not sign in. I was being prompted to allow cookies, but there is no way (that I can see) to do so.


While I'm thinking of it, here is what I saw as an intro to the new and improved Edge browser:

I skipped dealing with any cookie-required sites and just played around with the Edge default Home Page. It's not that bad. Matter of fact, I really do like just about everything in the new browser (except for that cookie situation!). Some highlights of Edge that I love - really, really love:

Set aside tabs to get back to

At the click of a button, I can set aside tabs to look at later. This is more useful than it sounds. With Chrome, when I am using a bunch of tabs, I will separate certain ones by opening them in a new window. That doesn't seem like a bad solution, but I have a tricky brain. If I am working on a story and doing research, I don't like sorting through all the various windows I have opened.

With this feature, I can scroll through the different saved tabs at the top of my screen. When I click on the one that I need at that moment, it drops down as the viewing page. (Hope that made sense to you all...)

Read eBooks in the browser & Create a "reading list"

I haven't really played with eBooks feature, but I can tell you that it looks useful. I do like the"reading list". It's in a pane right there alongside the eBooks you've got and then the usual links to of  Favorites, Downloads, and History.

Edge matches up well with Chrome. There are extensions (like in Chrome), a translation feature and, of course, importing of bookmarks.


Other things to with and in Edge:

  • There's a "reading view" to shut out visual distractions. LOVE this.
  • Get desktop notifications from certain sites (ex: Facebook, Skype)
  • Cast your content to other devices
  • Click/highlight to get more info from Cortana on a subject without leaving the page you're browsing.
  • Get access to your MS Office files (useful for me since I use Word for manuscripts)
  • Though I've used the Web Clipper feature for months, in Edge, I can make and share web notes.
  • Pinterest lovers will love being able to share to the site.
There are lots more features for me to play with and learn about, but I think I covered the highlights.

Not just the browser was updated...

I was having so much fun checking out Edge that I forgot about everything else to do with the update. It wasn't until I was connecting my Bluetooth headset to the PC that I noticed another excellent change.

During the day, I tend to swap my headset between my phone and PC. Before now, it was such a hassle to connect to the PC. There was lag everytime I tried connecting and I'd usually have to turn the headset Off and back On before the PC would connect. This is solved:

Perfect! Just perfect.

It's one of the small but very appreciated improvements.

There's now a Paint 3D app. Not just Paint

I tend to use Pixlr for working with the product review photos I use on this blog. Or I will use the good old Paint app (which is what I used for the above photo about Bluetooth). However, I just noticed that there is a new app called Paint 3D.

I have no idea how to use the app yet, but I'm sure some folks will be excited to hear about it.

When I have more time (as in, when I'm not in the middle of trying to move), I will do a more in-depth review of the updated features. I hope this quick run-through was helpful to some of you.

Do sign up for the Insiders program. I wish I had more time to take part in the forums and quizzes. Maybe in a few months when I get settled. For now, here are some links to more information: