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Bytes and Beyond

Why I prefer SoftMaker Office


Due to company policy, I have recently become a Microsoft Office user at work. At home, I continue to use SoftMaker Office. Switching back and forth has proven to be less of an issue than expected. Quite the opposite: Writing in TextMaker and editing spreadsheets in PlanMaker emphasizes the feeling of being home.

At work, I have to make do with the tools I am issued. At home, I choose my own toolset and that continues to be the software that makes me the most efficient.

Bytes and Beyond

Abort, Retry, Fail?


A long time ago, there was an operating system designed so poorly that when it encountered a horrible error, it would confront users with three bad choices: abort, retry or ignore. It basically meant that the situation was utterly hopeless.

Whenever I encountered this message, I knew that whatever my choice, the result would be similarly bad and I usually chose "abort." Little did I know that this was the precursor to the dreaded "Cancel" button.

When a dialog offers you the option to cancel, it's usually a crucial decision which requires a firm commitment. Some users feel unprepared for this, prompting them to cancel at any opportunity: "I don't understand what will happen if I confirm this, so I better press Cancel." This is not always the best choice.


Bytes and Beyond

Voice assistants: trick or treat?


First of all: Please don't expect me to provide you with a balanced view about voice assistants. Alexa & Co. have annoyed me far too often for me to stay fair and balanced. I didn't even need my own assistant to reach this point: Visits to friends with more or less Smart Homes were sufficient.

Of course, voice control and home automation aren't always pointless – in certain situations Bixby, Cortana, Google Now and Siri can be really helpful. If both hands have to remain on the steering wheel or if your arms are stuck in plaster, it is really practical when an assistant takes you by your word.

Like so many digital inventions, voice assistants can be as much a curse as a blessing. Let me help you weigh the pros and cons.


Bytes and Beyond

Breaking up and moving on: Life after Windows 7

To reiterate the main point of the previous blog post: Windows 7 may still look fine to you, but it is dying. On January 14, 2020, Microsoft will stop publishing security updates for Windows 7. From then on, the operating system will be fair game for malware.

Fortunately, there are several viable exit strategies: Upgrade to Windows 10, switch to a different operating system such as Linux or macOS, or even go fully mobile. This article will offer specific advice on how to move away from Windows 7.


Bytes and Beyond

Why it's time to leave Windows 7 behind

There are no two ways about it: Windows 7 is dying, and fairly soon. On January 14, 2020, Microsoft will stop issuing security updates for their best-selling operating system. Some users remain defiant: They fail to see any reason to migrate to a newer system. This is a dangerous attitude: By holding on to Windows 7, they don't just risk their own safety, but also the security of others.

The following article will explain what to expect when Microsoft pulls the plug on Windows 7, why it's a bad idea to stick with a dead horse, and propose viable migration options for users unwilling to upgrade to Windows 10. In any case, it's high time to get ready: January of 2020 is closing in fast.


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