Archive for category Windows

Rant about Windows accessibly

Many of you may or may not know that I am legally blind. I use computers on a daily basis, and plan on going to college for Computer Science. I can pretty much use a computer normally (without the assistance of enlarging software) but need to be a few inches from the screen to read any text. I have used all three major operating systems (Windows, Mac OS X, and a few Linux distros). Out of all three, Windows has been the worst in terms of accessibility. Before Windows 7, as many of you may know, the only built in screen magnification software split the screen in half, one with the regular size, then a docked window which showed the zoomed in view. This is horribly inconvenient, inefficient, and just doesn’t work well.
With Windows 7, it has been much improved. If you haven’t used the built in Windows 7 magnifier, it basically brings up a small window with options to increase/decrease the zoom level, as well as change the view between full screen, lens, and docked. This means that all of the major OS’s have some kind of full screen magnification tool, but Windows is still behind in my book. On Mac OS X (and Linux even) you can hold a key and scroll up and down the the trackpad. In Windows, you have to either hit Win+/- or press the two buttons in the magnifier window. This could be much more intuitive. Also, while zooming in Windows, it increases a set amount each time, so it’s not very smooth. On OS X and Linux it is a very smooth zoom in and out. This may not seem like such a big deal but when using it on a daily basis, it is.
There are other programs you can buy for Windows that will do a better job (one I use is called ZoomText), but these are expensive. Luckily, I get a free copy of ZoomText because of my blindness. This program is better than the built in Windows magnifier, but it still doesn’t have a smooth zooming experience. It is also less intuitive just because on most Windows laptops, you don’t have multitouch scrolling (just moving your finger along the side of the touchpad).
To simply this post:
Mac and Linux – Intuitive and smooth scrolling with two finger scrolling.
Windows – A good enough magnifier but isn’t as smooth or intuitive as other platforms. Expensive alternatives exist but still aren’t as good as the defaults on other platforms.
I really hope Microsoft improves their magnifier program on future versions of Windows.

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Windows 7 SP1

Today the first Service Pack for Windows 7 is being released. If you are running Windows 7, head over to your Windows Updates and check for updates. The service pack is a few hundred megs, so depending on your connection, it might take a while. You will also have to restart during the installation process, so be expecting that.

I just updated to SP1, and there aren’t any obvious differences, just some bug fixes (although I didn’t notice any major bugs anyway).

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Windows 7 bans words from being pinned

I have recently found an annoyance in Windows 7. Certain items can’t be pinned to the taskbar, and the reason is a little stupid.

I use Revo Uninstaller to uninstall programs (if you don’t know, it cleans up files and registry entries left behind after the uninstall). To try and clean up my desktop, I tried putting it’s shortcut on the taskbar. Trying to drag it to the taskbar failed, so I went into the start menu hoping there would be a “Pin to taskbar” context menu item. There wasn’t. There wasn’t even a “Pin to start menu” item either. Very curious about why I couldn’t pin this shortcut anywhere, I started searching the internet. Apparently, there are certain words that can’t be in the shortcut or it won’t be pinned. After looking a little more, I found out that there is an entry in the registry that contains every banned word. The word “Install” is amongst them. I renamed the shortcut to “Revo” and Windows allowed me to pin it just fine. For anyone curious, here’s a list of every word from the registry entry:

  • Documentation
  • Help
  • Install
  • More Info
  • Readme
  • Read me
  • Read First
  • Setup
  • Support
  • What’s New
  • Remove

That’s a LOT of words not allowed on the start menu.

There is a fix however. If you edit the key to remove a word (then log off and back on) it will allow you to pin something with that word. I didn’t try clearing the whole entry (I recommend you don’t) but removing Documentation allowed me to pin an exe file titled documentation.

The registry entry is located at:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileAssociation

and the entry is AddRemoveNames

In case you want to revert back to the default, the original contents of the entry are:

Documentation;Help;Install;More Info;Readme;Read me;Read First;Setup;Support;What’s New;Remove

 

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I'm liking Windows 7

I’ve been playing with Windows 7 off and on for the past week. So far I’m really liking it. Even without Aero (its in a virtual machine) it looks pretty good in terms of “eye candy” and runs pretty good with a 1.6ghz processor and 512mb of RAM.

If my next computer has Vista, I hope Windows 7 will be out in time for me to upgrade 🙂

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Windows 7 Video

I made the video about Windows 7. There is no voice, but there is captions. Youtube cut my quality down a little so its not as clear as i would like but hey, its my second video.

Here it is:

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Windows 7: First Impressions

I downloaded the public beta, created a new virtual machine in VirtualBox and installed Windows 7.

To kind of give a glimps of what Windows 7 looks like (if you don’t have the beta installed anywhere) I will post a few screenshots below. The first screenshot is what specs the virtual machine has. I have o admit, it looks pretty much exactly like Vista, except for some things that have changed.

Without anymore waiting, here’s the promised screenshots (Click to enlarge):

Specs

Specs

Gadgets

Gadgets

The New Paint

The New Paint

and finally,

The Superbar

The Superbar

Those are just a few screenshots. I will probably make a video about it too, assuming CamStudio can install (it should if it works in Vista)

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Windows Seven: Currently downloading

Windows 7 is Microsofts new operating system. It is still in beta but it can be downloaded on the microsoft website.

The link to it is: http://bit.ly/NJJb

You have to use IE to download it because the MS website doesn’t play nice with firefox.

Once the download starts, you have to wait a while becuase the 32bit ISO is 2.44 gigs

So far, it says mine will take around 2:30 hours and its around 30% done.

I am going to be installing it in VirtualBox to play around with it and I will post screenshots and things maybe even a video once its running in a virtual machine. Until then, subscribe to the RSS feed to get updated news 🙂

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