5 Reasons Why Microsoft Should Give Windows 7 Away

Windows 7 is the newest Operating System (OS) from Microsoft.  It is currently in the beta stage of production, but will soon be in the release candidate stage.  While the new OS isn’t expected until late 2009, early 2010 Microsoft is going to need to do a number of things in order to make this OS a success.

Microsoft screwed up the launch of Vista so bad that even still, most computer users have a negative perception of Vista even if they have never used it.  Microsoft needs to give Windows 7 away for free or it could face a large decline in the number of users who use Microsoft products.

Here are 5 reasons why I feel that Microsoft should give Windows 7 away for free:

  1. Windows Vista was a mess
    Microsoft really messed up with the launch of Vista. The prices were too high, there were too many versions, Device Drivers weren’t there (technically not their fault), and hardware support for the OS was abysmal. Because of this people didn’t like Vista and in turn, didn’t switch over to Vista. If Windows 7 were free more people would switch, even if they’re just trying it out.
  2. Linux has become much more user friendly
    With Ubuntu and Fedora (and many other distributions) becoming increasingly user friendly, the Windows operating system has a lot more competition than the days of 95, 98 and XP. If Windows wants to compete against free operating systems, they need to offer something to the end users.
  3. Perception of Microsoft is extremely low
    People dislike Microsoft. They have for a really long time, but with the disgrace of Vista I think this dislike has hit a new all-time low. People are fed up with paying high prices for software and are looking for change.
  4. The current economy
    With the way the current economy is going, people just can’t afford to switch to a new operating system. People are more likely to stick with XP than they are to dish out $100+ to spend on something new. If Microsoft wants Windows 7 to be adopted quickly, they are going to need to give it away.
  5. Microsoft Can Afford It
    Microsoft has been leading the OS market for many, many years now and can afford to give Windows 7 away. While they would notice the loss in income, they do have other sources and would still remain profitable in the end.

There are a number of things Microsoft should do to make sure it’s adopted well by users. They should only offer 2 or 3 versions (Regular, Business, Ultimate) and the price should be $0.  Microsoft could still make money by selling Windows7 to companies like HP and Dell to put on their computers, it would just be free for consumers like us.  But this is just me talking, what are your thoughts? Should Microsoft give Windows 7 away for free? Will you switch to it?

Fix Firefox Backspace in Ubuntu

As a computer nerd, I’ve used a number of different operating systems for a number of different reasons.  One of my favourite Linux operating systems is Ubuntu.  I like it for its ease of use, its great UI and a number of smaller reasons that are too numerous to list.

One of the things I hate about most Linux OS’s is the fact that the backspace button is used to go up in any documents.  Now, I know I’m just used to the Windows way of things but I find it one of the biggest nusances when moving to a new operating system.

Below are a few steps on how to fix Firefox in Ubuntu (and probably other operating systems) to get the backspace button to go back in history instead of going up the page.

  1. Type about:config into your browser
  2. Find browser.backspace_action
  3. Change the value from 2 (or any other number) to 0

Once you’ve done the steps above, your browser will now function like it would in Windows with the backspace button going back in history instead of up the page.

If you have any other tips or tricks for us, please feel free to post them in the comment section.

How to Deal with Programming Procrastination

Have you ever thought to yourself “I haven’t coded in so long, I really need to” but then did something else instead? This is called programming procastination (PP), and every developer will face it at least once in their career.

I get programming procrastination a lot when I’m trying to finish up my pet projects or even something to do with work. I don’t know why I don’t want to program sometimes but here are a few things I do to get me back into the programming mind:
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Creating a Comfortable Workplace

I’m a big believer of the fact that developers need to be comfortable in order to produce at their highest potential. While this includes such things like a relaxed dress code, and an ergonomic and comfortable work space, a good work environment is what is most important.

Have Fun

Knowing that your day holds the potential to be fun makes it much easier to get up and come in to the office every day. Work is no longer a dull place to be, but a place you actually enjoy being in.

We do a lot to make sure that we can have fun at work. We have low-walled cubicles, so everyone can see everyone, which encourages communication and joking around throughout the day. For lunches and overtime breaks, when they happen, nearly everyone in the department has a Nintendo DS, and we’ll play multiplayer games for 20 minutes or half an hour.

It’s a great way to give your brain a bit of a break from your work and have fun with your co-workers.


Hold competitions or contests that are open to anyone in the office to join. We typically run sports pool, especially during the playoffs. Charity fundraisers are big for us too. We recently held a “Toss and Rock” fundraiser. The main idea is to wear a t-shirt from your favorite band, play rock music for the day and compete in the paper airplane tossing competition.

The competition was simple, build your own airplane, and throw it into a box with a hole one foot across cut in it (we made it look like a ring that was on fire), that’s suspended 18 feet away, 10 feet off the ground. You got 2 throws for 5 bucks.

We ended up raising over $800 for a local charity that day, and everyone had a blast.

Put some thought into what would work to make your office a fun place to be. Try some of it out, it’ll help improve moral, and possible change some peoples’ attitude about work.

My Definition of Done

On his blog, Steve Rowe shares a story of an employee who claims to be done their work, but by Steve’s standards is not. Steve puts this down to a difference in opinion of the word ‘done’.
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The Importance of Task Tracking

Development is a very task oriented profession. Everything can be broken down into small requirements or tasks that need to be finished to get meet the overall goal. In some projects you might have hundreds of different steps to complete before you are done, and keeping track of these can be critical to success.
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Creating Software: Test, Test and More Test

“If debugging is the process of removing bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.”
-Edsger Dijkstra

Testing is arguably the most important step in any software project and also one of the most neglected steps. In most cases, testing is missed because clients don’t realize the importance of it and aren’t willing to pay for, or take the time to have the developers test properly.

In a perfect world, code would be thoroughly tested before it ever goes into the wild, but this just isn’t possible. Here are a few tips and tricks on testing so your product will never be released without even a little bit of testing.
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Take Time to Save Time

A difficult, yet obvious, lesson to learn is that you need to know what you’re doing before you do it. Many developers just dive into a project without the proper planning or without fully understanding what it is that they need to get accomplished.

You might get a feeling of productivity because you’ve started coding, but what does it get you? What have you actually started to code? Chances are it’s not exactly what is required, and that means you’ve wasted your time. No matter how you cut it, wasting time is not productive.
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Headphones: A Developers Best Friend

I don’t know about you but I personally work a lot better when I’m listening to music. I don’t know what it is but I can concentrate a lot easier and work a lot quicker when I’m listneing to my favourite tunes. The problem with most devevelopment jobs is that, unless you work from home, you’re constantly around co-workers and it would be rude to blast your music.

That is why it’s important to invest in a decent pair of headphones. Here are a few things you should look for when picking out your headphones:
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5 Things that Really Make a Sr. Developer

I’ve met, worked with or interviewed many “senior” developers, and it saddens me to say it, but most of them haven’t improved since the day they left school.

Time in the industry doesn’t make you any better at what you do, and it surely doesn’t make you worthy of the senior title.
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