Windows 10: Part 3 – Applications

[sc:windows-category ]Last week I talked about Windows 10 in relation to use on a desktop, this week it’s going to be all about the applications!

This is part three of three in my Windows 10 review:

  1. Windows 10: Part 1 – Tablet Mode
  2. Windows 10: Part 2 – Desktop Mode
  3. Windows 10: Part 3 – Applications

First off, like all new versions of Windows, backwards compatibility is very good overall, there are a few little things I’ve found with applications I use:

  • Firefox 39 cut off the top of some of the menus as Win10 changed top level chrome on desktop applications.  This has been fixed with Firefox 40.
  • TortiseSVN seems to have some issues with Icon Overlays in Explorer, it’s not terrible but some of them are missing.

But beyond that let’s talk about the apps that come with Windows 10 or are new universal apps.

Mail

The old Mail app in Windows 8.1 was actually pretty good as long as you didn’t need much beyond basic mail functionality.  Windows 10 takes a few steps back and a few steps forward with the new mail app.

The steps back are:

  • Accounts are now buried in a submenu, you can no longer have multiple accounts listed on the left most pane at the same time.  This means you can’t quickly see if you have mail in multiple accounts.
  • The live tiles are little flaky, not updating when you have read or deleted messages very well.
  • The “reading” pane opens and closes based on if a message is being displayed or not.  This is visually distracting to say the least as by default it shows through to the background image.  I “fixed” this by setting the background image to be a plain white square.

The steps forward are:

  • Swipe actions for deleting and other actions.
  • A Calendar button 🙂

Overall it still has many limits (can’t import .ics files in to the Calendar, etc.) but works well enough.

I suspect Mail will be one of the apps that gets a lot of updates over the next few months, especially with Windows Mobile on the way.

Calendar

My favorite calendar app of all time was on WebOS, but Windows 10 does a pretty good job getting close.

A few things that could be improved are:

  • Ability to see more than a single month in the left hand column.
  • Year view.
  • Excluding accounts from being displayed, yes you can “uncheck” them, but they still show up in the left hand column.

Like Mail, I expect lots of changes over the next few months on this app.

Edge

Microsoft’s big new browser has a lot going for it.  Fast, light, standard conformant, etc.  These are all good things and I’ve been using it quite a bit.  It’s much better than IE for those things but it does have a few issues:

  • Stability is still lacking, once in a while it will just crash for no apparent reason.
  • When you create a new tab, often the focus is not on the address field so you can’t type your address directly without reselecting it.
  • If you go to a site that fails to load for some reason, there are several options including “search”, but it does not use your default search provider, instead it uses Bing.
  • No support for Microsoft’s live tiles or live tiles for web sites.
  • Some of the configuration settings are buried pretty deep and aren’t very intuitive.
  • No plugins.

We already know Microsoft is hard a work on improving Edge and I’m sure we’ll see lots of improvements over the next few months.

Internet Explorer

Yes it’s still there, and it’s pretty much the same.  The only item of note is that it’s not prominently displayed, instead you have to dig for it.

Weather

The new weather app is slick, it would be nice to be able to turn off the background, but that’s a minor nit pick.

Twitter

One of the big modern apps I used on Windows 8.1 was MetroTwit.  With Twitter shutting down third party apps (which looks like they may be reversing again), using the official ones has pretty much become a necessity.

The Win10 Twitter app is alright, but it needs some updates real soon:

  • Refresh takes a click, to drag down or auto refresh options.
  • Once in a while it will simply cut of the feed and a reload will be required.
  • On a tablet, there’s a lot of whitespace, another column or two could be useful.
  • Images are strangely cut off at the top and bottom.
  • On a tablet, when you view a picture there’s no back button in the app you have to use the back button on the taskbar.
  • The new retweet format takes you to the web browser instead of opening in Twitter.

Final Thoughts

Windows 10 is a good upgrade, but like every new OS, there is room for improvement.

There’s no reason NOT to upgrade and I’d recommended it for everyone.

Greg

Greg is the head cat at JumbleCat, with over 20 years of experience in the computer field, he has done everything from programming to hardware solutions. You can contact Greg via the contact form on the main menu above.

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Greg

Greg is the head cat at JumbleCat, with over 20 years of experience in the computer field, he has done everything from programming to hardware solutions. You can contact Greg via the contact form on the main menu above.