A multilingual talkative computer and next writing steps :)


This is the first and last post of August, that I had actually planned for July 31st, but eventually I had to wait for something to happen.

Specifically: the (free) update of my PC from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

Therefore, I will share few hundred words on my first impressions about this update of Windows 10- if you are not interested, skip about 800 words down to the “NEXT STEPS” section 🙂

As you know if you read my previous posts, I am currently working on few more books, a couple to be released by the end of this month, and others to be out probably by early 2016, as I will have limited time to work on them.

Part of the books will be focused on business, part on technology, part on history- and not necessarily in this order 🙂

But, at the same time, I keep moving on with my old pastime, that I toyed with since the late 1970s, when I read a book comparing the Constitution of few countries (mainly UNSC Permanent Member States), also if, as I wrote in the past, I resurrected it only while living in Brussels.

It is probably a matter of good timing: in school, the only foreign languages that I studied were French and Latin, and I learned English mainly by buying books, newspapers, and… using it in business around Europe- an expensive endeavour.

Then, Internet changed it all, by making available plenty of up-to-date multi-lingual material, without any need to travel or visit bookshops: just scout for online newspapers websites, multilingual documents released online by any international organization, and, of course, YouTube.

As the pastime is to learn the official languages of the UN by studying the culture of the associated countries, this delivered a true paradigm shift.

Windows 10 promised to bring on the table what, since the 1990s, I had to add in bits and pieces, first by doing for a customer a comparative analysis of multilingual wordprocessors (it was before Windows 3.1), then by using an Apple Powerbook (which contained software to “read” text, including few voices, for free), then Dragon Dictate and few other softwares to actually be able to talk back to my computer.

The funniest part? One of the various “dictating” softwares that I used was quite good (was it from Philips? probably), but… I had to read through most of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” loudly to “train” the software.

The voices delivered by Apple in the 1990s were at best sounding like those of a robot from 1960s sci-fi movies, so almost a decade ago I tested those from AT&T- much, much better.

Actually, Windows 10 doesn’t provide a voice (or listening ability) for every language that I installed (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish), and fewer voices are available than those that I tested in the past, but at least the Chinese keyboard support is significantly better than it was with Windows 7.

So, there is room for improvement there.

Anyway, I read few articles and complaints from e.g. Mozilla about the lack of availability of an option to choose the default browser: as you can see from how I restructured my own “start” menu, you can easily replace standards (e.g. the Mail with Thunderbird- in my case, even the Portable version) that I can’t see why Firefox should be added as an option: there are so many browsers available…

More interesting is that overall Windows 10 is faster than Windows 7- albeit, on shutdown, despite having installed just few applications, it still takes too long.

Another useful element is that it is obviously built to work on both PCs and tablets, so much that features that you are used to find on iPad and Android tablets are available on even the most basic applications, e.g. the “Video” that mimicks the default video application on Linux or Android, if you are watching a movie in full screen, automatically goes to “pause” when you look at something else.

I know that I am now moving onto a more technical ground, but a feature that I really appreciated was that… the installation of Windows 10, beside removing applications that were installed under Windows 7 in Italian, didn’t affect “the other side”, i.e. the Linux part of my computer (it actually starts with a Linux menu that includes a choice to use Windows), as it happened in the past whenever I had to re-install or update/upgrade Window.

Why do I use both Windows and Linux? Because some applications are available only under Windows, others are available only under Linux, and a few of those that I use are available under both.

As you can see, in my update of Windows I re-installed only the applications that I need to write and “scribble” (Xmind, the old CeltX, Office): basically, Windows is the drafting and presentation side of my computer (I consider Project Management tools part of the “communication” side), while Linux is the “media development” (e.g. to modify pictures, draw, modify or create sound files) side.

What do I want to test next? If it is true that you can use Microsoft tools to create an “information delivery” application on Windows 10 that works also under iOS and Android, as well as on Windows smartphones and tablets… but this is for a distant future 🙂


From late August, I plan to focus my writings just on the non-business and non-IT side, as I will start soon a new activity and I do not want any perceived or real overlapping of interests: if you read my previous posts since 2007, you know that this still leaves plenty to write about.

It is yet to be seen how the fall-back of the temporary solution adopted for the crisis in Greece will affect the future of the EU, albeit, frankly, I associate recent statements to utter politicking by the former Finance Minister of Greece, striving to keep his name current by re-iterating what he said before with more panache and melodrama (elections call), than to a real shift in the game.

I am more interested on the evolution of the dialectics between the AIIB and other existing financial institutions: will they compete with each other? will they make possible “auctions for more aid” by countries turning to them for help? how will member countries (in the case of most large EU Member States, they are members of both) balance the conflicting interests of the two sets of institutions (i.e. the BRICS-based and those resulting from Bretton Woods) and their respective “guiding lights”? will there be more organizations “spawned”?

Really a matter of a balancing act worth a global Bismarck, albeit none seems to be available on the scene and able to last a couple of decades.

In my smaller world, I plan to resume as usual in September my multilingual news digest, albeit the exact timing (morning, evening, weekly) will be defined in early September- depends on how much of my spare time I can focus on “connecting-the-dots” activities, as my priority is now to complete by early 2016 my round on German and Chinese, as I saw just a couple of days ago that my routine local private&public nuisances started in 2004 in Italy and expanded in 2007&2008 in Brussels are here to stay.

Therefore I will rather spend my personal spare time left from an activity that I will start in few weeks on learning and writing for the future, and my limited resources on removing debris and preparing for future activities, than waste time on the development of an ephemeral local personal life 🙂

And, yes, today I did my first long walk in the mountains (approx 9km, I think) but… due to the “high volume of traffic”, I had more pollution from cars passing by than I had while walking around Turin 😀

So, next week my walk will be through a relatively less scenic (i.e. less attractive to cars and motorbikes) road across the valley- hoping, this time, to have more oxygen and less CO2 😀

Have a nice week!


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