Tagged with Windows
I am headed to Build later this month and am excited by both the Surface tablet and what the PC makers are going to show us in Windows 8 devices. But ahead of that show there have been a lot of reveals by the likes of HP, Dell, Lenovo and ASUS.
I am perplexed by these early reveals by the PC makers. On the whole, these companies built Windows PC's in the Slate era (when Microsoft was pushing Windows Tablet Edition). Many of these new devices feel like throwbacks to the Pen Slates they built in years gone by and that's unfortunate. Even if they don't look like Slates, they look like ultrabooks with touch screens. Convertibles and such are interesting for the minority but not for the majority of users IMO.
We need to let the PC makers know that Slates are dead...they need to be building tablets...
Nearly a week ago I installed Windows 8 as my main laptop operating system. I could finally do this once the Windows Phone 7.1.1 SDK update was released (making the Windows Phone emulator work on Windows 8). So I am not knee deep into Windows 8 as a desktop operating system.
NOTE: is that I am using Windows 8 on a non-touch laptop. This means I want to test it as a replacement for Windows 7 on my development machine. This is a particularly important test for the Operating System for me. I've used it on a Tablet for several months now and I really like it. The Samsung Tablet that we were given at Build is a good machine to see how real tablets will be. The lack of apps and battery life make it an approximation of real tablet use for me, otherwise I'd use it a *lot* more!
When I set up the Tablet for Windows 8, I just used my LiveID so that I could get the full integrated experience that consumers would get. But since I use domain authentication for my laptop, I was worried about how the experience would be. Luckily, I was able to login easily with a domain account like I figured. But what I didn't realize was that if I link my domain account with a LiveID, I could do pin and picture password. I've been told that authenticating with an Exchange server breaks this, but for me it's working grand! Pin login FTW!
This blog post may seem to be a clever way of increasing my web traffic but the fact is that I am growing frustrated with the adoption of Vista and Microsoft's general under-delivering on Vista.
The big caveat is this: I use Vista and really like it. I don't have any real problems (no driver issues) and I find that gaming performance close enough to XP that I can't tell the difference. In addition, I like the new UX sheen of Vista...so why do I ask if its the new Windows ME?
Vista has a bad name in the community. Some is perception (bad press==bad experience), some of it is real (driver issues for machines not pre-installed are bad....often really bad), and the 64-bit story is just painful. UAC is similar to how Ubuntu implemented root protection, but bothers people more than most Linux distributions (with my limited experience).
I wasn't surprised to see thsi story on CNet as I wondered whether this would be the case as far back as 2003:
I am in between meetings near the Microsoft Campus today and wanted a coffee so I headed to a nearby Starbucks. I wanted to check my e-mail, ut I had given up my T-Mobile account (at $40/month) because there is so much free wireless in my neighborhood. I wrestled with spending $10 for a day pass just to check e-mail when I noticed that Vista users would get a free trial to T-Mobile hotspots.
I took the trial and I got a free month of access. No credit card required (so no nasty...trial, but we'll bill you if you forget to cancel nonsense). I did have to install an ActiveX component to check to see if IE7/Vista was in use. Voila...free e-mail checking...
I was setting up my new laptop with Vista today and it looks like everything is finally installed, except my fonts. So I opened the Font folder and picked, "Add New Font". This is what I saw:
While it is certainly skinned with Vista, this is the same font dialog that i've been using since '95 or perhaps 3.1. I love the Drives dropdown and the Network button. I wonder how much ancient code is still in Vista? Anyone notice others?
In response to a question on MSDN, I crufted up a really simple SideBar gadget for Vista using WPF/E as the user interface. (It just shows a simple animation when first added to the bar). SideBar (and perhaps Live) Gadgets are likely to be a fun place to use WPF/E. You can download and install it here (assuming you already have WPF/E runtime installed:
In this blog entry by James Kyton, he talks about the next versions of Windows (Fiji and Vienna...in that order). Fuji seems to be Vista 1.1 as it is adding features that were dropped. Of most interest to me is the fact that the WinFS name is rearing is head again. The article states that for Fiji:
"WinFS will be applied over NTFS to give us Virtual Folders (or maybe just Saved Searches)"
I thought I'd mention a problem I had with my new Vista installation.
I have a separate partion for my data, so when I upgrade to Vista I didn't do a clean format of the entire drive, but just did a clean install of Vista. Works great!
The only exception was that I did not have permission to access, modify or delete some files on my data drive. I am an administrator, what do you mean I don't have permission? After googling the problem, I discovered that the owner of these few wierd files was an unknown entity. To fix it, I used the Advanced button the security tab of the file/folder properties to change the owner to my admin account. Once I had the ownership, it was as simple as adding the appropriate permissions.
Interestingly Windows Media Player 11's visualizations in Vista don't seem to be Video Hardware accellerated. While I understand that Windows Media Player 11 needs to be backwards compatible, it does make the visualizations looks ugly compared with the rest of the OS. Hopefully they'll change that for Vista RTM, but for now that are just plain ugly (and CPU hogs).
I spent the weekend downloading and upgrading my main XP box with this pre-RC1 test build. Yes, I said upgrading XP! The good news is that is build is very very good. Not perfect, but very good! I am able to use it as my main box.
I have tested VS.NET 2005, SQL Server 2000, SQL Server 2005, MS Office 2003, and even games (ok I am addicted to WoW). All of these programs worked. The only problem I had was that I wasn't granted access to my old Documents folder, but I would guess that has more to do with the fact that I changed the location of the folder with TweakXP.
Back on July 20th, Paul Therrott wrote a long blog entry explaining his experience with WGA (I stopped it from installing so I didn't try to work with it). His big problem was that WGA reported that his version was pirated. I think he (and most of us) assumed that WGA was not working correctly.
Read down to the end of the article. It looks like he got with Microsoft and worked it out...guess what? He has a pirated version of Windows. The online retailer that he purchased it from actually sold him a pirated version. Wow. Funny...sad...still no reason to push WGA down as a "security update".
I know this has been all over the blogosphere by now, but I wanted to make sure people knew about Windows Genuine Advantage being snuck into Windows Update. Here is a ZDNet article that walks through Windows Update to show how deceptive the install is. I am disappointed in Microsoft over installing this tool via Windows Update. While I don't work for Microsoft, I am a fan of what they do in general.
The problem with WGA is that it is an anti-piracy measure, not a security update. The idea is to have users trust Windows Update and turn it on so they can't get hacked, right? By trying to sneak this onto computer systems to see if they are genuine, they are undermining the trust factor for most users. Through the generosity of Microsoft (through their MVP program), I have legal versions of Windows running throughout my network. But I still didn't install WGA. Why? Its the principle.
I spent the majority of yesterday moving my primary laptop to Vista. I got a new 100G/7200RPM drive, so I decided to chew up some of the space with a dual boot. I got to late last night (about 6am) when I decided it was a dead proposition and I needed to revert to my XP SP2 desktop. Good news is that a majority of the software I loaded on Vista worked without a hitch. At the end of the day it came to that a few critical pieces of software weren't Vista-ready.
Getting Vista installed was a snap and with the exception of the touchpad driver, everything worked flawlessly (and after installing the XP touchpad driver I was good to go).
I installed Office XP to have Word and PowerPoint to do some work where Office 2007 might cause some compatibility issues. I then installed Office 2007 over it and it worked well side-by-side. I've been told that Outlook 2007 and Outlook XP won't work side-by-side so I didn't even try.
In this news.com article, they explore a problem I wondered about when I first saw Avalon two years ago. I am hoping that MS will make this better during optimization. I had heard that the Avalon team was hoping that battery life and mobile GPU's wouild be better when Avalon shipped. Not surprisingly, the battery life of laptops is essentially the same as it was two years ago (IMHO), though Mobile GPU's may be better.
What do you think?
After fighting everyone else to download the Beta 2, I got Vista Beta 2 installed on my tablet pc last night. My impressions so far:
On the whole I am very happy with the experience so far (and will probaby make it my main OS in the coming weeks). In addition I have some cheers and jeers so far:
Not really, but this is my favorite from the list:
"Vista Boot Straight Into World of Warcraft and Never Be Seen Again Edition"
As some of you know I lost the screen on my main laptop (HP ZD8000, a lovely machine at 13 lbs) so I sent it into support where they are going to fix it but take 2 weeks to do it. I took over my old laptop from my dear Tricia to try and make it work for a while.
To simplify her world, the laptop only had XP Home on it. After getting the 3,000 things installed I needed to in order to work on my current project I am going to have to upgrade it to Professional. The problem? ASP.NET 2.0.
I am working on a project using the VS web server (not IIS would would have been an obvious Professional requirement). But I started to get the dreaded "Unable to attach. Binding Invalid Handle" error when trying to debug. Digging deeper it seems that it needs the VS Remote Debugger to work to debug in the VS Web Server (don't ask me why...it *just* does).
Longhorn finally has a real name: Windows Vista. Huh? Can't we just go back and call it Windows 2006? XP was wierd enough, but now the marketing people have invaded the campus' core. They announced the new name with the marketing tagline:
"Clear, Confident, Connected: Bringing clarity to your world."
I concur with this blogger. I don't get what will be in Longhorn. I really like Avalon and Indigo presents a great platform for SOA, but they are pre-Longhorn. And anyone who reads this blog knows how I feel about WinFS...
Speaking of Cairo, I hope WinFS was dumped because they needed more time to get the API right (the last few builds were horribly difficult to understand) and not just because SQL Server dropped key features (row-level security and FileStream datatypes).
This week is expected to be the OS X (Tiger) vs. Longhorn week. With Steve Jobs taking the covers off the newest incarnation of OS X, he'll be trying to besmirch Longhorn at every turn. This newsweek article is probably only the first of many on the subject.
I am still impressed that the Microsoft spin machine hasn't been able to get WinFS out of the press's minds. They still beat up on them for dropping WinFS. I am hoping that Microsoft sees fit to include WinFS in a future version. My opinion is that they can't ship WinFS until SQL Server (the underlying DB engine that had powered WinFS) has row-level security. Building something akin to NT File Permissions over SQL Server is just too much overhead.