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.
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!
I am copying a video file across my wireless network (though this particular machine is kinda flaky, so it might not be Vista's fault) but I thought this was funny:
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?
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 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:
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:
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!
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 really like the realtime (or near real-time) preview of the windows on the Taskbar in Vista. Check it out:
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.
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.
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).
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.
Not really, but this is my favorite from the list:
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.
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:
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...
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.
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