PastimesWindows 8

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From: FUBHO3/25/2012 2:52:34 PM
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Windows 8 Preview Beats Windows 7 in Most Performance Tests

A desktop running Windows 8 Consumer Preview started up faster and generally ran faster than the same desktop running Windows 7.
By Nate Ralph, PCWorld Mar 22, 2012 8:00 pm

Windows 8‘s Metro interface may be controversial, but it looks like few PC users will complain about the new operating system’s performance. The PCWorld Labs put the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 through a battery of tests and found it generally faster--sometimes a lot faster--than Windows 7.

Our test system running Windows 8 Consumer Preview started up faster, ran through our WorldBench 7 benchmark faster, and showed superior performance when browsing the Web, compared with the same system running Windows 7. In only one major test, our office productivity measure, did Windows 8 lag behind Windows 7 performance.

Obviously, these results are far from definitive, since they’re based on a preview rather than on the final version of the new operating system. But once Windows 8 is finally released, it is entirely possible that the performance will improve, since we had to use drivers that weren’t yet tweaked for Windows 8.

The results also jibe with what readers who had installed the Consumer Preview told us in a recent survey. About 40 percent of respondents said their machines seemed faster with Windows 8, and only 9.4 percent said they seemed slower; nearly 45 percent noticed no significant change.

Test Methodology We tested using our WorldBench 7 tests, performed on the Labs' baseline system, which is built around a 3.3GHz Intel Core i5-2500K processor. That CPU is coupled with 8GB of DDR3 RAM clocked at 1333MHz, a 1TB 7200-rpm hard drive, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti graphics card. Our testbed system is certainly no slouch, but it represents what we’d call a middle-of-the-road PC.

We loaded the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 on the system, and compared our results with the numbers we already had for the same system running Windows 7.

Windows 8 ran through WorldBench 7, our comprehensive performance benchmark, 14 percent faster than Windows 7. Generally, any difference of 5 percent or more on WorldBench is noticeable, so this is a difference you should feel when you’re running a Win 8 machine.

(For a full breakdown of WorldBench 7, our testing methodology, and the ins and outs of the individual tests, check out Jason Cross’s " How We Test PCs.")

Startup Time If you hate waiting for your PC to get going, you should like Windows 8. Our system started up at least 35 percent faster running Windows 8 than it did while running Windows 7. Under Windows 7, our average startup time was 56.2 seconds. Under Windows 8, that time dropped to 36.8 seconds.

That number is even more impressive considering that Windows 8 has a built-in handicap. To measure startup time, we command Windows to open a text file in the PC’s startup folder, and time how long it takes from when we press the power button to when that text file opens. Because Windows 8 starts up in the Metro interface, not the traditional desktop, our testbed had to boot up, load the Metro interface, and then load the desktop to get to that text file. The average time to reach the Windows 8 Start screen (without getting to the desktop) was even faster: just 23.91 seconds. And that was on a spinning-platter hard drive--if you’ve upgraded to a solid-state drive, your startup time will be even quicker.

Why is Windows 8 so quick to start up? With the latest incarnation of Windows, Microsoft has introduced a new “hybrid boot,” combining the speed and functionality of Windows’ hibernate mode and the benefits of a fresh startup session.

A bit of background: When you choose to shut down your PC, Windows closes all running applications and services, and then powers down. When you choose the hibernate option, Windows writes everything currently in RAM to a file on your hard drive, and then shuts down. This adds some time to the shutdown process, but your PC will boot faster and be right where you left it before hibernating. In Windows 8, shutting down your PC closes all running applications, but hibernates the underlying operating system. When you turn your PC back on, Windows 8 will load that saved state much faster. The bottom line is that it's just like a clean boot in a fraction of the time. The Building Windows 8 blog details the architectural changes.

Individual Tests Our WorldBench 7 test also includes individual tests of Web performance, office productivity, and media creation. We measure Web performance using the handy WebVizBench benchmark. This test measures how well the system renders dynamic Web content, including JavaScript and HTML 5. For our testing, we used each operating system’s default browser: Internet Explorer 10 in Windows 8, and IE 9 in Windows 7.

The strides that Microsoft has made in hardware acceleration and browser optimization are evident here, with Windows 8 having a frames-per-second score that’s 50 percent better than the same system running Windows 7.

The differences aren’t as great in our Content Creation tests, which measure how well a machine performs in encoding audio and video, and in editing images. Our system running Windows 7 was a bit faster than the same system running Windows 8. Those differences were rarely greater than a few seconds, though, and the results could change dramatically once updated video drivers are introduced for Windows 8.

Windows 7 won decisively only in our Office Productivity test. Our test uses the Productivity section of Futuremark’s PCMark benchmark tool, which includes typical office tasks such as editing text, launching applications, and scanning for viruses. On this test, Windows 8 was roughly 8 percent slower than Windows 7. It’s worth noting that Futuremark is in the process of updating its benchmark suites for Windows 8, and those updates could change this result.

These performance numbers will likely shift in the coming months as Microsoft releases updated versions of its new OS. The Windows development cycle will stretch for months, and will include driver updates, performance tweaks, and general optimizations that are bound to improve things. Windows 8’s dramatic new interface may not be a runaway hit with PCWorld readers, but the numbers don’t lie: Even in its early form, this is promising to be the leanest, most efficient incarnation of Windows to date.

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To: zax who wrote (100)3/26/2012 4:58:47 PM
   of 357
Late May claim for Windows 8 RC jibes with expected timetable

Dutch blog reports next major milestone due in two months
By Gregg Keizer
March 26, 2012 02:37 PM ET

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From: FUBHO3/27/2012 1:08:23 PM
   of 357
Microsoft extends app building to the cloudExtension to Team Foundation Service platform lets developers build source code on Windows Azure cloud

MARCH 27, 2012
By Paul Krill

Microsoft on Tuesday will preview a cloud-based application build service and improvements to its Visual Studio IDE to make it easier to build SharePoint programs.

Through an extension planned to the company's Team Foundation Service platform, developers can build source code on the Windows Azure public cloud. Team Foundation Service is basically a cloud-based version of the company's Team Foundation Server application lifecycle management server.

"The biggest benefit [of the improvements] is it's supereasy," said Brian Harry, Microsoft Technical Fellow of Team Foundation Server. "You could be up and going, building your app in the cloud in 10 minutes." The preview of the build service is intended for use with the Visual Studio 11 beta IDE as well as Visual Studio 2010. It will be extended to Visual Studio 2008 in a week...

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To: zax who wrote (100)3/28/2012 11:12:56 AM
   of 357
Windows 8 shutdown made easy, by way of Microsoft

Users frustrated by Windows 8's shutdown/restart options will appreciate pair of Microsoft-approved apps that do it in a snap
By Woody Leonhard | InfoWorld

Shut down, restart, and log-off used to be simple actions from the Start menu in Microsoft Windows, but in Windows 8, the Start menu sleeps with the fishes, and turning off your PC from the legacy desktop involves several less-than-intuitive steps. Imagine my surprise then when I discovered, hidden in a dark corner of the company website, a couple of Microsoft-approved apps that do everything you might want.

To review, the prescribed procedure for turning off or rebooting in Windows 8 goes something like this:

  • Bring up the Charms bar by swiping from the right or hovering your mouse in the upper- or lower-right corners. If you have a keyboard and you're into key shortcuts, you can also hold down the Windows key and press I. ("I" is for Charms, right?)
  • Slide your finger or move your mouse down the right edge so that the Charms bar turns dark (and you don't lose it), until you get to the Settings charm. It's the one on the bottom. Tap or click the Settings charm.
  • At the bottom, in the middle, you see the Power icon. Tap or click it.
  • You're given two choices: Shut Down or Restart. Pick your poison.
  • Alternatively, go to the legacy desktop and press Alt+F4 on your keyboard. This brings up a special Shut Down Windows dialog, where you can choose Shut Down, Sleep, or Restart. If there's another way to bring up the Shut Down dialog, I can't find it -- it's not an option in the right-click-the-black-hole-that-used-to-be-Start menu, commonly called the Power User Menu. Power users never reboot, right?

    The method isn't intuitive or discoverable, in my humble opinion. It's certainly nothing like "To shut down, click Start, Shut Down" -- the directions for closing every version of Windows since it arose from the primordial ooze.

    There have been lots of tutorials about building shortcuts that shut down or restart Windows 8. But they're a pain in the neck -- tricky ways to do something that should be terribly simple. I speak from experience, as I explain how to build those shortcuts in several of my books. Now you have a more direct route to shutdown.

    To get these apps, go to the Microsoft Gadgets download site and look near the top of the page for Control System with Clock by Keat or toward the bottom for TOP - Vista Shutdown Control by Markus. Click to download and say yes to Install; you suddenly have a small pad of icons that will shut down, restart, or log off your PC. Both Gadgets include a digital clock, as well. I prefer the Markus option because the icons are bigger, and the Hibernate icon on the Keat download doesn't work. (Windows 8 doesn't have a hibernate mode, per se; it's been replaced by a more effective feature.)

    I've pushed and pulled, and they seem to work fine on the Windows 8 legacy desktop. Best of all, they're available for download from Microsoft itself. No home-brewed fix, no download from an unknown source -- this one comes from Mother Microsoft.

    Yes, they're both old-fashioned Windows Gadgets, a category Microsoft's trying to kill. The official statement: "Because we want to focus on the exciting possibliities of the newest version of Windows, Microsoft no longer supports uploading new gadgets. But that doesn't mean you can't still get Gadgets." Indeed, Windows 8 legacy desktop runs Gadgets just like the Windows 7 pre-legacy desktop.

    It's official. You no longer have good reason to whine about the missing Shut Down button. Microsoft itself distributes a replacement -- albeit a legacy kind of replacement for a legacy kind of desktop.

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    From: zax4/2/2012 8:16:42 PM
       of 357
    A working Firefox Windows 8 Metro prototype, status update 3 News and other things I find interesting

    Monday, April 02, 2012

    The Firefox Roadmap lists a 2012 Q2 goal of providing a working Firefox prototype on Metro.

    As of last week, we have a working browser in Metro. It currently looks and feels the same as the Android browser. You can navigate the web, create tabs, bookmark pages, build history, retain cache, adjust preferences, and more.

    I don't consider that 2012 Q2 goal met yet, we still have some open design questions, and a ton of platform integration work to do.

    Early tile design from Bug 735008 - design still in progress

    Our prototype in its current form is based on the Fennec XUL code. We used to use Fennec XUL on Android, but changed to a Native UI on Android for startup performance reasons. We haven't seen the same types of startup performance problems we've had on Android yet, even on VMs.

    Firefox Metro screenshots - UI will be changing, Metro specific UI guidelines and Mozilla UX work feedback has not begun yet.

    We're currently writing up a proposal on how we should proceed with the Metro work and we will post it on dev.planning. If we are able to keep using Fennec XUL we'll be ahead of schedule, but I anticipate some serious discussions once that is posted.

    Since our prototype is based on Fennec we have a multi-process capable browser for free. Currently there is only one content process, but I believe the longer term plans are to increase that.

    Jim put together an installer this week as well so that UX can get hands on with Firefox on Metro and provide design feedback and guidance.

    Platform integration

    As of this week, we have a lot of Metro platform integration working.

    We have Metro snap working, you can snap another Metro app to the right or left of Firefox and continue browsing.

    We also have HTML file input controls tied up to the Metro file picker. We've implemented support for opening a file, opening multiple files, and saving files in Metro. Unlike a normal sandboxed Metro application, the user can select any file from the computer. The picker also allows you to select files shared by other applications.

    We also implemented the Windows 8 search contract, you can use the Search Charm from any screen on Windows 8. If you enter a URL, it will be loaded. If you enter anything else, it will be searched in your default search engine.

    We also implemented the Windows 8 share contract, you can use the Share Charm from any Firefox page to share that page to another application. Once you select the Share Charm it will list the applications you can share to, for example: Mail, Twitter, or Facebook.

    Searching for the text "Firefox Windows 8" and Sharing while playing BrowserQuest

    Metro file picker after clicking on an input file form control

    Why Windows 8 Metro support is really important

    If a browser is awesome on Metro, the only way to use this awesome browser in Metro is for it to become the default. If a browser is default on Metro, it will also be default on the Desktop.

    If a browser does not support Metro, it is seriously at risk of losing the default browser status, and therefore significant market share. A browser without support for Metro, if default, would be taking away a Metro browser completely from the user's computer.

    Even if a user spends most of their time in the Desktop interface, having a really good Metro browser may be enough for the user to change their default browser. A browser with great Metro support can gain significant browser market share for this reason.

    It is extremely important that we deliver an awesome Firefox experience on Metro, one that is tightly integrated with the platform, fast, and feature rich. Windows is by far the platform with the most users and which has the biggest effect on market share.

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    From: TimF4/9/2012 9:28:24 PM
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    Windows 8 Metro: Success or Failure?

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    From: FUBHO4/12/2012 6:14:38 AM
       of 357
    Intel working with 10 vendors on Windows 8 tablets
    Lenovo K800, the first smartphone to use an Intel chip, will go on sale in China in late May
    By Michael Kan
    April 11, 2012 01:40 AM ET

    IDG News Service - Intel is working with 10 undisclosed Chinese and global vendors to design Windows 8 tablets using the company's chips, a senior company executive said Wednesday.

    "You'll probably see many Intel-based tablets by the end of this year," Intel China chairman Sean Maloney said while speaking at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing.

    Maloney made his comments as Intel has been working to expand its chip business into smartphones and tablets. The company's newest Atom processor, the Z2460 and also code-named "Medfield", is built for smartphones and tablets, and promises to give high computing performance while also offering long battery life.

    The Medfield chip will be used in Chinese PC maker Lenovo's K800 handset, the first smartphone to use an Intel processor. The K800 will go on sale in China at the end of May, according to Lenovo vice president Wayne Chen.

    Lenovo share of China's smartphone market last year was less than 5%, according to research firm Canalys. The K800 smartphone is positioned at the "high end", Maloney said.

    Intel is also developing another mobile chip, code-named Clover Trail, which is designed for tablets and is scheduled to arrive this year. The chip features a 1.8 GHz processor, according to a slide shown during Maloney's speech.

    Although Intel is best known as a PC chip producer, the company has big ambitions for the tablet and smartphone market, especially in China. "Our strategy in China now is to win with smartphones and tablets. We are making progress on it!" Maloney said during an online chat with Internet users earlier this week.

    Chinese handset manufacturer ZTE also plans to launch a smartphone using Intel chips during the second half of this year, according to Maloney.

    Intel is also developing two other Atom chips for smartphones. The Intel Atom Z2580 will offer twice the performance of the Medfield chip. The Atom Z2000 has a 1.0 GHz processor and is positioned for the lower end of the market.

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    From: zax4/12/2012 3:37:35 PM
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    Microsoft’s Windows and Windows Phone roadmap reportedly leaks

    Albeit a fairly old one... doesn't have Windows 8 Consumer Preview on it...

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    From: zax4/13/2012 7:38:39 AM
    1 Recommendation   of 357
    Windows 8-based Intel tablet specs revealed
    John Callaham

    Intel has already said it is working with 10 different vendors to create Windows 8-based tablets that would have the company's processor inside. Now reports that during the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing this week, the company has revealed more information on the hardware specs it expects to see in a Windows 8-based tablet.

    The tablets themselves will have Intel's upcoming mobile processor, code named Clover Trail. While the processor is dual-core, it would also allow for "burst mode" and Hyperthreading features in order to boost performance. While some of the products will be pure tablet devices that would be 10 inches in size, others will be a hybrid of a tablet and a notebook, such as the ones that Intel showed off at CES 2012 in January, that would have an 11 inch screen.

    The Windows 8 tablets would support 3G and 4G networks out of the box, along with a battery life of nine hours, with 30 days of standby power. They would also be 9mm thick and weight about 1.5 pounds, All of those recommendations are close to the hardware and design features of Apple's iPad.

    Hopefully we will learn more about all of these upcoming Intel-based Windows 8 tablets later this summer ahead of the Windows 8 launch.

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    From: zax4/13/2012 12:44:18 PM
       of 357
    A little story about Windows 8 public releases’s names

    Today we’re going to talk about Windows 8 RCs actual name.

    Firstly, we shall mention, those aren’t facts or rumours.

    Back in September, Microsoft released a M3 final build under the name « Windows 8 Developer Preview », not much time ago, the last Beta build under « Windows 8 Consumer Preview ».

    Now it’s the time for the RC, who’s name would be simply as « Windows 8 Release Preview ».

    It shall come publicy, later in may, or even in the beginning of June.

    Hope you’ve enjoyed our review.

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