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To: Eric L who wrote (62)2/18/2012 11:51:57 PM
From: Eric L
1 Recommendation   of 357
Paul Thurrott: WOA & NT Goodness

"With WOA, it's NT all over again. And yes, that's a good thing. A very good thing indeed." -PT -

>> With WOA, It's Windows NT All Over Again

Paul Thurrott
Supersite for Windows
February 14, 2012

Gather 'round the camp fire, guys, it's story time. And tonight's story is a tale of redemption, a story 'bout the greatest OS ever made, a sad stretch in the wilderness, and its rebirth this year as a champion of a new generation of devices. Yes, folks, I'm talking about Windows NT. And it's back, baby.

Twenty long years ago, Microsoft raided the near-corpse of the struggling minicomputer maker DEC, taking, among other things, Dave Cutler and a cadre of his closest friends and coworkers. Cutler was frustrated when DEC cancelled the microkernel-based OS he was working on, and Microsoft offered the cure: a chance to design its own next-generation OS, called NT (for New Technology).

Early NT versions were based on OS/2 because of Microsoft's then-partnership with IBM, but with that friendship faltering as DOS/Windows took off, NT became Windows NT, eventually adopting the same look and feel as DOS-based versions of Windows.

Though similar looking, NT was a radical departure from Windows. It was designed to be platform agnostic, for starters, and early versions targeted Alpha, MIPS, and PowerPC platforms in addition to the more common Intel x86 chipset used in mainstream PCs. It was a fully 32-bit OS from the get-go, with none of the weird memory management issues of DOS/Windows, and it was well-designed, and componentized into logical subsystems.

For years, Microsoft developed DOS/Windows and NT concurrently but separately, with the former generally targeting consumers and the latter addressing the workstation and then general-purpose business market. NT always came in both client and server versions, with the latter moving upmarket very quickly and usurping expensive UNIX-based servers as the mainstream platform for business and then data center computing.

Eventually, of course, things changed, as they must. Over time, the cross-platform prowess of NT fell by the wayside as supported architectures fell out of favor in the marketplace. This allowed Microsoft to improve the performance of the underlying system -- often by using low-level, platform-dependent code -- and its compatibility with DOS/Windows applications, services, and drivers.

With DOS/Windows too insecure and fragile to form the basis of its future computing platform, Microsoft worked then to make NT more accessible and acceptable for consumers. First, the NT branding was removed in Windows 2000 -- a decision I still feel weird about -- and then the DOS/Windows line was killed off forever in Windows XP, which featured both consumer and business versions but was based fully on the NT code base.

Since then, NT -- sorry, "Windows" -- has had good times (Windows 7) and bad (Windows Vista), but it's the stuff that happened below the surface that matters more to me. Not surprisingly, NT creator Dave Cutler played a big role in what is arguably the most important PC-related change in the past decade when he backed AMD's supposedly unsophisticated x64 platform over Intel's Itanium. The result was a cataclysmic shift for the industry, and today all of the PCs we use are in fact based on this 64-bit environment. The changeover was so seamless, few seemed to even notice.

On the bad news front, NT was compromised by the arbitrary addition of Internet Explorer into its core code base, a marketing decision that landed Microsoft in antitrust hot water but more importantly also triggered years of after-the-fact bug and security fixes that we're still reeling from today. And with Windows/NT just running on x86/x64 platforms for basically a decade now (I'll ignore the Itanium holdout stuff just as customers did), it's been fine-tuned to run best on that one system, a far cry from NT's early cross-platform days.

Today, however, NT is on the rebound. And ironically, with Dave Cutler off doing mysterious work on the next Xbox after a stint with Windows Azure, Microsoft's cloud-based OS, we have a most unusual outsider to thank.

That outsider, of course, is Apple.

In 2010, Apple surprised virtually no one by releasing the iPad, a device that is essentially an iPod touch with a 10-inch screen. The iPad doesn't seem like a big deal on paper, but as with all truly great ideas, what really happened is quite a bit different from what the pundits -- including, yes, yours truly -- expected. You see, the iPad has been an incredible success. And it's touched off a computing renaissance in which consumers are flocking to these simpler devices or more complex PCs.

iPads aren't less expensive than PCs -- the average selling price of a laptop computer right now is about $450, below the starting price of the iPad, which runs from $500 to $830 -- and this in no small way contributed to a broad misunderstanding of how successful the device would be. But iPads are significantly simpler than PCs. And the key bit is that, for most people, they do everything expected of a more complex PC, but in a friendlier, touch-centric way.

Microsoft isn't stupid. Seeing the impact the iPad was having in the market -- it quickly killed off the market for low-end netbook computers and is currently starting to eat into traditional PC and Mac sales -- the software giant began considering how it could adapt Windows, based on the ever-versatile NT code base -- to combat the iPad. And the solution it came up with looks like a winner. More to the point, it signals a resurgence in what makes NT great. Or, as I think of it, what makes NT, NT.

In the waning days of Windows 7 development, Microsoft decided it would once again open up Windows to cross-platform development and port its next OS, Windows 8, to ARM. That version of Windows 8, called Windows on ARM or WOA, will be specially tuned to run well on iPad-like tablets that are thin and light and inexpensive. But they'll offer the full Windows 8 user experience, with the new Metro-style Start screen and a limited Explorer desktop for file and task management, device interoperability, and the desktop versions of Internet Explorer 10 and Office 15, both of which will come for free with such devices.

You can read more about these developments in my recent article, "WOA! Windows 8 on ARM Revealed." But there are two key points I'd like to make within the context of NT and its legacy. First, the return to a more architecture-independent version (or, in the case of ARM, versions) of Windows is exciting and necessary, and it better positions this system for future evolutions that we can't yet imagine. Though he's working on Xbox vNext somewhere in a secret location right now, I bet Mr. Cutler smiles a bit to himself whenever he considers this most welcome change.

Second, some of the changes in WOA -- or what critics would call limitations -- are in fact consistent with Microsoft's long-standing policy of removing legacy technologies and features from Windows when it makes sense to do so. And shedding this technological deadwood is also healthy for the platform. For example, as we moved from x86 (32-bit) to x64 (64-bit) PCs, we lost some legacy deadwood in the form of 16-bit code and driver compatibility, all while gaining better inherent security. With ARM-based WOA systems, a similar change is occurring. And where Microsoft giveth, it also taketh away.

The big bit, of course, is what's missing. And it's a doozie: Although WOA devices will include the legacy desktop, no current x86/x64 software applications or utilities can be ported to this new platform, ever. Microsoft will only allow new Metro-style apps, from itself and third parties, as well as the aforementioned built-in desktop applications, which including IE 10 and Office 15. That's it.

But what we gain in the transition is simpler, smaller, cleaner, and more efficient. WOA systems will be smaller and lighter than Intel-type devices and will offer better battery life. ARM makers insist they'll be cheaper, too. And the resulting Windows 8 devices will be more easily supported because they won't suffer from the wellspring of security problems that have dogged PCs for years. Sure, you can't port that LOB app to WOA. But you also can't port viruses or malware.

The best news is that we'll have choices. In cases where a full-feature PC or device with backward compatibility is required, there will be tons of Intel-compatible Windows 8 PCs from which to choose. But if you can do without the backward compatibility stuff, you'll be rewarded with a superior system that brings the best of both worlds: the style and grace of the iPad combined with the manageability of the Windows 8 environment.

WOA is possible only because of Windows' inherent NT-ness, a lingering advantage that many users either never knew about or forgot about altogether. But with WOA, it's NT all over again. And yes, that's a good thing. A very good thing indeed. ###

- Eric -

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From: Eric L2/19/2012 10:15:32 AM
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We Just Don't Know!

Windows Weekly 248: In the latest episode of the Windows Weekly Podcast, Leo Laporte Mary Jo Foley, and Paul Thurrotte spend 1 hour and 11 minutes chit chating, discussing lingering questions in the wake of Microsoft's WOA revelations, why tech analysts, pundits, and enthusiasts are so often in the dark about Microsoft's plans these days, more Windows 8 news, some Windows Phone "Tango" (Tango 1; Tango 2; ['Tango and Cash') leaks and rumors, and Office 2010 University Edition.

The theme of this weeks podcast is 'We Just Don't Know!' and if Paul and Mary Jo don't know what's really coming and when it's coming, or if it's coming, or why it is or isn't coming in Win 8 then nobody outside of Redmond knows, and very possibly nobody in Redmond actually knows either.

What The Tech (Saturday, February 18, 2012): In this week's podcast Andrew Zarian and Paul Thurrott spend an hour continuing their discussion of Windows on ARM. Will we see WOA laptops? Paul also goes into more detail about Windows 8 and the new Metro interface. How will Metro differ between consumer and enterprise use. Google gets official approval to buy Motorola Mobility. Paul explains what he thinks Google should do with Motorola. Rumors keep flying out about the next gen iPad. Should Apple make a smaller version? Andrew and Paul discuss how new Windows 8 tablets could affect the iPad. How much will Windows 8 tablets cost? And Andrew brings up Apple’s labor issues in China.

- Eric -

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From: zax2/22/2012 10:05:29 AM
   of 357
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Microsoft and Apple Taking Different Roads to the Same Future

Long-time readers of Windows IT Pro UPDATE will recall my simplistic mantra about the future of computing: It's highly mobile and highly connected. But recent moves from the leading OS vendors suggest that this isn't just a pat saying. Instead, both Microsoft and Apple agree on this one thing: It's a strategy.

What's interesting is that these two companies have chosen to arrive at the same destination by going in separate directions.

Microsoft, the more well-understood of the two strategically, is busy working to get Windows 8 out the door, and the next milestone of that OS, the so-called Consumer Preview, is due next week. With Windows 8, Microsoft is using a touch-centric UI called Metro across all its major platforms -- including Windows client, of course, but also Windows Server, Windows Phone, and the Xbox -- providing them with a sense of cohesiveness and single user experience identity.

Technically, of course, these platforms are still somewhat separate, but with NT guru Dave Cutler working on Xbox vNext, as I discussed last week in " With WOA, It's Windows NT All Over Again," one naturally wonders whether the major dissimilarities are coming to an end. (The merging of Windows and Windows Phone will pretty much be finalized in the Windows 8 wave, as I discussed in " Windows Phone in 2012.")

But honestly, the technical similarities between these systems (or lack thereof) are almost incidental. And that's because regardless of the underpinnings, these systems will all look and work similarly. The Metro UI came first not from Windows but from Windows Phone, and although it will be overhauled as needed to meet the needs of desktop Windows somewhat, it's a mobile user experience at heart. It begs to be touched and will work best with mobile devices, such as tablets and laptops, and their unholy offspring, touch-capable hybrid laptops.

Conceptually, the interesting thing about Windows 8 is that Microsoft has evolved its desktop toolset in very minor ways but has made major changes that reflect a growing market for highly mobile, general-purpose computing devices. (Read: Things that look like but are in fact not iPads.) This is a big bet, and the hope is that consumers who are excited by Windows 8 on iPad-like slate devices will then want Windows Phones as well. I believe this will be a big deal, but that’s for the future to decide.

Apple, meanwhile, surprised everyone who's been paying attention to the company by announcing last week that it would rev its Mac OS X system by the end of the summer, less than a year after the previous release. That's amazing because the previous two OS X versions, called Snow Leopard and Lion, were both two years in the making.

Some believe, as I do, that the next OS X release, called Mountain Lion, is a reaction to Windows 8, at least from a timing perspective. (And kudos to Apple for almost certainly being able to beat Windows 8 to market.) But if you look at the Mountain Lion feature set, one thing is very obvious: Mountain Lion is a simple continuation of the iPad-ification of OS X that started in Lion. That is, it's the second straight OS X release that's focused almost solely on bringing iOS features to Apple's legacy desktop OS.

iOS, of course, is itself an offshoot of OS X, one that was originally designed specifically for the iPhone, the first iOS device and the one that kicked off Apple's current market dominance in highly mobile consumer electronics devices. (The iPod touch and iPad are very clearly just slightly modified versions of the iPhone.)

By bringing user experiences and features from the far more popular iOS to OS X, Apple hopes to further bolster a system that has performed strongly but has never broken the 5 percent market share ceiling worldwide. It makes sense. People love iOS devices, and if Apple can get them moved to the Mac, many will become Apple customers for life.

What's interesting, to me, is that Apple's strategy for arriving at this highly mobile, highly connected future relies on continuing to separately evolve two different OSs, iOS and OS X, while Microsoft seems intent on integrating its separate platforms into a single, Windows-based codebase. Windows everywhere, indeed.

Some guess that Apple will one day combine iOS and OS X into a single OS, and I find that future plausible. In fact, Microsoft's doing it right now with Windows 8. (And kudos to Microsoft for leading, for a change.) Whether Apple eventually goes down this path might depend, somewhat, on how consumers and business users react to having two discrete user experiences -- the touch-happy Metro and the legacy Windows desktop -- in Windows 8. I suspect we'll be able to start opining on that situation soon, with the Consumer Preview, but for now it's an open question.

Regardless of your PC platform of choice, one thing is clear. They're both about to be injected with a spate of mobility-inspired technologies and user experiences that will further blur the lines between what we think of today, separately, as PCs and devices. And although I feel this future is inevitable, there are apparently a few different ways to get there.

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From: Eric L2/22/2012 10:22:02 AM
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Win8 Language Expansion

Microsoft on Tuesday revealed that it will expand the number of supported display languages in Windows 8 by 14, bringing the total to 109. This, the company says, will provide a native language version of Windows for over 4.5 billion people. The most notable addition, curiously, is UK English: Previously these users had to "make do" with US English, Microsoft notes. - Paul Thurott -

>> Using the Language You Want

Steven Sinofsky
Building Windows 8
21 Feb 2012 12:01 AM

With Windows 8, we’ve changed how we think about languages from a "local-market feature" to a "feature for everyone everywhere," and have made it a priority for you to be able to work in any language you want, from any Windows 8 PC. If you can’t read the text that Windows presents to you, you can’t use Windows to its fullest potential. That’s why we are so excited to bring powerful, easy-to-use language features to more users than ever in Windows 8. In some countries, people can purchase PCs with a variety of languages preinstalled. With Windows 8, users will be able install additional display languages beyond those preinstalled languages. This means that the language of the PC no longer needs to be a major consideration when deciding on which model to buy. If the language you want is not preinstalled on the PC you like, you can now install the one you want. ... <snip rest: see full text at link above> ###

- Eric -

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From: zax2/23/2012 8:45:06 AM
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Microsoft readies final Windows 8 Consumer Preview build 8250
By Tom Warren on February 23, 2012 08:03 am

Microsoft is on the verge of signing off the final version of its Windows 8 Consumer Preview. That is the word from a number of sources who tell us that the company has stopped compiling beta builds of Windows 8. The final build will be signed off officially on Friday and is expected to be numbered 8250.

Microsoft will unveil its Windows 8 Consumer Preview work during a special event at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona next Wednesday. We are told that the company will release the preview to the public at the beginning of the event, which kicks off at 3PM CET (9AM ET). Build 8250 includes a number of preinstalled games and applications, as well as the new Windows 8 logo. Microsoft has also removed the traditional Start button orb in build 8250, replacing it with the new logo on the charms bar. We will be reporting live from Microsoft's MWC event, so stay tuned for the full details on Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

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From: zax2/23/2012 9:54:46 PM
2 Recommendations   of 357
Microsoft to launch Visual Studio 11 beta on Feb. 29
John Callaham

Wednesday, February 29 is turning out to be a bigger day for Microsoft than first thought. The company had already announced it would launch the Consumer Preview version of Windows 8 on that day. Now Microsoft has announced it will launch the beta version of two more software products on that same day, including the beta for Visual Studio 11.

Technically Visual Studio 11 is a code name for what Microsoft will likely call Visual Studio 2012 when the final version is released. The software development tool will have a number of new features. In fact one of those features is actually something of a reduction. The tools eliminate the use of color in the graphics "except in cases where color is used for notification or status change purposes."

Visual Studio 11 also cuts down on the number of commands that appear on the default version of the program's user interface. It also has improved search features, adds Preview Tabs and uses what Microsoft calls workflow hubs to allow developers to work on programs via a single window. It's not a shock to hear that Visual Studio 11 supports Windows 8.

Microsoft will also launch the beta version of .NET Framework 4.5 on Wednesday which has a number of additional features as well as performance improvements.

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From: zax2/26/2012 10:24:43 AM
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HP working on Windows 8 tablets using Intel, ARM chips: Sources
by Brooke Crothers February 25, 2012 11:31 AM PST

Hewlett-Packard is working on both Intel- and ARM-based tablets and hybrids, a source told CNET.

HP Slate 2 (Credit: Hewlett-Packard)

Hewlett-Packard has Windows 8 tablets and hybrid devices in the works, sources told CNET. This follows comments this week by CEO Meg Whitman, who signaled that HP is readying a bevy of Windows 8 products for the fourth quarter.

Those tablets, which are either being considered or being readied for commercial release, include two designs based on Intel's next-generation Atom processor and one using a Qualcomm ARM processor, said an industry source familiar with the designs.

HP's enthusiasm around Windows 8 products is no secret. CEO Meg Whitman made it amply clear this week during the company's earnings conference call. "We have a product line lined up in PSG (Personal Systems Group) on Windows on X86. We believe we're going to be well-positioned for holiday on Windows 8 X86," she said, referring to Intel's X86 chip design.
And the next day at a tech conference, Whitman said HP would release a Windows 8 tablets using both Intel and ARM chips, though no more details were provided.

One of the two Intel-based designs is a consumer hybrid device, according to the source, who had seen a prototype. Hybrid implies a design that combines aspects of both a tablet and laptop. The other device, not a hybrid, is for corporate customers. Both are expected to use Intel's upcoming Clover Trail Atom processor--Intel's first 32-nanometer dual-core Atom chip.

A third device is built around a Qualcomm processor. Presumably, that would be a Snapdragon processor, which implements a unique Qualcomm design with roots in the ARM chip architecture.

Earlier this week, Whitman told The Wall Street Journal that though a Windows 8 tablet on X86 is slated for the December holiday, that's not necessarily the case for ARM. "Windows 8 on ARM. It's not immediately clear when that will launch," Whitman said.

Separately, Richard Shim, an analyst at DisplaySearch, said he knows of one HP Windows 8 tablet in the works. That's a 10.1-inch design boasting a resolution of 1,366x768 pixels. That device is slated for mass production in the July timeframe, according to Shim.

HP declined to comment.

Update, 2 p.m. PT:adds discussion of Whitman's comments about ARM.

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From: FUBHO2/28/2012 7:18:17 PM
1 Recommendation   of 357
The event starts at 3pm local time (2pm GMT, 9am EST, 6am PST) and the download for the Consumer Preview is expected to go live at some time during the event itself.

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From: zax2/29/2012 7:28:09 PM
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Microsoft on Wednesday made the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 available for download to the general public. Built with touch computing and apps in mind, Windows 8 is crucial to Microsoft's efforts to make inroads against Apple and Google in the red-hot tablet market, where the company is significantly behind rivals. Windows 8 marks the biggest change to the OS since the aforementioned 95 flavor (which, shockingly, turns 17 this year). With Windows 8 comes the introduction of a Metro-style interface, inspired by the lovely and intuitive presentation found in Windows Phone. In it, apps and functions are pinned to tiles and, to interact with those apps, you simply tap those tiles. The former Start Menu has been replaced by a full-screen view of tiles that you can scroll through horizontally. You can pin applications, shortcuts, documents, webpages and any number of other things, customizing the interface in any way you like — so long as what you like is rectangular and only extends from left to right.

Info on
generating a USB stick installer from the available images, and itwebennet with details about IE10.

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From: zax2/29/2012 10:44:34 PM
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Microsoft Windows 8 Videos Online

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