PastimesWindows 8

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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
   of 357
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
   of 357
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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From: zax3/1/2012 7:52:08 AM
1 Recommendation   of 357
Windows 8 Consumer Preview - Get It Now?
Written by Mike James

If you have been working with the Developer Preview of Windows 8, then the release of the Consumer Preview will be a bit of a yawn - but you still have to have it.

The first news is that it no longer comes configured for development. That is, the SDK, Visual Studio 11 Express Beta and other tools have to be installed as a separate step.

The Windows 8 CP can be downloaded and installed to a working machine but, if like most developers you need it running on a VM, the simples option is to download the ISO images. You can install over a existing beta or over Windows 7, but there is no roll back so take care. Booting from USB stick is also an option.

After installing the OS you will need the Tools and SDK download - 390M - which includes Visual Studio Express and Blend for Visual Studio. You can also install the full Visual Studio but if you are only interested in Windows 8 development the Express version is sufficient.

Other items you might like to install include:

  • Design Assets - common controls, shell components, contracts, tiles, toasts, icons, glyphs, animation clips, and color wheel reference for Windows 8
  • Sample app pack - with 200 samples
  • Live SDK -provides a set of controls
  • APIs that enable applications to integrate Single Sign On (SSO) with your Microsoft account and access information from SkyDrive, Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger
      Also of interest are the remote tools, multilingual app tool and the advertising SDK.

      The advertising SDK is for implementing ad powered Metro apps and it lets you select your advertising source - Microsoft or another agency.

      The other news is that the app store opened, which is an interesting concept as part of a beta test of an OS. The whole point is that Windows 8 is two operating systems spliced together at the start menu. As far as Microsoft's expansion into tablets is concerned it is only Metro apps that count. When Windows 8 ARM or x86 tablets make it to the shelves, the only apps that they will all run are Metro apps. This is the simple reason that Windows 8 off the desktop depends on developers doing their thing and creating something new for Metro. At the moment there isn't much that would cause a user to buy a Windows 8 tablet, rather than an iPad or Android, but this could change.

      It is an interesting dilemma. After all if Microsoft came clean and said "Windows Metro is this new operating system we have just thought up" would you write for it? If you believe that the Windows part of the name will result in everyone using it - just like Windows Vista gave way to Windows 7 - then you should develop apps for it. If you think that this isn't an inevitable upgrade - say like Vista didn't really replace XP - you shouldn't. What is really interesting is that the future outcome, i.e a Windows 7 hit or a Vista flop, probably depends on the proportion of developers who believe in it.

      What isn't really clear at the moment, but will become so in the coming weeks, is how complete internally the WinRT Metro facilities are. Is this really a beta or an ambitious alpha - watch this space.

      If you would like to see Windows 8 in action then see this hype-filled video. It does manage to illustrate how Metro apps behave.

      More Information

      Download beta of Visual Studio 11

      Windows 8 Preview Site

      Developer and design tools

      Windows 8 blog

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      To: FUBHO who wrote (72)3/1/2012 3:39:59 PM
      From: zax
         of 357
      Windows 8 Consumer Preview:

      Its totally cool. Major improvements over the developer preview. Painless install. Just finished loading it onto my Acer Iconia Tab. You should to check it out.

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