More from: Microsoft Surface

Windows XP expired: Now What?

tnt-bomb-gualtiero-boffi-300x300Microsoft Windows XP is set (again) to expire, this time we are told it is for certain. The date is April 2014. Their beloved 10 year old Windows computers will no longer get Microsoft Security updates and they will be open to hackers.  So what’s a business to do?

Well, there are several options on the table, some of which may not be obvious.

  • You can simply upgrade the RAM to two gigabytes and install a Windows 7 upgrade.You can keep all your old Microsoft software and stay at the Microsoft feeding trough for years to come. A computer re-cycling company in your community may be an aggressively cost-efficient way of getting such RAM upgrades — $1 a chip instead of $25-$50 a chip.
  • You can reevaluate your computer hardware choices in light of your current and projected future needs, and possibly buy new hardware of a different type than you now use.
  • You can also opt for purchasing new NetBooks such as the Google Chrome Book series of small computers, or maybe tablets with a few docks (such as the Microsoft Surface) would provide both the mobility that you want and a normal working keyboard, monitor, and mouse in the office.
  • You can also install any of several versions of Linux on your existing hardware, or even boot that hardware, unaltered, from a USB memory stick with Linux installed on the stick. This last option will leave your computers unaltered with full access to all their files in Linux and Windows XP. This will also let you try as many Linux Distributions as you like to find the “right” one for you, all without loosing your Windows XP!


Dead disk platters from Windows Server 2012R2

Dead disk platters from Windows Server 2012R2

This article in Network World discusses some Linux options. We have been dual booting between Microsoft and Linux for a decade now, and frankly, with the except of sparse cases where Microsoft Office is requisite, Linux has served us better with fewer headaches. We now reserve the Microsoft Windows for Office 2010 and on-line gaming: Linux does everything else with fewer concerns about viruses, updates, obsolescence, and reliability.

Windows 8 Review

Redmond Channel Partner mag review of Windows 8.

My thoughts:

The real deal will be how the Microsoft Surface (tablet / desktop) — $900 — performs. This review was using a Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 rather than real Microsoft hardware. There is more to the paradigmatic shift than software. The big deal is having one device that a person carries in the field and plops into their dock when they get back to the office: one device to rule them all, one device to find them, one device to bring them all and with its OS bind them. The device will become “hobbit” forming.

Microsoft usually does a really nice job on their hardware. I highly prefer the Microsoft Trackball (that I can no longer buy — $19.95), and the Microsoft sound card. And my Windows Phone is great EXCEPT for the requirement that I allow it to put all my customers’ private contact information on Microsoft’s web site as a condition of having any contacts at all saved in my phone – that stinks big time — as does forcing me to use Zune to sync it and not letting me use it as a normal USB memory stick. They kinda missed the ballpark there, but the HARDWARE is really nice, just the management decisions are rather unfriendly. Which is likely where the “one OS to bind them” part comes in.

Windows 8 (desktop) runs all Windows 7 software. That is good. No one expects to play WoW on a tablet, but they do expect game-level performance on their PC.

Dual Use (Tablet, plus Desktop replacement) Like the dual Ubuntu/Android edition for multicore phones and tablets two years ago, the right direction.

Complete “Touch” capability is absolutely necessary, however the Leap Motion Controller may handle that need for the Surface when docked — without need to buy special high priced touch LED LCD screens. It might even be a better replacement for the mouse concept that we have used since 1990.

The likening of Windows 8 to AOL was not a wise choice in the editorial.

There may be several issues with the lack of a menu system, including the “dead ends” and locked in a “walled garden” that the editor refers to. In our experience, when we switched to the Unity Ubuntu interface, which also lacks a Start menu, our clients could not find lesser used apps. For the “search” functionality to be useful one needs to know the actual name of the app, and mostly our clients did not recall the name or were looking for new apps (example children’s games), and they only knew what they wanted to do, not precisely what it was named. Apps with high use are placed on a launcher or float as “squares” on the screen, but you cannot represent every possible app in the system that way or the clutter makes the device very hard to use. The hierarchy provided by the conventional menu structure solved that problem 20 years ago. Totally removing the option to have such a hierarchical structure to find things in will probably be problematic. Ubuntu had to deal with that mistake and so will Microsoft, eventually.

Locking customers in so that they can ONLY buy from the Microsoft Store is very unfavorable. We are about freedom, not indentured servitude. There will likely be several useful apps in the Microsoft Store, for a price, but much better coverage is provided through free market forces.

Lack of a text editor in tablet mode is unexpected.


New Microsoft Tablet is also a PC

I was right! The new Microsoft “Surface” tablet is a PC and /or tablet. It also has a detachable cover that doubles as a keyboard and mouse. The price is to be set to be competitive with commodity tablets. That would be primary or secondary pricing at  $249 amd $149 respectively, with maybe a tertiary price point at $400. See this article from Mashable today.