Technologizer posts about Microsoft. Windows

The Windows 8 Logo Defines Microsoft’s Future

By  |  Posted at 2:55 pm on Saturday, February 18, 2012


There you have it, Microsoft’s new logo for Windows 8. It’s a dramatic departure from the logos of the past, where color and flashiness took an increasing role, and it looked less like a window and more like a flag. But why so minimalist? It accurately portrays Windows’ future.

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Since I first saw and used Windows 8 last year, I’ve been wondering if Microsoft might end up tweaking it a bit to make it less of a shock to the system of all those Windows users out there–a sizable percentage of whom haven’t even given up Windows XP yet. But nope: According to Tom Warren of the Verge, the company has decided to do away with Windows’ most famous feature, its Start button.

Posted by Harry at 8:06 am


Microsoft’s Building Windows 8 blog has another one of its long, geeky, interesting insider posts. This one’s about how the company is building much more ambitious support for mobile broadband right into the operating system–including a phone-like Airplane Mode.

Posted by Harry at 5:15 pm

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Microsoft has spilled the beans–lots and lots of them–on the Windows Store app market that will be in Windows 8. Presumably, it would never exist in this form if Apple had never introduced the iPhone App Store. But it does look good, with a slick interface and developer-friendly terms that offer more flexibility and a higher revenue share for programs once they hit $25,000 in sales.

The one thing that bugs me about the Windows Store is that it’s going to be the only way for developers to distribute Windows 8 apps with the new Metro interface to consumers. (Businesses can circumvent it for programs they provide to their own employees.) Am I being inconsistent, considering that I live reasonably happily with Apple’s identical restriction on iOS apps? Maybe. But maybe I’m just grappling with the fact that Microsoft is eliminating a PC feature that’s existed for decades: The liberty to install any program we choose. I’ll reserve further judgement until Windows 8 has shipped and the Windows Store is open–and hope that it, like Apple’s App Store, ultimately feels bountiful rather than limited.

Posted by Harry at 10:17 am


As ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley reports, IDC thinks that Windows 8 will be “largely irrelevant” to users of conventional PCs, at least in 2012. The company is probably talking about corporate users more than consumers, but it does raise an interesting question which nobody can answer yet: Are real people going to be excited by the prospect of using the simplified Metro interface with a keyboard and a mouse?

Posted by Harry at 10:21 am


Consumers Don’t Care About Windows Tablets? No Problem

By  |  Posted at 3:06 pm on Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Research firm Forrester has conducted a survey that supposedly reveals that consumer interest in Windows-based tablets–once quite high–is now tanking. Forrester is concluding that Microsoft has therefore missed the opportunity to compete strongly with the iPad, since the first serious Windows-based tablets won”t show up until sometime next year when Windows 8 ships.  
If I were a Microsoft honcho, these results wouldn’t worry me much, for several reasons…

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Why do people choose not to upgrade to the newest version of Windows? In plenty of cases, it’s because they don’t want to deal with the hassle of the upgrade process. In a new blog post, Microsoft has outlined its plans for how upgrades to Windows 8 will work. They’re ambitious, involving a Web-based system that checks a PC and its apps for Windows 8 compatibility and can either install the new OS on the fly or create a DVD or thumb drive-based install. 

It’s not going to lure everyone who’s reluctant to upgrade–for one thing, you’ll only be able to perform a full upgrade, with existing apps remaining in place, on Windows 7 machines. But if it works as planned, it sounds nifty, and should be a good starting point for versions of Windows beyond 8.


Posted by Harry at 2:28 pm


At the Windows World conference in 1991, an alarmingly youthful Bill Gates recaps the history of DOS and Windows to date and previews Windows 3.1:

Posted by Harry at 3:14 pm


ViewSonic Tablet Runs Windows and Android: Good Idea, Poor Execution

By  |  Posted at 9:46 am on Tuesday, November 8, 2011


As a holdover until Microsoft ships the tablet-friendly Windows 8, I like the idea of a Windows 7 tablet that also runs Android. Sure, Windows 7 doesn’t play nicely with touch screens, but it’s a great operating system for getting work done, and when you’re finished, you can switch to Android for leisure.

That’s what ViewSonic tries to accomplish with its ViewPad 10pro tablet. The 10-inch slab runs Windows 7, and also includes an Android emulator on the desktop, letting you run proper tablet apps without restarting the machine. (A previous ViewSonic tablet, the ViewPad 10, dual-booted Windows and Android, requiring a restart to switch between them.)

It’s a neat idea in theory. But in practice, the ViewSonic 10pro only proves that some ideas are better left unrealized.

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Why Would Anyone Use Windows XP Today, Anyhow?

By  |  Posted at 10:15 am on Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Windows XP Splash ScreenAs the world celebrates–or at least acknowledges–the tenth anniversary of Windows XP, I wondered why so many people continue to use an operating system that dates from an utterly different era in the history of personal technology. So I conducted a quick survey to ask XP users…well, to ask them why they’re XP users, and whether they intend to continue on with the OS forever. Bottom line: A plurality of them use it because it’s what their employers provide. But most of them seem to be reasonably okay with that.

(Standard disclaimer: This was an informal survey, and the results reflect only the experiences and opinions of the people–almost 900 of them–who happened to take it. I’m not claiming their responses map to the world at large.)

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The Life and Times of Windows XP

The first drama-filled decade of the operating system that wouldn't say die.

By  |  Posted at 10:44 pm on Monday, October 24, 2011


If you’d been alive in 1924 and had enjoyed the comedy stylings of a young Vaudevillian named George Burns, you never would have believed he’d still be packing them in seventy years later. In 1963, you might have dug the music that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were making, but the idea they’d still be touring almost forty-five years later would have sounded insane. Those of us who watched Dennis Eckersley pitch for the Red Sox in 1978 would have scoffed at the notion that he’d be playing for Beantown once again in 1998.

And then there’s Windows XP. The press release announcing its release on October 25th 2001 called it “Microsoft’s Best Operating System Ever.” A decade later, so many people still agree with that assessment that it remains the planet’s most pervasive desktop operating system.

Nobody would have been prescient enough to predict that Windows XP would be flourishing so many years after its debut. Not Microsoft. Not consumers and businesses. Not the analysts who get paid to know where technology is going. And certainly not me.

No single factor explains XP’s astonishing longevity. The most obvious one, of course, is the failed launch of 2007′s Windows Vista, an upgrade so lackluster that many PC users simply rejected it, instinctively and intelligently. But I think you also have to give XP credit for being just plain good, especially once Microsoft released Service Pack 2 in 2004. And desktop operating systems, from any company, simply aren’t as exciting as they were in the 1990s; people are less likely to want a new one every couple of years, and more likely to drive the one they’ve got into the ground.

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Curious what’s on the mind of the people who are creating Windows 8? Microsoft’s Windows team blogs the thinking behind its decisions in posts that are sometimes remarkably detailed. It’s published a post that’s the first of a series on the Windows 8 Start menu, which has nothing to do with any previous incarnation.

I think that Microsoft is making a mistake by removing the classic Start menu from Windows 8 altogether. If you’re in the desktop running conventional Windows programs and click Start, you get instantly dumped out into the very different world of Metro. It’s a jarring and unpleasant experience, even if you like Metro, and I think that Windows 8 skeptics are going to see it as an argument against upgrading. But I’m still glad that Microsoft is explaining why it’s doing what it’s doing.

Posted by Harry at 2:11 pm

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Tango’s New Video Calling App for Windows Looks Familiar, Very Familiar

By  |  Posted at 5:35 pm on Friday, September 30, 2011


A year go, Laura Locke wrote about Tango, a video-calling app for iOS or Android that had signed up a million users in just a few weeks. That was impressive–but now it has more than 23 million members. Starting today, it’s giving them and new recruits a Windows version of the app.

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Hey, I guested with Jason Snell on Macworld’s podcast, and it’s up now for your listening pleasure. The topic: Windows 8, especially as it relates to Apple’s products.

Posted by Harry at 12:12 pm

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Horace Dediu of Asymco has tried to quantify and chart how fast Windows is evolving compared to other operating systems. I could write hundreds of words quibbling with his methodology–for one thing, Windows 3.1 wasn’t the first stand-alone version of Windows and, in fact, required that you buy and install a separate copy of DOS–but his thoughts are interesting and his commenters have lots of smart things to say.

The contrast is then striking: Consumerized devices with over-the-air updates on a 12 month cycle are five times more agile than a traditional corporate Windows desktop. Another way to look at this is that for every change in a corporate desktop environment, the average user will change their device experience five times. Although Microsoft might find comfort in Enterprises’ leisurely pace of change[2], those are the wrong customers to keep happy going forward.

Dediu says he’s glad that Windows 8 is named Windows 8. It’s worth reminding ourselves that it’s only a code name at this point–and that “Windows 8″ is the first version of Windows in Windows history that might plausibly be called something other than Windows, since the Metro interface lacks windows as we knew them. (That said, I hope that Microsoft does indeed call it Windows 8.)

Posted by Harry at 4:26 pm


Over at my new Challengers blog on Cnet, I wrote about Windows 8′s “touch-first” interface–and whether it’ll lead to touch becoming a standard feature on new PCs. (I think the odds are good…or at least higher than they were for the Tablet PC…but it’s not going to happen instantly the moment Windows 8 ships.)

Posted by Harry at 12:33 pm