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Posts Tagged ‘ Windows ’

Stupid Windows 8.1 tricks (or how not to upgrade your PC’s hard disk)

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Business laptops 428There has been a bit of a burst of action lately with engineer’s utility updates. No, come back! This is important.

You may think that “engineers” are a vanishing species and it’s all about just unwrapping the latest Chromebook, which will immediately solve every computing problem you ever had, but it’s not: despite the dire forecasts of the death of the PC, other forces are at work, including both the growing demand for data storage and the relentless pace of hardware improvements.


Windows Server 2012 R2: what businesses have been waiting for

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Microsoft cloud computing briefing

Apparently it rains a lot in Seattle. I wouldn’t really be able to verify that, because I was inside a training suite for the entirety of my visit last week, sitting with the Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 development & marketing teams, working through the new features in Server 2012 R2 which, as you will see in Satya Nadella’s blog post qualifies as the Swiss Army Knife of business server operating systems.

It’s worth a read, because Nadella is the head of the Enterprise and Cloud division at Microsoft. In the past everyone’s been used to thinking “Gates said” or “Ballmer announced”, but this is the new Microsoft, and the degree of autonomy in the Server group is easily measurable by the increased confidence of their presentation.

As always, the weight of the tutorial sessions wasn’t quite the same as the emphasis of the press releases. You may be unsurprised to hear that we didn’t spend very long looking at the new Azure US Government Cloud. Conversely, we spent plenty of time discovering how the new features in Windows Intune combine with non-Microsoft devices to let corporate administrators set up their own, tame App Store-like lists of applications, remote desktop sessions and approved resources.


My manifesto for Microsoft

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Windows 8.1

Since the board hasn’t yet seen fit to call me, I thought I’d just put out my manifesto for what I’d do with Microsoft if the company was sensible enough to offer me the job.

Microsoft keeps burning money on things that don’t make money, and can only get away with doing so because a few cash cows make all the profit. The core truth is that Microsoft is an enterprise software and services company, and it has never succeeded in really engaging with the home market. Of course, it had huge success with early versions of Windows in the home, if only by making the assumption that a home computer is a workstation without a domain controller.

It has built up a huge management structure at enormous cost. Name the wackiest thing you can imagine, and Microsoft probably has a department for it. So the first thing I’d do is reduce the headcount by 30%. I know that will make people gasp, but it has to be done.


Windows 8 sparking little more search interest than Vista

Monday, April 15th, 2013

There’s a lot of debate over the popularity of Windows 8. Microsoft claims Windows 8 is outselling Windows 7; British desktop PC makers have told us that up to 93% of new PC buyers still want Windows 7.

Google provides us with another means of divining the popularity of different products. The Google Trends website allows you to compare the search volumes of different terms, and it doesn’t make particularly pleasant reading for Microsoft when you start comparing recent versions of Windows.

We compared the search volumes for the past four editions of Windows, from 2004 until the present day, and this is the result (click graph to enlarge):

Windows search volume

As you can see, Windows 8 is following a very similar trend line to Windows Vista, briefly bursting past the incumbent version of Windows at the time of launch, before settling down at a level that’s well below its predecessor. While the post-launch drop-off isn’t quite as severe for Windows 8 as it was for Vista, it’s still pretty grim viewing for Microsoft.

If there are crumbs of comfort for Microsoft, searches for OS X appear to be in long-term decline — although we suspect more people search for the particular version number than “OS X”:

Windows vs OS X search volumes

Indeed, when you throw the search term “Mac” into the comparison, it paints an entirely different picture:

Windows vs Mac search volume

Raspberry Pi Fuze enclosure revives 1980s micros

Saturday, April 13th, 2013


This post was updated on 13 May 2013 to add information about the Fuze’s project cards and final hardware design.

It’s fair to say the Raspberry Pi is a hit with at least two constituencies. Without a doubt it’s captured the imaginations of youngsters attracted to its simple versatility. To those of us from an older generation, it also has a certain nostalgia value, harking back to the days when bare circuit boards were de rigueur and writing your own software was all part of the fun.

It’s appropriate then that the Fuze enclosure – made by Aylesbury-based Binary Distribution – looks like something that itself fell out of the eighties. Following consciously in the footsteps of the BBC Micro, Binary Distribution has aimed the Fuze at schools – a fact which explains its tough, aluminium casing. Each unit comes with a deck of 16 colourful and jovially written project cards (aimed at key stages one to four) that guide students through the fundamentals of BASIC programming, starting with a classic Hello World program and moving on to more advanced concepts such as variables and loops.


Were we unfair on Microsoft Security Essentials?

Friday, January 18th, 2013

white blank book brochure

If you’ve read the latest issue of PC Pro, you’ll have seen one of the conclusions of our latest round-up of security suites: Microsoft Security Essentials isn’t doing a great job of protecting against current malware threats, especially not brand new “zero-day” ones.

Microsoft isn’t happy about this conclusion, and it’s published a blog post challenging the research carried out by to which we refer in our Labs.

The post doesn’t seek to claim that the test results are actually incorrect. It accepts that Security Essentials (and its business-oriented Forefront Endpoint Protection package, which uses the same engine) failed to protect against 28 out of 100 genuine zero-day attacks, as well as 9% of a huge collection of recent malware, representing almost 20,000 missed samples.


Four ways to get PC Pro every month

Friday, November 9th, 2012

PC Pro 221

At the risk of sounding like a Stephen Fry voice-over, it’s never been easier to get your hands on PC Pro every month. We now have four different ways to pick up the magazine in either print or digital form, and to help you decide which suits you best, I’m going to run through the options here.


Microsoft Surface review: first look

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Microsoft Surface table

After the disappointment of the Windows 8 keynote, where very little was said that was either key or of note, Microsoft has struck back with a vengeance by delivering the Surface. And it is a staggeringly good device.

To explain this without making me sound like a Microsoft fanboi, I’ll dive into the kind of minutiae that PC Pro readers should appreciate.


Windows 8 vs OS X on the Retina MacBook Pro

Friday, July 6th, 2012

MacBook Pro Retina

We’ll be covering exactly how the MacBook Pro’s Retina display works with various resolution and scaling settings in a forthcoming magazine feature, but for now the quickest way to demonstrate is with a series of screenshots. Every screenshot in this post is taken on a 2,880 x 1,800 display, but with OS X’s “resolution” options or Windows 8’s DPI scaling settings applied. You won’t be able to see the sharpness, but you can see how big everything will look at various settings.

(NB. You may notice some interesting resolutions when you enlarge the OS X shots. That’s because OS X first renders the desktop at double the chosen resolution, then scales that down to 2,880 x 1,800 for display. I’ll be taking an in-depth look at all this technology in the feature.)


HTC Radar review: first look

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

HTC RadarHTC used a swanky London event to unleash its second generation of Windows Phone 7 devices and, while it was the Titan taking most of the plaudits on the night, the Radar could prove to be just as enticing.

The firm’s European product director, Phil Blair, said the Radar was “designed around a social and mobile lifestyle”, and our hands-on time with the device certainly suggested that it’s got enough oomph to make Windows Phone 7’s Mango update feel slick, with no hint of slowdown or juddering as we navigated the various menus and applications. (more…)






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