Tag Archives: Windows Vista

3 Ways Microsoft Can Save Windows 8

By Steve Heller, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

By now you should’ve heard that PC sales haven’t exactly been booming. In the first quarter, IDC estimated that PC shipments fell 13.9% year over year, marking the worst quarterly decline ever for the PC industry. Between tablets that are cannibalizing the low-end notebook and the lackluster reaction to Microsoft‘s Windows 8, it’s not surprising to hear that the PC has seen better days. Despite Microsoft‘s efforts to expand its reach in mobile, the health of the PC industry remains central to the company’s overall profitability and growth prospects.

With Windows 8, Microsoft attempted to reorient the PC experience to embrace an increasingly mobile and touch-friendly world. However, the sales pace of Windows 8 hasn’t exactly been stellar. Thus far, Windows 8 is shaping up to be one of Microsoft’s biggest flops, surpassing Windows Vista in the process. In other words, Microsoft needs to find a way to reverse the trend and get users to wholeheartedly embrace the modernized Windows experience.

Here’s how Microsoft could prevent Windows 8 from being an epic failure.

Kill Windows RT
Windows RT has been a nightmare since the beginning. It has utterly confused consumers since there are inherent differences between the full version of Windows 8 and Windows RT. For one, Windows RT devices are powered by ARM Holdings designs, which to the consumer means that legacy Windows applications are not compatible. However, devices powered by ARM offer the promise of smaller form factors and improved battery life over Intel -powered designs.

Microsoft has done a poor job relaying these and other subtleties between Windows 8 and Windows RT to consumers. The Verge investigated the topic and found that Microsoft failed to properly educate its employees, which naturally damaged consumer perceptions about the product. As a result of this confusion, Samsung decided not to launch any Windows RT devices in the U.S. and stopped RT sales in Germany. Acer has delayed introducing any Windows RT devices in the U.S. until it had a better sense of how Microsoft Surface RT sales fared. When major OEM partners don’t even want to embrace Windows RT, how can Microsoft really make it a success story?

If only Microsoft would have just stuck with Intel’s x86 architecture the whole time …

Introduce a $200 Windows 8 tablet
Not only would a $200 Windows 8-powered tablet do wonders for Microsoft’s mobile prospects, but it would also probably give Apple and Google a run for their money in the tablet space. Both Apple’s and Google’s tablet experience lack the level of productivity that that would be possible on a Windows 8 tablet powered by Intel’s upcoming Bay Trail processor. With a few added peripherals, such a device could become an impromptu, yet highly capable, PC in a pinch.

Speaking of Bay Trail, the future of the PC also hinges on Intel’s ability to introduce technology that enables a compelling

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Apple Needs to Fight Back Before It's Too Late

By Rick Munarriz, Munarriz, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

Apple finds itself in an unusual position these days.

It’s the underdog. It’s the unloved. It’s the one clawing for technological relevance. It’s the one backpedaling as it desperately reaches for its slingshot.

As all eyes turn to Times Square tonight for Samsung’s shiny new Galaxy S IV smartphone introduction, Apple investors are hoping the class act of Cupertino aims well.

I’m an iPhone
Apple’s marketing chief went on the offensive yesterday. Phil Schiller was chatty with a few major financial news outlets, talking down Google‘s Android as a way to play up Apple’s position.

“When you take an Android device out of the box, you have to sign up to nine accounts with different vendors to get the experience iOS comes with,” he told The Wall Street Journal. “They don’t work seamlessly together.”

“With their own data, only 16% of Android users are on year-old version of the operating system,” Schiller told Reuters, going on to point out that more than half of Android smartphone owners are running software that it more than two years old.

Apple hasn’t really had to take shots since its successful “I’m a Mac” ads attacking Microsoft to prop up computer sales back when Macs were a material contributor to Apple’s business. Mac sales accounted for just 10% of Apple’s revenue in its latest quarter.

Fighting ire with ire
A surprising report earlier this week claimed that Samsung actually outspent Apple in advertising last year.

It makes sense. Have you been seeing as many Apple ads as you used to come across? Unlike the “I’m a Mac” ads that would hammer Windows Vista, the ads that the tech giant is putting out these days do more in singling out iOS benefits than calling out the competition.

Samsung isn’t playing so nice.

It tripped up Apple’s iPhone 5 launch last year by putting out a series of ads mocking the folks waiting in line for Apple’s new smartphone, playing up the Galaxy S III’s superior features.

Were the ads effective? Well, Apple shares have surrendered more than 35% of their value since the iPhone 5’s launch. You be the judge.

No more Mr. Nice “i”
It will be interesting to see if Schiller reaching out to media yesterday to knock Android is the beginning of another attack strategy.

Dissing Microsoft clearly paid off. Apple belittled Windows so much that even Windows 7 and Windows 8 haven’t been enough to preserve the PC industry. It whetted appetites for something more, and that’s when Apple unleashed the iOS revolution.

Apple’s been battling Samsung in the courtroom for a long time. The legal fisticuffs have been flying worldwide. However, Apple needs to go on the attack, especially if tonight’s S IV features are seen as truly bar-raising updates.

Android is the new Microsoft. Android is the new bully that needs to be taken down a peg, controlling two-thirds of the global smartphone market according to industry tracker Gartner. …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Kaspersky acknowledges a bug that causes a system freeze

Kaspersky Lab’s Internet Security 2013 product contains a bug that can be exploited remotely, especially on local networks, to completely freeze the operating system on computers running the software.

The bug can be attacked by sending a specifically crafted IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) packet to computers running Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 and other Kaspersky products that have the firewall functionality, security researcher Marc Heuse said this week in an advisory published on the Full Disclosure mailing list.

“A fragmented packet with multiple but one large extension header leads to a complete freeze of the operating system,” he said. “No log message or warning window is generated, nor is the system able to perform any task.”

IPv6 support is enabled by default for network interfaces in Windows Vista and later, as well as in many Linux distributions and in Mac OS. IPv6 adoption on the Internet is relatively low at the moment so the number of computers that are publicly accessible over IPv6 is not very high. However, most computers are accessible over IPv6 on local networks and have local IPv6 addresses assigned to them by default.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Samsung Blames Microsoft For The Flat Memory Market

By Tim Worstall, Contributor This is an interesting little snippet from a senior Samsung executive. The PC memory market is pretty flat at the moment and the blame is being put firmly on Microsoft’s shoulders. And there’s two ways of taking that assignation of blame: one that it’s entirely fair and the other that it’s really rather unfair. Addressing market research that indicates global PC shipments are on the decline, Dong-soo told reporters that the market segment has failed to see a boost from Windows 8 as it’s “no better than the previous Windows Vista platform.” Dong-soo even went on to link the poor attach rate for ultrabooks to Microsoft’s “less competitive Windows platform.” Unsurprisingly, this had led the Samsung exec to shift his division’s focus from the fabrication of “conventional” memory chips to the more profitable and booming mobile chip segment. Do note that this is all about memory chips. …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

As PC sales stall, Samsung exec has harsh words for Windows 8

With Windows 8 doing little to spark laptop sales, you can hear the grousing of PC makers get louder.

The latest complaints come from Jun Dong-Soo, president of Samsung’s memory chip division, who had no kind words for Windows 8 during a meeting with reporters in Seoul.

“The global PC industry is steadily shrinking despite the launch of Windows 8,” he said Friday, according to Korea Times. “I think the Windows 8 system is no better than the previous Windows Vista platform.”

Jun’s statements echo findings by IDC and Gartner, who found that PC sales declined during the holiday shopping season. Jun added that Microsoft’s Surface has seen “lackluster demand,” and that demands for thinner Ultrabooks by Microsoft and Intel failed “mostly because of the less-competitive Windows platform.”

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Windows Blue rumors hint at major Windows update this year

Evidence of a big “Windows Blue” update this year continue to pile up, including the first alleged screenshots of the future Windows software.

As previously reported, Windows Blue may not refer only to an update for Windows, but to a set of coordinated updates for several Microsoft products, including Windows Phone, Windows Server, Windows RT, and services such as SkyDrive and Outlook.com. But so far, actual details on the software have been scarce.

That may soon change as screenshots are starting to bubble up. One image, posted on WinAero, doesn’t show any new features, but lists kernel version 6.3 on the About Windows screen. As The Verge notes, kernel numbers 6.0, 6.1 and 6.2 belonged to Windows Vista, 7 and 8, respectively, so it seems that Microsoft views Blue as a significant upgrade.

If this early screenshot is authentic, we can expect to see more in due time:

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Why Office 365 and Office 2013 may not be right for you

The next generation of Office is here, and while it’s not necessarily an essential upgrade for Office 2010 users, it’s easily the best Office suite to date. Editing complicated financial spreadsheets has never been so semi-seamless!

That said, with this particular $100-plus investment, you’ll want to look before you leap. Whether you’re opting for a straightforward Office 2013 installation or the multi-PC, cloud-connected ubiquity of an Office 365 subscription, there are four potentially crippling gotchas to consider before you plunk down your hard-earned cash. I’ve also identified a supposed gotcha that you can actually ignore entirely.

1. Your computer may not run Office 2013.

Unlike Office 2010, Office 2013 does not work with Windows XP or Windows Vista. Yet the latest data from NetApplications shows that roughly 45 percent of all Internet users still rock those two aging operating systems. If you’re part of that sizable horde, there’s absolutely no reason to buy Office 2013—it won’t work on your system. And because an Office 365 Home Premium subscription simply lets you install the latest version of Office—Office 2013, again—on up to five PCs, you’ll want to pass on that as well.

2. Other computers may not run Office on Demand.

Office Web Apps offer basic functionality, but nowhere near as much utility as Office on Demand.

One of the big draws of an Office 365 subscription is Office on Demand, a full-fledged, Internet-streamed version of the productivity suite that Microsoft calls “Your Office away from home.” And it really, truly is—if the host computer meets the suite’s fairly stringent requirements. As with local installations of Office 2013, Office on Demand plays nice only with PCs running Windows 7 or 8. It also requires the PC to have a fairly modern browser: Internet Explorer 9 or later, Mozilla Firefox 12 or later, Apple Safari 5 or later, or Google Chrome 18 or later.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Windows 8 adoption: Worse than Vista, better than OS X Mountain Lion

Wait until January before you cast judgment on Windows 8, they said. That’s when the big boost from holiday sales will—or won’t—show up, and you’ll be able to get a better idea of how the operating system is doing. Well, Net Application’s January desktop usage data is in. What do the numbers show? Is Windows 8’s usage rate lagging?

It depends on how you look at it.

Net Applications
Net Application’s January desktop share data.

Let’s get the bleak news out of the way first. Three months after its release, Microsoft’s new-look operating system was found on 2.26 percent of all the traditional PCs tracked by Net Applications, whose web measurement network is comprised of 40,000 websites that receive roughly 160 million unique visits each month. By comparison, Windows 7 claimed a 7.57 percent browser share at its three-month mark, while Windows Vista was sitting slightly less pretty with a 3.3 percent share three months in.

The monthly gulf between Windows Vista’s uptake and Windows 8’s uptake is only widening, in other words. People still consider Windows Vista to be a stinker, rightly or wrongly, and that reputation no doubt helped to fuel Windows 7’s lightning-fast adoption. Conversely, Windows 7’s all-around excellence is likely holding back Windows 8—there simply isn’t a compelling reason to leap to Windows 8 and its redesigned modern UI if you’re a happy Windows 7 user.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Review: Classic Shell brings the Start menu to Windows 8 for free

Windows 8 doesn’t have a Start button. If you don’t think that’s something that needs fixing, you’re probably in the minority, at least for now. Maybe in time, Windows 8’s Modern-style Start Screen will grow on users and it’ll turn out Microsoft was right all along. Until that happens, there’s a flourishing niche of aftermarket utilities that bring the Start button (and menu) back to Windows 8, from excellent ones like Stardock’s Start8, to ones that add value like Pokki, to less-than-stellar attempts like RetroUI. But you don’t need to pay to get a Start button: There’s one tool that’s free, open-source, and very customizable. Meet Classic Shell.

This is my Classic Shell Start menu, but yours may end up looking completely different, depending on your taste.

Unlike most Start menu replacements, Classic Shell has been around for a while. Its first version came out in November 2009, long before Windows 8 was even close to public. At the time, it was meant to fix interface annoyances in Windows Vista. That was version 0.9 (the first publicly available version), and today, more than three years later, it’s at version 3.6.4. As software projects are wont to do, Classic Shell grew over time, and now consists of three separate parts: Classic Explorer, Classic Start Menu, and Classic IE9.

That tendency of software projects to grow and morph over time is exactly what Classic Shell sets out to fix. It doesn’t try to invent anything new: In the project’s own words, Classic Shell is “a collection of features that were available in older versions of Windows but were later removed.” You’re not going to find any groundbreaking UI innovations here, and in my eyes, that’s a good thing. These are interface patterns that worked and that Microsoft took away for reasons unknown.

Classic Shell ships with three built-in skins derived from different Windows versions, which can be tweaked as needed.

Classic Shell‘s most newsworthy component is Classic Start Menu, and it’s stellar. Hit the Windows key on your keyboard, and up pops a Start menu, just like you remember it from Windows 7 (or Windows Vista, or Windows XP–you can choose your own skin). Start typing to search for programs, hit Enter to launch. Search is blazing fast. You can pin items to the Start menu, and customize every aspect of it. Never use the Printers item? No problem, you can easily make it go away. In other words, Classic Start Menu is just like the Start Menu you know and love, only more customizable.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Istallation Of PCLinuxOS 2009 Onto A HDD-less Machine…

By wisecracker

I have no idea if this has been done before but I have an Acer Aspire One – NG5, 512MB RAM, netbook where the SSD failed and is now FIXED DISKLESS and unable to boot until now… ;o)
It ran PCLinuxOS 2009 as its OS until the SDD failure…

The method is a little long winded and does require a Windows Vista machine with a CD/DVD drive fitted…

It requires a CD/DVD bootable Live PCLinuxOS 2009 disk in this particular case to work…

This method could be used for other Linux based OSes where the installation will be onto a diskless machine…


How to create a fully bootable USB drive from a PCLinuxOS 2009 live system onto an SSD-less or HDD-less Acer Aspire One "ZG5" netbook...

This is a little long winded but after many attempts this was the only reliable way to do this...
You will need another machine to help, Windows Vista with an optical drive as a minimum.
Also at least a 16GB USB stick for to OS proper. This is a practical minimum...
(My Acer Aspire One "ZG5" has no SSD or HDD installed but now runs from a 16GB USB stick autorunning into E-UAE.)

Preparation:-

1) Using the Windows machine boot into WIndows Vista or 7, (I have no idea about Windows 8 whether all this will work).
2) Put one of the live CD/DVD PCLinuxOS 2009 into the relevant drive and allow it to be read.
3) Now shut and power down the Windows machine in the normal way.
4) Reboot and select the drive that the live system is connected to and start PCLinuxOS 2009 live.
5) Now put 16GB USB stick into a USB slot and partition this stick into two parts, the first 1GB part as Windows and the other as unused.
Click on PCLinux Control Center (Icon) > Local disks > Manage disk partitions. Follow the instructions...
6) Once done, safely remove this 16GB USB stick. DO NOT FORMAT!
7) Power down the Live PCLinuxOS 2009 in the normal way and remove the Live PCLinuxOS 2009 disk.
8) Reboot into Windows again.
9) Connect the 16GB USB stick and format the 1GB partition as FAT32 and give it a name of your choice. This is all that will be seen by Windows.
10) When done, safely remove this 16GB USB stick.
11) Put one of the live CD/DVD PCLinuxOS 2009 into the relevant drive and allow it to be read again.
12) Now shut and power down the Windows machine in the normal way again.
13) Reboot and select the drive that the live system is connected to and start PCLinuxOS 2009 live a second time.
14) Once everything has settled create a live 1GB USB system... Click on PC > System > Make LiveUSB.
15) Follow the instructions and once finished remove the 16GB LiveUSB safely.
16) Power down the Live PCLinuxOS 2009 in the normal way and remove the Live PCLinuxOS 2009 disk.

Installation onto a diskless AA1:-

17) Using the diskless AA1, now for the install proper.
18) Put the 16GB USB stick into the top/rear right hand USB slot.
19) Boot into a live PCLinuxOS 2009 desktop in the usual way.
20) Select the installation icon and follow the instructions.
21) Ensure that you install to the 14+GB free_space/empty_partition ONLY.
22) Once installed shut and power down the Live USB version and......
23) ......reboot. You should now have a fully bootable PCLinuxOS 2009 running from USB on a FIXED DISKLESS AA1.
24) Set up you new install in the normal way and......
25) ......good luck... ;o)

NOTE:- This particular install will only work on the particular DISKLESS machine you install it to!

Bazza, G0LCU...

Last but not least, I have no idea of the lifespan of current USB sticks, but hey, it is cheaper than an SSD and fun to do too...


Source: FULL ARTICLE at The UNIX and Linux Forums

Windows 8 Pro upgrade price rises to $199.99 after Jan. 31

The price for upgrading to Windows 8 Pro will shoot up after Jan. 31, when the existing special offers to acquire the new OS lapse.

Microsoft announced on Friday that a Windows 8 Pro upgrade will cost US$199.99, up from special prices as low as $14.99.

Microsoft is running two special offers for upgrading to Windows 8 Pro. One is for people upgrading an existing Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 PC and lets them acquire Windows 8 Pro for $39.99 via Windows.com download or $69.99 from a retail store DVD.

The other offer, priced at $14.99, is for consumers upgrading a new Windows 7 PC bought between June 2 of last year and Jan. 31.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Review: Dragon NaturallySpeaking lets you take your hands off the keyboard

When Gene Roddenberry first came up with Star Trek in 1964, having the ship’s computer understand natural speech was an obvious choice—after all, the series was about the far future. Teleporting isn’t quite here yet, but speech recognition very much is.  Dragon NaturallySpeaking, now in version 12 ($200, buy only), is one of the veteran products in this category. Though it’s pricey, it remains the best speech-to-text program for Windows.

$200 is a good-sized chunk of change, especially for a program that doesn’t have a trial version. What’s more, productively using speech recognition requires more than just software: You need a decent microphone, a quiet environment where nobody minds you talking to yourself, and a different state of mind than when composing text using a keyboard. The good news is that if you’re just curious about speech recognition and want to try it out, it’s probably built into your system: Starting with Windows Vista, every version of Windows includes a speech recognition feature. This also means Dragon faces stiff competition: $200 with no trial, vs. a free option that’s already installed on your computer.

To compare the two, I took a paragraph from the Wikipedia entry about Alice in Wonderland and tried dictating it using both products. It wasn’t a very scientific experiment, but I did use the same text, computer, microphone, and environment. Dragon’s rendition was noticeably better, but both results were far from perfect, mainly because the paragraph contained several proper names. Still, the results indicate that Windows speech recognition is definitely usable, especially if you just want to evaluate if speech recognition makes your work any faster or easier.

Dragon’s slim toolbar can dock to any application window, as long as you don’t try to move the application to a secondary monitor.

The added value Dragon offers over Windows speech recognition comes in two forms: Quality of recognition, and extra features. Disregarding the single-paragraph test, I found Dragon’s recognition excellent, especially for general prose. I was able to dictate a lengthy email without having to correct many errors, using my natural voice and without having to enunciate or speak any differently than I would to another person. In other words, Dragon’s core functionality feels mature and field-tested, and it does work.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Python, Platform Independent, Pure Audio Sinewave Generator…

By wisecracker

IKHz_SW_OSX.py

A DEMO mono _pure_ sinewave generator using standard text mode Python 2.6.7 to at least 2.7.3.

This code is EASILY modifyable to Python version 3.x.x…

This DEMO kids level 1KHz generator is mainly for a MacBook Pro, (13 inch in my case), OSX 10.7.5 and above. See below…

It is a simple piece of testgear for the young amateur electronics enthusiast and uses pyaudio fully installed for it to work.

PyAudio pointer can be obtained from inside the comments in the code…

Macbook Pro hardware earphone plug modifications pointer inside the code too…

(I am not sure if the moderators will delete those lines from the code so search the WWW instead if they are…)

This was primarily for a MacBook Pro 13 inch, but works on at least 2 Linux flavours and Windows Vista 32 bit…

The sinewave generated is near excellent…

Enjoy finding simple solutions to often very difficult problems… Bazza, G0LCU…

(This was uploaded elsewhere and has had a lot of hits.)

Issued as GPL3…

Code:

# 1KHz_SW_OSX.py
#
# A mono _pure_ sinewave generator using STANDARD text mode Python 2.6.7 to at least 2.7.3.
# This DEMO kids level 1KHz generator is mainly for a MacBook Pro, (13 inch in my case), OSX 10.7.5 and above.
# It is another simple piece of testgear for the young amateur electronics enthusiast and
# uses pyaudio fully installed for it to work. Enjoy... ;o)
# PyAudio can be obtained from here:- http://people.csail.mit.edu/hubert/pyaudio/
#
# It also works on Windows Vista, 32 bit, on various machines with Python 2.6.x to 2.7.3.
# It also works on Debian 6.0.0 using Python 2.6.6 on an HP dv2036ea notebook.
# It also works on "Ubuntu 12.04, Python 2.7, Dell built-in soundcard", with many thanks to Hubert Pham, author
# of pyaudio itself, for testing...
#
# The hardware modifictions can be found here:-
# http://code.activestate.com/recipes/578282-for-macbook_pro-heads-only-simple-lf-audio-oscillo/?in=lang-python
#
# Ensure the sound is enabled and the volume is turned up. Use the volume control to vary the amplitude...
#
# Copy the file to a folder/drawer/directory of your choice as "1KHz_SW_OSX.py" without the quotes.
#
# Start the Python interpreter from a Terminal/CLI window.
#
# To run the sinewave generator, (depending upon the platform), just use at the ">>>" prompt:-
#
# >>> execfile("/full/path/to/1KHz_SW_OSX.py")
#
# And away you go...
#
# This code is issued as GPL3...
#
# Connect an oscilloscope to the earphone socket(s) to see the sinewave waveform(s) being generated.
#
# $VER: 1KHz_SW_OSX.py_Version_0.00.10_(C)2012_B.Walker_G0LCU.

# The only import required...
import pyaudio

# Initialise the only _variable_ in use...
n=0

# Set up a basic user screen...
# This assumes the minimum default 80x24 Terminal window size...
print("nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn$VER: 1KHz_SW_OSX.py_Version_0.00.10_(C)2012_B.Walker_G0LCU.n")
print("A DEMO kids level, platform independent, 1KHz _pure_ sinewave generator.nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn")

# Open the stream required, mono mode only...
stream=pyaudio.PyAudio().open(format=pyaudio.paInt8,channels=1,rate=16000,output=True)

# Now generate the 1KHz signal at the speakers/headphone output for about 10 seconds...
# Sine wave, to 8 bit depth only...
for n in range(0,10000,1): stream.write("x00x30x5ax76x7fx76x5ax30x00xd0xa6x8ax80x8axa6xd0")

# Close the open _channel(s)_...
stream.close()
pyaudio.PyAudio().terminate()

# End of 1KHz_SW_OSX.py program...
# Enjoy finding simple solutions to often very difficult problems... ;o)


Source: FULL ARTICLE at The UNIX and Linux Forums