JorgeA

Windows 8 - Deeper Impressions

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CoffeeFiend,

Good details, from someone who obviously knows what's involved. But if you're right about the practical obstacles involved, and then it turns out that Windows "9" isn't any better than 8, then it sounds like we're basically scr*wed in the long run. Would that be your assessment?

--JorgeA

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We are told that the future lies in the cloud, that soon we won't need terabytes of local storage because we'll have all our stuff in a central server somewhere; and Microsoft is helping to pave the way by making an OS designed for devices with 32GB of space.

And then something like this happens to bring our heads out of the cloud, if only for a few minutes before we resume our ascent.

--JorgeA

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I'd be dead before I let any provider store my data

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It is possible? Yes.

Has it be done? Yes.

Are there some issues? Of course (and of course you won't be told which they actually were, as who took the decision have all the interest in minimizing reports of issues and maximizing the news about savings, i.e. to report the success of the switch).

(emphasis mine)

I'm well aware of that migration. I don't think they're really telling us the whole story (exactly like MS "factually" told us Vista was their best selling OS ever after its release), and keep in mind that it's pretty much a best-case scenario, and that they've been planning it since 2003 (9 years ago). They are well over time and budget (even though they're talking about savings now). Of course, they say nothing about the percentage of Windows PCs left (still 20%?) or for what reasons, they haven't released documents that show their (likely creative) accounting (and if they're comparing to non-discounted licenses), how it affected user productivity, etc. But then again, it wasn't easy at all, and they would likely have saved a lot too just by moving to a sane setup. I mean, they had one IT staff per 15 PCs (yes, really!), and their setup was pretty much a complete and unadulterated disaster. They had nowhere to go but up. No, it's not completely impossible for 100% of businesses but it's hardly like the completely clueless Ubuntu cheerleaders seem to think it is. You know the "just install Ubuntu instead of XP then just keep working as usual!" mentality which is completely detached from reality.

I worked with a company to do a migration from Windows NT 4 to Windows XP. The project lasted over 1 year and that actual "migration" period took about 6 months. There was a ton of testing with all their applications, particularly the database apps and the legacy terminal systems that were still in use.

Been there, done that :) Well, pretty involved with the Win2k -> XP desktop migration at least, and moving servers from NT4 to 2003 (moving from NT domains to AD, etc). It was a major undertaking, costing millions and taking well over a year too. And we're talking about a migration between alike OS'es without too many differences (Win2k->XP is nothing like XP->Unbuntu for sure!) And while I wasn't part of the previous migration to Win2k, I can recall lots of problems we were having at that time, like applications all requiring admin rights (writing to folders regular users shouldn't be able to, having to track down the problem with filemon and regmon, and granting special permissions to users of each specific software through scripts) and similar things. I mean, it's already enough work and complex enough as it is...

We also recently finished our XP->7 migration at my current job, where lots of programs used on XP were Win98-era programs that were patched to barely run on XP and that just didn't work on 7. Like imagecraft 6, used for some old codebases where we only have to make minor changes occasionally. Or 64 bit drivers being unavailable for some necessary hardware... We had a whole lot of small issues to deal with, even if we were migrating to an OS that's very much compatible.

But if you're right about the practical obstacles involved, and then it turns out that Windows "9" isn't any better than 8, then it sounds like we're basically scr*wed in the long run. Would that be your assessment?

Pretty much, yes. But if Win8 turns out to be a complete disaster I don't see how MS could simple do nothing about it and aim for a even worse disaster. Do you really think they could have released a 2nd "Vista" (another problematic and poorly received OS) straight? And by the time Win 9 is out, lots more companies could have ported their software to run on OS X too, and maybe that the virtualization & terminal server-like solutions will improve significantly*. I don't know. It's hard to accurately predict the future of technology a decade ahead I guess. The batteries on my crystal ball are dead.

* Right now it mostly means moving your software from cheap "desktop" commodity hardware to enterprise-grade servers that cost tens of thousands of dollars (while still still being accessed from the exact same commodity desktop hardware, so no real savings there typically), then having to pay for the virtual instances of the OS that runs on it (many very expensive Windows server licenses to buy!), then user CALs (~$30/user), then having to buy terminal server CALs ($800 for 5 users) on top of that, then perhaps Citrix CALs too ($945 per 5 users for XenApp Fundamentals), assuming those server instances aren't running virtualized under something like vSphere (starts at $995 per CPU), it typically requires some new networking hardware, perhaps an expensive upgrade to an existing SAN (a 5 or 6 digit amount of money), new backup software for those new servers (expensive Backup Exec and/or Veeam licenses) and a medium to backup to, often getting expensive paid support on a lot of things, a lot of planning being required by highly paid experts and so on. So yeah, it's definitely not a cheap option. And in the end, it's not as easy or responsive as just running the app itself on your PC. In my opinion, it just moves the "problem" somewhere far more expensive.

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The usual set of seemingly UNconnected links:

http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/81498

http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/linux-user-switches-dos-part-two

http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/three-best-star-wars-influenced-approaches-learning-linux

IMHO the good Linux guys are as well (meaning just like MS) completely clueless :w00t: about how to actually make something useful/productive.

From time to time I quickly try one of the new releases/distro's and every single time I find either of three situations:

  1. a senseless "mock up" of Windows XP/7 with a lot of (unneeded) eye candy but very little "juice"
  2. a "guru only" environment where nothing is doable without having already a rather advanced knowledge of the command line tools (almost, but not quite, completely unlike dos)
  3. a "specialized" distro that invariably was specialized by someone that has NO idea of what an actual "specialized" user would do

I remember a time when (though still preliminary/under development) there used to be distro's which appeared a good compromise between usability and power at your firngertips, as an example, I remember Morphix as a potentially good one (currently "in coma"):

http://www.morphix.org/

Most probably I am getting old, and even more probably I got casually my hands on non-ideal distro's (at least lately), but I have the feeling that the great idea behind Linux (freedom) is vanified by excesses of it, I seem to never be able to get a simple, stable, no-nonsense, easily configurable something, if I get one of the "mainstream" and "full" distro, I have the impression of having a catalog of apps instead of an OS, if I get a simple, small distro, I get something so "vertical" that it is useless for anything else but the single (or very few) scopes the developer had in mind, but it nonetheless contains a whole lot of "fluff" that is not needed at all (for the declared scope) and only makes things bigger/slower/more complex than needed.

As said most probably it is just me .... still .... :(

jaclaz

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That's really hilarious! Priceless, even.

Ubuntu safety net's ready... now jump

Ready in what way? Because it seems anything BUT ready to me!

All good points CoffeeFiend. Just to be clear, that article is obviously the opinion of the Register, not me. It is to be expected as they are kinda the opposite of NeoWin, far more pro-Linux and Open-Source. It is a fun read but mostly speculation since there are no real numbers from Canonical that can be used to gauge adoption progress.

As I said, the interesting thing will be if they get a few high-profile companies to consider switching and then Microsoft moves to quash it and gets themselves into a legal predicament ( not far-fetched considering the incredible management mis-steps lately with the Metro naming fiasco and the latest browser ballot oversight just to name two ). Microsoft could easily do something here that would open up severe ant-trust implications by crushing even the possibility of a tiny bit of competition. My main point is that even a couple of meaningless mainstream Windows to Linux "switchers" would be massively magnified in the press and on Wall Street and would be great entertainment as well.

Having said that, you make great points. In the past decade, or 15 years even, Linux has seemingly made no real progress on addressing end-users and the purchasers responsible for company-wide roll-outs. There is a solid back-end used on many servers and larger systems, but the various factions still turn a nearly blind-eye to the user-facing front-end. It will take quite an effort to address this, and even though there has been some progress on Ubuntu and a few other distros, the general approach is one of anti-Windows and that recipe simply fails in the "mainstream".

As it stands now with the "cloud" hype, we just might ironically devolve back to original mainframe-terminal model with Linux on the back-end and Metro madness dumbing down the front. Microsoft will have themselves to blame with their inexplicable efforts to not only cripple the desktops of the end-user, but also pollute the interface of server editions. These are strange times indeed. :yes:

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Here is a review of the Surface with Windows RT installed.

http://www.wired.com/reviews/2012/10/microsoft-surface/

I'm not sure what the end result is... This isn't the kind of review that tells you "YES GO BUY IT" or "NO DON'T BUY IT" at the end. It has some pros and cons at the end, but the ones in the text of the article seem more important.

I am hopeful for the Surface, presuming I can get one some day as I finally (after years of being around Tablets) found a way I could integrate one in my life and my hobbies or whatever. There are just times I wish I had a computer when there is no computer around and the cell phone just won't cut it. For example, I do not particularly like using a web browser on the phone.

I'm wondering what the impact of the Surface not having a 3G/LTE option will have on it. Maybe I don't really know how that is supposed to be used. I am under the impression that using that type of connection requires the device to be added to a mobile phone plan... as in, it isn't FREE...

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For example, I do not particularly like using a web browser on the phone.

I'm wondering what the impact of the Surface not having a 3G/LTE option will have on it. Maybe I don't really know how that is supposed to be used. I am under the impression that using that type of connection requires the device to be added to a mobile phone plan... as in, it isn't FREE...

Guees WHY exactly the good Apple guys came out with the "mini" iPad?

Could it be for people that think a cellphone is too small but a tablet/netbook too big? :unsure:

jaclaz

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For example, I do not particularly like using a web browser on the phone.

I'm wondering what the impact of the Surface not having a 3G/LTE option will have on it. Maybe I don't really know how that is supposed to be used. I am under the impression that using that type of connection requires the device to be added to a mobile phone plan... as in, it isn't FREE...

Guees WHY exactly the good Apple guys came out with the "mini" iPad?

Could it be for people that think a cellphone is too small but a tablet/netbook too big? :unsure:

jaclaz

Yes it may have something to do with Amazon's Kindle products which are pretty small from what I see in commercials. These new tablets are just right-sized (even the mini iPad or Kindle sizes included) as compared to the old tablets. A netbook was a cool thing and I got one, but it is still cumbersome because it still is just a notebook.

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Interesting article that attempts to itemize many of the battlefields that Microsoft has been fighting on.

Microsoft at War: Grading Redmond’s Battle Record ( TechSpot 2012-10-25 )

I'd say a few battles were left out, particularly from the early days, conflicts with Apple, Lotus, and IBM of course. The future hasn't been written yet but certainly the current one named as #7 is much bigger than described. It is the big one. Microsoft has declared war on the personal computer, it's most loyal customers and developers, and on Windows ( note the plural :lol: ) itself. If this Windows 7 service pack controversy is proved true, I expect many more people will now wake up to find that although they started out using software and operating system created by Microsoft, they suddenly are pawns to MicroApple. Anyone left that still doesn't get it are simply slow cooking frogs.

Steve Jobs did not die. He is haunting the halls of Redmond, possessing the mind and body of Steve Sinofsky.

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If this Windows 7 service pack controversy is proved true, I expect many more people will now wake up to find that although they started out using software and operating system created by Microsoft, they suddenly are pawns to MicroApple. Anyone left that still doesn't get it are simply slow cooking frogs.

I had not heard about that (sorry if I missed it from before). Looked it up. Unbelievable!

Here's my favorite of the reader comments:

Amazing. Microsoft must truly want to destroy itself.

They know that releasing Windows 7 Service Pack 2 will prolong the life of Windows 7 for many many years to come.

However, I think what they miscalculated is that this would encourage people to upgrade to Windows 8 sooner rather later.

**NewsFlash** - With or without Service Pack 2 I will not be upgrading to your ***** tablet OS now more than ever. I have never seen Microsoft push so hard with such a blatant disregard for the people who have enabled them to do what they do now for the past 20 years. Way to bite the hand that has feed you for the past 2 decades *********!!!!!!

--JorgeA

Edited by JorgeA
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A veteran Windows observer discusses the vast potential for customer bewilderment with respect to Windows 8 and Windows RT and what each of them can or can't do.

In a July column, Win8 + Windows RT + WinRT = mass confusion, I chided Microsoft for its extraordinarily poor choice of terminology. I urged the Redmondians to get the confusion sorted out so consumers can make an easily understood, informed decision about Win8 and Windows RT on both traditional PCs and tablets. But as best I can tell, Microsoft has done virtually nothing to make the distinctions clear.

--JorgeA

Edited by JorgeA
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A veteran Windows observer discusses the vast potential for customer bewilderment with respect to Windows 8 and Windows RT and what each of them can or can't do.

In a July column, “Win8 + Windows RT + WinRT = mass confusion,” I chided Microsoft for its extraordinarily poor choice of terminology. I urged the Redmondians to get the confusion sorted out so consumers can make an easily understood, informed decision about Win8 and Windows RT — on both traditional PCs and tablets. But as best I can tell, Microsoft has done virtually nothing to make the distinctions clear.

--JorgeA

Confusion factor has never been higher. One of the things I've gone on about is the deception of showing people swiping their screens with no disclaimer ever shown: "Swiping requires a Touch-Screen Monitor". That might sound silly to us techie types, but the Windows 8 lovers are the same type of people that push for warnings on cigarette packs and other similar cases of obvious-ness.

There really will be people buying Windows 8 because they believe their computer will suddenly work like their smartphone, take that to the bank. Without a clear disclaimer Microsoft is complicit in a fraud. Exactly the kind that the FTC terrorizes other companies and products over. They will deserve what happens regardless of their modified EULA.

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A few alternative views. Ummm, for those who are fretting or keeping track, since the Windows 8 launch is underway estimated ratio of positive articles to negative is probably 100:1.

Microsoft Surface With Windows RT is DOA ( Sascha Segan PC Magazine 2012-10-24 )

Sales Aren't All They Seem

"But it sold out!" you cry. That may not be all it seems. I've heard that Microsoft made 250,000 initial Surface RT tablets, half of which (125,000) were the now sold-out 32GB model. But of those 125,000 tablets, a full 80,000 were purchased by Microsoft itself for employees. That means only 45,000 consumers and corporate IT managers have plunked down for Surface RT. That's safely below the margin of super-analyst Michael Gartenberg's Law, which says that with the right marketing you can sell 50,000 of anything.

Windows 8 Looks Suspiciously Like a Slot Machine ( John C. Dvorak PC Magazine 2012-10-25 )

Dvorak has a tongue-in-cheek, but perfectly plausible theory that the overall design of Windows 8 Metro with constantly updating tiles is a ripoff of the principle used on modern gaming slot machines ( slots, video poker, etc ) which use little tricks to get people's attention as you linger around them. Having spent years in both Las Vegas and Atlantic City I can attest to this. They are designed to attract at a primal level. When there is an idle games, after a period of time certain items like cards or objects begin to animate, but not all of them. It is like in nature where a predator like a cat sees a little movement in a large field of view that grabs their attention. People are certainly drawn to these machines even if only to watch the animation play out and to see what happens next. Dvorak speculates the softies spend a little too much time in Las Vegas but that it really is apropos considering how much of a gamble they are taking.

This one is absolutely fabulous ...

Microsoft's 'official' Windows 8 Survival Guide leaks ( Andrew Orlowski UK Register 2012-10-25 )

Q. How do I distinguish bugs from features?

A. The traditional taxonomy is as follows:

  • A software bug is an undocumented and unwanted behaviour of a piece of software, which may be caused by carelessness, incompetence or possibly inebriation when the software is created. An example of a bug is a calculation program incorrectly adding two numbers.
  • A software feature is a desired and typically documented behaviour of a piece of software. An example of a feature may be the ability to print a photograph from an image viewer helper application.

With Windows® 8™, Microsoft® has taken an innovative approach and discarded this taxonomy. The user is instead offered a holistic and integrated user experience where the old distinctions are no longer relevant. An aspect of the software’s behaviour may be a bug, or it may be a feature. For users unwilling to accept the distinction at first, this guide will help them maintain productivity while pivoting to the new Microsoft® Windows® 8™ user experience paradigm.

Hands down winner. Best thing yet written on Windows 8! Clever, witty, brilliant. And that is just a small tease. Be sure to read through the comments and be amazed that some folks still couldn't figure it out. Microsoft's paid force of sleeper agent astro-turfers and fake commenters have been activated this week and an article like this one easily blows their cover.

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So far I think the biggest problem with the new UI is that it does not come with instructions. Unlike modern video games, there is no "tutorial level" showing you how to do things. I recall back to my first time with the Release Preview, I did not know how to reboot or close a (then Metro) modern application. I had found out how to restart by accident! I like to think I'm fairly good with computers enough to figure out interfaces and now I pretty much know how to get around. BUT the problem for my experience is that I immediately go to the Desktop and move about the OS manually!

Also that "bug vs feature" question, I read it on the Register yesterday.... That is the BEST (maybe WORST) question ever!

I wanted to add this complaint about Task Manager, where now it doesn't show you the file name for processes. Instead, it reads information out of the EXE itself. This is helpful, but not when software companies take shortcuts!

taskmgr.jpg

The first one is a Battery Optimization software, the second is Wireless switch software. Both of these programs are the new Windows 8 version for the notebook I am working on. Both are 32bit apps that are running on a 64bit OS.

Edited by Tripredacus
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