snydeq writes: "DOS 4.0, Zune, and Windows 8 are but a few of the landmarks among 25 years of failures Redmond-style, writes InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard in a round-up of Microsoft's 13 worst missteps of all time. 'Over the years, Microsoft's made some incredibly good moves, even if they felt like mistakes at the time: mashing Word and Excel into Office; offering Sabeer Bhatia and cohorts $400 million for a year-old startup; blending Windows 98 and NT to form Windows 2000; sticking a weird Israeli motion sensor on a game box; buying Skype for an unconscionable amount of money. (The jury's still out on the last one.) Along the way, Microsoft has had more than its fair share of bad mistakes; 2012 alone was among the most tumultuous years in Microsoft history I can recall. This year you can bet that Redmond will do everything in its power to prove 2012 naysayers wrong. To do so, Microsoft must learn from the following dirty baker's dozen of its most dreck-laden decisions, the ones that have had the very worst consequences, from a customer's point of view.'"
snydeq writes: InfoWorld's Serdar Yegalulp provides a roundup of nine Windows Start menu alternatives for Windows 8. 'Search as you might, you won't find a single bigger source of ire in Windows 8 than the new Modern UI (aka "Metro") Start menu.... Windows 8's Start menu has thrown many people — seasoned veterans, early adopters, and new users alike — for a curve. And Microsoft has been adamant that the old Start menu is gone for good. But where Microsoft doesn't go with Windows, others almost always do. Even before Windows 8 was released to manufacturing, various third parties were marketing add-ons that promised to restore a little (or a lot) of the classic Start menu goodness to Windows 8.'
snydeq writes: "Desktop users deserve a significant rethink of the Windows 8 gaffes and omissions for the next version of Windows, writes InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard, offering 10 must-have features for Windows 9. From a "Get out of hell" modal dialog to prevent unwanted jumping to Metro, to a Control Panel that actually controls the kinds of things you would want a Control Panel to control, it's 'due time we diehards speak out.' What's your feedback for the Windows dev team as it puts together its Windows 9 (or "Windows Blue"?) specs."
snydeq writes: "A billion users don't have the right hardware to run Windows 8, even if they wanted to. Here's how Microsoft could give them the best of Win8: 'Microsoft needs to get real and bring us a better Windows 7 ASAP, even as it works on the more-Metro Windows 9 that's a good two or three years away. Call it Windows 7.8. The truth is that the new Windows 8 Desktop has some very cool features for those living in the "legacy" touch-insensitive, keyboard-and-mouse environment. Maybe Microsoft can make money by selling us an upgrade to what we already have: a Windows 7.8 that brings the key new Windows 8 Desktop features home to Windows 7.'"
snydeq writes: "Windows XP's most beloved factors are also driving business organizations to Windows 7 in the face of Windows 8. 'We love Windows 7: That's the message loud and clear from people this week at the TechMentor Conference held at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash. With Windows XP reaching end of life for support in April 2014, the plan for most organizations is to upgrade — to Windows 7,' indicating 'a repeat of history for what we've seen with Windows releases, the original-cast Star Trek movie pattern where every other version was beloved and the ones in between decidely not so.'"
snydeq writes: "InfoWorld's Serdar Yegulalp offers tips for diehard Windows users on making the most of Windows 8 on existing hardware, i.e., a laptop or PC. 'If there's one consistent element to all the talk about Windows 8, it's about what's missing: the Start menu, the Aero transparencies, the many details people take for granted that make Windows, well, Windows. It's little wonder then that many folks are seriously considering skipping Windows 8 altogether. But what if you can't? Or what if you've decided to take the Windows 8 plunge and want to know not just how to get by but to thrive in this brave new Windows world? Here we discuss how to do just that: how a legacy Windows user, with existing hardware, can make the best of Windows 8, focusing on the most immediate and pressing changes that will impact your moment-to-moment Windows use.'"
snydeq writes: "A desktop OS for tablets and a tablet OS for desktops, Windows 8 is guaranteed to disappoint nearly everyone, writes InfoWorld's Woody Leonard, in an in-depth review of Microsoft's Windows 8. 'Now that Windows 8 has arrived (today for MSDN and TechNet subscribers, and tomorrow for Microsoft Partner Network members and Volume Licensees), the harsh analogies — "Windows Frankenstein," "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde operating system" — may be applied conclusively. While Windows 8 inherits many of the advantages of Windows 7 — the manageability, the security (plus integrated antivirus), and the broad compatibility with existing hardware and software — it takes an axe to usability. The lagging, limited, often hamstrung Metro apps don't help.'"
snydeq writes: "InfoWorld's Oliver Rist provides an in-depth review of Windows Server 2012, finding it leaves 'no server role unturned.' The review includes a look at changes to Server Manager and Hyper-V, as well as Windows Server 2012's private cloud capabilities and improved support for roll-your-own storage systems. 'But if you're one of the spear-waving anti-Metro tribesmen, relax. Remember that you can always turn Metro off. Indeed, Microsoft is pushing harder for a GUI-less install than a Metro-based screen. You'll find Server Core has been fleshed out with new depth and ease-of-use features, many related to the evolving PowerShell scripting language. PowerShell, by the way, is practically mandatory for Windows Server administrators going forward and well worth an in-depth look with another reported 2,000-plus commandlets added in this release --10 times the number released with Windows Server 2008.'"
snydeq writes: "InfoWorld's Serdar Yegulalp provides an in-depth comparison of five WAMP stacks for Web developers, including AMPPS, WAMPStack, MS Web Platform Installer, XAMPP, and WampServer. 'One thing that's clear from having looked at these stacks: They're definitely not created equal. They may be built from the same components (they would scarcely be useful if they weren't!), but how those components are managed and deployed makes a big difference. Stacks with automatic customization are far handier, especially when you want to devote more of your attention to working with the stack than actually setting it up. Second, don't assume these stacks will be production-ready.... Finally, the differences in deployment styles between each of these stacks means there's a stack for just about every need, application type, or work habit.'"
snydeq writes: "Windows 8 is an experiment that may well fail, but Microsoft will cull invaluable feedback for Windows 9 in the process, long before Windows 7 runs out of gas, writes InfoWorld's Serdar Yegulalp. 'Can Microsoft really afford to alienate one of its biggest market segments for a whole product cycle? In a word: Yes. In fact, doing something this risky might well be vital to Microsoft's survival,' Yegulalp writes. 'Microsoft needs to gamble, and right now might well be the best time for the company to do it. The company needs to learn from its mistakes as quickly and nimbly as they can — and then turn around and make Windows 9 exceed all of our expectations. Because if Microsoft doesn't... well, then there might well be a Mac in my future after all.'"
snydeq writes: "Microsoft's Windows 8 adaptation to 'consumerization' world assures it will stay in the past — unless it makes changes before it ships, writes InfoWorld's Galen Gruman. 'Windows 8 is a real tragedy, because unlike the Windows Vista debacle, Microsoft actually had a clue that the world is changing and is trying to adapt to it. The time has come to retire the Windows as we've known it since Windows 95. That's what Microsoft is essentially trying to do with Windows 8, making the new Metro UI (or Metro OS, on some devices) the default "OS" for users and relegating Windows 7 as the legacy OS behind the curtain.... Microsoft can fix some of the mess it has made so far with Windows 8 — before the product ships this fall and falters in the face of iOS, Mac OS X, and even Android. I hope it does, so I'm offering my suggestions in this post. We need a strong competitor to Apple.'"
snydeq writes: "Woody Leonhard provides an in-depth, hands-on look at Windows 8 Consumer Preview, finding Microsoft's old Windows desktop and tablet-friendly Metro UI to be strange bedfellows. 'In my experience, with rare exceptions, longtime Windows users don't like Windows 8. There's too much change, and it isn't at all clear that the adjustments benefit people who've grown accustomed to mice and "legacy" programs. And though Windows 8 introduces some nice new features, they're minimal. If you're looking for a business desktop OS with revolutionary improvements comparable to Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows 95, or even Windows Vista, it has yet to be seen. But if you're considering a move to a Windows-based tablet, you'll want to dive into Windows 8 with both feet,' Leonhard writes, offering a guide to some of the lesser-known nooks and crannies in Windows 8 and an extensive visual tour of features and hidden menus."
snydeq writes: "Early insights into Microsoft's upcoming Windows preview should give IT a lot to chew on when the bits arrive, Woody Leonhard writes in an in-depth look at what to expect from next week's Windows 8 Consumer Preview. 'Over the past year we've gone through layers and layers of rumors, particularly about Windows 8 on ARM. Features come and go. Perhaps the most egregious example is in a video made at the Build conference last September. It shows Roger Gulrajani, from the Windows Hardware Ecosystem group, demonstrating Flash running in IE10, on the desktop, on an ARM device. Now, we're assured IE10 won't run Flash on ARM devices. That much has changed in just four months. Or maybe Microsoft itself was confused and got it wrong; there were several such misstatements at Build, and you can expect confusion to continue given the addition of ARM support for just part of the complete Windows 8 experience.'"
snydeq writes: "Woody Leonhard rounds up 15 powerful free Windows utilities for a fast, productive desktop environment. 'Some people collect Windows utilities like windshields collect bugs. But for most of us, the word "utility" is key. If we find ourselves not using the tool a few times a week, we give it the heave-ho. Utilities change all the time — and not always for the better. Newcomers usurp entrenched old favorites. Some find themselves in the news for the wrong reasons. And so you have to refresh your set of tools time and again. Here are 15 utilities that belong in every Windows user's bag of tricks. They're all free for personal use, and many are free for corporate use as well.'"
snydeq writes: "An ARM version of Windows 8 may be imminent, based on documentation Microsoft released yesterday regarding its "First Apps" contest for Metro-style apps. According to the contest guidelines, finalists, who will be notified by Jan. 15, must 'update their app to run on a new, confidential Windows 8 build provided by us and resubmit their app before February 3,' suggesting that Microsoft plans to ship a second developer version of Windows 8 — at least to this small group — on Jan. 15. While it's possible this developer version will also run only on Intel hardware, it may very likely be the realization of Steve Sinofsky's earlier promise that Metro apps will run on both Intel and ARM."