Tag: Vista

Windows 10 to arrive at the end of July. Maybe

AMD logoThe CEO of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) appears to have spilled the beans on the date Windows 10 will be introduced.

At last week’s conference call to discuss AMD’s rather dismal earnings,CEO Lisa Su said that Windows 10 will arrive at the end of July.

Whether that’s the due date is a different matter – typically as one of Microsoft’s partners, AMD is likely to get advance notice of the introduction.

Windows 10 was originally supposed to launch in Autumn and that could still be on the cards.

It takes some time for Microsoft to prime its channel and its market partners with product – typically an introduction in September is more likely to catch the back to school wave.

However, Windows 10 is already late and it’s entirely feasible it is bringing the date forward.

Microsoft is hoping for big things from Windows 10 after Windows 8.x was greeted with an air of indifference by many because of its design. Microsoft is going back to basics and it hopes people will like Windows 10 as much as they liked Windows 7 and Windows XP, and it hopes people will not dislike the next operating system as much as they disliked Vista and Windows 8.x.

Microsoft offers limited discount for XP users

Windows XP is being retired from Microsoft’s support roster this time next year and now Redmond is offering discounts to XP users who choose to upgrade.

Since it did such a wonderful job with Vista, Win 7 and Win 8, Microsoft is practically paying people to upgrade, and it does not seem to be finding many takers. SMBs still stuck on XP and Office 2003 can get a 15 percent discount for Windows 8 Pro and Office 2013 purchases, reports Computerworld

Since Microsoft’s Open License website lists Windows 8 Pro and Office 2013 for a total of $561, the 15 percent discount translates to about $84. It might not sound like much, but it helps, especially if SMBs are in the market for multiple licences.

However, the offer only stands for customers running XP Professional and consumers must buy the licences via Microsoft’s Open License programme. Furthermore, the discount is limited to 100 licences per client and it will last until 30 June.

Another problem is hardware and software compatibility. XP is 12 years old and it is used on antiquated boxes. Although many of them can be upgraded to cope with Windows 8, some bits of hardware can’t. The same goes for specialised software developed ten or more years ago.

Microsoft begs XP users to upgrade

Microsoft is kindly asking users of Windows XP to upgrade to something a bit less ancient, again. XP has been around for a decade and it is still used on 15 to 20 percent of PCs, depending on who you ask. 

Redmond plans to cut off support for the venerable operating system on 8 April 2014, which means users have a year to upgrade, or face more vulnerabilities and security risks. However, XP still remains surprisingly popular, especially among SMBs and some home users. They feel it gets the job done and see no point in upgrading to a new Windows 7 box, but then again Windows XP is older than iOS, Android, Facebook and YouTube.

It is also worth noting that Microsoft sold millions of XP licences for first generation nettops and netbooks, based on Atom processors, years after XP stopped shipping on regular desktops and lappies. Upgrading these systems to Windows 7 probably isn’t an option for most users. 

Microsoft insists the only way to stay safe is to upgrade to a new OS, and since the cutoff date is just a year from now, time is slowly running out. Then again, users of ancient XP PCs might very well choose to upgrade to something else, like Linux or in some cases even Chrome and Android.

With millions of XP boxes out there, it is more than likely that quite a few users won’t heed Redmond’s warnings. Microsoft’s decision to ditch XP could also create more opportunities for peddlers of alternative low cost systems based on free operating systems. 

Windows 7 overtakes XP in popularity

Net Applications have released their chart showing the most popular operating systems and for the first time Windows 7 has overtaken ancient Windows XP as the world’s most popular desktop operating software.

According to CNET, it is the end of an era. XP has ruled the PC world since the beginning of time and its first users were primitive pond life who were just getting the hang of backbones.

At the end of August, Windows 7’s market share stands at 42.76 percent compared with Windows XP’s 42.5 percent, according to Net Applications.

Microsoft has seen Windows 7’s share rise by roughly one percentage point month-on-month for around the past year. It has been taking users at the same level from Windows XP.

Meanwhile Vista’s share has remained static at around 6.1 percent over the past quarter.

Despite claims from the tame Apple press that Cupertino is giving Windows a good kicking, its OSX is just a little more popular than the completely unpopular Vista. The only way you can make any of the Apple operating systems statistically significant is if you add them all together. Apple’s combined share of the desktop market Apple is 7.11 percent share. Linux hardly got a look in and appears to have been unchanged. It seems that proprietary software holds 99.2 per cent of the PC market which means that Linux use has fallen. 

Microsoft Office kills off links to antique operating systems

Microsoft is using its new flavour of Office to kill off old operating systems like XP and Vista.

Vole has been trying to get companies off using XP for years now but it seems that Office 2013 will be used as a tool to do it.

According to Parity, Microsoft has confirmed that Office 2013 won’t work on older operating systems like Windows XP and Vista.

It will work on Windows 7 and the not yet released Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2012.

It will also need a PC which has a 1GHz processor and should have 1GB of RAM for 32-bit systems or 2GB for 64-bit hardware. It will also need 3GB of storage space and a DirectX 10-compatible graphics card.

To be fair to Vole, the spec should be a walk in the park as there are few machines which can run Windows 7 which have less than 1GB of RAM. The DirectX 10-compatible graphics card is only needed if you want some sort of hardware acceleration.

But nearly half the world’s PCs are running Windows XP or Vista and a fair number of them will want to run Office.

Microsoft has indicated that all support for XP will end in 2014 which is within the life of the new version of Office.

It seems that it is hoping that businesses will see sense and dump the obviously out of date and therefore now useless operating systems – well, that’s what Microsoft hopes. 

Microsoft extends life of Vista and Windows 7

Software giant Microsoft is extending the life of its highly popular Vista product and its replacement, Windows 7.

Without making much of an announcement, Microsoft has extended support for the consumer versions of Windows 7 and Windows Vista by five years. This will mean that they will have the same lifespan of enterprise editions.

Microsoft told Computer World that it wanted to change its consumer operating system support policies, which until now had only been for five years. Business software had been supported for at least ten years with the first half in mainstream support, the second in “extended” support.

If a company is on extended support, they will get fixes if they have signed support contracts with Microsoft.

Vista’s consumer editions were to be retired from support in less than two months, on 10 April, 2012, now they will be kept alive until 11 April, 2017.

Windows 7’s consumer editions were to lose support on 13 January, 2015, but now it will be with us until 14 January, 2020.

Other than making things nice and even, it is not clear what Microsoft will get out of supporting Vista that long. We would have thought it would have wanted to forget the troubled operating system as a terrible dream.

What is possible is that the longer service contract will look good to those buying Windows 8. Although it is hard to see how anyone will want to be using an operating system in 2023 that they used in 2012. 

Dell peddles sperm in Indonesia

Marketing experts at Dell are probably regretting not doing a quick internet search before deciding that the name for its tablet will be Peju.

They may even have been complimenting themselves that since making the name known, Google would have recorded a lot of hits from Indonesia.

The problem for Dell is that in the local lingo “Peju” means sperm, and the blogsphere is alive with gags about Michael Dell’s Peju. This ranges from “can you get pregnant from sitting on a Dell tablet”, to “does it have a rubber like an iPhone“, “isn’t it premature to come up with a name before it has been released?”, to the inevitable “it has been a long time coming.”

To be fair to Dell, it is not the only company that has come up with names which are rude in another language. Here are our top five:

1. The Wii. According to its marketing Nintendo thought that Wii would mean “we”,  “which “emphasises that the console is for everyone. Wii can easily be remembered by people around the world, no matter what language they speak. No confusion. No need to abbreviate. Just Wii.” Of course, in the UK we just thought they were taking the piss.

2. Mitsubishi’s Pajero Jeep. Never in the history of motoring was a four wheel drive more aptly named, unfortunately not in the way the makers intended, at least in Spain. If you are ever run off the road by a four-wheel drive in that country you would shout Pajero at the driver. In English terms,  if you pajero too much, you go blind.

3. Proton Jebat. When Proton released its Jebat, there were a few amused glances in the Balkans where it is known as a course way of saying “to have sexual intercourse with”. According to our Bosnian motoring correspondent, he often thought that the Jebat was a Jebat ugly car.

4. AMD’s Sempron. When AMD released its Sempron budget chip, it must have done so knowing that pron was a well known meme for pornography. It opened itself to all sorts of gags about finally developing a chip for the real internet. “At last, a chip without staples in the belly button”.

5. Vista. Soon after Microsoft launched its overdue replacement for Windows XP worth got out that the word Vista meant “cock” in Lithuania. It was usually associated with the bird but some associated it with Vista-like behaviour. Unfortunately for those foreign geeks who started wearing “huge Vista seeks suitable box” t-shirts when visting Lithuania, the word is closest to actually meaning hen. 

Americans can't get enough of Microsoft

The former British colony of Virginia, which overthrew its lawful government and replaced it with a corporate oligarchy, has fallen in love with Microsoft.

After years of making Microsoft gags about blue screens of death, security problems, and how Apple makes a better operating system, it seems that the US was simply lying.

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index Americans cannot get enough of the company that brought you Vista.

Microsoft’s rating is the best it has ever been since 2006, when ACSI first began asking Americans about the quality of the software they shove under the bonnet of their PCs.

The report said that even though Windows software sales declined four percent from the previous quarter, as a result of a drop-off in PC shipments, punters were happy with what they bought.

You would logically think that people would be happy with Microsoft products if they bought even less of it. Perhaps someone should suggest this approach to Steve Ballmer.

When you think about customer satisfaction, particularly among Americans, you would think that the fruity cargo cult Apple would have topped the poll. Apple’s hard core fans, whose limited knowledge of technology backed with religious enthusiasm and intolerance makes them similar to the Iranian Revolutionary Council.

According to the poll, Apple followers were unsurprisingly happy with the company, ranking it much higher than their satisfaction with sex, money, religion and beer. Apple had 86 points which was seven points ahead of Vole.

But asking Apple cultists if they really are happy with the company is like asking someone in Tripoli if they like Gaddafi. Even if they are miserable they will say yes. However, finding people who admit to being happy with Microsoft has been a rare thing.

It shows that Vole has recovered from 2008, the second year of Vista, when people were as happy with it as they are with HP today, the report said.

But it might not have much to do with anything that Microsoft has done. In fact, Americans are a more optimistic bunch when it comes to software.

The ACSI said that customer satisfaction with software surpasses all other information-related categories and has risen generally by 2.6 percent. Confidence in Redmond appears to have emerged from this trend.

Outfits like Adobe, Intuit, and Symantec are the most trusted software brands. 

WebGL undermines security

Insecurity experts from Context claim that the WebGL standard is a security hole waiting to be exploited.

According to the outfit’s site, WebGL goes against many of the security structures set up by current operating systems and creates new attack possibilities.

For example, to enable rendering of demanding 3D animations, WebGL allows web sites to execute shader code directly on a system’s graphics card.

If a hacker wanted, it could be exploited to take a system out completely. A hacker could get the GPU to render especially complex 3D models or run very processor-intensive shader programs.

This is not the first warning about WebGL which has been issued. Khronos, which is responsible for WebGL, has warned of this problem in the WebGL specification before.

Context claims they have got a machine to blue screen of death (BSOD) by using targeted overloading of the graphics cards.

This could allow an attacker to exploit any security vulnerabilities in the graphics card driver to, for example, inject malicious code onto the system.

Windows 7 and Vista have a mechanism for resetting an overloaded graphics card after about two seconds, the researchers found that this can create a blue screen of death after a certain number of resets.

If a GPU driver contains vulnerabilities, WebGL could allow injection of malicious code onto a system.

Context used WebGL to get around the same-origin policy. WebGL uses HTML5’s canvas to draw objects in the browser.

Context warned that WebGL is simply not yet ready for primetime. They advise users and IT administrators to think seriously about deactivating WebGL support in their browsers. The latest versions of Firefox, Chrome and Safari all support WebGL. Opera has released an Opera 11 preview with WebGL support. 

NSA says no to Linux in best practice advisory

Top US spooks are advising businesses to upgrade to Vista or Windows 7, claiming that other operating systems do not cut the mustard when it comes to security.

According to a best practices sheet which the National Security Agency sends out, both Windows 7 and Vista provide substantial security enhancements over earlier Windows workstation operating systems such as XP.

Many of these security features are enabled by default and help prevent common attack vectors, it says. In addition, implementing the 64-bit mode of the OS on a 64-bit hardware platform substantially increases the effort of an adversary to attain a system or root compromise. For any Windows-based OS, verify that Windows Update is configured to provide updates automatically, the leaflet claims.

The leaflet is clearly written for those who are using old Windows XP machines and the NSA thinks should be upgrading.

However some of those older machines will not run Vista or Windows 7, and you would think that someone like the NSA would suggest something else, like Linux, which probably could manage an older machine.

It is not as if the NSA did not look at other operating systems. OS-X gets a mention in the briefing.

The paper said that businesses should configure any Mac OS X system to automatically check for updates. When notified of an available update, provide privileged credentials in order to install the update. Apple’s iPad should be kept up-to-date as well.

“A good practice is to connect the iPad to an iTunes host at least once a month or just prior to any travel where the iPad will be used,” the NSA said.

What will be a surprise is how the NSA seems to only be interested in supporting proprietary software. Linux use is not even considered in the spook’s best practices package.