When I first switched to OS X, by way of Hackintosh, I was in pure ecstasy. I loved the interface and the beauty of the programs. For instance, iPhoto is the most intuitive and beautiful photo management program that I've ever used. However, while Apple's operating system met most of my needs, I would still find a need for a Windows program on occasion; mostly for business.
I decided to make my desktop a tri-boot machine. In other words, I decided to have it run three operating systems: Windows 8, Fedora 19 and OS X 10.8.4. Rather than play around with partitioning, I plugged three SSDs into my computer, installed the respective operating systems and used the BIOS as the boot manager.
With the launch of a new iPhone on the horizon you can almost sense the forming of a queue each time you go past an Apple store. But Apple isn't the only company with new products either already launched or in the pipeline. In fact 2013 has been something of a bumper year for technology releases.
The FinancesOnline website has produced a handy infographic showing this year's stand-out gadgets and those that are still to come. In the smartphone market most of the interest was at the top end. HTC and Sony joined the premium smartphone battle with new products this year with the Google Nexus 5 still to come.
As soon as Microsoft announced it was making Windows 8.1 RTM available to IT professionals I logged into my MSDN account and started downloading the ISO for it. The size of the file varies depending on the edition you download -- approx. 3,537MB for the x64 version, and 2,643MB for the x86 release.
You can install Windows 8.1 from directly inside Windows 8/Windows 8.1 Preview. Just launch the setup.exe inside the ISO and windows will prepare the files and launch the installer. It’s all plain sailing at this point.
Two weeks ago I wrote a piece called Microsoft, if you want apps for Windows 8.1, don’t piss off developers in which I expressed disbelief that Microsoft wasn’t making the RTM build of Windows 8.1 available to app creators. Microsoft’s plan was to only release the RTM to hardware makers, which seemed a crazy decision.
Fortunately, Microsoft has once again listened to the complaints and performed one of its frequent U-turns, announcing that developers and IT professionals will now be able to get their hands on the Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro RTM builds early -- from today in fact.
Five years. That's how long it is since Chrome was unleashed on an unsuspecting world. Five years and we've already made it to version 29! There will undoubtedly be a few glasses charged in celebration, but Google is also taking this special date as an opportunity to reveal a "new breed of Chrome Apps". Head to the Chrome Web Store and you'll find a new section: For Your Desktop.
Working online with web apps has become increasingly common, but traditional desktop apps are still more popular. Now Google is looking to blur the boundaries between the two, making web apps much more like desktop software. The key thing to note here is that the apps that are found in this section do not -- after the initial download process of course - require an internet connection: they can be used in offline mode.
When Windows 95 was released there was a lot of fuss about the Start menu and debate about whether it would catch-on. It was a significant departure from icon shortcuts in program groups; or superficially at least. In reality, it was simply the program groups (folders) put in a hierarchical order and rather wisely, the option to place folders, icons and shortcuts on the desktop remained (to this day).
The Start menu developed; it grew out of the logic of the program shortcut and built upon that logic. It was not intended to abruptly impose a new paradigm but to slowly replace the shortcut as customers became comfortable with the concept. That journey never really ended, as the icon shortcut was not phased-out -- why would it be?
Apparently smartphones are not the only area of technology that is growing, rather than shrinking. Tablets, it appears, are moving in the same direction, at least if Panasonic has its way. Beginning on September 7 you can purchase a massive 20-inch Windows 8 tablet from the hardware maker.
"The Panasonic Toughpad 4K will enable photographers, architects, cinematographers and other creative professionals to experience the cutting edge of high resolution tablet technology", says Microsoft's Gavin Gear.
The countdown to Windows 8.1 is officially on. Whoever thinks that Windows 8.1 is squarely a consumer-centric release is heavily mistaken. After spending a month with Windows 8.1 Pro on my Thinkpad X230 Tablet, I can definitively say that Windows 8.1 is shaping up as a rock-solid option for the enterprise. I've previously written about why businesses should have been considering Windows 8 for their next upgrade cycles. With 8.1, Microsoft's latest OS is a service pack on more than a few steroids.
By any measure, I've been a vocal, bullish early adopter of Windows 8. My day to day consulting work for customers doesn't allow me to stay stuck on previous generations of Windows. Even if I did prefer Windows 7, my mixed client base is moving to 8 whether I like it or not. I need to be prepared for the questions and troubleshooting that ensues, which means I need to be their resident Windows 8 expert.
I have a bit of a confession to make: I rarely get excited by new tech products. It's not because they are bad (well, in most cases they are not), but rather due to their inability to make me see myself using them. A handset can't really get my heart racing when it looks almost exactly as every other similar device on the market (and, no, I'm not taking a stab at the iPhone here), no matter how hard I try to see the light.
There is, however, a genre which appeals to me -- ultrabooks. Why? Well, manufacturers are so desperate to get people's attention away from the traditional product in this segment -- Apple's MacBook Air -- that they go to great lengths to make their products stand out from the crowd, like a color arc in a rainbow. And that is a good thing. Just look at Acer and its dazzling Aspire S7 or ASUS and its striking Zenbook lineup, the latest member of which is the UX301 that was just teased at IFA. (They're appealing and inviting.)
In time for the release of Windows 8.1, Norton has announced new versions of Norton 360, Norton Internet Security and Norton AntiVirus. In addition to Windows 8.1 compatibility these include some under the skin changes to improve protection, performance and usability.
Gerry Egan, senior director, product management, Symantec says, "According to Symantec research, Web attacks increased 30 percent in 2012, driven by the easy availability of malware toolkits and the high frequency of unpatched vulnerabilities on websites. As a result, consumers can be attacked even when they visit a legitimate website, an attack that puts their devices and personal information at risk. With the latest Norton releases, we are delivering the comprehensive security required to protect today's devices against new and evolving threats, without impacting performance".
Eighth in a series. It feels weird admitting this. Akin to declaring a fondness for Piers Morgan, or dancing in public to One Direction, almost. But I like Windows 8.1. A lot.
I was never a fan of Windows 8. In fact I'd go so far as to say I detested the Modern UI which on my uber-fast desktop system simply got in the way when I was trying to work and slowed me down or tripped me up. Every time I wanted to do something simple like launch a program it insisted on throwing me out of the desktop and into a weird tiled nightmare I couldn't wait to wake up from.
Looking at the biggest stories on BetaNews from August, 25 - 31, 2013. For the second week running, Microsoft managed to steal many of the headlines. After going gold, RTM, or however Microsoft now wants to refer to it, Windows 8.1 was released to OEMs. Depsite reaching this important milestone, developers were… irked, shall we say, to learn that they will not be able to get their hands on the completed code until it is released in October. At least that would be the case had the bits not leaked online very quickly. It was a Chinese version that was made available for unofficial download first, but an English version wasn't far behind.
Crackle, the online streaming service from Sony, remains one of the competitors in today's growing and increasingly competitive market. Today the entertainment arm of Sony announced a new strategy. The company will partner with tech giant Microsoft for what both hope will be mutual benefit.
"Sony’s Crackle is the latest digital network to start producing its own original feature-length films, with next Thursday’s premiere of the martial arts flick Extraction. But antsy Windows Phone action junkies don’t have to wait: Crackle is giving us an exclusive early pass" reports Microsoft's Michael Stroh. Windows Phone customers are not the only one who will get this exclusive content -- Xbox Live and Windows 8 users will also benefit from the deal.
I continue to hear about the death of the PC, but trust me, I am not writing this story or anything else, on a tablet. I have three of them, and enjoy using them -- "Under the Dome" looks great on the Kindle Fire HD while I am "Under the Covers" at night -- but they are essentially useless for my job. In fact, I mostly work from a two-year old Gateway laptop -- the device is more than suitable for my needs and I rarely venture to my home office to touch the desktop.
Acer, however, has decided to try and tempt me away from what I had been considering more than adequate at this point. I write this latest missive from the brand new Aspire M5 that FedEx dropped off to me for review, courtesy of the hardware maker.
Last month, Microsoft released Halo: Spartan Assault for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. I declared that the game was "the best smartphone game I have ever played" -- a statement I stand by today. However, Microsoft has chosen not to rest on its laurels. Today, the company announces an update to the popular game called Operation Hydra.
Microsoft says it is a "free game update with five new missions to battle through". The company further says that the update "also adds support for phones with 512MB RAM, making the game available to even more Windows Phone models".