Subject: General Tech | November 28, 2012 - 02:37 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Windows Store, windows blue, windows 8, update, subscription, OS, microsoft
In other Microsoft news, the company is rumored to be working on its next generation operating system. Codenamed Windows Blue, it will be a low cost upgrade for existing Windows users that will be based on a subscription service for updates.
Details are extremely scarce at this point but it does seem like a probable move from Microsoft. It does seem like Microsoft has been moving in that direction for some time now. According to The Verge in reporting on sources in the know, Windows Blue will keep the Windows 8 name for branding purposes but the OS will receive a new SDK, UI changes, and performance tweaks during yearly updates. The updates are due in mid-2013, and the Windows Blue update service will span from Windows 8 to Windows Phone (Windows Server was not mentioned). Oddly enough, with the Windows Blue update Microsoft will stop accepting new Windows Store applications built to run on Windows 8. The Windows Store will continue to allow existing Windows 8 applications, but will require developers to rewrite their applications using the new SDK in order to get them on the Store for users running Windows Blue subscription service.
It is a lot to take in, and there are many unknowns at this point. Do you think Microsoft has a good idea with the yearly subscription model, or will it cause backlash from users used to the way Windows has worked for years. Especially those that buy an OEM system with a pre-installed OS and use it until something breaks. Will they be receptive to yet another subscription service for an OS that traditionally has been a one-time purchase?
Assuming it is a good idea, how much would you pay for yearly updates? Will the Windows Store be enough of a success to essentially subsidize the development cost and allow for cheap pricing on the subscriptions?
Find more details on the rumored Windows Blue subscription over at The Verge.
Subject: General Tech | March 19, 2012 - 11:46 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: OS, linux kernel 3.3, linux, kernel, Android
Linux kernel 3.3 has recently been released for public consumption, and it features quite a few new features and improvements. The kernel is the code that developers than build upon to create all the various Linux distributions such as Fedora, Mint, and Arch Linux (among others).
This latest release, version 3.3 includes various improvements to the file system, btrfs, networking, architecture, and EFI BIOS support. In regards to the file system, the Linux 3.3 kernel supports improved balancing and the ability to re-stripe between different RAID (redundant array of independent disks) levels. Further, the kernel will now allow an x86 boot image to be processed by EFI firmware in addition to the traditional BIOS microcode boot that is present in the majority of today's machines. Also, Kernel 3.3 improves the networking aspects by improving the ability to bond multiple NICs to improve networking throughput and/or to provide redundant connections. Support for a new architecture has also emerged such that Linux kernel will work with Texas Instruments C6X based chips. These chips include the "family of C64x single and multicore DSPs."
The above improvements are just the tip of the iceberg, however. The most talked about new feature is likely going to be the inclusion of Android code from Google's Android OS project. According to the Kernel Newbies website, the disagreements between Linux kernel developers and Google have been "ironed out," and code from the Android project will now start to be rolled back into the Linux kernel. They expect that Android coming home to traditional Linux will make developing code and end user software easier for everyone, and they expect further Android and Linux integration in the future.
More information on the latest Linux kernel release is available here.
Subject: Systems | March 10, 2012 - 12:52 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, OS, linux
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has quite the success on their hands with the small ARM powered Linux computer they have dubbed the Raspberry Pi. With pre-orders that sold out within hours, a great deal of press coverage, and overwhelming support from the community to support the Raspberry Pi with software and download mirrors, they have announced not only the promised Fedora 14 Remix Linux distribution, but OpenELEC XBMC support and an Arch Linux distro for power users.
So far, the charity has released the Fedora 14 Remix, Debian Squeeze, and Arch Linux distributions. All three are now available for download via their downloads page using either Torrent files or HTTP downloads through the community mirrors.
The Fedora Remix Distro
The Debian Squeeze OS is the Raspberry Pi's reference file system and is aimed at software developers while the Fedora Remix is aimed at those wanting a casual OS that is capable of playing back multimedia content. Finally, the Arch Linux distro is aimed at power users and Linux enthusiasts that want to totally customize their Linux operating system and the software including with it. These distros are meant to be installed on an SD card and then inserted into the Raspberry Pi.
Head on over to their downloads page to get your hands on the distros!
In a recent press release, the Linux Foundation added four new members, one of which is a big deal in the graphics card industry. In addition to the new members of Fluendo, Lineo Solutions, and Mocana is the green GPU powerhouse NVIDIA. According to Maximum PC, there is talk around the web of the company moving to open source graphics drivers; however, NVIDIA has not released anything to officially confirm or deny.
The Linux Foundation's Logo
Such a move would be rather extreme and unlikely, but it would certainly be one that is welcomed by the Linux community. Officially, the Vice President of Linux Platform Software Scott Pritchett stated the company is "strongly committed" to delivering quality software/hardware experiences and they hope their membership in the Linux Foundation will "accelerate our collaboration with the organizations and individuals instrumental in shaping the future of Linux." Further, they hope to be able to add to and enhance the user and development experience of the open source operating system.
The three other members to join the Linux Foundation specialize in multimedia software (Fluendo), embedded system development (Lineo Solutions), and device-agnostic security (Mocana) but the green giant that is NVIDIA has certainly stolen the show and is the big announcement for them (which isn't a bad thing that they joined, it is kind of a big deal to have them). Amanda McPherson, VP of Marketing and Developer Services for the Linux Foundation wrapped up the press release by saying that all of the new members "represent important areas of the Linux ecosystem and their contributions will immediately help advance the operating system.”
NVIDIA has generally enjoyed good support on the major Linux distributions, but now that they are a member here's hoping they can further improve their Linux graphics card drivers. What is your take on the Linux Foundation's new members, will they make a difference?
Microsoft's juggernaut Windows operating system powers on with the company preparing Windows 7's successor in Windows 8. The new operating system (OS) was first released for public consumption during the last BUILD conference in the form of a "Developer Preview." This release was mainly intended for software developers to start to get a feel for the OS and its new features, but many consumers and technology enthusiasts also took a peek at the OS to get an idea of where MS was going with its next OS.
Coinciding with Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2012, Microsoft released the next iteration of the in progress OS, and this time it is aimed at getting consumer feedback. The aptly named Consumer Preview build is now available for download by anyone interested.
Windows 8 Consumer Preview Desktop
The question many consumers and enthusiasts are likely asking; however, is what to do with the MS provided ISO, and what the safest and easiest method for testing the beta operating system is. One appropriate answer, and the method covered in this guide, is to use a virtual machine program to test the Windows 8 Consumer Preview inside a VM without needing to muck with or worry about effecting your existing system or settings. Installing to bare hardware will always be faster, but if you upgrade to Windows 8 CP from Windows 7, you will not be able to go back once the beta period is over. By installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview inside a virtual machine will allow you to test out the operating system in a secure environment, and if you have a recent machine with at least 4 GB of RAM, performance of the OS should be sufficient to get an idea of the new OS and whether you want to pursue a bare hardware full install.
I expect that many users are going to be curious about the new build as the Windows 8 OS has ignited several heated debates among enthusiasts concerning the direction Microsoft is going. The new Metro interface, removal of Start Menu, and the overhauled Windows logo are three of the major concerns users have raised, for example.
The specific program in question that we will be using is Oracle's VirtualBox software, which is a free VM host that is very easy to setup and use. Another alternative is VMWare, and the setup process will be very similar (though the exact steps and settings will differ slightly). This guide will show you how to go from the Windows 8 ISO to a fully functional installation inside a VirtualBox virtual machine. If you are familiar with setting up a new VirtualBox VM, you can safely skip those steps. I felt it prudent to go through the entire process; however, for those new to VirtualBox that wish to try out the new Microsoft OS.
Subject: General Tech | February 13, 2012 - 01:18 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows 8, windows, OS, microsoft, logo
That fluttering window containing flag that would carry Microsoft into Operating System dominance on the, er, wind of success debuted with Windows 3.0 in 1990. As the years have passed, the company has made alterations and updates to keep the design modern. After 22 years of ingraining into people's minds that the flag logo is Windows, Microsoft may be ditching it in favor of a new minimalistic monochromatic affair. According to Chinese site cnBeta.com, Microsoft will roll out the new Windows logo with the launch of Windows 8. Allegedly, the new logo will be four turquoise panels with a shifted perspective and separated by interior white borders. The site claims that the evidence lies in a logo photo and a photograph of a physical "Windows" button on a tablet.
Personally, I think Microsoft would be crazy to change their logo, and especially insane to switch to this particular alleged new logo. Minimalist designs certainly have their place, but the colorful Windows logo that we are all used to has always done a good job of catching the eye (and four blue-green rectangles just don't do it for me). Not to mention that the company has had 22 years to burn into the minds of consumers that the logo is Windows, and it will be difficult for people to accept the new logo. There is definitely a certain amount of nostalgia and consumer confidence associated with the "old" logo, and it seems odd that Microsoft would be so cavalier to throw it away just to make their logo look better on the Metro desktop. Perhaps if they were changing direction and entering a different market or if they had a line of crappy products they would want a new logo, but that really does not seem to be the case. Here's hoping the photos are just fake. On the other hand, if Microsoft does end up taking out the start button it's not like people will be seeing the new logo anyway (heh).
What are your thoughts on the new logo? Am I off base in thinking that the current logo has a lot of "mindshare" built up and it would be crazy to just leave it behind?
Subject: General Tech | May 12, 2011 - 11:54 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Unity, Ubuntu 11.04, ubuntu, OS, natty narwhal, linux, gnome
Natty Narwhal, officially called Ubuntu 11.04, has arrived on the scene and it brings some changes to the way you will look at Linux. It was designed to be the first desktop version to dump the Gnome GUI in favour of the Unity interface that has been previously used on netbook and other lower powered machines. The design its self is fairly minimalistic as you would expect from what it was first implemented as, but not to the point where you won't recognize the familiar dock style interface common to OS X and Win 7. Ars Technica takes you through a thorough look at the newest Linux and the pluses and minuses of the new GUI.
"Ubuntu 11.04, codenamed Natty Narwhal, rose from the depths last week. The update brings a number of significant new features to the Linux-based operating system. It includes a much-improved refresh of the Unity shell and a number of other significant improvements throughout the application stack.
This is the first version of Ubuntu to ship with Unity on the desktop. Due to the far-reaching nature of the changes that accompany the transition to a new desktop shell, this review will focus almost entirely on Unity and how it impacts the Ubuntu user experience. We will also look at how Unity compares with GNOME 3.0 and the classic GNOME experience."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Pivot Power strip starts shipping, folks who ordered a year ago rejoice @ Engadget
- Google Engineers Deny Hack Exploited Chrome @ Slashdot
- Shortage of smartphone and tablet PC components emerging @ The Register
- PCMark 7 Basic Edition Now Available @ NGOHQ
- Win Fantastic Cooler Master prizes @ eTeknix
With the release of Ubuntu 11.04, a new desktop environment called Unity was released. Unity promised to revamp the Linux operating system’s desktop GUI to be more user friendly and intuitive. There are a multitude of noticeable changes that Unity brings to Ubuntu’s GUI compared to the classic Gnome environment. A new Windows 7 like task bar stretches along the left side of the screen where small icons of running and pinned applications reside. This new application dock is used instead of the traditional Gnome task bar that ran along the bottom of the screen. Also present is a new Ubuntu button that acts as an application launcher where installed programs can be sorted and searched for. Further, there are improvements to the workspace switcher and changes in window management with new hover-to-reveal scroll bars and each application’s (context sensitive) file menus being relocated to the top of the screen. These and other minor changes in the latest Ubuntu release have caused a flood of controversy among both reviewers and users alike.
Pictured: Unity GUI (Insert: Ubuntu Classic GUI)
On the positive side of the issue, there are a number of new and long time users of Ubuntu that have embraced the new GUI for it’s new features and design. Many people migrating from Windows 7 or Mac OS will become accustomed to the interface quickly as it works in much the same manner. Further, users of convertible tablet PCs have an easier time of navigating to applications and windows thanks to the larger icons. Touch and digitizer controls on the Dell Latitude XT worked well out of the box without a need to much with drivers, for example.
In contrast, as a newly developed desktop environment, it is less customizable from a user standpoint than the traditional Gnome GUI. Because of this (at the time of writing) restriction on customizability, many self-proclaimed power users have called Unity a step backwards in the aspects that make Linux a desirable OS--the ability to customize. Mainly, they dislike the constraints that Unity places on their ability to customize the operating system to their liking.
Read on for more...
Subject: General Tech | April 29, 2011 - 11:27 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: windows 8, win8, OS, arm
Successfully selling an OS seems to have spurred Microsoft into a frenzy of action, far from the massive denial and self abuse they indulged in after the launch of that flounder known as
ME Vista. We are already seeing leaded builds of Windows 8, which are festooned with more ARMs and Ribbons than that Royal Wedding last night. Thanks to these leaks, and a list compiled by Maximum PC, you can see the 7 things we know about 8.
"Pre-release versions of Windows 8 have leaked to the web. Here’s what they tell us about the upcoming OS
Recently leaked builds show that Windows 8 will be a very different OS from its forebears, from the kernel to the cloud. ARM processor support, mobile-device optimization, and system-wide menu tweaks abound. There are still a lot of things we don't know about the next OS from Microsoft, but the number of things we can say for sure is growing. Read on for our list of 7 things we know about Windows 8!"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- An In-Depth Look at Ubuntu 11.04 @ Techgage
- Apple starts selling the white iPhone 4 @ t-break
- Shipments of iPad-like tablets to be affected by component shortages @ DigiTimes
- Google Adds Speech To Newly Stable Chrome 11, Pays Big Bounty @ Slashdot
- Open-Source AMD Fusion Graphics Still Mixed @ Phoronix
- Mushkin Interview and Tour 2011 @ OCC
- Give my Dustbuster a dial, please @ The Tech Report