24 May 2012

The Microsoft team has been busy talking about Windows 8 boot times.  And the most recent discussion surrounds the fact that the system can boot too quickly at times.  How is this a bad thing you ask?  Read on to find out.

23 May 2012

The outcry of people complaining about the Microsoft decision to keep Flash out of the Metro version of Internet Explorer 10 in favor of HTML5 has produced a result.  There are leaks of the upcoming Windows 8 Release Preview (Release Candidate) showing Flash running on IE10 in the Metro interface but only on certain popular sites such as Disney.  Those sites seem to be ones that can be trusted with Flash and don't have an HTML5 alternative.

10 May 2012

Tired of being stuck on those chkdsk screens on process 3 of 6 for what feels like an eternity?  Well, Microsoft is proclaiming that with Windows 8 they have revamped the process of checking the disk for errors and it is faster and less disruptive than ever before. 

Most of the improvements in Windows 8 surround the ChkDsk utility, that inspects the hard disk and checks for errors and issues.  In the past users would run the utility and would have to stop using the machine while the tool ran and had to endure long check times.

10 May 2012

Mozilla has come forth with a big reveal that Windows RT (Formerly Windows 8 on ARM) will only support a single browser:  Internet Explorer.  From a technical side Firefox would be able to run in Metro mode on Windows RT, but would be crippled to the point of unusable.  Only Office 15 is allowed to run in the classic Desktop Mode with Windows RT.

The issue has to do with API access.  Third-party developers will only have access to the WinRT (Metro) API.  However, Microsoft's software will have access to the lower level Win32 API.  Firefox could build Firefox for ARM but without the ability to tap into the Win32 API it can't compete with Internet Explorer.

Some of the logical reasons behind this move by Microsoft is that they have not wanted to port x86 code to ARM, largely because these ported apps may not have the efficiency and stability of a low-power ARM tablet requirement. 

Another reason could be due to malware attacks.  Since a browser is an open pit for malware attacks on the operating system making it so there is only a more secure Metro Internet Explorer could be a protection mechanism. 

Metro Internet Explorer

The Tech-Stew Take Home

This move by Microsoft seems akin to the early dark days of the 90s and possibly a move to gain market share with Internet Explorer, at least on the surface.  Hopefully the primary motivation here is that they are just trying to protect the operating system and by association the end-users giving them a more pleasant experience with less risk of malware attacks.

The downside is that due to this restriction it means we won't see any browsers with add-ons on Windows ARM tablets.  Nor will there be any HTML5 web apps.  Competition gets squashed as a result and the chance of ARM tablets winning out over x86 tablets becomes less likely.

Source:  PCWorld

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08 May 2012

If you feel like being locked into a monthly subscription plan with Microsoft over 2 years, you can get a $99 Xbox 360 bundle the rumors were true.  Microsoft is offering a subsidized $99 bundle that includes a 4GB Xbox 360 and Kinect sensor to anyone that commits to a two years of a new $14.99 per month online service.  It is already being offered in some Microsoft stores but is it worth its weight in Xbox Live Gold?

05 May 2012

As we had recently found out, much to the dismay of us Home Theater PC (HTPC) users, Media Center is not included by default in the new Windows 8 product SKUs.  Instead it would be available only if you purchase Windows 8 Pro and an add-on.  What could be driving Microsoft's reasoning behind not including it out of the box.  The numbers do the talking.  Meanwhile DVD playback is completely gone from Windows Media Player.

27 Apr 2012

Tech-Stew Podcast Episode 14:  Why Microsoft Why, was recorded on Thursday April 26th, 2012

Summary:  Intel's Ivy Bridge launch, SkyDrive updates, Windows 8 versions, Windows RT, mining metals on asteroids, chips to see through clothes, Cutting the ice on Europa and more

Direct link(right click to save locally) here

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25 Apr 2012

In recent days we have seen the official release of Google Drive and Microsoft has reduced their SkyDrive default free space to 7GB from 25GB.  So how does it all break down.  Which service is the best, which offers the most space for the least amount of money?  Microsoft has provided a chart to compare services compared to the other big three ranging from iCloud to Google Drive to Dropbox.  So who is the true winner here? 

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