Archive for August, 2011

VMware CEO: Cloud to end computer desktop era

VMware CEO Paul Maritz urged customers to make the move from virtualization to cloud infrastructure

VMware CEO Paul Maritz urged customers to think beyond the desktop computer. It is a dead metaphor, he insisted, one ill-suited for today’s workforce.

 

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“PCs are not the only animal in the zoo anymore. Increasingly, users are holding other devices in their hands,” he said, speaking at the kick-off of the VMworld 2011, being held this week in Las Vegas 70-640 Training.

See products shown at VMworld

Within five years, less than 20 percent of computing clients will be running Microsoft Windows, he predicted. The job of providing applications and data “can no longer belong to any one device, or any one operating system. So we have to float away from that aspect of the desktop,” he said.

While VMware has made its mark by providing software for virtualizing servers, the company is rapidly building up a stack of software for organizations to use to run private and hybrid clouds, based around its vSphere software for managing virtual resources.

In his presentation before many of the conference’s 19,000 attendees, Maritz said customers should move from virtualization to a full-fledged cloud infrastructure. Fifty percent of the world’s infrastructure runs on virtualization, he noted. The cloud is the next logical step, he reasoned.

A cloud infrastructure will be necessary, he noted, to accommodate the needs of a more dynamic workforce. It will enable administrators to deliver applications and information to people, rather than devices.

Some organizations seem to be moving in this direction. Maritz said that there are now over 800,000 vSphere administrators, including 68,000 certified in handling the technology.

“I spent my whole life working on the PC,” admitted Maritz, who is 56. The metaphor of the desktop came from Xerox Parc research lab in the 1970s, which at the time, was exploring “how to automate the life of the white collar worker, circa 1975,” he said. This meant the researchers made computer based approximations of the tools of the office worker–file cabinets, typewriters, files, folder, inboxes and outboxes.

“We got a great a desktop environment,” he said. “The problem is the people under the age of 35 don’t sit behind desks, and they don’t spend all of their time lovingly tending to documents. They will be dealing with streams of information that will be coming at them in much smaller chunks and much larger numbers. We’re moving into a new post-document era, and we will need different solutions.”

Maritz then explained how VMware’s products can provide a foundation for this new type of operation. VMware’s vFabric provides a set of tools for developers to build applications that can run natively in the cloud. CloudFoundry provides a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that customers can use to run their own applications on external hardware. VMware View VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) software allows users to access their data and applications across a wide range of clients. And the recently released VMware Horizon provides an enterprise portal for users to easily access new applications Free MCTS Training and MCTS Online Training.

Microsoft quietly finding, reporting security holes in Apple, Google products

Researchers at Microsoft have been quietly finding — and helping to fix — security defects in products made by third-party vendors, including Apple and Google.

This month alone, the MSVR (Microsoft Security Vulnerability Research) team released advisories to document vulnerabilities in WordPress and Apple’s Safari browser and in July, software flaws were found and fixed in Google Picasa and Facebook.

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The MSVR program, launched two three years ago, gives Microsoft researchers freedom to audit the code of third-party software and work in a collaborative way with the affected vendor to get those issues fixed before they are publicly compromised.

The team’s work gained prominence in 2009 when a dangerous security hole in Google Chrome Frame was found and fixed but it’s not very well known that the team has spent the last year disclosing hundreds of security defects in third-party software.

Since July 2010, Microsoft said the MSVR team identified and responsibly disclosed 109 different software vulnerabilities affecting a total of 38 vendors.

More than 93 percent of the third-party vulnerabilities found through MSVR since July 2010 were rated as Critical or Important, the company explained.

“Vendors have responded and have coordinated on 97 percent of all reported vulnerabilities; 29 percent of third-party vulnerabilities found since July 2010 have already been resolved, and none of the vulnerabilities without updates have been observed in any attacks,” Microsoft said.

This week’s discoveries:

A vulnerability exists in the way Safari handles certain content types. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability to cause Safari to execute script content and disclose potentially sensitive information. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability would gain sensitive information that could be used in further attacks.
A vulnerability exists in the way that WordPress previously implemented protection against cross site scripting and content-type validation. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability to achieve script execution.

Talent wars: Are your IT staffers being poached?

Competitors — and now cloud providers — are poaching your best IT staffers and job candidates.
Computerworld – Dan Herrington says his first inkling of a brewing IT talent war came early this spring, when he noticed that “college kids weren’t accepting our offers on the spot.”

 

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This was a first for Herrington, who is executive sponsor of college recruiting for IT at USAA, a San Antonio-based Fortune 200 insurer and financial services company that has been No. 1 on Computerworld’s Best Places to Work in IT list for two years in a row.

Herrington adds that another disturbing new trend is a “marked increase” in the number of college hires who accept job offers but then later change their minds. “We’ve seen college students reneging on internships as well,” he notes.

USAA has responded by expanding its out-of-state college recruiting efforts and stepping up communication with interns between the time they accept an internship and their first scheduled day on the job. So far, the approach appears to be working, as evidenced by nearly 200 college hires — both full-time employees and interns — in 2011.

In Melbourne, Fla., Vinay Patel, senior software engineering manager at Harris Corp., has been seeking experienced software developers for three or four months. So far, only two applicants have passed both telephone and in-person interviews. Both were offered employment, but one turned down Patel’s offer and the other accepted but subsequently reneged a week before he was due to start. Apparently, he received a better offer, Patel says. “The job seekers seem to be in the driver’s seat right now,” he notes.

A quick scan of numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms this about-face in the IT job market. In May, it pegged the IT unemployment rate at 3.8%, significantly lower than the national average unemployment rate of 9.1%. At the same time, 65% of 900 hiring managers surveyed by Dice.com said they expect to hire even more tech professionals in the second half of this year than they did during the first six months of 2011. “The growth has reached a level where positions are staying open for months due to a shortage of qualified technology professionals,” according to the Dice report, which went on to suggest that now may be a great time for IT job candidates to ask for more money than they’re offered initially.

“Technology professionals are the basis for innovation, efficiency and creating an agile workplace,” says Tom Silver, senior vice president of Dice.com. “Now is the time to ask for more money. Negotiate hard at the outset of a new job, because that initial salary may set the base for the next three years.”
Talent Pipeline
Building Bench Strength

Long-term IT workforce planning and job rotations are two of the best weapons in the war for IT talent, say many CIOs.

After conducting a demographic study and realizing that 35% of the IT workforce at Guardian Life Insurance was eligible for retirement in the next decade, CIO Frank Wander and his team got cracking on the company’s new Talent 2020 program. Among other things, the program analyzes the skills of all IT employees and then pairs newer employees with veterans to facilitate knowledge transfer.

At Medtronic, CIO Mike Hedges has established an IT Talent Council, which is headed on a rotating basis by IT vice presidents from Medtronic’s various business units.

“The council consists of directors and senior managers who look at talent across the organization and come up with new ways to attract and retain,” Hedges says. One of the programs involves moving 30 to 40 managers from the business units to the company’s shared services unit “to make sure that people are not getting stuck in a rut,” he says.

Hedges also has identified the company’s top IT talent, which he defines as “people we’d have a significant challenge replacing because of their interpersonal, leadership and planning skills.”

Hedges meets with at least five of these employees monthly and has them all meet regularly, sometimes for dinner, as a way to practice their interpersonal skills and forge closer relationships.

“It’s the softer skills — like teamwork and communication, problem-solving and analytical skills — that we’d find harder to source,” he notes.

Harris Corp. rotates employees through various departments and roles so they can gain broad first-hand knowledge about the company’s lines of business across its commercial and defense units. The idea is to give employees a chance to see opportunities for growth and what kinds of work might most appeal to them.

“I want to make sure I can provide an environment where employees feel they can grow their skill sets and professional characteristics and be in an engaged learning environment,” says Vinay Patel, senior software engineering manager at Harris. “We constantly push people to different roles and give them different projects. I can’t think of a single person on my team who has been in the same role for more than two to three years.”

How Apple’s iPad is changing the computer world

With or without Steve Jobs, Apple’s [AAPL] iPad isn’t just a PC replacement, it’s a completely new solution that will define the next-generation of computing, no matter how long the analysts take to recognize the device as more than the equivalent of a PC.

iMusical iYouth

 


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It shows 24-students in a music class at a UK school working together with an adult music teacher (Neil Johnston) to create a release-quality track using 24 iPads.(You can buy the song on iTunes in the US right here.)

The song is completely original, and guitars are linked to the iPad using Apogee Jam while drums and vocals are recorded through iRig Mic and M-audio midi keyboards, themselves all plugged into iPads.

“The iPad is a breakthrough device for the classroom because the opportunities are endless for app integration within an education curriculum,” Neil Johnston (@storevanmusic), the music teacher featured in the video above, said to me. “For us, with music, the iPad now allows all students to be engaged in the learning and performing process.”

All aboard

This is a big deal, because it boosts inclusion, he explains. “Before, the kid who struggled to play an instrument was given a triangle and told to sit out of the limelight, trying to keep in time. Now that kid, can open up GarageBand and press some chords on a guitar or piano. That kid is now involved with their classmates, that kid is engaged, having a great time, and learning too! Our project was never about replacing real instruments, it was about an engaging music lesson, where every student had a role to play and could take part.”

Johnston will fly across to the US this fall to tour New York and beyond, where he’ll be hosting sessions inside Apple retail stores, I hear. Watch this space for details.

This isn’t the first remarkable use of an iPad in music, or in the classroom. Look around and you’ll find many, many more (including three at the end of this story), but it is an interesting reflection on just how much impact a device which is under two years old has already had across so many industries.

The evolution of both the PC and the Post-PC will both go down on the world-changing track record of Apple’s ex-CEO, Steve Jobs. However, the significance will extend far beyond that: Apple is defining the new generation of computing.

Incidentally, the UK experiment above prompted Sting to say: “I’m very impressed… Your use of studio as classroom and technology as teacher is exactly what we need to maintain music as a vital part of the curriculum.”

[ABOVE: An iPad orchestra plays us to the post-PC future.]

This is the real deal

iPads and similar devices will become the defacto way that people use computers. Laptops are too big and smart phones too small. For many, the iPad is the perfect size — but the key to the future isn’t the technology — that must become ever more pervasive, but the apps. Apple’s app empire is its key differentiation, raising the value of its solutions far above those from everyone else.

HP’s move to launch a fire sale on its TouchPad will soon be emulated by all the other tablet vendors (bar Apple) who will perhaps realize that it isn’t enough to talk about tech specs, and make sure a device runs Flash (which no one really likes), but you need to resonate with consumers.

And the way to resonate with consumers is to create devices which offer all the creative possibilities of a child’s toy, alongside all the productive capabilities of a Mac and all the time-wasting potential of a television, a good book, or radio. And you get all this with the iPad, iTunes and, in future, the iCloud ecosystem.

No one wins a price war

Price is a factor. The HP fire sale saw a few foolish customers waste a hundred dollars or so on a device which will never see a software update, and which has no app market. The sale has raised some cash to offset HP’s losses, but customers will quickly tire of a device they can’t upgrade, and can’t purchase software for. Though some may enjoy installing Linux on the things, that hardly constitutes a mass market.

The success of the sale ably illustrates that there is space in the market for a cheap tablet — but can you make a cheap tablet? I don’t think so. Those cheaper devices just don’t have the build quality, the operating system, the screen, the interface, they just don’t match up. Also, last time I looked, components were hard to find…

This means that for the present, Apple will maintain its tablet market lead until 2013 at the earliest. Given the company has today begun manufacturing components for next year’s iPad 3, there’s no end in sight for innovation yet.

What would Steve do?

That’s because people at Apple ask themselves one thing in the morning and one thing at night these days, “What would Steve do?”

Reflect on this: The interesting thing about a company collectively and individually asking itself that question is that the result might actually be a post-Jobs renaissance of innovation, as even the guy in the back room suddenly comes up with a great idea.

Stay hungry. Stay foolish. Do what you love. That’s a statement of philosophy that can’t be matched by any dry focus-group-led discussion on Megahertz or memory.

New book: Windows 7 Inside Out, Deluxe Edition

The book you’ve all been waiting for, Windows 7 Inside Out, Deluxe Edition (ISBN 9780735656925; Page count 1360), by Ed Bott, Carl Siechert, and Craig Stinson is now available for purchase.

 

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The Deluxe Edition of the ultimate, in-depth reference to Windows 7 has been fully updated for SP1 and Internet Explorer 9, and features 300+ pages of additional coverage and advanced topics. It’s now packed with even more timesaving solutions, troubleshooting tips, and workarounds from the experts—and includes a fully searchable eBook and other online resources. Topics include installation, configuration, and setup; network connections and troubleshooting; remote access; managing programs; controlling user access and accounts; advanced file management; working with Internet Explorer 9; managing security features and issues; using Windows Live Essentials 2011; performance monitoring and tuning; backups and maintenance; sharing networked resources; hardware and device drivers.

You can find the book’s table of contents in this previous post.

Enjoy this book excerpt from Chapter 4, “Personalizing Windows 7”.

Chapter 4

Personalizing Windows 7

Working with the New Taskbar and Start Menu
Personalizing the Taskbar and Start Menu
Mastering Window Management with Windows 7
Tricks. Personalizing Theme Elements: Visuals and Sounds.
Configuring Your Display
Using and Customizing Desktop Gadgets
Setting Power and Sleep Options
Working with Fonts
Adjusting Ease of Access Options

One of the most obvious changes that Microsoft made in moving from Windows
Vista to Windows 7 is the taskbar, which has a bold new look, lots of new functionality,
and new ways to customize, all of which we explain in this chapter. We also
cover the many new techniques that make it easier to perform various window tasks, such
as maximizing, resizing, and so on.
A subtler change is the inclusion of the word Personalize prominently in the user interface
of the new operating system. Certainly, earlier versions of Windows could be tailored, customized,
and modified to suit a user’s needs and preferences—in a word, personalized. But
the P word itself was missing. Now, when you right-click your desktop, the shortcut menu
that pops up features an icon-festooned Personalize command. Personalize
Windows is also
one of the items that appear in the new operating system’s Getting Started task list.
So the message is clear: It’s your operating system; make it reflect your tastes, your needs,
your style. Make it work for you. More than any previous version of Windows, Windows 7
provides myriad tools for doing just that—tools that we survey in this chapter.

Working with the New Taskbar and Start Menu

The taskbar is that strip of real estate along one screen edge (bottom by default) that contains the Start menu button, program buttons, and status icons.
The taskbar made its first appearance in Windows 95. In the years since, it has slowly evolved: installing Internet Explorer 4 in Windows 95 also
added a Quick Launch toolbar and other toolbars; Windows XP reduced clutter by introducing taskbar grouping; and Windows Vista added
taskbar previews, small window representations that increased your chances of clicking the correct taskbar button for the program you wanted to bring to the front.

The evolution continues in Windows 7, but at a generation-skipping pace. The Windows 7 taskbar (see Figure 4-1) continues to serve
the same basic functions as its progenitors—launching programs, switching between programs, and providing notifications—but in a way
that makes these basic tasks easier and more efficient.

Opening and Monitoring Programs from Taskbar Buttons

As in previous Windows versions, the taskbar houses the Start menu button, a button for each running program, and the notification area.
You can use these task buttons to switch from one running program to another. You can also click a task button to minimize an open window
or to restore a minimized window. But in a departure from earlier Windows versions, which had separate bands dedicated to a Quick Launch
bar (from which you can open programs) and to taskbar buttons (which represent programs that are currently running), the Windows 7 taskbar
combines these functions. That is, buttons between the Start button and the notification area can be used both for opening programs
and for switching between programs.

Adding and Removing Pinned Programs, Documents, and Folders

Programs that you use often (the ones that you might’ve had on the Quick Launch toolbar in the past) can be easily pinned to
the taskbar so that a single click launches them. To open a program that is pinned to the taskbar, you don’t need to open the Start menu
or dig down to find a desktop shortcut. To pin a program to the taskbar, simply drag its icon or a shortcut (from the desktop,
from the Start menu, or from any other folder) to the taskbar. Alternatively, right-click a program icon wherever you find it and choose Pin To Taskbar.

To remove a pinned program from the taskbar, right-click the pinned icon and choose Unpin This Program From Taskbar.
This command also appears on other shortcuts to the program, including those on the desktop and on the Start menu.

You can also pin frequently used documents and folders to the taskbar by using similar methods:
●To pin a document to the taskbar, drag its icon or a shortcut to the taskbar. If the taskbar already has a button for the program
associated with the document, Windows adds the document to the Pinned section of the program’s Jump List.
(For more information about Jump Lists, see “Using Jump Lists on the Taskbar and Start Menu” on page 119.) If the document’s program is not on the taskbar,
Windows pins the program to the taskbar and adds the document to the program’s Jump List.
●To pin a folder to the taskbar, drag its icon or a shortcut to the taskbar. Windows adds the folder to the Pinned section of the Jump List for Windows Explorer.
●To open a pinned document or folder, right-click the taskbar button and then click the name of the document or folder.
●To remove a pinned document or folder from the Jump List, right-click the taskbar button and point to the name of the document or folder to be removed.
Click the pushpin icon that appears.

Opening Programs

To open a program, click its taskbar button. A few simple (but not obvious) tricks let you do more:
●To open a new instance of a program, Shift+click its taskbar button. This is useful for programs that are already running,
for which an ordinary click switches to the existing instance or, if you already have multiple open instances, displays the window thumbnails.
(If you have a wheel mouse or other three-button mouse, middle-click serves the same purpose as Shift+click.)
●To open a new instance with administrative privileges, Ctrl+Shift+click a taskbar button.
Switching Tasks

When you open a pinned program, the appearance of its taskbar button changes to indicate that the program is running, as shown in Figure 4-2.
The icon for a running program has a buttonlike border, and when you mouse over the button, the background color becomes similar to the
program’s window colors. A program that has more than one window or tab open appears as a stack of buttons. Opening other programs adds a button for each program to the taskbar.

As in previous Windows versions, you can switch to a different program by clicking its taskbar button. Much of the guesswork
required to pick the correct taskbar button in previous versions is gone in Windows 7, however. Now, when you hover the
mouse pointer over a taskbar button, a thumbnail  of the window appears next to the taskbar button. If a taskbar button
represents more than one window (because the program has multiple open windows), hovering the mouse pointer over the taskbar
button displays a preview of each window.

Still not sure which is the correct window? Use another new Windows 7 feature, Aero Peek. Hover the mouse pointer over
one of the preview s, and Windows brings that window to the fore and indicates the location of all other open windows with outlines, as shown in Figure 4-3.

When the preview (or the title bar, if you’re not using Aero) of the window you want is
displayed, simply click that preview to switch to that window. You also have the option
of closing a window by clicking the red X in the upper right corner of the preview or by
middle- clicking anywhere in the preview . Other basic window tasks are available on
the context menu that appears when you right-click the preview .

As you use Windows 7, you’ll notice other enhancements to the taskbar. Some taskbar
previews do more than simply show a thumbnail  of the window; for example, the
preview for Windows Media Player includes basic player controls (Previous, Pause/Play, and
Next). And with some taskbar buttons, you don’t even need to display a preview to know
what’s going on with the program; windows or dialog boxes that show a progress bar, for
example, indicate their progress with a colored background in the taskbar button itself.

Detangling the Windows Phone Tango talk

There is a new report about features and markets that will be the target of Microsoft’s Windows Phone Tango, the successor to Mango. Here’s my take.

Even though the Windows Phone Mango operating system is still not in consumers’ hands or phones, talk has turned to the next version of the OS, codenamed “Tango.”

I blogged earlier this month about what I was hearing from my sources about Tango. In short, my contacts said that Tango would be a minor release (or two) that would target lower-cost phones and be geared, in particular, to address the Asian market. I heard that Nokia would be heavily involved in Tango — not surprising, given Nokia’s focus on broadening the smartphone market to include current feature phone users. Tango would hit some time before Apollo, the Windows Phone 8 release, my contacts said. (Apollo, last I heard, is due in late 2012.)

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This week, a report about Tango originating from the “We Love Windows Phone” site in Hong Kong — which I saw via The Next Web — echoed this same information. The original site claimed to have attended an MSDN Hong Kong seminar about the next generation in development where this information allegedly was disclosed.

The translated version of the Hong Kong site’s Tango information:

1. Tango is not a major update.
2. Tango Mango will be included as one of the updates.
3. Apollo will be the next major update.
4. Tango primarily for and developing countries such as China, India and other markets use, these are ignored in the market to have more exposure to Bing services.
5. Manufacturers of these developing countries will launch a cheap version of Tango preloaded Windows Phone.

The “Tango Mango” bit is definitely confusing. But I think I can help detangle it a bit, based on some additional Tango information I’ve gleaned from my contacts.

I’ve heard there are, indeed, two Tango releases on tap. One of these is simply a minor update to Mango. (I’m betting this is the “Tango Mango” reference above.) This minor update, Tango1, is the release aimed at expanding the Windows Phone footprint into new markets that are not going to be addressed right off the bat by Mango.

Windows Phone 7s currently support English (US and UK), French, German, Italian, and Spanish. The Mango release is adding support for 17 more languages: Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Swedish. So Tango1 will likely add support for additional languages beyond this group.

Tango2, my tipsters say, is the version that will be targeted at low-cost devices and include fixes and new features, as well as services and language support for markets that still won’t have been addressed after the Tango1 release.

Is Tango1 a 2011 deliverable? Early 2012? I have no information on dates yet. (Anyone else?)

One more thing: I’ve seen some Microsoft watchers speculating that Tango will result in a fragmented Windows Phone market because it will offer users a stripped-down feature set. I don’t believe this necessarily will be the case. Lower cost devices in this case will still be smartphones — not feature phones — I believe. Remember: Microsoft’s original Windows Phone plan called for the company winning over feature phone users to smartphones for growth.

I’ve asked Microsoft for comment on the latest Tango report, but am thinking it’s unlikely there will be anything beyond a no comment. In any case, I’ll update if and when I hear back….

Meanwhile, what else are you hearing/wishing for with Windows Phone Tango?

Updates:

1. As anticipated, Microsoft is not willing to talk Tango. A spokesperson sent me the following response to my query: “There is a lot to be excited about and we look forward to sharing more information soon.”

2. The MSDN seminar in Hong Kong cited by the original source of this week’s Tango information looks legit. Here’s a link to it.

3. I’m wondering if Tango1 is already part of Mango (or will be added seamlessly to Mango as phones roll out this year. When I used Bing Translator on the original post, instead of “Tango Mango,” I got “Tango will include Mango, one of the update.”  Hmmm.

Remembering Windows XP

First in a series. It was an innocent time. There was fun, fanfare and pride. Thousands of people worked together to complete something that would affect billions of lives — that would be the most successful product of its kind. Ever. Eighteen days later the world they knew changed.

 

 

 

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Ten years ago today, Aug. 24, 2001, in Redmond Washington, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Jim Allchin, then vice president of the platforms group, officially released to manufacturing Windows XP. The RTM marked a huge achievement for Microsoft, which finally had a consumer operating system based on the NT kernel. Windows XP marked the end of the DOS/Windows 9x legacy and the beginning of a new lineage of Microsoft operating systems, continuing the path paved by Windows 2000 some 18 months earlier.

Dark clouds hung over Windows XP, however. In April 2000, US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ordered Microsoft to be broken into separate desktop software and operating systems companies. A year later, an appeals court rescinded the breakup order but returned the case to a new judge. Some kind of penalty awaited Microsoft.

Meanwhile, the United States was griped in recession, following the dot-com collapse and Enron debacle. PC sales plummeted. If Microsoft was looking for about the worst time conceivable to launch Windows XP, this was it. Gartner sales projections for Windows XP were downright glum, for example.

Microsoft’s Pride

But on this sunny day, one where stereotypical Seattle rain threatened to ruin festivities, those dark clouds seemed distant. Gates and Allchin gathered with other Microsoft employees, OEM partners and loads of journalists (Bloggers? Forbid! Not in 2001!) — there was the ceremonial signing of gold code, placed in a briefcase and flown off by helicopter. Gates and Allchin looked hopeful during the RTM event, like proud fathers sending children off to the first day of school.

Timing was not coincidental. Microsoft had drawn a straight line from August 24 to September 24 to October 25 — the latter two dates, respectively, when the first Windows XP PCs would go on sale and the software would officially launch in a big gala. That’s right, new XP PCs preceded the official release by a month.

Microsoft and its partners planned to spend $1 billion promoting Windows XP. There would be multiple launch events around the globe, with the main one in New York City.

But darker clouds loomed unseen. On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists flew highjacked jetliners into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers and into the US Pentagon. The collective American psyche entered a period of shock and mourning. An economy already ravaged by recession tumbled into despair. Microsoft couldn’t respectively or in any way conceivably continue the big Windows XP launch event as planned.

Event organizers wisely chose to keep New York as the launch venue. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani welcomed Microsoft warmly. The city needed something to cheer the gloom, and revenues and tax sales dollars couldn’t hurt either. So Giuliani joined Gates on Oct. 25, 2001, to officially launch Windows XP. There was a muted and respectful celebration. Microsoft’s most important operating system ever debuted in the midst of uncertainty — about America’s future, the state of its economy and even Microsoft’s fate before US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.

A Reliable, Workhorse

Windows XP wasn’t an exceptional operating system so much as a reliable one. Particularly after the release of Service Pack 2, which was more of a new release than an update, XP found its place as the world’s workhorse operating system. SP2 appeared in early August 2004, nearly four years after Windows XP RTM.

“Old Reliable” brought tremendous stability to the PC marketplace. No Microsoft operating system stayed in service so long without a replacement. Two-and-a-half years would pass before successor Windows Vista launched, in separate November 2006 and January 2007 events. By then, Windows XP was so widely used, so widely supported by applications, peripherals and other third-party products, Vista struggled to find support from anybody.

Microsoft made architectural changes that required developers to adapt their applications, but few seemed interested. Why should they? Windows XP’s install base was enormous — the OS paid the bills. Windows Vista was a marketing disaster, and for many reasons, but one of the most overlooked is Windows XP’s success. The operating system had achieved the so-called “good enough” threshold, which coupled with the stable ecosystem created a competitive barrier for Vista like earlier Windows versions posed to other developers’ operating systems. How ironic!

When Windows 7 shipped in September 2009, more than 80 percent of Microsoft’s desktop OS install base was on XP. A stunning achievement.

All this started 10 years ago today.

Here at BetaNews we stop to celebrate Windows XP and to remember this remarkably successful workhorse OS. Today and over the next few, we will share recollections of Windows XP. Some are ours, some are yours and others’. If you have a Windows XP memory to share, there’s still time — in comments to this story or by emailing joe at betanews dot com.

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Microsoft throws support behind USB 3.0 with Windows 8

Microsoft is building a native USB 3.0 software stack for Windows 8, which could aid in competition against Thunderbolt

Microsoft is incorporating a software stack in its upcoming Windows 8 OS to natively support devices based on the USB 3.0 interconnect, which is in a battle for adoption with Intel’s Thunderbolt.

 

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USB 3.0 is the successor to USB 2.0 standard and can transfer data 10 times faster between computers and external peripherals such as cameras and storage devices. Most laptops and desktops today come with USB 2.0 ports and many PC makers are offering USB 3.0 ports as an option. The current Windows 7 OS does not include native support for USB 3.0, but device makers offer drivers to ensure products are compatible with the OS.

The growing support for USB 3.0 and wide usage of USB 2.0 was a compelling reason to improve the USB software stack, said Dennis Flanagan, Microsoft’s director of program management for the devices and networking group, in an entry on the company’s Building Windows 8 blog.

“By 2015, all new PCs are expected to offer USB 3.0 ports, and over 2 billion new ‘SuperSpeed’ USB devices will be sold in that year alone,” Flanagan wrote.

Microsoft is writing a new software stack and controller for Windows 8 based on the “design principles” of USB 3.0, which will bring plug-and-play support for new devices such as external storage, webcams and keyboards, Flanagan wrote. The company is retaining the existing software stack to support older USB devices.

But there are few USB 3.0 devices available today, so to create the new software stack the company had to simulate and build virtual USB 3.0 hardware, including ports, hubs and devices.

The hardware support for USB 3.0 is also growing. Intel has already said it will integrate USB 3.0 support in chipsets for processors code-named Ivy Bridge, which will reach PCs early next year. AMD has already integrated support for USB 3.0 in its Fusion chipsets, which are already shipping for PCs.

USB 3.0 transfers data at speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second, which is slower than the transfer speed of rival interconnect technology Thunderbolt. Developed by Intel, Thunderbolt can transfer data between host computers and external devices such as displays and storage at up to 10 gigabits per second. Thunderbolt has been viewed as an alternative to USB 3.0, but Intel has the said the technologies are complementary. Apple uses Thunderbolt in its products.

Thunderbolt currently supports the PCI Express and DisplayPort protocols, and the interconnect does not require any OS support beyond existing software stacks for those protocols, an Intel spokesman said in an e-mail.

But Microsoft’s backing will aid the fast growth of USB 3.0 and provide higher transfer speeds for consumer devices, said Jim McGregor, research director at In-Stat.

“Thunderbolt will be one of many peripheral options available, just like IEEE1394 and Firewire, but I think USB will be the predominant interface because it is so heavily tied to the largest growth segment of the market, mobile devices, for both interconnectivity and power,” McGregor said.

Some Requirements For MCITP Certification

Before you take one exam, you should know what kind of questions it will be, which part of the knowledge of this exam that you should pay more attention to. In a word, you should know the requirements of the exam. So, today, I will tell you some requirements for MCITP Certification, just to those who still have no idea of what MCITP Certification requires.

MCTS Certification, MCITP Certification

Microsoft MCTS Certification, MCITP Certification and over 2000+
Exams with Life Time Access Membership at http://www.actualkey.com

MCITP certification validates the comprehensive skills that are necessary for performing a particular job specialization role which includes enterprise messaging administration or database administration. MCITP certification also builds up technical proficient that are measured in the Microsoft certification informational technology professional. Hence, candidate can obtain more MCITP certifications to earn credentials in this certifications.

Successful candidates who are holding their MCITP certification will be capable of designing, deploying, building, optimizing as well as operating technologies of a particular specialized job role. Successful candidates will also design and make decisions regarding the technology in an effective way to bring successful technology implementation of projects.

MCITP Certification Examination:

In order to obtain the this certificate, candidate has to take up the examination and score a minimum scaled points. The following are the examinations for the MCITP certification.

Windows client:

1) 70-680 or enterprise desktop administration 7
2) 70-686 or enterprise desktop administration 7
3) 70-620 or consumer support technician
4) 70-623 or consumer support technician
5) 70-620 or enterprise support technician
6) 70-622 or enterprise support technician

Windows server:

1) 70-640 MCITP or enterprise administration
2) 70-642
3) 70-643
4) 70-624 or exam 70-620 and exam 70-647
5) 70-640 MCITP or server administrator
6) 70-642
7) 70-646

Microsoft Office Project Server:

1) 70-632 or enterprise project management with MS office server 2007
2) 70-633
3) 70-634

Microsoft exchange server:

1) 70-236 or enterprise messaging administration
2) 70-237
3) 238

All these above examinations are required to take part by the candidates to obtain the certification and they can be taken part in any order.