Poor Microsoft just can’t keep anything secret. Today the Release Preview version of Windows 8, which will be released in the coming days, has leaked out to P2P. The build, which is labeled 8400, hit bit torrent and is spreading quickly. Numerous sites have already posted screenshots of the next version of the operating system.
The build, which is offically 8400.0.WINMAIN_WIN8RC.120518-1423_X64FRE_CLIENT_ZH-CN-HRC_CCSA_X64FRE_ZH-CN_DV5, contains 3 new Metro-style apps from Microsoft – News, Sports, and Travel – as well as built-in support for Adobe Flash. The web site Winunleaked confirmed the legitimacy of the leaked copy and also provides links if you are so inclined to try it out. I recommend extreme caution with any such download.
Windows 8 Release Preview is expected to be released in early June and will be available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. If you can’t wait another week then check your P2P client, but make sure you install it on a PC that you don’t mind experimenting with and is insulated from the rest of your network. Better yet, just wait a few days and get it directly from Microsoft.
There’s a bug in your auto-update program that makes Windows 7 reboot the PC even when the program has been told not to restart the PC.
Last night, I was doing a full format of a 1 TB drive, which takes several hours to complete. Part way through, auto-update told me that it had installed new software and that a restart would be needed. I’m 100% sure that I clicked on the “Restart Later” button before heading off to bed with the format in progress. However, when I came into my PC this morning, it had rebooted and the format hadn’t finished. Now I won’t be able to do what I needed to do today because I’ll have to restart the format and wait several more hours.
Microsoft, how hard can this be? If I press the button “Restart later”, that means I’ll choose when to restart later, not the operating system. And besides, why can’t it check for obvious activity, like formats in progress or files not saved before rebooting the PC?
Please can you fix this for version 8? It’s almost enough to make me buy an Apple….
j5 create‘s background in USB display adaptors means they know a thing or two about using both hardware and software to create unique solutions. j5 Create’s Wormhole cable is one such solution as it joins two computers into one…and they don’t even have to be running the same OS. Fred shows Jeffrey and Steve some of the benefits of this innovative technology, which won a CES Innovation Honoree award.
At its most basic the Wormhole switch is simply a USB 2 cable that connects between two computers, but clever software allows the computers to work together, with one keyboard and mouse being shared between the two. The OS of the two devices doesn’t have to be the same and an Android tablet being controlled by a Windows PC is perfectly possible. Files can be seamlessly transferred between the two machines as well. Pretty smart.
Moving on to a second product, j5 create has a very desirable line of small docking stations for laptops that are little more than foot-long shiny tubes with a plethora of ports. Branded “ultrastations” and connecting via USB 3, these take full advantage of the faster data rate to provide a myriad of connections, including HDMI, through a single USB 3 cable. Nice.
Interview by Jeffrey Powers of The Geekazine Podcast and Steve Lee of Netcast Studio.
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I’m not sure if Microsoft is following Apple’s footsteps from a few years ago, but it was announced earlier today that after CES2012, Microsoft is pulling out of Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
From Microsoft’s Blog: “We have decided that this coming January will be our last keynote presentation and booth at CES. We’ll continue to participate in CES as a great place to connect with partners and customers across the PC, phone and entertainment industries, but we won’t have a keynote or booth after this year because our product news milestones generally don’t align with the show’s January timing.”
For the last 20 years, Microsoft has been a big part of CES. The opening keynote has been given by Microsoft’s Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer during those 20 years.
Now, there have been some posts that say Microsoft is pulling out completely. As far as this blog goes, it sounds like Microsoft is only relinquishing the Opening keynote spot. Not the Microsoft booth.
Still, one has to wonder what this means for the Consumer Electronics Show. The opening keynote was always a hot ticket for the show – How do you replace that? Better yet, is there anyone that can replace that?
A new interface for XBox 360 game console users allows you to use your voice to navigate through the games, TV shows, movies and music.
Steve Ballmer showed off this technology back in September, but starting this Tuesday, this becomes reality. It adds not only remote gesture control, but also remote voice commands. Therefore, if you don’t have a Kinect motion controller, you still can control without a remote.
The Associated Press got a special demonstration of the new features. When the Microsoft employee said “XBox Bing ‘Iron Man’,” a search for Iron Man came up. When the employee said “XBox, show movies,” a list of movies from various sources appeared.
With over 57 million XBox units sold, Microsoft is expecting to make a real impact in the cord cutters market. Adding pay channel partners like Verizon FIOS means that XBox will get into the Over the top TV market with a vengeance. You will have to use over-the-air or alternate cable methods to get network TV like NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox.
The real question is how this will affect your household. Will you cut your cord over this update? Will you start to use the XBox as more than a gaming system?
EA, one of the most popular game makers, has been in the mobile market for some time now. Thanks to a deal with some handset makers, like Motorola, preview editions of their games come pre-installed. That’s great but, of course, to get the whole game you have to pay up. Also, in some cases the games are not even an option for uninstall. That’s bad, but here’s what is not so bad – EA makes some really good games. Their flagship racing game, Need for Speed, has been a best-seller in the Android Market with the “NSF Shift” version.
Now NSF Shift has been surpassed by EA’s latest release, which hit the market a couple of days ago. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is now available with a host of cool features. You can choose from a variety of sports cars that will make the average male drool. There’s the Porsche, Pagani, Bugotti, and Lamborghini Murcielago to name just a few. Or, if you choose to be the cop in this game, you can get the rarest of them all – the Lamborghini Reventon.
Before you get too excited though, there’s one key thing you need to know. To get the hottest cars you will need to unlock them. Unlocking a car requires a certain amount of points. With each point level reached another vehicle becomes available. Once you get a car you can choose to use it or any of the ones you have already unlocked. You can also customize its color by using sliders to choose the way you want your vehicle to look. Like the previous NSF Shift, it uses your phone’s accelerometer to control the car.
The game is available for $6.99 from the Android Market. It’s not a small download, being around 500MB when it’s all said and done, but it will entertain any mobile gamer. In the first 24 hours my son is up to a Porsche Cayman, but I would really like my Droid back…
Wireless expert WDS is reporting that high failure rates in Android handsets are costing mobile network operators as much as $2 billion per year in dealing with repairs and returns. Reviewing the four leading mobile operating systems, its study found that Android-based devices seemed more prone to failure as 14% of technical support calls on Android were for hardware, versus 11% for Windows Phone, 7% for iOS and just 6% for BlackBerry OS.
Simplistically, Android handsets were twice as likely to suffer a hardware fault that an Apple or RIM device. The study suggests that cheaper hardware, software customisations and OS updates all contribute to the failure rate and in turn, the increased impact on the network operators to provide technical support and customer service. WDS analysed over 600,000 technical support calls from July 2010 to August 2011.
“One thing we must be absolutely clear on,” says Tim Deluca-Smith, Vice President of Marketing at WDS, “is that our analysis does not find any inherent fault with the Android platform. Its openness has enabled the ecosystem to grow to a phenomenal size, at a phenomenal rate, and it’s this success that is proving challenging.”
He added, “The Android customer experience differs enormously between devices and this means that the way in which Android devices are retailed and supported must consider factors such as the hardware build and quality of components.”
If you are thinking about buying or upgrading your smartphone, you might want to bear this research in mind before you purchase.
The full WDS whitepaper can be downloaded from this page.
ZDNet is reporting that Canonical is intending to make the next release of Ubuntu, 12.04, a LTS (Long Term Support) release with intention of then expanding Ubuntu beyond desktops and laptops into smartphones, tablets and smart TVs, with a target of 2014 for an all-platform release.
Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, in an interview said, “This is a natural expansion of our idea as Ubuntu as Linux for human beings. As people have moved from desktop to new form factors for computing, it’s important for us to reach out to out community on these platforms. So, we’ll embrace the challenge of how to use Ubuntu on smartphones, tablets and smart-screens.” The full announcement is expected at the Ubuntu Developer Summit, which starts tomorrow and runs for a week in Orlando, Florida.
Having already been in discussions with partners for around 18 months, it seems that this is more than wishful thinking, but one can’t help feel that the whole Palm-HP-WebOS debacle bodes badly for any company wanting to get in on the smartphone and tablet space. If HP can’t make it happen with a solid OS and Zen of Palm, what hope has Canonical? When quizzed about this, Shuttleworth said that he saw “Android as its primary competitor…..We’ve also already heard from people who are already shipping tablets that they want Ubuntu on the tablet.” And of course, “Ubuntu already has a developer and customer base.”
While there’s no doubt that the mobile space is still maturing and there’s plenty of change still to come, I have a hard time seeing Ubuntu on anything but a small niche of tablets and an even smaller niche of smartphones. iOS and Android have their foothold and Microsoft will be a solid third if Windows Phone 7 continues to deliver and Windows 8 delivers as expected. A fourth player is going to have difficulty making inroads, especially one as relatively unknown as Canonical and Ubuntu.
Smart TVs are a more plausible destination as the internal software is of less concern to the consumer. Most people buying a TV are looking at the exterior brand such as Sony, Samsung or LG, and not what’s inside, although this may change if a “Powered by Roku” or “Google TV inside” campaign runs. Plenty of change to come in this space too.
I wish Ubuntu every success.