We are all familiar with the beeps, and the message that flashes past alerting you to press DEL, or F2, or some other key to access the BIOS settings. With the advent of Windows 8, though, the archaic BIOS will be on its way to the grave.
UEFI is a newer, more capable platform than the traditional BIOS. It has been around for awhile, and has seen limited use, but Windows 8 embraces UEFI and that is all that will be needed to push it into the mainstream.
Check out this article to learn what you should know about UEFI.
Metro UI, Metro UI, and Metro UI. It seems like the flashy Metro interface is all we keep hearing about for the upcoming Windows 8. But, there is much more to the next generation flagship OS than some colored tiles.
With a public beta expected sometime in February, now is a good time to familiarize yourself with what it has to offer. This Computerworld article from John Brandon details 13 features you should know about. I am particularly fond of the Reset and Refresh features that will make it easier to roll back or rebuild your PC without having to start from scratch.
Ever since the video and details of the Microsoft Surface touchscreen tables first began to leak out a few years ago, the technology has been near the top of my list of “things I would buy if I won the lottery and had so much money that a $10,000 coffee table didn’t see quite as ridiculous.”
The Surface devices have been out there, but not really available to the general public. But, Samsung is changing that. It won a CES 2012 Best of Innovations award for the SUR40 — a 40-inch HD interactive multitouch LCD display protected by Gorilla Glass. At only four inches thick, the device comes in a wall-mounted version for $8,400, and a table top version for $9,049.
Even at almost $1,000 less than $10,000, the table is still pretentious for average consumers. Still, if those Powerball numbers ever come up my way, I know what I’m buying for my living room.
I suppose the question is semi-rhetorical, and the response can vary greatly depending on your definition of “soon”.
Windows 8 has already been unveiled, and developers were provided with an early, pre-beta build at Microsoft’s BUILD conference this fall. It is no surprise, then, that Microsoft will continue to march down the path from inception, to platform preview, to beta, to release candidate, and on to final release. So, of course the beta is on the horizon.
Currently there are competing rumors suggesting that a Windows 8 beta could be available in January 2012, or in February 2012. I have been dabbling with that early build, but it is definitely a little rough around the edges and I am looking forward to seeing a more polished Windows 8 when the public beta launches.
When you’re not using your Windows PC, does it go to “Sleep” or “Hibernate” mode? Mine doesn’t.
In theory, it is a great idea to conserve energy by going into a state that uses less power, but still retains the exact state of your system and applications. Unfortunately, my experience with Sleep and Hibernate is that they are a pain the ass, and take forever to boot up if they work at all.
The idea of instant-on, or turning a device off, having it still retain some core functionality in its sleep state and be able to turn back on in the blink of an eye is one of the benefits of tablets and smartphones that set them apart from traditional PCs.
I could power my system down completely, but it takes too long to boot up and get all of my applications that I use fired up and logged on. Or at least it did. With Windows 8, Microsoft can now go from cold-box-completely-shut-down-system to fully-booted-at-login-screen-ready-to-rock-system in less than 10 seconds.
Not too shabby.
Faxing is so yesterday. No. Actually, faxing is so 90’s. Aren’t we supposed to be all digital and paper free by now?
Sadly, the concept still comes up way more than I would like to admit. I cringe when I hear the words “just fax that back.” My response is, “Fax? This is 2011. Who still uses a fax machine?”
In rare–very rare–circumstances when it can’t be avoided I do actually own a fax machine. It’s just up in the attic and requires a whole household project just to retrieve it and set it up for use. My solution is to try and copy and paste my scanned digital signature and just email it back. Barring that, I will print it out, physically sign it, scan it back into my computer, then email it.
I am apparently not the only one who abhors fax machines, or having to print things out just so I can convert them back into digital form to send back. InterFAX is taking an important step in bridging the gap between the virtual office and the physical office with its industry-first integration with Google Docs.
A statement from InterFAX explains, “Leading industries depend on faxes for critical communications and to transmit important documents. Restaurant websites and portals rely on faxing to transmit orders for delivery, hospitals and health care providers depend on faxes to communicate, and the banking and insurance industries require faxed copies of critical documents. Internet faxing streamlines the process allowing documents to be faxed quickly from users’ computers.”
The integration with Google Docs provides a valuable time saving tool to InterFAX users. Where previously users would have to download files from Google Docs and convert them into a faxable format, now they merely need to click one button to fax. Additionally, the integration is extremely helpful for Gmail users as they can now view email attachments and fax them with just a few clicks.
Unfortunately, I am not really an avid Google Docs user, and I am not an InterFAX customer, but it is still nice to see things moving in the right direction–away from the archaic fax machine.
Technically speaking, most of the wireless networks currently being marketed as 4G or LTE fall short of the 4G specification. The marketing spin eventually won, and the ITU agreed to call things like WiMAX and HSPA+ “4G”.
Now Altair Semiconductor is blazing trails with a new mobile broadband speed record. The Altair Semiconductor TD-LTE chipset, integrated in a commercial USB dongle, achieved download speeds of more than 100Mbps in a live over-the-air demonstration.
“We are very proud of this achievement, which allows our customers to strongly differentiate their products in the market,” said Eran Eshed, Co-Founder and VP of Marketing and Business Development at Altair Semiconductor. “It is important to understand that this figure is achievable on any of the tens of thousands of Altair-based commercial terminals in the market, in most practical TD-LTE field deployment scenarios globally. This unique capability substantially upgrades the service offerings of TDD carriers and allows them to offer similar user experiences as FDD carriers.”
Maybe we will soon have real 4G devices running on real 4G networks. Then, the only remaining challenge will be how to avoid overages on data caps when streaming data at 100mbps.
Microsoft is epanding its program offering up certain Microsoft Press titles for free beyond PDF to include other ebook formats like Kindle.
Paul Thurrott shares details of the new program on his SuperSite for Windows blog. Thurrott also explains that the new ebook formats are preferable to the PDF versions because they have the ability to “reflow”–or adjust on the fly to fit the screen size and orientation of the device.
The free titles available are:
- Programming Windows Phone 7 (Charles Petzold)
- Moving to Micorosft Visual Studio 2010 (Patrice Pelland, Pascale Pare, and Ken Haines)
- Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 (Ross Mistry and Stacia Misner)
- Introducing Windows Server 2008 R2 (Charlie Russel and Craig Zacker)
- Own Your Future, Update Your Skills with Resources and Career Ideas from Microsoft (Katherine Murray)
Niamh Coleman, Director of Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) Product Management, announced via the Windows for your Business blog, that MDOP 2011 R2 is now generally available for download. As a quick reminder, MDOP is a suite of technologies that helps improve compatibility and management, reduces support costs, increases asset management, and improves policy control. With MDOP 2011 R2 Microsoft has added:
· Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM), which simplifies deployment and key recovery, centralizes provisioning, monitoring, and reporting of encryption status for fixed and removable drives, and also minimizes support costs.
· Microsoft Diagnostic and Recovery Toolkit (DaRT) 7.0, which is a set of tools that helps easily recover unusable PCs, rapidly diagnose problem causes of issues, and quickly repair unbootable or locked-out systems.
· Microsoft Asset Inventory Service (AIS) 2.0, which is a cloud based asset management service that can help make good inventory management decisions and has some of the most requested features customers asked for.
To find out more about the new features offered with each of these products, please visit the Windows for your Business blog. The blog not only provides more details on the new products but also shares customer feedback from BT in the United States and Canada and Siemens AG, and highlights an MDOP White Paper from IDC on the total cost of ownership.
Do you use OneNote? Do you have an iPhone? Have you been using the OneNote for iPhone app?
Well, Microsoft launched OneNote for iPhone 1.2 recently which adds some new functionality. An Inside Windows Live blog post explains:
Back in January, we released the first version of Microsoft OneNote app for iPhone. Today, the OneNote team has announced that there’s a new version available (1.2) which introduces search, shared notebooks, and more customization options. OneNote app for iPhone will now also be available in 5 additional markets: Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.
Now, if Microsoft would just create an iPad version of OneNote, maybe I could really switch to it instead of using Evernote.