Friday, May 31, 2013

Microsoft Confirms Start Button Returns in Windows 8.1

Antoine Leblond, Corporate Vice President of Windows Program Management, wrote a lengthy blog on Thursday that provides a "first look" at Windows 8.1 although we've seen plenty in reports stemming from leaked builds over the last several months. The OS update will deliver improvements and enhancements in key areas, he states, like personalization, search, the built-in apps, Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity. It will also include "big bets" for business in areas such as management and security.

"We’re only a bit more than seven months into this new, bold approach to computing," he says. "The response to Windows 8 has been substantial— from new devices to strong app growth to key enhancements to the OS and apps. We’ve learned from customers in how they are using the product and have received a lot of feedback. We’ve delivered hundreds of updates to the product and to apps. We’re just getting started, and the potential ahead is tremendous."...

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How to prepare your business for Windows 8

 Windows 8, released to the wild last October, seems stuck in a no-win situation.

On the one hand, it is not catching on with Android- and iOS-loving consumers turned off by the Windows 8 tile-based interface and the Windows App Store, which by Android and Apple standards, is anemic and disorganized. And these days, consumer technology is frequently a precursor to enterprise technology as shown by the BYOD (bring your own device) phenomenon.

On the other hand, the situation for Windows 8 isn't any better in the enterprise. IT decision-makers interviewed for a new Forrester report don't see the Windows 8 experience as an improvement over the stable and well-liked Windows 7, mostly due to confusing behavior between applications running in the "Metro" touch interface and those running in the traditional desktop mode.

In the report, entitled "IT Will Skip Windows 8 as the Enterprise Standard," IT professionals reveal that a top concern about Windows 8 is the "potential for significant user training and support and the need for application redesign to take advantage of the new Windows 8 interface."...

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Does it still make sense to build your own computer?

Last summer I asked readers if it still made sense to buy a desktop. After all, laptops now offer more than ample power for most users, plus that whole portability thing. And with tablets starting to take the place of laptops, a desktop seems even farther down the computing food chain.

Then, a couple weeks back, I featured a nicely loaded desktop on my Cheapskate blog -- the first one in a while -- figuring most readers would respond with a yawn.

Quite the opposite. Turns out a lot of computer users still love desktops, and definitely want more deals on them. And I've complied with several since then, many of them selling out in the span of an afternoon.

This makes me ask: Does it still make sense to build your own computer? (Snark version: Did it ever?)

Once upon a time, this was a huge hobby. Cost-conscious buyers would peruse the pages of Computer Shopper (which in its heyday topped 1,000 pages) in search of the best deals on cases, motherboards, RAM, hard drives, and other components, the idea being that you could build your own for less than having a company build it for you...

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Microsoft's Windows 8 Commercials for Asia Are Awesome

We'd love to see these airing in the States.

With Windows 8, Microsoft is attempting to completely reinvent the desktop space. Clever marketing is invaluable when you embark on such a challenging journey. If you though the Windows 8 commercials thus far have been a little uninspiring, you might like the campaign Microsoft has developed for Asia.

The Verge cites a Microsoft spokesperson who says the three commercials below were produced for Microsoft's Asian markets and posted to the company's general channel by mistake. They're all based around the same 'Windows 8 Training Camp' concept, and highlight the benefits of Windows 8, be it the touch screen interface, it's ability to combine work and play, and the quick and simple interface. Check them out below!...

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Start button's return to Windows 8? Probably, but there's no guarantee

Computerworld - Microsoft's head of Windows development on Tuesday came close to promising that the iconic Start button would return to the Windows 8 desktop, but never made a guarantee.

In a 25-minute interview at the Wired Business Conference, Julie Larson-Green, who with division CFO Tami Reller co-runs the group, talked about Windows 8 and the upcoming update, code-named "Blue" for now, that will ship later this year.

A public preview of Blue, which leaked copies have identified as Windows 8.1, will be made available on the Windows Store -- Microsoft's app market -- during BUILD, the developers conference set for June 26-28 in San Francisco.

Among the changes expected in Blue, according to reports last month, will be an optional restoration of the Start button and menu on the Windows 8 desktop, and perhaps another option to boot directly to that desktop, skipping the current tile-style Start Screen, which users now see first when they turn on their devices...

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Report: Global IC Foundry Market Rose 16% in 2012

According to a recent report from Gartner, the worldwide semiconductor foundry market rose by 16.2 percent in 2012 to a $34.6 billion in revenue. This year marked the first time that advanced technology for mobile applications directly drove foundry revenue and prompted foundries to increase yield in 28 nm process technology and “fine tune device performance of legacy nodes.”

These changes have been attributed to a restocking of inventory by customers, increased demand for smartphones, and the “unexpected fast rise of low-cost smartphones” in China and other emerging markets.

Gartner also reported that chips for mobile devices were mostly supplied by fabless companies as indicated by an increase in foundry revenue from fabless customers and flat or declining growth from IDM customers.

 With regards to the respective position of foundries themselves...

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