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Is Windows 8 worth it?

Windows 8 is great!

Back to Windows 7!

What is windows 8?

Posted by Christo [PCD]
Votes: 130
Previous polls


Wednesday 08 July 2009
Firefox 3.5 Cracks 4 Million Downloads Mark
Christo [PCD] , Wednesday 08 July 2009 - 19:59:12 //

Firefox's new browser is a hit

While still not as ubiquitous as Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Mozilla's new Firefox 3.5 browser was just released yesterday and is off to a great start. The browser was met with mostly positive reviews. Reuters stated, "There's no doubt that version 3.5 of Firefox is significantly faster than version 3...All in all, this is a major improvement over Firefox 3. Even if you're not currently a Firefox user, you'll want to give it a try."

CNET was slightly more measured commenting, "Firefox 3.5 is a much-needed improvement to the world's most popular alternative browser... While some of the improvements, such as the HTML5 and other developer enhancements will continue to make the browser their first choice, many of the other changes merely keep it in-line with the competition."

At the end of the day, though, Firefox 3.5's hot new features like HTML5 support and a faster JavaScript engine won over users. Downloads were blazing at 100 per second for much of the day yesterday. Mozilla's servers performed admirably under the load.

The new browser hit 1 million downloads within a couple hours and 2 million downloads in 7 and 1/2 hours. By this morning it had 4.3 million downloads. You can view the progress yourself on the download tracker found here.

The U.S. leads the world with 1.1 million downloads, with Germany in second with 496,000 downloads.

While the new Firefox is certainly very popular, it failed to surpass its own Guinness World record set by Firefox 3, which recorded 8 million downloads worldwide in 24 hours. Firefox also faces reinvigorated competition -- Apple claims that 11 million copies of its new Safari were downloaded in 3 days, and Opera is gearing up for a big 10.0 release.

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1247075224 Firefo

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Sunday 28 June 2009
NPD Analyst Says Windows 7 Pricing is "Way Too Much"
Christo [PCD] , Sunday 28 June 2009 - 21:24:44 //

Analyst lavishes both praise and criticism on Microsoft

Microsoft announced its Windows 7 pricing yesterday, and today began accepting preorders for the new OS. The preorder program in the U.S. offers a cheaper OS than Vista or XP, with the Home Premium upgrade only costing $49.99. Yet some analysts are looking at the glass half empty and have gone on the record to publicly reprove Microsoft.

Stephen Baker, Vice President of Industry Analysis for The NPD Group wrote a blog post on Thursday analyzing the release of Windows 7 information. He began with some words of praise for Microsoft, exalting, "A+ for timing pricing, and for ensuring that this will be the smoothest transition within the industry of any Windows OS upgrade yet."

Then he shifted gears, though, and turned to criticism. He chidingly remarked that to praise Windows 7 for being more affordable than Windows Vista would be "damning with faint praise". The key problem, he argues, is that after the two week pre-order program (or when supplies run out), the base price of the OS jumps to $119.99 for a Home Premium upgrade in the U.S.

He remarks, "No discussion about Microsoft ever leaves everyone happy. In this case I am mightily disappointed in a couple of aspects of Microsoft's upgrade plans for non-PC buyers. First, is the pricing on the Windows 7 home Premium upgrade. Besides the fact that $119 is a price point that fits nowhere in these economic times, it is still way too much for the software."

Mr. Baker also was less than a fan of the fact that Microsoft did not announce whether it would be offering multiple licenses per purchase, or presumably a signle license. He states, "In a world (at least in the U.S.) where most opens are moving into a multiple PC environment, it would enhance the consumer home experience if they could upgrade all their home PCs at a single low price with a single boxed purchase. Although I don't think it is exactly equivalent, Apple's Snow Leopard pricing model ($29 for a one user license and $49 for a five user license) is much more appropriate to driving adoption and raising customer satisfaction levels. This is a direction I would have much preferred to see Microsoft head into."

In the end, whether you agree or disagree with Mr. Baker, even the strongest Microsoft proponents must concede that Windows 7 is obviously pricier than Apple's Snow Leopard -- which weighs in at $29.99 compared to Windows 7's $119.99 October base price (or $49.99 preorder). If Apple allowed an open market on hardware, this might indeed be damning to Microsoft, but as the situation stands Apple's hardware (particularly its desktops) generally remains much pricier.

While Apple has its allures -- its lower OS price point, slim form factors, light weight laptops, multiboot, and long battery life -- will that be enough to steal away Microsoft customers and convince them to buy Apple's pricey products? Or will Microsoft's lower hardware prices and strong base user appeal with its Direct X gaming libraries, free antivirus software, strong file system, virtualization, and more convince users to overlook the OS sticker and go PC?

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1246216711 NPD An

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Monday 22 June 2009
Windows 7 Upgrade Tool Released
Christo [PCD] , Monday 22 June 2009 - 19:57:19 //

New tool is intended to help businesses and customers quickly assess which systems are ready for Windows 7

With every OS launch a certain number of customers with older hardware will inevitably be left behind. For novice users, or for professionals administering large deployments, the confusion of figuring out which hardware will meet the upgrade requirements can be a headache. With Microsoft's hot new OS, Windows 7, set to release on October 22, Microsoft is looking to remove any such obstacles that might put a damper on the launch.

Microsoft has released the beta version of a toolkit which will help users determine whether their computers are Windows 7 worthy. The tool, the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit, version 4.0, will also look at your machine's compatibility with Windows Server 2008, and other software products, including Microsoft Office 2007. The tool also provides advice about virtualization, power saving opportunities, and security vulnerabilities.

Baldwin Ng, senior product manager at Microsoft elaborates, "It performs key functions that include hardware and device inventory, hardware compatibility analysis, and generation of actionable, environment-specific IT proposals for migration to most major Microsoft technologies."

MAP is available via the TechNet website. Limitations include only being available for a limited set of newer Windows OS's -- Windows Server 2003; Windows Server 2008; Windows Vista; Windows Vista Service Pack 1; Windows XP Professional Edition (if you don't have one of these on a bootable partition, you can't run the tool). The tool provides reports in English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, and Spanish.

Currently, users can also check their compatibility by downloading the Windows 7 Release Candidate and installing it for free. The RC build will work until June 1, 2010.

Windows 7 sports an improved interface, new features, more speed at many common tasks, and a smaller memory and disk footprint. Microsoft is hoping the slick new OS will wash away the critical attitude the public developed for Windows Vista. DailyTech has detailed many of the hardware and software changes showcased in the Release Candidate build.

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1245693343 Window

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Friday 19 June 2009
Blizzard Aims for 2009 StarCraft 2 Release
Christo [PCD] , Friday 19 June 2009 - 20:54:53 //

Blizzard announces it will release StarCraft 2 when it is "ready"

In a video interview with Swedish game site, lead producer Chris Sigaty and lead designer Dustin Browder discussed in depth the decisions and thinking that went in to the development of StarCraft 2. One of the key bits of information revealed was that Blizzard is aiming for a 2009 release as long as the game is “ready�. Sigaty stated, “Blizzard is going to try to get the game out this year. However, we're not going to ship the game if it's not ready. Blizzard is working hard to get the game out the door, but won't put out an unfinished title.� The interview itself revolved extensively around Blizzard’s decision to release the game as a trilogy and what this decision meant for gamers.

When quizzed why it took six years since the release of the Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne for StarCraft 2 to be ready, Sigaty explained one of the reasons was they had decided to develop a completely new graphics engine and to not use any Warcraft 3 technology. Another factor that extended development time was the need to development a graphics engine that could accommodate the real-time strategy multi-player part of the game and also support the extensive single player story telling aspect of the game.

The discussion about the single player aspect of the game lead to a question about why StarCraft 2 is going to be split into three separate releases with each release focusing on the story of one race. Browder reiterated the company line this was a “creative� decision that was needed due to the fact the single player focused story telling aspect had grown so large it could not possibly fit in to a single game.

The two Blizzard employees were then asked why StarCraft 2 was so focused on creating a very well developed single player component when the original StarCraft’s extended popularity and immense replay value came from the multi-player component. Sigaty explained that their goal was not to use the single player experience as a training ground for the multi-player experience. He pointed out for many Blizzard real-time strategy games players who had finished the single player component and went on to play on Battle.Net for the very first time were painfully unprepared for what awaited them when playing against experienced players. He explained the single player component existed to develop the story of the StarCraft universe.

They were also asked if they were concerned some players would not bother to purchase and play the second and third installment of the StarCraft 2 trilogy because the first installment would include a fully featured multi-player component. Browder repeated the mantra he believes players would still be interested in the single player parts of the second and third installment because it would provide so many unique experiences that cannot be enjoyed in multi-player due to issues such as game balance.

The interviewers then came straight to the point asking if the second and third installments of StarCraft 2 would include new units and other new content which would provide a powerful incentive for players to purchase the rest of the trilogy. Browder completely dodged this question claiming he could not answer because the game was not finished and not all the decision had been made.

In terms of music for the game Sigaty confirmed that a full scale orchestra would be used and stated that their music director was busy recording at that very moment. He also confirmed the release of the StarCraft 2 beta was imminent although he did not announce a specific date. One interesting point Browder made with regards to the beta was that StarCraft 2’s release date would be influenced by fan reaction to the beta and he encouraged fans to provide as much input as they can once they have tried it.

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1245437515 Blizza

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Friday 12 June 2009
Windows 7 Will Ship Without Internet Explorer in European Markets
Christo [PCD] , Friday 12 June 2009 - 19:52:48 //

Even Windows 7 "N" versions will not have IE

Microsoft is anticipating great success with its new Windows 7 operating system, but is being wary of any antitrust violations that may occur. The company has already been fined over $2 billion USD by the European Commission for previous infractions, including a record setting $1.4 billion USD fine in February of last year.

Those infractions centered on Microsoft's inclusion of Windows Media Player in Windows XP. After several costly appeals, the firm relented and shipped "N" versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista in order to comply with the European Commission's directives.

Earlier this year, the European Commission moved to require Microsoft to package third-party browser software with Windows. Those rules would also require Microsoft to provide support to make third-party browsers work with Windows components, such as Windows Explorer. Microsoft is currently in litigation to appeal the introduction of those rules.

In order to avoid any potential problems, Microsoft will ship special European versions of all its Windows 7 editions. Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 will be available, but will be appended with an "E" at the end of the product name. For example, "Windows 7 Home Premium E" will most likely be the most common edition in Europe. The "E" versions of Windows 7 will ship on October 22, the same time as Windows 7 ships to the rest of the world. Global language support is extensive, and in Europe alone Windows 7 will be available in 23 European languages.

"We're committed to making Windows 7 available in Europe at the same time that it launches in the rest of the world, but we also must comply with European competition law as we launch the product," wrote Dave Heiner, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Microsoft.

The "E" versions will be sold alongside new Windows 7 "N" versions in Europe, with the only difference being that "N" versions do not include Windows Media Player. "Microsoft will not offer for distribution in the European territory the Windows 7 product versions that contain IE, which are intended for distribution in the rest of the world," Microsoft said in a memo distributed to its OEM partners. "This will apply to both OEM and Retail versions of Windows 7 products."

OEMs can choose to add any browser they want to their Windows 7 machines, including Internet Explorer, so European consumers who are purchasing new PCs will be still be able to access the Internet. Consumers will also be able to add any web browser to their PCs, to supplement or replace the browsers preinstalled by their computer manufacturer.

"Given the pending legal proceeding, we’ve decided that instead of including Internet Explorer in Windows 7 in Europe, we will offer it separately and on an easy-to-install basis to both computer manufacturers and users. This means that computer manufacturers and users will be free to install Internet Explorer on Windows 7, or not, as they prefer. Of course, they will also be free, as they are today, to install other Web browsers," elaborated Heiner.

EU officials have proposed a ballot screen system which would tailor the OS to a specific browser of the user's choice when first using the OS. Among the browsers considered as candidates are Mozilla's Firefox, Apple's Safari, Google's Chrome, and Opera.

In order to meet its October 22 Windows 7 global release date, Microsoft needed to start telling OEMs this week exactly what to expect in Windows 7, so they can begin the software engineering work necessary to have their Windows 7 PCs available in stores on that date. That includes the ballot screen system if OEMs choose to adopt it, as well as legal, financial, and technical negotiations on including the browsers from the various third parties.

Microsoft is moving forward with a collaborative tone: "We will continue to discuss browser issues and other matters with the Commission. But even as the Commission processes continue, we know we need to have a clear plan in place to address the “bundling� issue in Europe because, at the end of the day, the obligation to comply with European competition law belongs to Microsoft alone".

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1244829006 Window

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