Windows 8 sales aren't meeting expectations
I'd like to first start by saying that I am a fan of Windows 8. I'm a software developer so naturally I purchased a tablet and installed Windows 8 professional so I would have something to test on. I find that I use it quite often. The fact remains that I can see where the average user who cares nothing about tablets or touch screen would have problems with the new OS. The Windows 8 strategy by Microsoft has seemed awkward and rushed from the beginning. WinRT has been a mystery to most users, and the lawsuits surrounding the Metro terminology doesn't help matters at all. I personally think that it would have made sense for Microsoft to enhance Windows 7 to give the user's a reason to upgrade to a new OS and then release WinRT/Metro as a new tablet platform. It seems Microsoft decided to combine the tablet and PC operating systems to use their weight to force a move toward touch screens and tablets.
theverge.com has reported that a source close to Microsoft has reported that Windows 8 sales are "below the companies internal projections". Will Microsoft listen to it's user's and create a new OS? Basically a situation like we had with Vista and Windows 7? Only time will tell.
Here is the article on theverge.com
Windows 8 PC sales reportedly 'well below Microsoft's internal projections'
What are you thoughts on the subject? What can Microsoft do to turn things around? What do you think about Windows 8? Share your comments!
Syncfusion Essential Studio for WinRT Beta
Syncfusion has been a major player in the 3rd party development component market for a while now. Their products include .NET development UI controls for ASP.NET, ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET Mobile, WinForms, WPF, Silverlight, and more. The newest tool release is a suite of controls that are made for Windows 8 WinRT development. The product is called Essential Studio for WinRT and it's made up of a plethora of highly attractive, cutting edge controls that are specifically designed for WinRT and touch interfaces.
20 Highly optimized controls
Syncfusion Essential Studio for WinRT comes with 20 control that are designed with touch control and performance in mind. The controls are vast and provide everything that you need to developing cutting edge user interfaces for your Windows 8 applications such as dashboards, maps, charts, and more.
Microsoft Office document creation from within your WinRT applications
The Studio suite comes with controls that allow your application to create Microsoft documents like Word, Excel as well as Adobe PDF documents on the fly. The controls are completely independent and do not require Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat to be installed on the machine. This is an incredible value which will allow applications to create receipts, invoices, work orders, or any other sort of document that you'd find in a standard line of business application.
As with their other products, Syncfusion has bundled many sample applications (with source code) to help you to get up and running with the tools in no time. The samples are written in C#/VB.NET and XAML.
Creating Windows 8 Graphics with Metro Studio
Syncfusion has also offered a free product called Syncfusion Metro Studio. Metro Studio is an extremely useful application that provides a huge selection of "Metro" style art snippets that you can edit. This is a tremendous solution that helps you to add graphics to you Windows 8 applications. The best part is it's FREE!
The artwork is divided into logical groups for you to choose the art that best suites your needs.
When you select a graphic, you are presented with the option to edit the image. Here you can change the size and color. You can also preform transformations like rotate. Syncfusion Metro Studio allows you to output the edited image as standard image files as well as XAML.
As you can see, Syncfusion have provided two extremely useful tools for Windows 8 developers and not only are they first class tools, they are also free!
Check them out today!
Syncfusion Essential Studio for WinRT Beta
Syncfusion Metro Studio
Windows 8 features that you should know about
I've recently purchased a Windows 8 tablet and upgraded my development machine to Windows 8. I'm absolutely thrilled with this operating system. I'm still getting used to the tablet paradigm which is to be expected. The tablet goes from power button to "start screen" in 14 seconds! I primarily use the desktop mode on my development machine and the speed of the operating system is incredible. I upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 8 and the difference in speed is as if I'm using a different machine!
It's well known by now that the new OS starts in "Tile Mode" and that there is now a Windows App store. in this post, I'd like to cover some of the lesser known aspects of the new operating system that I believe will be useful to IT professionals.
Advancements in security
UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface)
The UEFI technology allows the implementation of security policies in your system's firmware. Windows 8 utilizes UEFI by way of the secure boot protocol to verify the authenticity of your low level system components at boot time pre-OS. Malware like Rootkits will attack the boot loading process and infect critical operating system files which can then bring havock to your system and can be very difficult to identify and remove. If enabled, Secure boot will facilitate the validation of digital signatures of the OS components responsible for booting the system. If a digital signature or key is incorrect, this indicates that it has been tampered with at which time the "Recovery Environment" will load and attempt to resolve the discovered issues. Secure boot is a protocol of UEFI. The UEFI technology is staged to replace the BIOS found in PC's today. This will allow firmware developers more flexibility in designing hardware. One of the key changes will be the replacement of the IRQ based CPU interrupt mechanism found in today's BIOS for an event driven architecture for modern firmware. For more information regarding UEFI, Secure boo, and the Windows 8 secured boot architecture, visit the following msdn blog article by Steven Sinofsky here .
The SmartScreen technology utilizes a reputation based system for website URLs as well as file downloads. When you visit a webpage in IE, the URL will be checked against the SmartScreen database. If the URL has been marked as malicious then the browser will display a warning to the user.
The download manager will warn you of any file downloads that have been marked as unsafe by previous user's. The SmartScreen filter is a very efficient method of protecting against phishing attacks and malware. The feature can be enabled or disabled. User's can contribute to the accuracy of the SmartScreen database by providing feedback on URL's and file downloads. You can read about the SmartScreen feature at the following Microsoft website.
System exploit mitigation improvements
Windows 8 has many improvements in the area of exploit mitigation. Windows Vista introduced Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) which is a technique that randomly moves the location of executing code and data in memory. This was an attempt at mitigating the infamous buffer overrun exploit. Malicious hackers have found ways to beat ASLR and Windows 8 has improved the process by speeding up the randomization mechanism. There are other improvements such as changes to the Windows kernel and the memory heap which include integrity checks and approaches similar to ASLR. Internet Explorer 10 has the Enhanced Protected Mode sandbox as well as ASLR support by way of a ForceASLR option that will randomize all loaded modules.
Improved Task manager
One of my favorite additions to Windows 8 is the new and improved Task Manager. If you've used Sysinternals ProcessExplorer then the new interface may look familiar to you. It provides very clear and concise displays for system resource consumption. Here are a couple of screen shots.
I'd recommend Windows 8 to anyone. And at $39 for an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro, how can you not want to upgrade? Buy the upgrade here
Opinions are like Twitter accounts
And judging by the tweets I'm reading, Windows 8 opinions are roaring in. I've written an application in C# using an open source twitter streaming API that will search twitter for all references to #windows8 and #win8. You should see the console app as it scrolls with data. I've designed the application to save each tweet to a database so I can go back and review all of the tweets and maybe run some statistics on the reviews. The only thing that I can say at this point in regards to the opinions is that there are a lot of them. I've seen plenty of good and bad tweets regarding the new operating system. I think I'll share just a few of my favorite tweets that I've seen thus far.
"Windows 8 is better than we thought it would be" http://t.co/ZGIE3EOj - “amazed at how #Windows8 multitasks”
2 month old laptop w/ fast i7 chip and tons of RAM, still slooooow #windows8 upgrade. Many reboots, had to uninstall
Sell your #Microsoft stock now and buy some #apple stock. I predict widespread consumer rejection of #windows8
one giant windows phone #windows8 | hope I don't regret this. http://t.co/e02FxveD
Well, #Windows8 is out. I'm gonna sit back and watch the insanity ensue as the masses figure out it sucks!
Upgrading to #Windows8 taking too long. Been about 2 hours now.
So, I purchased #Windows8 yesterday ( yes, release day) I'm pretty satisfied so far... its modern, relevant and super customizable.
#Windows8 is a little like the Beatles getting back together, but finding out that the guy from Foreigner is on bass.
Got #Windows8 running on my MacBook Pro! jQuery15206952005941420794_1351308656351jQuery15209289378202520311_1351308819962jQuery15209881514110602438_1351309413941 http://t.co/CPbOBgz7
Ask you can see, the jury is still out on this bold move by Microsoft.
Let us not forget that many people hated Windows 95 when it came out and the negative response was a lot like we are seeing now with Windows 8.
I'm currently waiting for my tablet to come in the mail and then I plan to write a full review on my experience with Windows 8.