Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Beta Testers

Colleagues of mine have been bending over backwards to get their hands on pre-release copies of Windows 7, which is due to be released on October 22. Is this just another last-minute attempt by the software giant to get some more beta testing in?

Here are some alternative names for beta testers:

  • Guinea Pigs
  • Unpaid QA Staff
  • Stress Junkies
  • Suckers

Of course, I have to confess being a beta tester for MS myself once, evaluating Excel during the early 90s, having spent time using the original version on the Mac. But back then we were a small team of volunteers who had to fill in forms and send back reports every week. We had test sequences and task-oriented [click title to read more…]

IE8 first impressions

No site breakages yet, but then FF is my default browser, not IE. The tab management is nice. Also good to see that IE8 has a built-in Web Developer tool, but FF has had this for a long time. IE8 seems not so much innovation as catch-up. Accelerators, stealth surfing, some toolbar updates etc. Where have we seen these before? Oh yes, most of the other browsers. IE8 seems a bit slower than its predecessor, too. Supposedly more secure, but within the first day of its release a security flaw has been found. So we can expect a flood of patches. I will probably stick to FF, especially given the slower performance of IE8.

Memory loss

32 bits should permit 4G RAM, but it’s unlikely

Do you remember the early days of the IBM PC and the 640k RAM limit? In theory you could have a whole megabyte of memory on such a PC, but because much of the address space was remapped to hardware devices, 640k was your limit. You could do some trickery of your own to move your inaccessible memory to a higher address space, but that brought problems of its own.

We moved to 32 bit addressing and those problems went away.

Guess what. They’re back.

In theory, with 32 bits in your address bus you can access 4,294,967,296 different memory locations. That’s 4Gb in common parlance. Some processors even have an [click title to read more…]

Vista’s not so Zippy

As part of my migration to Vista, I decided to to archive a lot of my files as Zips on the original PC and unzip them on the new machine. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of files. Yes, I could put these on one of my servers, but most of them are source files and have you ever tried running a compilation over a 100M network? Maybe when I upgrade my house to gigabit. For now, I keep these files local to the machine that I normally use for working. And from 2008 that will be a quad-core running Vista.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I try to unzip the first of my packages. Uncompressed, this one would only be [click title to read more…]

Fix for Send To

Many active W3C working group participants use Altova software to edit and manipulate XML resources. I’m no different. When MissionKit 2008 became available, it was natural for me to upgrade, and I chose to do it during a brief down-time between two engagements in the US. What else is a guy to do at the weekend?

First I checked my license keys, readme files and other resources to prepare for the upgrade. As usual, when opening these files I choose an editor via the “Send To” feature of Explorer’s context menu (right-click). I use this in preference to registering file extensions, and it’s invaluable for dealing with files that have strange or no extensions. Then I did the uninstall of [click title to read more…]