Microsoft’s leaked roadmap

Microsoft is getting aggressive with Windows release dates, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s going to put a damper on future sales.

Windows 8 is coming out in August, which was a poorly kept secret anyway. That can’t be helping Windows 7 sales, but at this point I think Microsoft is mostly concerned about new computer sales and corporate sales. What’s more concerning to me–initially–is the revelation that Windows 9 will be out in November 2014.

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Version 7 looks like just what Firefox needed

Firefox 7 is out. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you already have it, because, historically, a large proportion of my readers use Firefox or, in the past, used other Mozilla-based browsers.

The last couple of Firefox versions have been yawners, and a frequent butt of jokes on Twitter. “It’s Tuesday. Time for a new major Firefox release.” This one looks better. Here’s my review, after a few days of use.

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Toggle between two hosts files with a simple script

A longtime reader wrote in asking if it was possible to easily toggle between two hosts files. There are several possible uses for this. When I’m at home, I need to address my web site by its internal, private IP address. On the road, that private address obviously doesn’t work. He wants something like this for other reasons; I believe he’s blocking ad servers with his hosts file and needs to unblock one or more servers temporarily for select sites to work properly.

This solution would make my Computer Science 203 professor rescind the B I received in his class if he saw it, but it works, and I don’t think he reads this blog anyway.

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Microsoft: No x86 apps for ARM

So, The Register reports that Windows on ARM will not have compatibility with apps compiled for x86. Intel has been saying this for a while, while Microsoft has been mum. So now we know.

There are arguments both for and against having an x86 emulation layer.

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Microsoft sold 400 million Windows 7 licenses; what does it mean?

Steve Ballmer announced today that Microsoft has sold 400 million Windows 7 licenses, but anywhere from half to two-thirds of PCs are still running Windows XP and need to get with the program.

He also continues to insist Windows 8 will ship in 2012, which really makes me wonder why those XP users need to switch now. December 2012 is 17 short months away, and XP support runs until 2014. I see little need to rush out now and buy Windows 7, use it for 18-24 months, and then turn around and buy Windows 8. If XP is fulfilling users’ needs, what’s the hurry? Unless Windows 8 is going to be late, as bad as Vista, or both. But none of that can happen, right? (Note: It’s not 2014 anymore, so if you haven’t upgraded from XP, you need to.)

I’m sure the Windows 8 Police will be along to haul me away shortly for insinuating such things. But until that happens, that 400 million figure lets us do some other interesting extrapolation.

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Windows, ARM, emulation, misconceptions and misremembered history

I keep reading stuff about Windows and ARM and, well, I think people just aren’t remembering history.

I’m not saying that Windows 8 on ARM will save the world, or even change it substantially. It probably won’t, since Microsoft tends not to get things right the first time. But will I automatically write off the project? No. It could prove useful for something other than what it was originally intended. That happens a lot.

But I’m more interested in clearing up the misinformation than in trying to predict the future.

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Disadvantages of Windows 98 and 98SE

Many years ago, I wrote about the disadvantages of Windows 3.1 because I started noticing people searching for that. Now, I see people asking the same question about Windows 98. I spent 9 months of my life ripping Windows 98 apart and putting it back together again and writing about it, so I know it well.

As much of an improvement as Windows 98 was over Windows 3.1 and even Windows 95, it, too, is feeling the effects of time. Windows 98SE was the best of the Windows 9x series (better than its successor, Windows ME), but there are better things to run today.

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Firefox 4 is out

And although Firefox 4 isn’t officially released until tomorrow, copies have leaked out via FTP staging servers. I grabbed a copy from betanews to do my upgrade early. I’ve played with pre-release versions, so no real surprises. It’s quick. The look changed quite a bit, but you can easily configure it to look like older … Read more