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Windows 8 comes out later this year, but I won’t be moving just yet

So Windows 8 was released today. I won’t be moving to it anytime soon.

There are some people who make a habit of waiting for Service Pack 1 to be released before upgrading to a new version of Windows. The trouble is, I can think of one instance, Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 1, that was much more problematic than its predecessor. And in more recent years, service packs have become more arbitrary. Knowing that practice exists, Microsoft releases Service Pack 1 based more on uptake than on actual need.

So I have a different rule I follow.Read More »Windows 8 comes out later this year, but I won’t be moving just yet

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.
Read More »Microsoft’s leaked roadmap

Was CP/M overrated?

Veteran tech journalist Dan Tynan recently published a list of 10 overrated technology products, and CP/M was on his list. But was CP/M overrated? I want to dig into that question a bit.

I think everyone knows the story of how IBM almost used CP/M as the operating system for its PC, but ended up using an upstart product from a small company named Microsoft instead. We’ll probably never know exactly what happened, seeing as the author of CP/M is dead and his business partner is no longer able to recollect those events from the 1980 timeframe, and IBM and Bill Gates have no reason to embarrass themselves by revisiting the story.

But CP/M was the first and most popular operating system for early 8-bit computers, so people who used it remember it fondly, and the way Microsoft steamrolled it made Gary Kildall and his operating system folk heroes to underdog lovers everywhere. Even people who never used it and weren’t even born when Kildall’s company ceased to exist have at least a vague idea of what it was.
Read More »Was CP/M overrated?

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.

Read More »Toggle between two hosts files with a simple script

My first really bad day in IT

Next weekend is Labor Day weekend. I can’t remember if it was one Thursday or two Thursdays before Labor Day weekend in 1997, but one of those two days happened to be the beginning of the first crisis of my career.

Whichever Thursday it was, it was getting close to midnight when my phone rang. It was Max. The print server wasn’t working. That happened a lot. That server had IBM’s Services for Macintosh on it, which never worked all that well, and, worse, tended to make the rest of the server act up a lot. That in and of itself shouldn’t have been a crisis. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Read More »My first really bad day in IT