Guesswork on Windows & Hybrid Devices

Microsoft’s future has become even less clear than usual since Steve Ballmer announced his resignation as CEO last year. The search for a replacement turned out to be protracted, most likely because Ballmer and his old pal Bill Gates still sit threateningly on the board. As Jean-Louis Gassée remarked, “any candidate willing to accept this … Continue reading “Guesswork on Windows & Hybrid Devices”

Windows 8.1: Much Ado About Nothing

Yesterday Microsoft released Windows 8.1 as a free update for Windows 8. I dutifully updated but found it barely worth the effort. Endlessly hyped as the fixed version of Windows 8, the one that would finally realize the original vision and convince desktop users of its brilliance, Windows 8.1 is in fact nothing of the … Continue reading “Windows 8.1: Much Ado About Nothing”

Microsoft Reorganizes

Microsoft’s share price just plummeted 11% after a disappointing fourth fiscal quarter including a US$ 900 million writedown on unsold Surface RT devices. As Larry Dignan announced his story on Twitter, “Microsoft is really two companies. Consumer sucking wind. Enterprise killing it.” Tim Anderson provides a nice overview table that highlights the stagnation of Microsoft’s … Continue reading “Microsoft Reorganizes”

Windows 8.1 DPI Scaling Promises

Important: Windows 8.1 may cause blurry display — Many users are seeing strangely blurry applications after updating to Windows 8.1. There are two possible reasons. First, Windows 8.1 has removed the option to force XP style scaling above 120 DPI (125%), so if you were using that option all your non-DPI-aware programs are now forced … Continue reading “Windows 8.1 DPI Scaling Promises”

Bug in Windows 8 Display Scaling UI

Veteran game designer Raph Koster wrote an epic post about his experience with a new Windows 8 tablet. His first sentence says it all: “Oh boy, are there teething pains.” You should certainly read the whole thing if you’re thinking about buying such a device. Raph’s is a Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T which … Continue reading “Bug in Windows 8 Display Scaling UI”

Microsoft Office as a Service

While Windows 8 and Surface were holding everyone’s attention, Microsoft began radically changing its Office business model. Office 2013 retail editions no longer ship with physical media and are permanently locked to the first computer they are activated on, just like OEM editions. (edit: Transfer rights were grudgingly restored after user protests.) There are no … Continue reading “Microsoft Office as a Service”

Windows 8, the Desktop Smartphone

Should you have made the mistake of installing Windows 8, this is what you’ll see: Look, a gigantic smartphone on my desk! The new Start screen, full of colorful blinking tiles, informs you that the weather in London is “mostly cloudy” and that “aging Yankees face lots of questions.” Microsoft faces lots of questions, too, … Continue reading “Windows 8, the Desktop Smartphone”

Windows Crapware Flourishes

Last week, TechCrunch’s Anthony Ha reported that a company called InstallMonetizer had attracted considerable funding from Y-Combinator and others: The company says that it now works with more than 9,000 publishers. It’s profitable, and the number of installations that it’s driving doubles every two or three months. It has also attracted high-profile investors, raising $500,000 … Continue reading “Windows Crapware Flourishes”

Surface Pro Approaches

Microsoft’s Surface Pro is expected by the end of January, and Mary Branscombe has just posted her first impressions from CES 2013. This is not a full review and Branscombe is a noted Microsoft fangirl, so unsurprisingly she loves every single thing about the device. Still, there’s some interesting tidbits to chew on until we … Continue reading “Surface Pro Approaches”

Disabling the Java Browser Plugin

Oracle keeps shipping a web browser plugin with its Java Runtime Environment (JRE), even though it’s a notoriously useless malware magnet (see below). Most legitimate Java client applications found on the Internet today are intended for offline installation. These often come bundled with a private JRE, and always completely ignore the browser plugin. So the … Continue reading “Disabling the Java Browser Plugin”