Posts Tagged ‘Windows’

Text in Windows 7

In OS on 21 February, 2009 at 7:00 am

WPF has been providing a feature that people wanted for a very long time.  Have you ever wonder why a screen with a very high resolution will give you application and text that are too small to use and read properly.  If you take a look at printed material, no matter how big the medium is or how high the dpi used for printing, a 10 point text will always appear as a 10 point text, the higher dpi will just make it appear so much smoother and nicer.  WPF set out to mimic that, thus a WPF application will always appear the same size no matter where you view it.  This is achieved by making the graphic display truly device independent.  A 10cm line will appear as a 10cm line no matter how big the screen or how high the resolution.

Windows 7 will finally bring this feature to the masses, you don’t need to run a WPF application to get this benefit for text.  And I hope that this will also be true for other elements in the Windows.  If this is true, that Vaio P will definitely be good to ship in Windows 7, since the current one under Vista shows text that are way too small to read properly (cause Sony choose to put a high resolution screen on a 8.9” screen).


Windows 7, Vista on steroid

In OS on 6 February, 2009 at 7:00 am

After using Windows 7 for a few weeks, the one thing that keep surprising me is that it is so much faster.  The start up is faster, the shut down is faster, opening of application is also much faster.  This is even when compared to Windows XP.  I can say that it is as fast if not faster than the Mac OS X in terms of start up and shut down of course.

The new taskbar is also much easier to use, as it is no longer cramp up by all those windows titles.  Only application icon is left on the taskbar.  The mixture of pin up application and already launched application also make the taskbar simpler and more efficient.  No longer does the launch bar needs to fight for spaces with the active taskbar.  Further you can move all this icons around on the taskbar to suit your personal taste even when the application has been launched.

All features of the Windows has also been made much more accessible.  For example you can now change the resolution of the display by simply right clicking on the desktop.

But speed will still be the one reason why I will switch to Windows 7 as soon as it is launched.  It is really like using a Vista that is on steroid.

Problem with Volume

In OS on 31 August, 2006 at 7:48 pm

Microsoft took a big knife and chop away the old audio architecture in Windows XP.  With that gone, they came up with a new audio architecture from ground up, aiming to make audio in Windows Vista less affected by any sudden peak in CPU usage.  When they are at it, they also make audio easier to use by changing the perspective from devices to end points like speakers, and headphones.

All these changes should be all well and good for users of Windows Vista, however, it make the job of audio application developer so much harder.  For example, in the midst of all these changes we lost the ability to change the master volume.  At first this seems to be OK, as Windows Vista implemented per-app volume and any application that is changing the master volume through the MMSystem API, Windows Vista will route it to the per-app volume.  However, it turns out that for certain media stream, this is not working, which is especially true for MIDI.

After several days of hard work, I’ve finally managed to chop up my application and make the old master volume into a brand new volume that truly affect only my own application.  But I’ve decided not to take part in Vista’s per-app volume eco-system; My argument is that since this is a feature that is being push by Microsoft, they have the responsibility to make it work for all application.

Windows Vista should be delayed?

In OS on 1 August, 2006 at 3:00 pm

I’ve just got back from a week long vacation and stumble upon a post which doesn’t seems good for Windows Vista.  One of the beta tester and outright supporter of Windows Vista, Robert McLaws, had declared that Vista needs more time.  He finds that Windows Vista is still not stable enough to call for a Release Candidate.  Though newer interim build had solved some of the stability and performance issues of the Beta 2, newer bugs came popping out.  He recommends that Windows Vista be delayed by another 4-6 weeks, so that the whole Vista team can get their acts together to deliver a fantastic OS.

One interesting thing that he pointed out is that developers have been using too much of “by design” or “not reproducible” to close bugs report.  This is something quite common for software developers, once a bug can’t be reproduce they tend to move on quickly to another bug.  This will cause inaccuracy to any software report as potential bugs will stay hidden by the tag of “by design” or “not reproducible”.  Developers should always find time to try and reproduce any bugs that are “not reproducible”, so as not to leave any hidden “surprise” for the customers.  For my company, we will not close any bugs that are tag as “by design” or “not reproducible” automatically, developers will need to work with the testers and convince the project engineer that these bugs are really “by design” or “not reproducible”.

What? What OSR2?

In OS on 17 July, 2006 at 3:00 pm

I was reading some articles that mention about FAT32 disk format and this remind me of something interesting that happened when I was trying to purchase a copy of a so called “specialized” version of OS.

Time warp to the era of the Windows 95.  Windows 95 has just been released into the world not too long ago and I’ve just started work, fresh out from the U.  Later on, Microsoft decided to release a newer version of Windows 95 that is much more stable and has a particular feature that I wanted badly once I’ve heard about it.  This newer version is targeted mainly for Microsoft’s OEM customers and thus was called OEM Service Release 2, in short OSR2.  The new feature?  FAT32, support larger hard disk partition and will create smaller file fragments so that hard disk usage is dramatically reduced if you have a lot of small files on your machine.

Thus I went down to a local computer shop and asked them whether they sell a copy of Windows 95 OSR2.  “OS what?” said the salesman, “Oh you mean OS/2 is it?”, before I can even start to react, he follow up and said “Nope, we don’t carry IBM’s software product here.”, pointing to his Microsoft authorized dealer sign he continues “You mean still got people want to use other OS meh?”.  From that I know I have to rest my case, this guy has obviously never heard of an OSR2 before.  But at least he still know about the once highly regarded IBM’s OS, the OS/2.

Finally, Microsoft is going to change that ugly theme

In OS on 12 July, 2006 at 7:10 am

This is one benefit of releasing beta software for users to try out; Users can then feedback on what they dislike about the software.  With so many negative feedback, Microsoft is finally going to change the theme that is shown when Windows AeroTM cannot be enable, known as the Windows Vista Basic theme.

You can see from the diagram above, the middle window is the old look for the Windows Vista Basic.  The new look (the window at the bottom) in my opinion is much better, at least now it convey a certain professionalism instead of the half-hearted effort that was done for the old look.  Though I would prefer that Microsoft enlarge the 3 top-right buttons some more, ditched the old icons for the 3 buttons and use the icons that the Aero theme is using (the difference is small, but the Aero’s icons look nicer).  This is what I feel from looking at the picture, I am sure seeing the new theme in action would give a different perspective.

Windows Vista is delayed till January 2007

In OS on 23 March, 2006 at 6:40 pm

So its official.  It has been delayed.

Do I care?  Yes I think I do.  Its a disappointment.  After waiting for a September 2006 release, it is now a January 2007.  But I would rather get a quality software rather than a half-baked one.  So a delay really is better than Microsoft rushing the product and then users need to wait for a service pack to solve their problems.  So I hope Windows Vista will really be a good one after 2 delay.

But I think that a January 2007 date is all thanks to PC makers since businesses can still get their hands on Windows Vista in November 2006 as long as they purchase volume license.  PC makers can’t really get their act together to release their PC pre-installed with Windows Vista earlier if Microsoft release Windows Vista in November (at least they can’t meet the holiday season).

So those people who DIY their system got to wait 2 more months to a January 2007.

Windows Vista Product Lineup

In OS on 28 February, 2006 at 4:31 am

Microsoft has finally make it official.

“the Microsoft® Windows Vista product lineup will bring clarity to customers’ digital world by helping them easily accomplish everyday tasks, instantly find what they want, enjoy the latest in entertainment, improve the safety of their personal information, stay connected at home or on the go, and help ensure PCs are up-to-date, more secure and running smoothly.

There are a total of 6 versions, 2 for businesses, 3 for home users and 1 for emerging markets.  Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Enterprise are for businesses.  Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate are for home users.  Windows Vista Starter is for emerging markets.

Windows Vista Enterprise is only available for business customers participating in Microsoft’s Software Assurance program and it will contain certain features that is only available in this version.  Windows Vista Starter is only for emerging markets, giving these markets a basic and low-cost OS.  The rest of the versions will be available for retail and on new PC.

Windows Vista Home Basic and Windows Vista Starter will not contain the new user interface Windows Aero.  The Home Basic only comes with the classic look and feel of Windows and the Starter will be a much simpler OS which only available in 32 bit.  The rest of the versions will let users experience the new Windows Aero, including the now so famous Aero Glass.

Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate will also get the new Vista Media Center capabilities.  Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Enterprise on the other hand will get the all new tablet PC capabilities.

The interesting thing to me is that if Home Basic does not contain the Windows Aero, what is the price point that it is going to launch?  If this package is of the same price as the current Windows XP, then Microsoft is really trying to collect a premium for their latest Windows Aero.  I hope this is not the case.

Microsoft is shipping 2 Beta 2 for Windows Vista

In OS on 7 February, 2006 at 5:13 am

Jim Allchin, Co-president of Microsoft, has confirmed that there will be 2 release for Windows Vista Beta 2.

We’ll produce one this quarter and one next quarter. We’re targeting each CTP at a particular audience. The one coming up this quarter will be targeted toward our corporate accounts.

From what I know, ever since the first CTP for Windows Vista (which came out during the PDC 05), every build has been tagged as Beta 2.  You can see this tag at the lower right of the desktop once you startup Windows Vista.

Why do I need Vista – take 3

In OS on 25 January, 2006 at 1:43 pm

In my last post, I’ve forgotten to talk about another major improvement in Windows Vista.  This is in their audio architecture.  Microsoft has always let user interact with devices in the audio environment.  For example if you go to Windows XP control panel and then find and launch Sounds and Audio Devices, you will get to choose the default playback device and the default recording device from one of the tab page.  Microsoft is going to change this in Windows Vista, users are going to interact with speakers, headphones, microphone etc., which is more natural for most people.  You will want to lower the volume of your speakers if you find that the sound coming out from your computer is way too loud and not that of the playback device.  Furthermore, you will be able to adjust the volume of system sound and leave the volume of your MP3 playback at the same level.  This will make sure that when you are listening to your favourite music on the headphones, a sudden new mail notification will not make you deaf.  Finally, the audio will also be more smooth even when there is a sudden surge in CPU usage.