Posts tagged Applications

Windows XP: No IE9 for you

Microsoft becomes first major browser maker to drop support for world’s most popular OS

Microsoft’s new browser, Internet Explorer 9 (IE9), will not run on Windows XP, now or when the software eventually ships, the company confirmed Tuesday.

The move makes Microsoft the first major browser developer to drop support for XP, the world’s most popular operating system, in a future release.

Although Microsoft excluded Windows XP from the list for the IE9 developer preview, it sidestepped the question about which versions of Windows the final browser would support. In an IE9 FAQ, for example, Microsoft responded, “It’s too early to talk about features of the Internet Explorer 9 Beta” to the query, “Will Internet Explorer 9 run on Windows XP?”
dialog box
This dialog box pops up during attempts to install IE9 Platform Preview on Windows XP.

That caused some users to demand a straight answer. “Please tell whether the final version will run on Windows XP SP3 or not,” said someone identified as “eXPerience” in a comment to a blog post by Dean Hachamovich, Microsoft’s general manager for the IE team. “If not, please be clear about it. Really, enough is enough of keeping users in the lurch about Windows XP support.”

Others bashed Microsoft on the assumption that IE9 would never run on XP. “Dropping Windows XP support is one of the worst decisions ever taken by [the] IE team, probably even worse than disbanding the IE team back in the IE6 days,” claimed an anonymous commenter.

Microsoft had offered up broad hints that IE9 was not in Windows XP’s future, however. Tuesday, a company spokeswoman said the new browser needs a “modern operating system,” a phrase that hasn’t been paired with Window XP for years. “Internet Explorer 9 requires the modern graphics and security underpinnings that have come since 2001,” she added, clearly referring to XP, which appeared that year.

Windows XP’s inability to run the Platform Preview or the final browser stems from, IE9’s graphics hardware acceleration, which relies on the Direct2D and DirectWrite DirectX APIs (applications programming interfaces). Support for those APIs is built into Windows 7, and was added to Vista and Windows Server 2008 last October, but cannot be extended to Windows XP.

Some users worried that by halting browser development for Windows XP, Microsoft would repeat a current problem, getting customers to ditch IE6 for a newer version. “Those who choose to stay with XP will be forced to [then] stay forever on IE8, which will become the new IE6,” said a user named Danny Gibbons in a comment on Hachamovich’s blog.

Tough, said Sheri McLeish, Forrester Research’s browser analyst. “This is the stick to get off XP,” she said. Windows XP users will solve the browser problem themselves when they upgrade, as most eventually will, to Windows 7. “What are they going to do, go to Linux or run XP forever?” she asked.

Still, IE9’s inability to run on Windows XP will prevent it from becoming widespread until the nearly-nine-year-old OS loses significant share to Windows 7. According to Web metrics company NetApplications’ most recent data, if IE9 was released today, it would be able to run on just over a quarter — 27% — of all Windows machines.

No other major browser maker has announced plans to stop supporting Windows XP, but several have dropped other operating systems or platforms. Last month, for instance, Mozilla said it would not support Apple’s Mac OS X 10.4, known as “Tiger,” in future upgrades to Firefox. Google’s Chrome for the Mac, meanwhile, only runs on Intel-based Macs, not on the older PowerPC-based machines that were discontinued in 2006.

The IE9 Platform Preview can be downloaded from Microsoft’s site. It requires Windows 7, Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 or Windows 2008 R2.


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Symantec to shut down Backup Exec.cloud

The cloud-based backup and recovery service was introduced last year

Symantec plans to close down its Backup Exec.cloud service, saying it lacks mobile and content-sharing features and wouldn’t be the right platform for delivering them.

Backup Exec.cloud is a pure cloud-based offering designed to make it easy for small businesses and remote branch offices to back up their data. It was announced in February 2012.

Symantec disclosed its plans to shut down the service in an email to channel partners that was seen by IDG News Service. An FAQ about the shutdown was on Symantec’s site earlier on Tuesday but appears to have been removed. In its email to channel partners, Symantec said it would start informing end users by email in early December. The company will stop selling subscriptions or renewals for Backup Exec.cloud on Jan. 6, 2014.

Cloud-based options for both backing up data and working with files have proliferated in recent years and taken on growing importance as more employees work at home and on the road. Backup Exec.cloud, introduced along with Symantec’s Backup Exec 2012 product suite, is a standalone system focused on off-premises data protection for sites with no IT staff.

“Customers want features such as synch & share and mobile access. Backup Exec.cloud was not designed with these features in mind,” Symantec’s FAQ said. “As a result, Symantec has decided to discontinue Backup Exec.cloud in order to focus on more productive and feature-rich cloud-based applications which include this type of functionality.”

Symantec offers a range of other data protection products, including on-premise and hybrid backup and recovery, as well as Norton Zone for file synchronization and sharing. It will continue to invest in backup and recovery products, including its on-premise Backup Exec product and its NetBackup software, and will expand the functionality of Norton Zone, the company said.

Asked for comment on the change, Symantec said it was simplifying its product lineup.

“As we align with our new offering strategy and efforts to streamline our product range to provide fewer, more integrated solutions for our customers, Symantec has made the decision to retire Backup Exec.cloud,” the company said in a statement. “We are firmly committed to doing everything we can to help our partners and customers successfully navigate this process.”

In January, Symantec announced a reorganization of its software business under President and CEO Steve Bennett, appointed in 2012, that is focused on more integrated products.

Cloud-based backup has both grown in popularity and become more complex over the past several years, said Eran Farajun, executive vice president of Asigra, which supplies software for cloud backup services from companies including Hewlett-Packard and Terremark.

Among other things, enterprises need to back up data from more locations, including virtual machines, mobile devices and cloud-based services such as Salesforce.com, he said. Meanwhile, the per-gigabit price of cloud backup has fallen as the volume of data involved continues to grow. However, there’s still room for standalone cloud-based backup, Farajun believes.

The service and support for it will cease on Jan. 6, 2015. Existing customers will be able to keep using Backup Exec.cloud until the end of their annual subscriptions. For customers with multiyear subscriptions that go beyond that date, Symantec will provide information about refunds at a later date, according to the FAQ. Users are entitled to Backup Exec on-premises backup software for 35 percent off list price, Symantec said. The company also suggested Norton Zone as an alternative for some customers.

Users will have to migrate their own data to any alternative service. “We are here to help you navigate this process, but we are not able to provide any data migration services as part of this announcement,” Symantec said in the FAQ.

Customers’ data in the cloud will be deleted after their subscriptions expire. However, customers shouldn’t have to download all the data after expiration because it will already exist on their own PCs and servers, the company said. The service is a near-term backup that normally maintains data for just 90 days.


 

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Microsoft upgrades Windows Phone SDK for low-cost smartphones

Two included emulators allow developers to see how their apps perform on phones with different memory capacities

IDG News Service – Microsoft has released Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1, which allows developers to customize their apps for cheaper Windows Phones with less memory, and also run the development kit on Windows 8 machines, the company said in a blog post on Monday.
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Initially, all Windows Phone devices had 512MB of RAM. The first to ship with just 256MB will be Nokia’s Lumia 610, which will cost a$252 and be available in the second quarter, Nokia said when the phone was announced at Mobile World Congress in February.

But the downgrade comes with a cost as well as a saving: Microsoft has identified that 5% of existing applications will not run properly on devices with 256MB of RAM, it said in February.

To see how applications perform, the new SDK has two emulators: one for phones with 512MB of memory and one for phones with 256MB of memory, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft has also blogged about what to think about when developing apps for the phones.

Developers that don’t want their application made available on phones with 256MB of memory can indicate this in the manifest file describing the app’s properties, Microsoft said. The company has already blocked the apps it determined wouldn’t run well on low-memory phones.

The Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 can also run on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview release. That will allow them to develop mobile apps using the Windows Phone SDK and Windows 8 apps using Visual Studio 11, with both development environments running side by side on the same PC.

Visual Studio 11 is also under development, and Microsoft released a beta version in February.

While the SDK runs on the consumer preview of Windows 8, it won’t be officially supported until the final version of the operating system is released, Microsoft said. It also warned that developers are likely to see a performance degradation in the emulator if they have enabled Hyper-V.

Officially, Microsoft isn’t commenting on when Windows 8 will arrive, but the operating system is expected to be released this year.

The development kit is available for download now from Microsoft’s Download Center. Developers can choose between 10 languages including English, Spanish, Chinese (both traditional and simplified) and Russian.

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Websites in many languages: The benefits of translation memory

One of the most common things I see on a day-to-day basis when interacting with potential clients is confusion between machine translation and translation memory. I recently covered machine translation, so in the interest of equal coverage, I will now focus on translation memory.

A quick definition (for more information, check out the Wikipedia page):
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Translation Memory (TM) is a tool that helps human translators to work more efficiently and with a higher degree of accuracy and quality.

So how does it work? At a high level, translation memory creates a relationship between a segment of source language text and a corresponding segment of target language text.

Here is an example:

You write the sentence, “My house is blue,” on your company website and translate the phrase into Spanish.

“My house is blue” is now linked in the translation memory system with its target language equivalent, “Mi casa es de color de azul.”

Why anyone would have a blue house, or would want to publish this on their website, defies logic, but work with me here, please (note: blue houses are completely normal and this post is not intended to offend anyone who lives in one).

The important thing is that the relationship between those two text segments is in place. Why is this important? For one, if that segment repeats itself across the site, it can be re-used automatically. So you are getting the benefit of accurate, human translation without having to pay for it more than once.

Since the segment is being re-used, you also have the benefit of consistent language. Language consistency is especially important to corporations for many reasons, ranging from maintaining brand voice in marketing content to increasing customer comprehension in informational content. Language is extremely subjective, meaning that content can be written or expressed in multiple ways by different authors and have the same connotation or meaning to the intended audience. The goal is to publish content that is consistent in the source language and then use translation memory tools to ensure that the translated equivalents are consistent, as well.

Another benefit of re-using language is that it increases language accuracy. Each time the technology leverages a previously approved phrase from a database, it removes a human being from having to do a manual process. Therefore, using best-practice translation technology not only increases efficiency, but also increases language accuracy, because it mitigates the risk of introducing an error for segments which have been previously translated.

Since the gating factor in getting content to market is the overall number of words that need to be translated, by reducing the amount of work that needs to be put through a human process, you can go live much faster since you are eliminating manual, repetitive effort.

Another concept of translation memory is “fuzzy matching.” This means that once your translation memory is created and updates are processed against it, the system can look for segments that are close matches (e.g. “My house is red”), so that the translators just need to make minor modifications to the existing target language segment as opposed to an entirely new translation.

We will get into the benefits of server-based translation memory versus desktop-based translation memory in a future post, but the key thing to remember is that this solution offers multiple benefits to the overall translation process.

So make sure that your vendor is using it, you’re made aware of your savings from it, and whatever translation memory is created becomes your intellectual property.

Now I am off to paint my house blue…

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