Posts tagged MCITP MCTS

How to Use LinkedIn’s Skills & Expertise Section to Research Careers

Knowing what jobs match your skills is just as important as receiving the right career training when choosing a career. Luckily, LinkedIn has developed a great tool to help you learn more about the types of jobs that fit your skill set as well as give you ideas for career you many not have considered.

 

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The new tool is in the “Skills & Expertise” section, under the “More” tab in LinkedIn. On this page you will be able to enter a career title, skill or keyword into the Search box.

The search results provide you with a wide variety of topics and information to explore and help you decide which career is right for you. Some examples of the information you will find include:

Skills defined. A description of the related career is displayed in the center top of the page. This description includes the primary industry of which it’s a part, but view these descriptions with a grain of salt. The definitions are taken from Wikipedia and have varying levels of accuracy. The small arrow in the box that is pointing up or down is an indication of the amount of positive or negative growth expected from that career field.

Affiliated expertise. A list of “Related Skills” is shown to the left of the description that provides general guidance about other careers that use skills similar to the terms you entered into your search. This list provides you a window into an expansive circle of opportunities that align with your skills.

Professionals with similar skills. This section, located under the career description provides you a list of LinkedIn members who have listed skills similar to those you entered into your search. Viewing these profiles will allow you to see these individual’s career histories (both present as well as past positions) and what keywords they list to summarize their professional experience and abilities. Knowing how others in your desired career field describe themselves should give you ideas on what keywords you want to use in your own profile. Finally, this section will show you how many of these people you are connected to through LinkedIn.

Historical and predicted growth. The small chart located at the top right of the page provides insight into growth trends of the career. Is the career growing or contracting? Are there particular aspects of the career that are experiencing expanding at a quicker rate? The chart shown in this section will provide the answers.

Notable employers. The “Related Companies” section lists notable employers in your area of interest. This section will direct you to their company page. Take advantage of this feature to learn more about the company’s services, products and culture as well as potential job openings.

Find related groups. Why do LinkedIn groups matter? Groups provide one more avenue to explore a career, including the roles and responsibilities of the people in that career, where they work, and their thoughts about the industry. Groups also provide a way to connect with professionals in that career and start building your professional network. For those reasons, be sure to check out the groups section listed on the lower left side of the page.

Opportunities and Openings. Even if you’re not ready to send in your resume, reading the various job descriptions can prove worthwhile. Job descriptions allow you to see what employers are looking for in terms of skills and experience. They can also show you what type of work will be expected in a given career so you can determine whether it suits you or not. Additionally, you’ll be able to monitor what keywords employers are using so you can be sure to have these terms in your LinkedIn profile.

The LinkedIn “Skills & Expertise” section is a terrific launching pad to begin evaluating your career options. Using this tool will help you weigh all potential job opportunities, their key characteristics and responsibilities and who in your network may be an asset as you pursue a career path. But, the section is not just for job search newbies, it can also help more seasoned professionals determine how to expand existing skills or prepare for a career change.

Microsoft marketing layoffs said to begin February 1

Microsoft marketing layoffs are set to be announced internally on February 1, according to various sources.

A new round of layoffs at Microsoft begin today, February 1, according to several of my contacts (and one Microsoft official on Twitter).

 

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Reports that hundreds of layoffs could be coming to Microsoft’s marketing organization surfaced in mid-January. I’ve heard that the brunt of the cuts could hit the Central Marketing Group (CMG), headed by Corporate Vice President Chris Capossela, but that marketing departments in some product groups — including Server and Tools and Windows Phone — also could be affected.

Microsoft veteran Capossela was appointed as the new head of Microsoft’s centralized marketing, advertising and corporate communications unit in April 2011.

One of my contacts said that the cuts will affect most of the business groups, as well as the Central Marketing Group, commence on February 1.

One Marketing Manager at Microsoft tweeted on February 1 that the layoffs had begun. “Microsoft to announce major layoffs today as a result of marketing org restructuring,” tweeted Commercial and Communications Sector Lead Maher Al-Khaiyat.

Robert Wahbe, the most recent head of Server and Tools Marketing, announced he was leaving Microsoft earlier this year. And the Windows Phone marketing team has shed several employees over the past few months.

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment on anything to do with the layoffs when I asked on February 1.

I’ve heard from a couple of my contacts that the goal of the new round of layoffs is to reduce the duplication in marketing functions between CMG and the business groups.

“Field marketing for the US has been cut back so extensively, it has become ineffective in the enterprise space,” said one of my contacts, who requested anonymity. “Hopefully, resources will get shifted back to the field and closer to the customer” as a result of the marketing cuts.

Microsoft cut 5,000 jobs three years ago, with CEO Steve Ballmer saying at that time that he couldn’t guarantee there might not be further cuts at some time.

Update: Microsoft wouldn’t give me a quote confirming the layoffs, but it looks like they did give one to Todd Bishop at GeekWire. Bishop quotes a Microsoft spokesperson saying:

“Given the rapid changes in technology and the shifts in how our customers connect with Microsoft, great marketing is more important than ever to Microsoft’s future success. We’re taking steps to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our marketing, and to strengthen career paths for marketers at Microsoft. Some of these changes involved the reduction of a small percentage of marketing positions, to better align our resources with our business needs and clarify roles across the marketing function.”

Microsoft seeking open-source expert to help put Linux on Azure

Microsoft is moving steadily ahead with its plan to enable Linux to run on its Windows Azure cloud platform.

 

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Microsoft MCTS Certification, MCITP Certification and over 2000+
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As I blogged earlier this month, Microsoft is preparing to enable Linux to run on its Windows Azure cloud platform. A test build of the coming Linux virtual-machine capability is slated for March, according to my contacts.

For those still doubting this is on the Microsoft roadmap, I’ve got a new piece of evidence. A contact of mine provided me with a link to a Microsoft job posting for a software development engineer at Microsoft that calls for some serious Linux credentials.

The job posting states quite plainly that the person the Server and Tools team is seeking will be charged with “Defin(ing) and scop(ing) open source projects designed to enable Linux on Microsoft’s virtualization and cloud platforms.” (Emphasis mine.)

Here is the pertinent part of the post:

SR Software Development Engineer (SDE) Job
Date: Jan 22, 2012
Location: Redmond, WA, US
Job Category: Software Engineering: Development
Location: Redmond, WA, US
Job ID: 764856-52821
Division: Server & Tools Business

Senior Software Development Engineer/Linux Virtualization

This position requires a proven track record in the open source community.

The Windows Interoperability Team at Microsoft has an immediate opening for a senior software development engineer. The purpose of this position is to become a key member of a highly specialized development team whose mission is to identify, define, scope, implement and drive to completion software projects that promote full, transparent interoperability between Windows and Linux in Microsoft virtual and cloud environments.

The primary responsibilities for this position are the following:

Define and scope open source projects designed to enable Linux on Microsoft’s virtualization and cloud platforms

Work directly with the Linux kernel community to develop Linux device drivers and kernel technology to support Linux on Microsoft platforms

Work with Microsoft product groups to help ensure the design and implementation of Microsoft virtualization and cloud technology will support Linux architectures and runtime paradigms.

The qualifications for this Microsoft job, according to the posting, include the ability to:

Create and implement plans that provide for the testing and quality assurance of software products
Write high-quality Linux kernel code in the C programming language and the associated unit tests.
Demonstrate an understanding of Linux virtualization methods, approaches and deployment. (Including but not limited to Hyper-V, Xen and KVM)
Demonstrate an understanding Linux device driver development and implementation
Demonstrate an understanding of the Linux kernel architecture, including kernel debugging and runtime libraries
Demonstrate an understanding of Linux networking and TCP/IP stack

I’ve also heard from another of my contacts Microsoft is holding an infrastructure-as-a-service workshop for partners in the next few weeks that will allow certain independent software vendors to test out a pre-release of the coming persistent virtual machine capability.

Blackberry Bold 9780- very much popular and still going strong

It has been quite some time, and still, Blackberry’s Blackberry Bold 9780 is as popular as it was at the time of its launch. This is due to its brilliant make and the touch of perfection by Blackberry. On checking out the list of Blackberry Phones- the number of phones of and by Blackberry comes to a magnificent sixty-one. This shows the commitment of Blackberry… Here, in this article- let us check out the Blackberry Bold 9780 from the users’ perspective.

 

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To begin with- let us first understand the dimensions and weight of this phone; as that happens to be the primary concern of the users of mobile phones. The dimensions of this phone are just 109 x 60 x 14 mm and the weight is a mere 122 gms. The next concern of the potential customers is the display of any mobile phone. The display of this phone comes as a TFT, supported by 65k colours. The size is 2.44 inches and the resolution is 480 x 360 pixels. And, it also comes with a QWERTY keyboard and a Touch-sensitive optical trackpad. The next area of concern happens to be the camera. There is a primary camera, which comes as a 5 MP camera and the features that are associated with it, are- a resolution of 2592×1944 pixels, auto-focus and LED Flash. The other areas of concern happen to be the memory and the battery life. The internal memory comprises of 256 MB storage, 512 MB RAM; whereas the external memory is expandable up to 32 GB, which is possible through a microSD card; and it also comes with a 2 GB card included along with. And, while checking out the battery life; we find that the stand-by time is up to 528 h (2G) / up to 408 h (3G); whereas the talk time is up to 6 h (2G) / up to 6 h (3G).

After checking out the phone; it is required that we check out some economical Blackberry 9780 Deals- so that the users can get the maximum benefit out of them. There are three deals in the market of UK, offered by the leading Network Providers, which are possible due to their tie-ups with Blackberry. These Blackberry 9780 deals are namely, the contract deals, pay as you go deals and SIM free deals. In the contract deals, the users are required to enter in a contract with the Network Provider of their choice. They are provided with a handset and a Network Connection and they are required to pay some pre-decided amount along with the usage charges at frequent intervals.

The only draw-back is that the users are bound by the contract and cannot switch the services of the Network Provider till the end of the contract period.In the pay as you go deals, the users are required to pay some money in advance for the usage balance that they are provided with. This balance can be renewed as and when it gets used up.In the SIM free deals, the users are required to purchase a handset without a SIM. There are no restrictions like the contract deals- and the users are free to switch their Network Provider at any point of time, whenever they feel unsatisfied with the services.

Christmas Presents – PrePayMania.co.uk is one of the leading online retailer Company of Mobile Phones like Samsung Galaxy S2, BlackBerry Bold 9780, Samsung Galaxy Note & Mobile accessories in UK. Glance through the extensive range of Best Christmas Gift Ideas that can make your special one happy which we have categorized just according to your requirements. The Xmas gifts in 2011 won’t have you struggling to find the perfect gift.

Microsoft Q2 revenue up 5%, net income slightly down

Microsoft revenue rose in the second fiscal quarter, while its profits dipped a bit.

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Revenue for the quarter, ended Dec. 31, hit $20.89 billion, up 5 percent compared with 2010′s second fiscal quarter, which included recognition of $224 million of deferred revenue related to the Office 2010 technology guarantee program.

Net income came in at $6.62 billion, or $0.78 per share, down from $6.63 billion, or $0.77 per share.

CEO Steve Ballmer called the results “solid” in a statement and predicted that business will accelerate in the new fiscal year starting in July as a result of upcoming product and service launches.

Microsoft missed on the consensus revenue expectation of $20.93 billion from financial analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, but exceeded their earnings per share forecast of $0.76.

The company’s Business Division generated $6.28 billion in revenue, up 3 percent year-on-year, and up 7 percent excluding the Office 2010 recognition of deferred revenue. Almost 200 million licenses of Office 2010 have been sold since its launch 18 months ago, the company said. Exchange and SharePoint revenue grew 10 percent, while revenue from Lync and Dynamics CRM grew more than 30 percent.

The Server & Tools business had $4.77 billion in revenue, up 11 percent, and was helped by “double-digit revenue growth” from Windows Server and SQL Server premium editions and by more than 20 percent growth in System Center revenue.

Revenue shrank 6 percent at the Windows & Windows Live Division to $4.74 billion. More than 525 million Windows 7 licenses have been sold since its launch.

The Online Services Division’s revenue grew 10 percent to $784 million, while the Entertainment & Devices Division had revenue of $4.24 billion, up 15 percent. There are now about 66 million Xbox 360 consoles in the market, along with 18 million Kinect sensors. Xbox Live memberships increased 33 percent to 40 million.

Looking ahead, Microsoft is revising downward its operating expense guidance to a range of between $28.5 billion and $28.9 billion for the full year ending June 30.

Android is coming to everything … everywhere

Will Android will lead the way in a ’smart’ revolution?

We spend a lot of time talking about operating system market share and usage share, but could Android explode to the point where it make such data irrelevant?

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Microsoft MCTS Certification, MCITP Certification and over 2000+
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When we talk about Android market/usage share, we’re usually thinking about devices like smartphones and tablets. It seems that knowing how many people use a particular thing is important to some people (I’m not sure why, maybe it helps people think they’ve made the right choice or something). But Android isn’t confined to just smartphones and tablets. Chances are that if you have a gadget like a personal media player or an ebook reader or an in-car GPS receiver, it’s powered by Android. It might not say Android anywhere, and people might not know that it’s Android, but it’s there nontheless.

Android is already all around us, and pretty soon the OS is going to be in a whole lot more places. The next device that Android is set to invade is the TV set. Given the operating system’s heritage in media it seems like a good fit. It’s going to take a long time for people to replace their dumb TVs with Android-powered ‘Smart TV’ sets, but it will happen (people on the whole seem to keep their TV sets for a lot longer than they do cellphones, tablets and PCs).

The TV is just the start of things in my opinion, and it’s the beginning of an in-home Android revolution. As the price falls on low-power computers it becomes feasible to fit make things ’smart’ … smart oven, smart microwave, smart refrigerator, smart washing machine. smart thermostat. Heck, why not go the whole hog and have smart lights and smart doors too?

Smart devices are the next step in evolution for devices that have traditionally been dumb devices. And one of the keys to making dumb devices smart is the a flexible operating system.

Android offers just that.

Note: One company is going to absolutely love it if Android is everywhere … Microsoft. The Redmond giant already pulling in millions every year from patent deals struck with smartphones and tablets makers.

I can see Android in other places too … watches (now there’s something that needs revolutionizing), cars, binoculars, telescopes, home automation devices, remote controls and much more. Android’s power is its versatility, and it is that versatility that allows the platform to be customized and tweaked for a whole variety of applications. It’s because of this that I see an explosion in Android usage over the next few years.

Oracle, Cloudera unveil Hadoop appliance

Oracle has partnered with Cloudera to bring Apache Hadoop to its Oracle Big Data Appliance, which the company officially released Tuesday.

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The newly released appliance comes with Cloudera’s Distribution Including Apache Hadoop (CDH), along with the Cloudera Manager software. The rack also comes with a copy of the Oracle NoSQL Database. Oracle announced the Big Data Appliance, along with the Oracle NoSQL database, at OpenWorld last September.

“A lot of organizations have become very interested in big data. There is tremendous business value in analyzing new types of business data,” said George Lumpkin, Oracle’s vice president of data warehousing product management.

Oracle is positioning the appliance for managing and analyzing large sets of data that may be too large, or otherwise unsuitable for keeping in databases, such as telemetry data, click-stream data or other log data. “You may not want to keep the data in a database, but you do want to store it and analyze it,” Lumpkin said. The appliance is intended for those organizations that want to undertake Big Data-style analysis but may not have the in-house expertise to assemble large Hadoop or NoSQL-based systems.

Along with the release, Oracle also released Oracle Big Data Connectors, a set of drivers for exchanging data between the Big Data Appliance and other Oracle products, such as the Oracle Database 11g, the Oracle Exadata Database Machine, Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud and Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine.

“We are positioning this as something that runs alongside” other Oracle-based systems, Lumpkin said. “Big data is more than just a cluster of hardware running Hadoop. It is an overall information architecture for enabling companies to analyze data and make decisions.”

Oracle will provide initial customer support for the appliance, though Cloudera engineers will handle tougher Hadoop-based challenges, Lumpkin said.

The market for commercial Hadoop has grown competitive of late, as Cloudera has been joined by Yahoo spinoff Hortonworks and MapR in offering commercial support for the open-source data processing platform. Cloudera Chief Operating Officer Kirk Dunn declined to answer whether Oracle and Cloudera would extend their cooperation to additional offerings, though he expressed optimism that the partnership would be a long and fruitful one.

The appliance consists of 18 Oracle x86 Sun servers, all running Oracle Linux, featuring 216 processor cores, 864GB of working memory and 648TB of raw disk storage.

The package includes 40Gb/s InfiniBand connectivity among the nodes, a rarity among Hadoop deployments, many of which use Ethernet to connect the nodes. Lumpkin said InfiniBand would speed data transfers within the system. Multiple racks can be tethered together in a cluster configuration. There is no theoretical limit to how many racks can be clustered together, though configurations of more than eight racks would require additional switches, Lumpkin said.

The appliance comes with the community edition of the Oracle NoSQL Database, though users can also upgrade to the enterprise edition. The appliance also comes with a copy of the Oracle Java HotSpot Virtual Machine, a wise inclusion given that Java is among the most widely used languages to write Hadoop jobs.

Easy Methods to Abolish Computer Viruses

May possibly not be considered a fun activity scanning and removing a virus from your PC. Malicious programs can infect a PC through various mediums, the most prominent which are emails, removable media and wireless networks. Once you know how to get rid of viruses, measures can be taken to make sure that such viruses are identified and removed the moment they infiltrate.

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Microsoft MCTS Certification, MCITP Certification and over 2000+
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Getting Rid Of Viruses – Better Safe Than Sorry

One thing to know is what viruses are and what you can perform. Having knowledge about common infections allows the consumer to identify the virus by its symptoms on the PC. It is very important to know how Trojans, worms, spyware and adware infiltrate and infect the operating system. This step will help you prepare to get rid of virus infections quickly considering that the user will then be acquainted with the best way viruses work.

Be armed and ready while using latest available anti-virus. There are hundreds otherwise a large number of anti-virus software that now come in bundles and supply multiple services to your user. A good antivirus program comes full of firewalls, network monitors, file system scanner, anti-spyware, anti-adware, email scanners and internet stealth protection add-ons. Having the latest antivirus program trims the prospect of malicious activity occurring on any PC.

Having excellent anti-virus software will only be lucrative when you are updating it regularly. Automatic updates are readily available with whatever software you are using. Update the virus database weekly and if threat of infection is high, updating daily is suggested. Constant updates will ensure you will get rid of latest virus threats when they infiltrate the system.

Caution need to be taken when surfing websites, with there being some sites that demand installing certain add-ons and plug-ins. Other websites offer free software and screen savers when they’re visited. Ensure you don’t download and run software that is certainly either not trusted or even the internet monitor cautions you to download. This usually gets rid of virus threats before they infect the operating system.

Email protection becomes necessary with the frequency of email viruses being greater than any other kind of virus type. Some emails tend to be pretty obvious, being a friendly invitation from a girl or a gift offer from Microsoft. Such emails mustn’t be opened or nothing must bedownloaded from them. Viruses might also infiltrate a PC through emails from personal contacts, as a result it is criticalon an email monitor together with youranti-virus software.

Our recommendation is that all email activity should be carried outin rich text format and not inside the HTML format that email services are presently deploying. Viruses can attach themselves easily to HTML emails instead of text emails that are purely text and contain no items whichallow a virus to add itself to the email.

Yet another way viruses descend onto a PC is P2P software. It is highly recommended that software like Limewire, Gnutella, Bearshare and Torrents usually are not used. But if you must, at the very least have your firewall ready and burning to its most. P2P engines are only able to download information in chunks (this means you don’t know very well what is on its way in), hence enhancing the chance of an infiltration. So keep the firewall up rather than disable it, and always scan you’re completed downloads before opening them.

Freeware vs. Commercial

This all talk about having updated anti-virus programs and firewalls sounds a bit geeky, but it’s safer to be safe than allowing a virus epidemic on your PC. It is better to possess a commercial (i.e. paid) anti-virus when compared to a free one. Freeware anti-virus will usually identify viruses, but will lack the ability to clean the virus and can quarantine the files and not delete them, allowing the threat to escalate. Commercial software will always have complete features along with a well-organized virus database to combat the prevailing threats to escalate.

Galloping Advances in Technology

The world around us is always evolving. If we were to turn the clock back a hundred years we probably wouldn’t even recognize our own town. We certainly wouldn’t know how to live without computers, cell phones or iPods. It seems unthinkable to have to wait thirty days to get a letter to be able to talk to a friend or relative. Nowadays we can log on to our computers and write out an email that takes only seconds to get to the person we are sending it to.

 

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Microsoft MCTS Certification, MCITP Certification and over 2000+
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As little as 20 years ago technology was oceans apart of where it is today. The last two decades have given rise to astonishing advancements in the technologies we all know and love today. Not too long ago we had cassette players, now we have CDs which have turned into mp3 players. Televisions that were once considered big screen at 28” and weighed in at 50+ pounds are now pushing 60”, weigh less than 30 pounds and are flat screen HDTV’s to boot. It is not too difficult to look around and see the rampant technological advances everywhere.

We often think of technological advancement in terms of all the electronics that are around us to entertain and educate us. But there have also been huge advancements in medicine in the last couple of decades. Scientists are learning new things about diseases and searching for treatments every day. Scientists with funding from both private and public sources have made tremendous advances in the health care field.

We know far more about infectious diseases such as AIDS and more about diseases of the central nervous system such as ADHD and Alzheimer’s disease. There are still diseases in the world where medical knowledge is severely limited even more where no cure has been found. There are so many different types of diseases, infections and abnormalities affecting people around the world, it is very probable that we will never know all there is to know about what they are and how to treat them. We do know, though, that science is always evolving and someday, medicine will catch up to many of these unknown and/or untreatable afflictions.

For those diagnosed with cancer, AIDS or Alzheimer’s disease it is certainly important that we continue researching and working to improve medicine and searching for cures. Every year millions of Americans die suffering from infections or diseases, many well before they should have. That means that families across the United States suffer the loss of relatives or loved ones because there wasn’t a sufficient cure for their diagnosis.

Of course companies like Apple and Sony are pouring huge sums of money annually into research and development of newer and newer technology so they can claim to be the one with the cutting edge gadgets that everybody must have. Smart phones and HDTV are evolving every single day into faster, easier lean machines. It is a wonderful time we live in when the technology exists enabling us to send emails from our phones and make sure our home security devices are on and the coffee pot is off, all from a single pocket size gizmo. With all this sophisticated wireless stuff, you would think the scientists could come up with a successful treatment for diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Many times big name stores will periodically ask their customers when they check out, if they would like to donate a dollar to cancer research or towards the search for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Frequently customers answer no or not today, but next time we are asked, if we could all donate a dollar, then perhaps we could make as many advances medically as we have with our electronic gadgets and toys.

For those who enjoyed the preceding post, you may go and check out additional related articles or reviews at Sy Schlager or this Sy Schlager Blog Post.

So Cometh Windows 8!

With the unveiling of Windows 8 Transitional Computing Inc. finds itself reminiscing about Microsoft’s previous OS releases and musing about how this next release will affect IT professionals and the businesses we support.

 

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Microsoft began its journey into market dominance of the PC world in 1985 with its release of Windows 1.0; an interface management system that would eventually be followed by several iterations of the OS and become an integral part of how we do business today. Though Microsoft is clearly a market leader for its operating systems support of business applications, they have on occasion released operating systems that have been a source of frustration for IT professionals and the businesses we support.

This is no more prevalent than in Microsoft’s release of Windows Vista. Though the OS was touted to have many improvements over its predecessor Windows XP (mostly in the arena of security features) it was plagued with performance issues. Benchmarks tests showed that Vista executed applications more slowly than Windows XP with the same hardware configuration. Further issues such as software bloat, software compatibility, poor power management on laptops, and the price to upgrade from XP to Vista all combined to make Vista an impractical solution for business owners and IT professionals alike. This had the unfortunate result of leaving business owners two generations of OS behind.

When Microsoft released Windows 7 in July of 2009 nearly 3 years after the release of Vista most business owners still found themselves running on an XP platform. Windows 7 was met with mostly positive acclaim. It easily out performed its predecessor Vista in the areas of usability and functionality with most reviewers saying Windows 7 is what Vista should have been.

In the eyes of IT professionals and business owners upgrading to Windows 7 however still had its drawbacks. With the general impression consumers and corporations had that Windows Vista was a stumble along the OS road, most consumers were reluctant to upgrade to what some considered a dressed up Vista. Upgrade fees were rather steep even for users upgrading from Vista to 7. Upgrades were available for users still running on an XP platform but only in the form of license upgrades.

What did this all mean for business owners?

Well, the small percentage running Vista could install Windows 7 over top their existing OS with no need to back up their applications and data or fear that their Vista applications would not be compatible with Windows 7. On the other foot XP users found that they had to perform “clean installs” and actually do all of the above listed things Vista users were not required to. From the perspective of Business owners this made the prospect of upgrading from XP to Windows 7 a daunting task. Even with the positive acclaim Windows 7 had received most did not see any meaningful advantage to upgrading.

As of April 2011, nearly 2 years after its release, Windows 7 has finally overtaken XP in the US market share. The “what” and the “why” of how Windows 7 finally replaced it’s twice removed predecessor can be attributed to several factors. One notable reason was Microsoft’s release of XP Mode for Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate. Initially available in Oct. 2009 as an application that launched a virtual XP environment, XP Mode allowed users to run legacy software that did not run natively inside Windows 7. This first iteration of XP Mode required microprocessors with hardware support for virtualization. Ironically the target audience that Microsoft was trying to reach with XP Mode, namely small to mid-sized businesses, now found themselves required to update their hardware in order to upgrade to Windows 7 making the cost prohibitive. Microsoft has since released an update that removes the hardware requirement for XP mode making it available to a wider range of users.

So where we are we at now with Windows 7?

Stable efficient OS – Check
Legacy software support – Check
A market share larger than XP – Check
Compatible with a larger array of hardware specifications – Check

Just when we feeling we are in good a place with Windows 7. So Cometh Windows 8! Well technically that’s not true. At recent press conference when Microsoft gave us all our first look at the upcoming Windows OS they did announce that Windows 8 was not projected to be released until late 2012.

As IT professionals however it is our responsibility to keep abreast of these developments and try to predict what impact this will have on our clients.

At first glance Windows 8 looks to be Microsoft’s big bid to enter the “post PC era”. If you’re not familiar with the term “post PC era” well its actual definitions seems to be a subject for open debate, but in reference to Windows 8 “post PC era” seems to refer to the switch over from desktop and laptop computers to the wider use of mobile devices such as tablet computers and smartphones.

The interface for Windows 8 is in fact based in part on the current Windows 7 phone interface. If you’ve never seen it before don’t feel bad. The Windows 7 phone was poorly marketed and made barely a squeak on a mobile device stage that has been recently dominated by Apple and Android based smart phones and tablets.

As one would expect since the new OS is based on Smartphone technology it leans heavily towards touch screen based interactivity. Most of the demos Microsoft has put forth thus far tend to focus on the touch screen features. This is not to say Windows 8 is going to leave mouse and keyboard users out the cold. Though it is designed for the “post-PC era”, Windows 8 looks more to us as though it is a bridge between device and dedicated PC users.

With such a drastic shift of focus some of you may be wondering how much consideration Microsoft put into compatibility. Microsoft has assured consumers that Windows 8 is not abandoning the Windows 7 usability model, it is expanding on it. Windows 8 will be able to run current Windows 7 applications on a comfortably familiar Windows Desktop. The Windows 8 Desktop will have expanded control for multi monitor displays allowing deeper customization of the view controls for each screen. What could throw some desktop users for a loop is the Windows 8 start menu, primarily because it is no longer a menu. Windows 8 will feature a customizable “Start Screen”, a full screen tiled display that allows you to group apps together and swipe through several tiled groups. While this may be familiar enough for Windows 7 users to get the hang of, those migrating from XP might have a slightly steeper learning curve with this feature.

Can your hardware handle it?

For those who have updated their hardware within the past year the answer is a happy yes. If you are currently running Windows 7 without performance issues Microsoft touts that Windows 8 will run just as well if not better on the same hardware.

What’s our verdict?

What we’ve seen so far leads us to believe Windows 8 is an upgrade that takes into account many of the headaches previous upgrades did not handle as successfully. Microsoft seems to have put the user experience under a microscope while developing their latest OS considering ease of transition and feature improvement. Whether the new features and cost of upgrading will prove to be a practical solution for IT pros and business owners still remains to be seen. We’ll be keeping our eye on this product as it approaches its ultimate release, that’s for sure.

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