Yes, Virginia, There Will Be a Start Button in Windows 8!

Start ButtonBut, it will just be a physical one! Pail Thurrott reveals that all Windows 8 devices will have a physical Start Button (or, “Start Orb.”) If you have a legacy PC, it probably has a “start” key already, and if not, there is always the “Control-ESC” key sequence. So, relax!

There was a “hoohah” earlier in the week when people freaked over there not being a “Start Button” in the Windows 8 preview! Well, Paul sets our minds at ease!

Windows 8 Secrets: Windows 8 Is NOT Dropping The Start Button

“There’s been a lot of silliness and angst about Windows 8 supposedly dropping the Start button, the first time this central user interface has been absent from Windows since its debut in 1995. There’s just one problem: The Start button isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s being made more prominent than ever in Windows 8.

To understand what I mean by this, consider the recent news that the Start button–more correctly called the Start Orb, but whatever–has been removed from Consumer Preview-era builds of Windows 8. I corroborated this rumor in my own post, logically titled Start Orb Removed In Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

While it’s technically true that the Start button/Orb, which used to adorn the left end of the taskbar on the Windows desktop, is missing in action, most people are missing out on two salient points. First, the Windows desktop is not the primary user interface in Windows 8 anymore. That’s the Start screen.

Second, the Start button isn’t gone, and it’s not going away at all. In fact, it will be present on every single Windows 8 device sold going forward.

And here’s why I know this. As my Windows 8 Secrets co-author Rafael Rivera revealed last month, a Windows Key button is required for any PC or device to get the Certified for Windows 8 logo from Microsoft. This hardware button replaces the Windows button, and it will be present on all PCs and devices that come with Windows 8 preinstalled. And unlike the old taskbar-based software button, this hardware button, the Windows Key button, will be always on and always available, no matter which Windows 8 user experience–Start Screen or desktop–you’re using.

That’s why the Start button was removed from the desktop. It’s superfluous now.

As for you people who will upgrade to Windows 8 on your legacy PCs, you already have a Windows key on your keyboard too. And for the tiny, tiny minority of you that don’t, well, please feel free to use the CTRL + ESC keyboard combo. That works fine too. Even in Windows 8.

I’m not sure why this was such a big deal. But it’s just common sense, really.

Update: I’ve had to explain to a couple of people via email that mouse users aren’t in the lurch either. From the desktop, you can still mouse over the lower left corner of the screen to access a Start screen pop-up which, when clicked, works just like the Start button did in the Developer Preview. Everyone’s included. No compromises.”

Amazon May Be Planning a 9 Inch Kindle Fire!

9 inches is bigger than 7 inches. Yes! That is the idea behind the possibility of a new 9 inch model!

Fire in the Hole! Amazon May Ship 9-Inch Kindle by Midyear.

“There’s no question that Amazon’s going to sell a lot of Kindle Fires this year. And it might sell even more if it rolls out new and larger versions of the device. And according to some, that’s the plan.

Pacific Crest analyst Chad Bartley this week raised his Fire sales estimate for this very reason. ‘We are raising our 2012 sales forecasts to 14.9 million from 12.7 million,’ he wrote. ‘But we believe there is an upward bias, particularly from the new 7- and 9-inch models, which we expect to launch in mid-2012.’

It’s been speculated upon before, but it’s interesting to hear that Amazon may have a 9-inch version of the Fire headed to market later this year, particularly now that we know Apple’s iPad 3 will debut next month. Makes you wonder how the retailer’s loss-leader strategy will translate to the larger-screen tablet market that Apple dominates.

Maybe they’ll call it the Kindle Conflagration.”

An Open Source Developer’s View of the “M” Language

Interesting viewpoint on using “M” as a programming language!

Join the M revolution

“Are you a geek?

If so, driving the future of healthcare is now within your grasp.

What do you have to do?

Learn the M programming language, and teach it to others.

What’s the M programming language?

The M programming language is also known as MUMPS. Which stands for Massachusetts General Hospital Utility Multi-Programming System.

M is a multi-user, strongly imperative language designed to manipulate and control massive databases. It is used in the high availability, high reliability niche of the computer market—which includes banking and hospitals. It provides simple data abstractions, in which all data values are strings of characters, and all data can be structured as multiple dimensional arrays. M data structures are sparse, using strings of characters as subscripts. M is itself a language combined with a database engine.”

Dr. Bill.TV #225 – Video – “The Stuff You Need to Know with a Bit of Funny Edition”

Dr. Bill.TV videos change to smaller WebM format for faster downloads, developing a Star Trek Medical Tricorder? An Open Source Tablet! New Skype version offers HD, and group screen sharing, GSotW: SiSoftware Sandra Lite! — Sponsor: MozyPro Online Backup: Simple, Automatic & Secure Backup – Code word = PODCAST15 saves you 15% – http://bit.ly/mozypod1 — Sponsor: GoToMeeting Conferencing with HD Faces: Simple Online Collaboration – http://bit.ly/xp4FFv

Links that pertain to this Netcast:

TechPodcasts Network

Blubrry Network

Sandra Lite – The Free Edition


Start the Video Netcast in the Blubrry Video Player above by
clicking on the “Play” Button in the center of the screen.

(Click on the buttons below to Stream the Netcast in your “format of choice”)
Streaming M4V Audio





Streaming MP3 Audio

Streaming Ogg Audio

Download M4V Download WebM Download MP3 Download Ogg
(Right-Click on any link above, and select “Save As…” to save the Netcast on your PC.)

Available on YouTube at: http://youtu.be/10geVLS24Zs

Available on Vimeo at: http://vimeo.com/36281970


Dr. Bill.TV #225 – Audio – “The Stuff You Need to Know with a Bit of Funny Edition”

Dr. Bill.TV videos change to smaller WebM format for faster downloads, developing a Star Trek Medical Tricorder? An Open Source Tablet! New Skype version offers HD, and group screen sharing, GSotW: SiSoftware Sandra Lite! — Sponsor: MozyPro Online Backup: Simple, Automatic & Secure Backup – Code word = PODCAST15 saves you 15% – http://bit.ly/mozypod1 — Sponsor: GoToMeeting Conferencing with HD Faces: Simple Online Collaboration – http://bit.ly/xp4FFv

Links that pertain to this Netcast:

TechPodcasts Network

Blubrry Network

Sandra Lite – The Free Edition


Start the Video Netcast in the Blubrry Video Player above by
clicking on the “Play” Button in the center of the screen.

(Click on the buttons below to Stream the Netcast in your “format of choice”)
Streaming M4V Audio





Streaming MP3 Audio

Streaming Ogg Audio

Download M4V Download WebM Download MP3 Download Ogg
(Right-Click on any link above, and select “Save As…” to save the Netcast on your PC.)

Available on YouTube at: http://youtu.be/10geVLS24Zs

Available on Vimeo at: http://vimeo.com/36281970


Geek Software of the Week: SiSoftware Sandra Lite!

Ever need to thoroughly test, and benchmark a system… say, one you are building? Well, this package will benchmark and test your PC!

Sandra Lite – The Free Edition

All around tool, benchmarking, system diagnostic and analyser.

SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. It should provide most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software and other devices whether hardware or software. Sandra is a (girl) name of Greek origin that means “defender”, “helper of mankind”. We think that’s quite fitting.

It works along the lines of other Windows utilities, however it tries to go beyond them and show you more of what’s really going on. Giving the user the ability to draw comparisons at both a high and low-level. You can get information about the CPU, chipset, video adapter, ports, printers, sound card, memory, network, Windows internals, AGP, PCI, PCIe, ODBC Connections, USB2, 1394/Firewire, etc.

Native Unicode ports for 32-bit Windows (2000/XP/2003/Vista), 64-bit & x64 Windows (XP/2003/Vista) as well as Windows CE (Pocket PC 2002/2003/2003SE, Smart Phone 2002/2003/2003SE, CE .Net 4.20) are available.

General Sandra Information

Here are the version types, in line with industry standards:

Sandra Lite (free for personal/educational use – no nag screens, time limit, etc.)
Sandra Advanced (for OEMs)
Sandra Professional (commercial)
Sandra Engineer (commercially exploitabile)
Sandra Enterprise (commercial)
Sandra Legacy (home enthusiast)
List of SiSoftware Sandra Modules:

Here is a list of current modules:

System Summary
Mainboard/Chipset/System Monitors Info
CPU/BIOS Info
APM & ACPI (Advanced Power Management) Info
PCI(e), AGP, CardBus, PCMCIA bus and devices Info
Video Information (monitor, card, video bios, caps, etc.)
OpenGL Information
DirectX (DirectDraw, Direct3D, DirectSound (3D), DirectMusic, DirectPlay, DirectInput) Info
Keyboard Info
Mouse Info
Sound Card (wave, midi, aux, mix) Info
MCI Devices (mpeg, avi, seq, vcr, video-disc, wave) Info
Joystick Info
Printers Info
Windows Memory Info
Windows Info
Font (Raster, Vector, TrueType, OpenType) Information
Modem/ISDN TA Information
Network Information*
IP Network Information*
WinSock & Internet Security Information
Drives Information (Removable Hard Disks, CD-ROM/DVD, RamDrives, etc.)
Ports (Serial/Parallel) Info
Remote Access Service Connections (Dial-Up, Internet)*
OLE objects/servers Info*
Processes (Tasks) & Threads Info
Modules (DLL, DRV) Info
Services & Device Drivers (SYS) Info*
SCSI Information*
ATA/ATAPI Information
Data Sources Information*
CMOS/RTC Information*
Smart Card & SIM Card Information*
CPU Arithmetic Benchmark (MP/MT support)
CPU Multi-Media Benchmark (including MMX, MMX Enh, 3DNow!, 3DNow! Enh, SSE(2)) (MP/MT support)
File System (Removable, Hard Disks, Network, RamDrives) Benchmark
Removable Storage/Flash Benchmark
CD-ROM/DVD Benchmark
Memory Bandwidth Benchmark (MP/MT support)
Cache & Memory Bandwidth Benchmark (MP/MT support)
Network/LAN Bandwidth Benchmark
Internet/ISP Connection Benchmark
Internet/ISP Peerage Benchmark
Hardware Interrupts Usage*
DMA Channel Usage*
I/O Ports Usage*
Memory Range Usage*
Plug & Play Enumerator*
Hardware registry settings
Environment settings
Registered File Types
Key Applications(web-browser, e-mail, news, anti-virus, firewall, etc.)
Installed Applications*
Installed Programs*
Start Menu Applications*
On-disk Programs & Libraries*
Installed Web Packages(ActiveX, Java classes)
System Event Logs*
Burn-in Wizard(test computer stability)
Connect Wizard (connect to remote computers, PDAs, Smart Phones and other devices)
Combined Performance Index Wizard (overall computer performance score)
Create a Report Wizard (save, print, fax or e-mail in CIM (SMS/DMI), HTML, XML, RPT or TEXT format)
Performance Tune-Up Wizard (tune-up computer)
Environment Monitor Wizard (temperatures, voltages, fans, CPU power, cooling solution thermal resistance, etc.)
WebUpdate Wizard for automatic version updating

New Skype Version Offers Full HD Calling, Group Screen Sharing

A new (5.8) version for Skype. Gotta love the HD!

Skype rolls out update for Windows with full HD video calling, group screen sharing

“Skype rolled out its version 5.8 software update for Windows users today, and it brings with it a couple of fairly notable features. That includes full HD video calling (provided you have a suitable webcam and internet connection, of course), video calling to Facebook users (regardless of whether they have Skype installed or not), and group screen sharing, which will let folks share either their entire desktop or a single application with other participants on a conference call. That last feature is only available with Skype Premium, though. Other new features include a ‘push to talk’ option that will let you set up a hotkey to trigger your microphone (for multiplayer gaming, for instance), the ability to hide offline Facebook contacts, and one possible fruit of the Microsoft acquisition: Bing toolbar integration.”

Open Source Tablet!

Cross-posted from the Hand Held Hack:

Awesome! An Open Source tablet! This rocks! Want!

Meet the Spark, an open-source tablet that will cost $260 and run Linux

“As an alternative to the many Android tablets already on sale, the Spark is a 7-inch Linux-based slate that’s entirely open and built around open-source software.

Are you ready for yet another tablet release? Well, this time it’s a little bit different to the slew of Android slates we’ve become used to, as it runs an open source Linux operating system, making it perfect for developers and users who don’t want to deal with any proprietary software at all.

Announced by leading KDE hacker Aaron Seigo on his blog, it’s called the Spark, and it uses the community-driven spin-off of MeeGo called Mer as its OS, with KDE’s cool Plasma Active user interface over the top.

So why would you choose this over an Android device or the Kindle Fire? It’s obviously not for everyone, but if you want an open device loaded with free software, that’s yours to do whatever you like with, then it’s likely to be exactly what you’re after. The Spark’s bootloader isn’t locked, so you’re free to install any alternative operating system and any apps too.

The specification isn’t the highest you’ll see though, with the tablet boasting a 7-inch screen, a 1Ghz ARM processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal memory and a Mali-400 GPU. It’s speculated that the Spark is a rebranded Zenithink slate, which if true would mean the screen resolution is a mere 800 x 400.

But as it’s set to retail for 200 euros, which converts to about $260, it’s a bargain for anyone who want to run Linux natively rather than just another build of Android. There will even be an application store with apps and eBooks, plus as Seigo himself points out, individual stores can be built for it, making it potentially useful for educational and business environments.”

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