Windows 8 and Microsoft Accounts

Windows 8 and 8.1 consumer versions need and use and Microsoft Accounts. A lot of the incremental value of the modern UX and even some of the operating system fundamentals (ex: device encryption by default) is wrapped up in having an account. If you choose to go a different way, as did this Washington Post reporter, please understand that you have gone a different way and your opinion of the tiles, modern UX and the like is going to be relative to a custom mode you’ve arbitrarily set up. Like shutting off the file indexer for “performance”; the OS will limp along best it can, but it’s not our intended experience. There are plenty of places in the OS to criticize (including making you use a Microsoft account) about what we did intend without making us own an experience you created by following 3rd party instructions on the web.

Also, I’ll note that cloud integration is a big part of where computing is going. If you are running a mainstream computing experience, there will be a cloud ID attached to soon it if there isn’t already. There may someday be a mass market for a consumer experience without such, but I haven’t seen it.

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Windows 7 Networking Information

Someone asked me today about some information and links about the Windows 7 networking stack especially regarding IPv6. I’m going to cache my response here for future reference and updating:

Generally speaking Windows 7 shares the same networking stack architecture as vista plus the following stuff:

  • DirectAccess
    • IPv6 transition technology improvements
    • IPTLS transport
  • BranchCache
  • Network Tracing and Diagnostics
  • Better Firewall Multihoming behavior

Random Stuff to go read:

Silverlight, Netflix and Tech Support

In response to some news from Netflix regarding the need for less specialized tech support after going to silverlight, the correct answer is “Duh”. Doing your own custom ActiveX control means a lot of exposure to install and platform issues goes away or becomes someone else’s tech support problem.

Open a specific set of Perf Counters in Perfmon

This is from my stupid demo trick series (okay, this is the first in such a series, and may be the last….). With a recent Windows 7 demo I was doing there is a set of perf counters I wished to show quickly in a report view. Setting it up is a many click process:

  1. Run Perfmon
  2. Click on Perfmonance Monitor
  3. Go to Add counters
  4. Delete the Processor Counters
  5. Scroll through the list of counters to the one I want
  6. Add it
  7. FAIL, you really added other counters
  8. Delete thoose, find the real ones, add them
  9. Click twice on the report button to change the Graph Type to report

Considering that I want to be talking to people about some great new feature not practicing my mouse skills, I really wanted this to be a single step open a shortcut sort of thing. Well rejoice for me, because I figured out how to do this.

  1. Run mmc
  2. Add the performance snapin
  3. Do all the steps from before
  4. turn off Actions and the console tree
  5. File –> Save As “DemoCounter.msc”

Now, All I have to do is open the msc file I created. It goes directly to the counters and the view I want.

tada.!

DRM Thoughts

Saw yet another comment on a blog about Vista and DRM, and thought I could contribute a few distinctions:

DRM Supporting Features
This refers to a set of technologies that help enable practical DRM, but aren’t DRM themselves. This includes stuff like APIs that tell applications that if the output path for audio or video enables perfect digital quality capture without protection. It also includes technologies like “Protected Processes”. Most DRM Enforcing features have hacky ways to do this stuff which can lower system reliability or performance, so adding it as a OS feature improves system reliability and performance in the presence of such applications. These features also tend to overlap with other aspects of security, such a trusted OS private data store or generic encryption decryption libraries. This is the “DRM” support that Vista included in Windows.

DRM Enforcing Features
This refers to applications and shared libraries that allow DRM’d media to play. Typically this handles media decryption and uses various DRM Related Features to help enforce the DRM policy. ITunes, Quicktime, Windows Media Player, Zune and IRM are examples of this type of category. In this category DRM is a capability not a requirement.

DRM Limited Features
This refers to a product or feature that requires DRM and only DRM. The IPhone Apps, most of the iTMS, and the Zune Pass are all examples of this. The hallmark of this notion is that some key device usage is conditional on DRM enforcement.

I’m okay with DRM Supporting and DRM Enforcing, and have a personal policy with regards to DRM Limited Features. Basically it’s a personal acknowledgement that you can’t own DRM’d stuff.; you can only rent it. If you understand this, then you can enjoy features like netflix streaming, the Zune Pass or other time fee based services. The furthest I’ve crossed this line is “buying” Xbox360’s arcade games. Anyhow, when people bitch about Vista and DRM, I’d love to hear reasons why DRM Supporting Features are a bad thing, and specifically how Vista’s actual implementation of them have been problematic.

Creating a DL in Outlook from Excel with Names and Email

I helped out a friend the other day with a problem that he had getting a list of names and email addresses from Excel into a new Outlook DL. The key tricks are to create a formula in Excel that formats the name and email into something like “Bob & Alice Smith (bobalice@smith.org)”, select all the data in that new column and then paste that data into the “Select Members” in the DL details window in outlook.

More on the IE8/Standards fun

I really enjoy Joel’s writing. He does a nice job explaining the state of affairs: Martian Headsets – Joel on Software