Windows 7 Beefed

Microsoft tries as much as possible to lock down new product features early in the beta, and then drives to make sure they all work. The Windows 7 crew must have missed that memo as the team just added a troupe of tweaks, tunings and trimmings all tailored toward tightening the tool before it takes on release candidate status.

Many of the tweaks are fixes to little problems, like USB items not working after the machine comes out of suspend mode. Others affect look and feel, such as moving the "new folder" button up higher so it's easier to build new places for files.

Windows 7: No Virtual Tricks 
Microsoft has used virtualization for years to ensure compatibility. Windows NT ran on RISC chips like Alpha, even though it was native to Intel. The solution was the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL), a thunking layer that more or less let NT run on different processors.

Some gurus saw this approach and thought a somewhat similar approach could work with Windows 7 to help it run the software and drivers Vista failed to support. The idea was to use a virtual layer that mimics older OS architectures. The newest OS -- say, Windows 7 -- would be the leader and underneath would run the virtual layer. If done elegantly, you wouldn't even know the virtual layer is there.

Microsoft hasn't chosen this approach with Windows 7, and so far the compatibility reports are pretty good. These virtual pundits may be smart, but the Windows 7 dev team may be even smarter.

IE 8 Declared Fastest...Before Race Even Starts
I remember some months ago reading about a research team (not Microsoft) that found IE 8 to be the safest browser ever built. This is a bit like saying the Mercury Bobcat was the safest car -- before it was ever built, and before its gas tanks started exploding.

I didn't run IE 8 through any lab tests, but you've all told me about IE 8 and how the beta and release candidate spend more time crashing than driving. How can it be the fastest when it isn't even moving? When it does work, many of you find it faster than IE 7. But can we at least wait 'til final release before declaring victory?

Your Turn: IT Gone Good
Two-and-a-half years ago, I wrote a story about IT abusing its power -- blackmailing executives, spying, stealing and sexually harassing.

I'd love to do the opposite, to show where IT uses its power for good. Do you volunteer and use your skills for good? Does your organization itself do good and have IT systems to support those efforts? If so, tell me your tale at [email protected].

Your Turn: Green IT
Do you care about green technology? Is there pressure to save energy? Have you pushed any green initiatives, such as virtualization? Are there ways to use Microsoft software more efficiently and has Microsoft told you about them?

Help me spread the green word by writing [email protected].

Mailbag: Why Go Green?, Who's Your Stooge?, More
In response to Doug's question about green IT, one reader says it's more a matter of money than environment:

I'll go green only if the green equates to dollars. I have lived enough years to remember discussing the coming ice age and the first Earth Day that was an awareness for global cooling. The climate is going to do what it wants and we can't influence it. Can we get Peter, Paul and Mary to sing "Where have all the sunspots gone"?

Now, if I can save some bucks by using an alternative and RELIABLE power source, I am all for it. My clients would go for saving some green, too.

Steve Ballmer is bullish about the economy, particularly the tech sector. But Paul thinks technological innovation only goes so far:

Technology needs application. Without companies buying technology, its "resilience" is moot. To demonstrate a point of concern, a friend of mine works for a local FOX TV affiliate and says that the company has asked all managers throughout the FOX chain to take a week of unpaid furlough. Think of all the technology used by a typical TV station. If they don't buy, we don't fly.

Incidentally, in that same item about Ballmer, Doug made a reference to economist Paul Samuelson -- for which Floyd is grateful:

Your obscure references -- I like 'em! When I run into these references (like the one to Paul Samuelson), I head to Google. I've learned quite a bit from these as I very often get caught up in tangential references to your references. So, thanks for the education...and thanks for creating a big time-sink for me!

And finally, who's your favorite Stooge? Shemp is Doug's pick. Here are some of yours:

Shemp?!?! Nobody compares to the always cranky, ever-present Moe Howard, king of the Stooges!

Sorry, but my vote goes to Curly.

My favorite is Moe. Nobody could slap a Stooge like Moe!

Larry was my favorite; loved the hair.

Curly gets my vote by far. Of course, my Italian mother always called me a "stroonza" (idiot).

Curly, far and away. Great pratfalls and shtick!


I'm a Shemp fan. Do you recall the Barney Miller episode where Levitt asks Dietrich what he's doing tonight? Dietrich answers he's going to a Three Stooges festival. Levitt says, "I always saw you as an art museum type, very cultured." Dietrich replies, "On the contrary, with its universal portrayal of interpersonal relationships, especially the machiavellian interplay between Moe and his siblings, it is an essential..." Levitt just blinks dumbfounded and blurts out, "I like the ones with Shemp." Dietrich gazes at Levitt as someone would look at the bottom of his sneaker expecting to see a swathing of canine excrement and says, "We dont have anything further to discuss" and turns to casually walk away.

Just a vignette to bring you momentary cheer. Hooray, Windows 7 is coming!

Got something to say? Let us have it! Comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected].

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.


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