MS: One OS future in the works

posted in: Technology News 0

windows-8-logoWhile Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and the Xbox OSes may look like they’re part of the same family of operating systems, it wasn’t actually the same operating system on an engineering level.

It looks like that will change and Microsoft is moving full steam ahead towards its one Windows future. I hope they get it right this time.

Apple still keeps its mobile and desktop operating systems separate on the engineering level and implements hooks and functions to facilitate communication between the different platforms. But as mobile technology advances and we get faster mobile processors, a future where a single operating system can transform from phone, to tablet and to desktop with ease can be incredibly beneficial.

Imagine developing an application that will work across multiple platforms. All you have to do is adjust the user interface to fit each platform’s screen. Microsoft was promising that with Windows 8 and its sister operating systems but that didn’t pan out because of the fundamental differences on the engineering level.

Maybe now that they’re building the next Windows from the ground up with multiple platforms in mind, their vision will pan out.

Using Windows 8 Key with Windows 8.1 ISO

windows-8-logoThe Windows 8 Pro key that my brother got from Dreamspark did not allow his copy to install the 8.1 update. In order to rectify that, he gave me a Windows 8.1 ISO and license and that was the end of it.

But that’s such a waste isn’t? We had a couple of Windows 8 keys that should still be valid but thanks to Microsoft’s ridiculous restrictions, we weren’t able to install their 8.1 update. There had to be better way and thus I searched for answers and I found a guide.

Here’s an excerpt:

1. Download the Windows 8.1 ISO
2. Create ei.cfg file in the sources directory with one of the following entries:

For Windows 8:


For Windows 8 Pro


3. Install Windows 8.1 with the Windows 8 as normal.

That’s it and that should work. I haven’t tried the final step yet but I will report back as soon as I do.

Microsoft Announced DirectX 12 Last Week

posted in: Game News 0

microsoftThere will be a new version of DirectX coming in 18 months or so and like all announcements, there’s unbridled optimism for the latest Microsoft API.

The hallmark feature of DirectX 12 is the return of low level graphics programming. Low level graphics programming –something console game developers have been enjoying on closed ecosystems — allows developers to forgo abstraction layers and execute code with better performance.

With DirectX 12, Microsoft and the GPU vendors including AMD, NVIDIA, Intel and Qualcommm have agreed to a set of standards that will make low level programming possible across different graphics cards.

Microsoft and its partners are promising DirectX 12 compatibility with many of today’s and yesteryear’s graphics cards:

AMDGCN 1.0 (Radeon 7000/8000/200)
GCN 1.1 (Radeon 200)
IntelGen 7.5 (Haswell/4th Gen Core)
NVIDIAFermi (GeForce 400/500)
Kepler (GeForce 600/700/800)
Maxwell (GeForce 700/800)

Great news! All my active video cards will support the upcoming API. The next obvious question is: which operating systems will support DirectX 12? It’s obvious that Windows 8 will but what about Windows 7?

Since the Xbox One sports a supported and compatible AMD GPU, it too will receive DirectX 12 support. This will undoubtedly enable easier porting between consoles and PCs.

I hope DirectX 12 manages to deliver on all its promises. Game developers need all the performance and compatibility help they could get.

System Center 2012 isn’t going to work out

windows-logoI was hoping to install System Center 2012 in a domain/workgroup environment but it doesn’t look like that’s going to work out.

I had originally believed that System Center 2012’s software catalog required domain user authentication to the the catalog website itself but I was wrong. I’m not sure what the point of adding the SCCM agent to a workgroup computer if it’s such a nerfed experience.

Without the software distribution angle, I decided to look into deploying Windows 8 images via PXE but quickly ran into a dead end when I couldn’t specify an operating system image. I suspect it’s because none of these images that I own are compatible with this install method.

So what did I learn from all this?

  • I learned how to install System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and Data Protection Manager
  • I learned how to install and configure SQL Server 2012
  • I learned how to install and configure IIS 8
  • I learned not to bother with any of the above if I’m not willing to transform my home server to a DNS server
  • I learned not to bother with any of this if I’m not able to use enterprise level operating systems on desktop clients
  • Data Protection Manager is an incredibly complex install; the most complex of any Windows application that I have ever encountered

What’s next? I have a copy of System Center 2012 Essentials. It’s meant for smaller scale deployments like my home network but I don’t think I’ll get into that. It was an enlightening ride but I think I’m done trying to bring enterprise level software to my tiny home network.

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