Wednesday, 31 October 2012

When will you switch to Windows Server 2012?

It's finally out. Windows Server 2012 has been released and thousands have started integrating it into their network. It had been over 3 years since its predecessor Server 2008 R2 was released and many were beginning to twitch for an updated release. After months of playing with it, Firebrand had many Server 2012 questions answered and got an inside look into its many features; Hyper-V replica, the new ReFS file system, new server manager, Dynamic Access Control, etc…

But there was still one question hanging over our heads; when is the tech industry planning to integrate Windows Server into their network?

To answer this question, Firebrand surveyed over a thousand techies ranging from Database Administrators to CEOs; and from start-ups to FTSE 100 organisations. 

What Firebrand found might surprise you.

Windows Server Survey

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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Exam tips and preparation: VWware vSphere 5

The VMware Certified Professional for vSphere 5.0 certification demonstrates that the professional has a strong understanding of vSphere 5.0 with knowledge of all its new features.

In order to gain this certification, you will only be required to pass one exam: VCP-510.

You are also required to attend a class with a VMware Certified Instructor.

VMware professional are highly in demand. The average salary is £45,000 according to

The Exam 

powered by VMware
The exam covers a variety of topics, including:

·         vCenter Server and VMware ESXi
·         vSphere Networking and Storage
·         Virtual Machines and vApps
·         Maintaining Service vApps
·         Troubleshooting
·          vSphere Implementation and vCentre Server Alarms

It will consist of 85 multiple-choice questions including a short pre exam survey and lasts 90 minutes.

To pass the exam you will need to get 300 out of 500.

Tips for difficult areas

The following topics are the ones that seem to be the most difficult for students, so here are some tips to deal with them:

Question construction – The questions is often more questions within the question. We recommend you have working knowledge of VMware vSphere.

Preparation Hints

Focus of the following five key areas:

      1.    Configuration maximums
      2.    Any new feature on vSphere 5.0
      3.    Ports
      4.    Tables
      5.    Dialog boxes

Good luck.

A new Cold War - worlds most complex virus

Stuxnet was what many call a wake-up call to countries around the globe (read about Stuxnet here). Iran has already responded to this attack by amassing the second largest online army in the world. The internet has taken over and is quickly becoming the next platform for war. The only problem is, you don’t know who is waging it.

Stuxnet was a weapon, and the first to be made entirely from code. Since then, several viruses have been identified. One in particular, which has been dubbed Wiper was believed to be deleting data in the Middle East and from computers belonging to the Iranian oil industry.

Future Cyber Security
By DGH source: Technology Moral Dilemma blog
July 1, 211
Wiper was so complex and sophisticated that even Kaspersky, the Russian security could not find the virus or any information on the creator/s. The malware wiped hard drives clean, including its own coding.

But who could finance this kind of technology? It was clearly not a teenage boy in his room doing a prank. This virus had a goal and a target.

The 15 year old security firm did not give up. They eventually found an MD5 hash and file name on computers in Iran. When they put everything together they found something big, of a complexity never seen before… Flame.

Kaspersky Lab researcher Alexander Gostev stated that “Flame is a huge package of modules almost 20mb in size when fully deployed. Because of this, it is an extremely difficult piece of malware to analyse”

He added “Overall, we can say Flame is one of the most complex threats ever discovered. In addition, the geography of the targets and the complexity of the threat leave no doubt it being a nation state that sponsored the research behind it.”

Competitor security firm Symantec agreed with Kaspersky, stating that “This code was not likely to have been written by a single individual but by an organised, well-funded group of people working to a clear set of directives. Certain file names associated with the threat are identical to those described in an incident involving the Iranian oil ministry.”

Morgan wright – Cyberterrorism Analyst stated that the virus had 20 times more coding in it than Stuxnet, the virus that knocked down Iran’s nuclear centrifuges. He added that Flame was not only designed for recognisance, but also to steal documents, audio data, screenshots and to wipe clean hard drives with important information.

For the victims of Flame, it was like having a spy with direct control of their computer.

Learn how to take Flame and Stuxnet apart and use forensic techniques to uncover the culprits. The EC-Council C|HFI v8 certification course will teach you the entire digital forensics process. You'll learn how to secure the scene, collect evidence, and send it to the lab for testing. You will learn the following:
  • How to investigate cyber crime, and the laws involved
  • Different types of digital evidence, and the examination process
  • The first responder toolkit - how to secure, preserve and evaluate the electronic crime scene
  • How to recover deleted files and partitions in Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
  • How to use steganography, and the AccessData forensic toolkit
  • Password cracking and how to investigate password-protected file breaches
  • Log capturing and management
  • How to investigate logs, network traffic, wireless attacks, and web attacks
  • How to track emails and investigate e-mail crimes
Train to be the police of the future - get certified.

Here is an interesting video on the deconstruction of the Flame virus:

Monday, 29 October 2012

Exam tips and preparation: CompTIA Network+

The Network+ certification demonstrates that the professional has a strong understanding of networking arena, focusing mainly installing, troubleshooting and maintaining basic networks.

The Network+ exam is vendor natural. This means that the certification does not focus on one company’s product. Instead it focuses on larger range of technologies, services, hardware and software.

CompTIA Network+ logoThe Network+ cert is very well known in the industry and has great value in the marketplace. The average salary of a Network+ professional is £28,500 according to

It proves to employees that you have the necessary knowledge to complete your task with minimal supervision.

This cert, and the A+ and Network+ certifications, will only be valid for 3 years after which you will need to renew in order to stay up to date.

The Exam 

The exam will cover the following 6 domains which include the following topics:

·                   Network technologies
·                   Network Installation and Configuration
·                   Network Media and Topologies
·                   Network Management
·                   Network Security

There are some additional changes to note from the N10-004 to the new N10-005 exams

·         The Network Security topic has increased in weight from 11% to 19%
·         Virtual Networking has been added to objectives
·         Network Devices and Network Tools domain have been integrated into other areas
·         Network Installation & Configuration is a new domain

It will consist of 100 questions. Most of them being multiple-choice and lasts 90 minutes.

To pass the exam you will need to get 720 out of 900. This is roughly 80%.

Tips for difficult areas

The following topics are the ones that seem to be the most difficult for students, so here are some tips to deal with them:

Wide coverage of networking topic – There is wide variety of topics, be sure to know all of them. Although it does not go deep into each topic, so basic knowledge will be ok

“Speeds and feeds”– this is hard as there are many varieties to these sections. For example: there are a variety of ethernet standards, with a variety of media types, a variety of speeds and with a variety of distance limitations. Try to focus on this area to remember it all.

Performing the binary math calculations – You should be able to have a given IP network and subnet it into a certain number of subnets to support a certain number of hosts and be able to identify the usable IP address range in each of these subnets.

Avoid distracot choices – remember to read through the whole question before answering.

Preparation Hints

Before you start the course and your exam, it is important to note that this certification is recommended for those who have a CompTIA A+ certification.

In addition, it is worth looking at the exam objectives found on the CompTIA site here:

Here you will find the topics that will be covered and also the weighting for each domain.

Good luck.

Stuxnet – 2 years on and what we’ve learned

In June two years ago, the most sophisticated computer virus was discovered in power-plants,  factories and traffic control systems all around the world. It was said to be 20 times more complex than any other virus code created before.

Of course, we are talking about Stuxnet…

As a virus, it had a number of capabilities. It was able to turn up the pressure in nuclear reactors, switch off oil pipelines and while doing all this; it would tell all the system operators that everything was ok.

Unlike viruses before it, Stuxnet didn't forge fake security clearance. It actually had a real clearance stolen from one of the most reputable security systems in the world: Realtek. It also exploited security gaps that system creators where unaware of. These are called ‘Zero Days’ and they can go for up to $100,000 in the black market. How many ‘Zero Days’ did Stuxnet use? 20!

In the coding, it was designed to keep dormant until it reached its specific target, without that target it did not activate.

What was it planning to shut down?
It was designed to shut down the centrifuges that spin nuclear material at Iran’s enrichment facilities.

Stuxnet was a weapon, and it was the first to be made entirely out of code

The ISIS has stated that Stuxnet may have shut down over 1000 centrifuges at Natanz (Iran’s main enrichment facility). Last year, the Iranian government stated that the virus’s infection of the Bushehr’s nuclear facility meant that turning on the plant could lead to a national electricity blackout.

So what does that kind of scare do to a country?
Well Iran gathered an army of online security experts and is now said to have the second largest online army in the world.

Who created the Stuxnet virus?
There is no direct evidence as to who created it. But some believe that Israel was responsible as the code contains references to the Hebrew bible. Others believe it was the US. But it seems as though we will never know for sure.

How to be a hacker and get paid for it - legally
Yep that’s right, you can now be a hacker and get paid for it. In fact, the average salary of an ethical Hacker is over £40,000! ( But what is this ethical hacker? Aka a white hat hacker is someone who hacks and exploits zero days from companies who are looking to increase their security. As simple as that; they will pay you to find and exploit zero days in order and get rid all possible risks.

EC-Council logoBecome a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and be a respected hacker defending companies and even countries from viruses such as Stuxnet itself.

EC-Council is a very well know vendor for professional certifications in the IT security field. Here are some of their powerful certifications:

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Windows 8 launch - only hours away

It’s been a long count down; with several teases along the way... we got a preview of Server 2012, Windows 8 mobile and all the beta's.

Windows 8 launch
But it is finally moments away. Microsoft will reveal all to us at the special launch event taking place in New York at 4:15pm (11:15 EDT).

The launch event will be followed by its official release at midnight.

Follow this link to watch the launch of Windows 8 live.

Want an in depth review of Windows 8? Well you've came to the right place. Last week Firebrand's Commercial Director wrote an in depth review of his experience with Windows 8 during his trip across Europe: Don’t look back in anger - a week with Windows 8

Exam tips and preparation: CompTIA Security+

The security+ certification demonstrates that the professional has a strong understanding of computer systems security, network security, access control and organisational security.

The security+ exam is vendor natural. This means that the certification does not focus on one company’s product. Instead it focuses on larger range of technologies, services, hardware and software.

CompTIA Security+ logoThe Security+ cert is very well known in the industry and is highly in demand. The average salary of a Security+ professional is £51,250 according to

This cert, and the A+ and Network+ certifications, will only be valid for 3 years after which you will need to renew in order to stay up to date.

The Exam 

The exam will cover the following 6 domains:
  • Network Security
  • Compliance and Operational Security
  • Threats and Vulnerabilities
  • Application, Data, and Host Security
  • Access Control and Identity Management
  • Cryptography

It will consist of 100 questions. Most of them being multiple-choice and lasts 90 minutes.

To pass the exam you will need to get 750 out of 900. This is roughly 80%.

Tips for difficult areas

The following topics are the ones that seem to be the most difficult for students, so here are some tips to deal with them:

Encryption – Cryptography, Hashing and PKI are difficult areas, but for the exam you will only need basic understanding.

Malicious attacks – There are many types of attacks and it can be difficult to remember them all, so it’s recommended you take extra time learning as many as you can.

Access control models – The three models (Discretionary access control, mandatory control and roll based access control) can be confusing so it is important to know the differences in each model.

Authentication models – there are many types of models for Authentication; from physical to logical and local to remote. So it’s important to remember each type and their differences.

Preparation Hints

Before you start the course and your exam, it is important to note that this certification is recommended for those who have prior work experience in the computer field, with hands-on networking experience.

It is also advised that you have Network+ certification too.

In addition, it is worth looking at the exam objectives found on the CompTIA site here:

Here you will find the topics that will be covered and also the weighting for each domain.

Good luck.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

CompTIA CASP security exam tips

Michael Gregg, CASP author and cyber security expert, gives an overview of the CompTIA CASP Advanced Security Practitioner Certification exam in this 10 minute video. He offers some tips from his CASP book and info to help others pass the certification.

The new and popular CompTIA CASP certification comprises of four domains:
     1.       Enterprise Security
     2.       Risk Management, Policy Procedure and Legal
     3.       Research & Analysis
     4.       Integration of Computing, Communications and Business Disciplines

Get an insight into each of these domains and will help you in passing your exam.

Preview of the new CompTIA performance based exam questions

Since the announcement of the changes made in the CompTIA exams (Changes in CompTIA exams), several of you have wanted to know more.

CompTIA logoThe video below offers a simulated test session which will give you an understanding of what to expect.

The new performance based questions were first released this month and are due to spread to other CompTIA courses by the end of the year.

The length of the video is 15 minutes and is worth the watch to be ready for your next exam.

The exams will potentially not be as easy, but if you learn your stuff, it will be a breeze. Students will perform tasks and solve problems to answer the questions using a simulated environment. Read more on the changes to be ready here.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Security Threats in 2011 – by Month

Symantec released a powerful report called the Internet Security Threat Report (Read here). It gives a comprehensive analysis of internet security threats with several sources. The Symantec Global Intelligence Network is made up of over 64 million attack sensors, recording thousands of events per second. Here is a monthly overview of what happened in 2011.

  • A Scam is created using an Indonesian Facebook app to steal Login information
  • Scammers take advantage of the Serrana Flood in Brazil to take donations
  • Anonymous hacks HBGary Federal (security firm)
  • Android trojan released in unregulated Android Marketplaces
  • 429 scams used to target unrest in Egypt and Libya
  • US law enforcements and Microsoft take down the Rustock botnet
  • The mobile threat Android.Rootcager appears on the official Android Market
  • 419 scams take advantage of the Japanese Earthquake (fake donations sites and malicious attachments
  • Hackers repackage Googles tool for removing the Android.Rootcager with a new Trojan; Anroid.Bgserv
  •, Comodo Registration Authorities and are hacked and fake certifications are created of Hotmail, Google, Yahoo!, Skype and Mozilla
  • Iran discovers new virus dubbed “Stars”. It is believed to be similar to the previous Stuxnet-style attack
  • Malware found registering into Facebook applications
  • Spammers use the British Royal Wedding for campaigns and SEO poisoning
  • Playstation Network was hacked. Sony shuts down the service while restoring security
  • Court order is awarded to the FBI to shut down the Coreflood botnet with ‘delete’ command.
LulzSec logoMay
  • Phishing and malware attacks spiked due to Osama bin Laden’s death
  • The hacking group LulzSec starts up with the slogan “in I for the LULZ”
  • “tagging” spam campaign spreads across Facebook
  • A free version of Blackhole exploit kit is leaked
  • LulzSec hacks the cyber security consulting company Black & Berg and refuses the $10,000 offered as a price
  • LulzSec hacks the US Senate, CIA, FBI affiliates in response to the US Government declaring that cyber-attacks could be perceived as an act of war
  • LulzSec is attacked by TeaMp0isoN/th3j35t3r
  • Operation AntiSec begins
  • The Bitcoin virtual currency is hacked (currency exchange service)
  • The certificate authority is hacked by DigiNotar which leads to end of the company
Source: by  -
Mar 6, 2012
  • Microsoft offers a $250,000 reward  for information which will lead to the arrest of the creators of Rustock
  • Amy Winehouse’s death is used to spread Infostealer.Bancos (Trojan used to gather financial information)
  • Phishing attacks are found with fake trust seals
  • Spammers take advantage of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 in order to harvest email addresses
  • Pharmaceutical spam exploits the Delhi bomb blast
  • Microsoft shuts down the Kelihos botnet
  • W32 is officially discovered. May also be the virus Iran found in April named “Stars”
  • The Libyan leaders death leads to several spam campaigns spreading malware
  • Attackers behind the Blackhole exploit kit start spam campaign based on Steve Jobs death
  • The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report shows that Java is now the most exploited software
  • Relatively Peaceful…
  • The global affairs analysis company Stratfor is hacked
  • Spam falls to the lowest levels in 3 years
To read the whole in depth article, click on the following link:

Friday, 19 October 2012

Don’t look back in anger - a week with Windows 8

With the official launch of Windows 8 looming, I thought I should get myself more familiar with Microsoft’s shiny new product. Given some of the controversy surrounding it, I thought it be best for me to give it a proper road test somewhere safe before upgrading office or home machines.

Firebrand have a number of European offices and twice a year me and my co-founder do a business review with each office over the course of a week.

The, probably stupid, idea came to me that I should upgrade the laptop I use to travel with. Forcing me to use Window’s 8 for 5 days in fairly testing conditions: different locations, roaming, email, presentations, documents and spreadsheets.

Windows 8 logoThe laptop in question is a five year old Sony Vaio. Originally designed for Windows Vista. It does have an SSD drive but as it was one of the first to sport one of those beauties its woefully small, 60gb and not particularly fast.

Step one was to download Windows 8 Professional from MSDN. Firebrand are a Microsoft Gold partner (lardydah) so we get access to pretty much all software and applications "for free". It’s not of course free because we have to pay to be a partner. Much to my delight (how sad) I found that the final version was available not just the beta releases which you have to delete later. So my idea can be tried on what is basically the retail version.

I downloaded all 2.5gb of it to a home machine and burnt the ISO to a DVD.  Slapping it in the Sony soon had the option menu blinking at me : new install or upgrade? Let’s try an upgrade. Nope, needs 16gb of free space it informs after 5 minutes. No way I can clear that much down easily as that 60gb had 5gb free. So I reboot from the DVD. A change from my memory of previous installations is that the default localization options are actually for the UK. But you need a valid license key to proceed whereas you used to be able to enter that up to 30 days later. I got the key from MSDN so after entering it and selecting a local Wi-Fi, I press next. Previously you'd have to wait and keep selecting options but once I'd selected a new installation and wiped the old partitions it basically carried on without me. This means I'm not actually sure how long it took to get to the login screen but I think it was about 30 minutes. 

As I had previously played with beta versions of Windows 8 I’d already associated my Windows Live account with another machine. This is where the cool cloud based configuration comes in. I was presented with a login screen and used those credentials. Immediately it downloaded a heap of the environment I’d already configured on the other machine, social networks and email settings and I think some Windows Store applications. I'll confess it’s not obvious to me what came down on to the machine. But it was a start. 

Once I was in I knew the first thing to check was what fresh updates were required, either to Windows because of bug fixes, security patches or drivers missing. At this point my wide screen Sony was in a more traditional vertical letter box mode. Display drivers missing I suspect.  Once rebooted it all worked apart from three devices as reported by device manager. Not obvious what without hunting around but nothing important. The Sony hot-keys for controlling sound/brightness all worked. As did Bluetooth, LAN and WiFi. Whatever is outstanding doesn't seem important, I think it’s the finger print scanner, memory card reader and probably the modem for the mobile network. 

Windows is prompting me to download new drivers from Sony’s website so if needed I could probably get them working. Most of the control panel items look the same as previous Windows implementations albeit with the Metro look and feel which we’re not supposed to call it anymore.

Office 2013 Preview

Historically installing just windows didn't get you very far. Most people are going to have install Microsoft Office if they are using their PC in a work environment. Currently there is a preview release of Office 2013 which can be downloaded from MSDN. Typically these releases can be a little risky but it would be odd to use Windows 8 with the previous generation of Office given the new version has the same style as new operating system. I downloaded and ran the exe, everything I wanted installed quickly.
Windows 8 space
Incredibly after having installed Windows 8 and Office I’ve still got 42gb of free space. What was going on with Windows 7 before this is now a mystery to me given how full it was.

Basically I am now ready as I've got all the applications I need to work. Time to set them up. This is really where I start to use Windows 8 properly. I’d played with it a little before so I was familiar with the three big changes which have been widely written about. Firstly and most obviously when you start Windows 8 you get what is in essence a massive full screen start button. This is the tiled interface where all programs live. 

The other angle here is that the traditional desktop is in effect an application itself. This does feel odd because you end up with two universes, one running Store applications (Metro) and then a sub-world which is running applications within the desktop. You can therefore switch between applications running at the upper level but also within the desktop world. The Store applications are really designed for a touch interface, but they are OK to use with a mouse or track pad. But they are a little cumbersome because they are all full screen. Scrolling to see more information, say in a weather application, means you hunting the bottom of the screen to get to the scroll bar and not the bottom of a window like within the old desktop environment. You can drag the top of the screen and pull an application to one side and then launch another application which runs next to it. Here’s the map application running next to weather.

Windows 8 Weather & Map

If you want to get really confused you can run the desktop on one side with its array of potential apps and a different Store application next to it. You can grab the divider to expand/shrink one or other app as you change focus.

The last big change is the hot corners where you can find contextual menus or if you prefer to call it the start menu. There’s been much gnashing of teeth and wailing about the start menu disappearing. Come on people the change is minor once you get what’s going on. I’d read somewhere in the past that the change to a round start button sitting in the corner as opposed to a square button you had to find was a usability improvement because you whacked the mouse bottom left and up popped the menu. Well guess what? That’s what happens now. Bottom left, start menu or rather the start menu full screen application. Bottom or top right gets you a context menu with options for again finding the start menu plus search, settings, sharing and devices. Top left and you get applications switching either to the last one you looked at, which is under your mouse or if you then drag the mouse down the left edge you find other applications that are running. I've not found a way of doing a screen shot of these as each time I hit the key to capture it, the menus vanish. Trust me once you start working this way it’s easy.

First challenge I ran into was get Outlook connected to Firebrand’s exchange server via direct access. Strangely, the Store Mail client worked immediately with both our Exchange mail and Gmail. Outlook though wouldn't connect saying it couldn't find the server. Seems wrong that two mail programs on the same PC using the same mechanism to connect had different results, I wonder why? Normally the fix to this is to start a VPN connection so that Outlook can get straight to the Exchange server and not via an edge connection. I added the VPB but got error “850: The Extensible Authentication Protocol type required for authentication of the remote access connection is not installed on your computer”. Holy cow! This sounds fatal. Sunday afternoon, we’re leaving at 5am tomorrow how will I get my email working within Outlook? Like most IT problems Googling the error message tends to get you the answer. Google coughed up this blog post and I was soon up and running.

I was ready for the trip. I put the machine into hibernation mode to preserve battery life.

Restore from hibernation and sleep are blazingly fast. If it wasn't the impact on battery life I’d choose sleep each time. The battery on this aging Vaio doesn't hold its charge very well so hibernate is just fine. And it’s much, much faster than Windows 7.


I’m a heavy Evernote user. There’s an Evernote in the Windows Store which I've downloaded and synced my 500 plus notes. I can see how this app will be nice on a touch screen slate, but doesn't really cut it with a keyboard and mouse. I therefore downloaded the windows client – I’ll admit it doesn't say it’s ready for Windows 8 but we all know this stuff should work. Which it does. Well the client does. The integration with Outlook 2013 via an “add-in” basically breaks and Outlook disables it. I can’t see how to fix it so I’ll leave it disabled.

Day One – City airport to Eindhoven / Nijmegen

Day of presentations. Using office for PowerPoint, Excel and Word. All rock solid. Nice clean interface starting to feel comfortable with finding the hot corners for app switching and configuring things like WiFi and VPN. Power consumption is good, got a solid 6 hours out of this laptop. No crashes, no obvious bugs.

Day two – Nijmegen to Cologne

Windows 8 phone
The simplest way to get to our German office in Cologne was via taxi. Sounds a little excessive but actually two of us travelling it was quicker and cheaper than two train tickets plus the expense of getting to and from two stations. I’m typing this into a SkyDrive document that I started on my Nokia Lumia Windows Phone and carried on by accessing via the SkyDrive app within Windows 8. What’s cool is I’m typing this piece on the move in the back of the taxi and I’m not connected to the internet.  I tried “saving” wondering what it would do, work or crash confused there was no internet. This is the sort of action that I can imagine would cause all sorts of errors. However Windows just popped up a message saying upload pending once the save was completed. I then enabled the Windows Phone internet sharing Wi-Fi thing and connected the laptop, hit save and we’re all good.

Day three – Cologne to Copenhagen

Here’s one of those weird paradigm parallel universe confusions. You can install Chrome on the Metro side of Windows 8 and in the Desktop. However it appears that Google hasn't quite figured how to do the Metro side properly. Given the apps run in a form of not proper multi-tasking mode (I’m sure there’s an official name for this) when you return to Chrome it always says “Chrome didn't shut down correctly…” so you can’t start doing something in Chrome, switch away and come back. Because it will have to reset to a blank screen and this error.

Google Chrome crash

Day Four – Copenhagen to Heathrow

I was expecting Windows 8 to start nagging me that I hadn't installed an anti-virus. Strangely, this didn't happen and I forgot about it for the first few days. Once I remembered, I had a look at the system status to see if there was a warning that wasn't nagging. Turns out Windows Firewall and Defender are enabled by default. Another question for another day but is this enough to protect me when I’m out on the road using public WiFi’s? Is Windows Defender as good or even the same as Microsoft Security Essentials?

Never going back

OK I’m done. Trip over, experiment complete. Yes it took a little bit of time to get use to this new twist on Windows. It’s a radical makeover in some respects but lots that’s familiar. Once you get used to moving the cursor into corners to find what in effect are different menu’s, then it’s a breeze. What it will be like on big screens or in fact multiple displays is another question. I’m also itching to get a touch screen to really try out that aspect of the interface. Yesterday Microsoft announced you can pre-order the Surface PC/tablet so I've ordered one, should be delivered on around the 30th October. A review to follow.

Am I looking forward to returning to the office with my Windows 7 machine? Nope. Will I be upgrading that machine to Windows 8 ASAP… you bet. I’m never going back now, Windows 7 is history. I won’t be looking back in anger but forward in delight at this beautiful new clean revision of the Windows family.

Robert Chapman - Commercial Director