Showing posts with label windows 8. Show all posts
Showing posts with label windows 8. Show all posts

Monday, 6 May 2013

Microsoft Training Camp #3 - How to play ping pong?



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Windows 8 logoMicrosoft recently released three insane commercials for its Asian markets. They were removed from their official YouTube page but thanks to the power of the internet have been brought back.

They're quite difficult to describe. But let's give it a try...



Windows 8 Training Camp: Piano



On this video you see two people playing the piano and ping pong at the same time. The video is meant to describe "work and play".





Windows 8 Training Camp: Watermelon


The second video involves three guys slicing up watermelons with their fingers to show the "power of touch".




Windows 8 Training Camp: Makeup


The third and possibly favourite of the three, is three women competing to see who can put on their make up in just 10 seconds without any mistakes. Symbolising the beauty and speed of Windows 8.




About the Author:
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Infographic - How to use File History on Windows 8


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Do you ever back up any of your data on your computer? How would you react if you got a virus on your computer and it wiped everything out? You would quickly and painfully discover that backing up data is the wisest thing to do.


So many things can happen to your computer and in seconds you can lose all your data. You can lose power or your surge could stop working and you haven’t saved any of your valuable documents or whatever else you hold of value.

In this infographic, you’ll learn how to implement 'File History' functionality in Windows 8. This guide will help you to create a backup of your files updated at regular intervals. 



The content was created by Gary Fildes, Windows 8 Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) for Firebrand Training. You can also read the full article - How to use File History on Windows 8


About the Author:
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.

Infographic - How to use Family Safety on Windows 8


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The internet is completely loaded with content and information that is both entertaining and educational for children. Kids now-a-days have access to almost a limitless amount of resources beyond what we ever had when we were their age, and beyond what their grandparents will ever understand. But as with most things, it comes with a dangerous side to it too.

In a recent report by Internet Filter Review, it was found that nine out of ten 8 to 16 year-olds have viewed porn and that the average child is 11 when they see their first pornographic image. Other dangers to the impressionable minds of minors include cyber-bullying, dangerous contacts, viruses and trojans which can steal all your information. So it comes to no surprise that most parents need a little more control to make sure their child is safe from the dangers of the internet.

In Windows 8, the name Parental Controls has become ‘Family Safety’, which includes some improvements over Windows 7 and gives ‘booring’ parents a bit more control.

This infographic shows you how to use Family Safety, a brand new feature in Windows 8. You’ll learn how to set a curfew, prevent violent games being uploaded and restrict access to sites deemed inappropriate for minors.




The content was created by Gary Fildes, Windows 8 Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) for Firebrand Training. You can also read his full article - How to use Family Safety on Windows 8


About the Author:
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Infographic: How to use Refresh and Reset in Windows 8



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We all like to keep our PC’s very ‘fresh’ and clean. Though at the times it can get a little untidy and un-fresh with too many icons, add-ons, upgrades etc. So it’s time for a re-install.

Can you even count the amount of times you’ve re-installed Windows over the past twenty years?

This infographic shows you how to implement 'refresh and reset' features in Windows 8. From a simple refresh removing applications to the full on factory reset - this Windows 8 Infographic has you covered. 


The content was created by Gary Fildes, Windows 8 Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) for Firebrand Training. To see the full article, follow this link: http://www.windows8update.com/2012/11/28/guest-post-how-to-use-refresh-and-reset-in-windows-8/


About the Author:
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

20 billion app downloads in a year! and 1.4 Billion smartphones



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Remember when we were happy enough with a phone that did exactly what the name suggested? Perhaps with a game of ‘snake’ every so often.

But since the iPhone and the rise of the touchscreen, there has been an ever increasing desire for new apps.
Apple App Store logo
Apple users downloaded 20 billion apps last year alone. That’s almost 3 apps for every person on this planet!

Last year had so many downloads that the figure represents about half of the 40 billion downloaded to iPhones, iPads and iPods since the App store was launched in 2008.

Last month alone saw a record 2 billion apps downloaded due to the launch of several new Apple devices just in time for Christmas sales.

Apple revealed that it had paid developers (who created around 775,000 worldwide) over £4.4 billion.

Last year among the top paid apps were Whatsapp Messenger at 69p, Draw Something at £1.99 and Angry Birds Space at 69p.

Olly Mann, tech expert and presenter on LBC 97.3 has stated that the app boom will continue in 2013. Adding that “Downloads in the Android, Amazon and Windows app stores will continue to grow too, so this isn’t solely Apple’s wheelhouse.”

Google Play app store for Android devices got to 25 billion downloads in September 2012.

This increasingly growing industry is a very lucrative one, and many are jumping at the opportunity. Especially now with the big release of Windows 8 devices.

Windows 8 Sells 20 million copies since November

Windows Store printscreenIn the ten weeks since its launch, Windows 8 has sold 60 million copies, announced Tami Reller, CFO of Microsoft’s Windows division, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2013) in Las Vegas.

Mobility is taking over!

By the end of 2013, there will be 1.4 billion smartphones in use: 798 million of which will run Android, 294 million will run Apple’s iOS, and 45 million will run Windows Phone, according to a study by ABI Research. The worlds population is at 7 billion, meaning that there will be one phone for every five people.

Firebrand Training caught up with Business Group Director for GFK, Carl West at the CompTIA EMEA conference. GFK is a market research company who track what consumers are buying. He gave us some astonishing facts about mobility, watch the interview below.


 
To embed this video copy the code in the text box below.



Video Transcript

My name is Carl West. I'm Business Group Director for GFK. We are a market research company. We operate in 115 countries around the world. Essentially what we do is we track what the consumer is buying, the channel pull rather than channel push.

Today I'm going to be talking about mobility. We've got a panel debate coming up with the CompTIA EMEA event. It's quite ironic really. Here I am talking about mobility, and then you look at this little pen here. On the end this is why mobility is so important now, and this illustrates it. This is a little touch thing on the end which works with your iPod, your iPad, your Samsung Galaxy tab. Just this little device here says why these media tablets and these ultra-mobile devices are becoming part and parcel of what we do.

We're going to be talking about that. We're going to be talking about the fact that smartphones are now becoming the defacto form factor in the UK. In December 2011, 24.9 million handsets, smartphone handsets have been sold over the past six years. That's an installed base, 24.9 million smartphones. Now you think about where smartphones came from in the space of the last two, three years, we've now got more smartphones in the market than we have the old feature phones. Actually these devices are, in most cases, more powerful than some of the computers we had five years ago.

So, mobility is really, really important right now. The other thing that we'll be talking about today are some bring-your-own devices. Now more and more of us are buying these consumerized devices. We take them into the workplace. We're using them. Our IT managers don't know we're using them. In fact, I do it. I bring my tablet into work, and I use it side by side with my work machine.

These managers, the IT managers, in these businesses have to learn how they work with these type of devices. The first thing all the IT managers will say, they'll say about security. They'll say about policy. They'll say about data privacy, all of those elements. But what we're trying to do and what we'll talk about in the mobility debate today is how as an organization it's a way of engaging with your customers again, and actually it's a way of engaging with your employees.

Cisco came out with some research. In 17 countries they did basically a questionnaire, and 89% of the executives said that their own staff already bring their own devices into work. So, if they're bringing these devices into work, why not embrace it and make it a perk of working for that organization rather than putting a brick wall up and saying, "No, we don't accept these devices."

Take the opportunity

Take the first steps in becoming an app developer with an MTA Mobile Development Fundamentals and MTA Gaming Development Fundamentals certification.  They can both can be gained together in just 4 days. They’ll help you be on your way to succeeding in advanced certification courses.

You can also take the MCSD: Windows Store Style Apps course where you’ll learn how to create Windows Store style apps using C#. The MCSD certification will prove your ability to design and develop beautiful, elegant apps that are alive with activity for the cloud. You can also learn to create Windows Store style apps using HTML5 on the MCSD: Windows Store Style Apps course. Both take just 9 days



About the Author:
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, IT training, , IT certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the IT industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Will you pay five times more for Windows 8?




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In a recent announcement by Microsoft, the price for a Windows 8 upgrade will increase by as much as 400%. The price increase will take effect from February 1st, when their three-month promotional discount ends.
Windows 8

This means that the current £45 deal for a Windows 8 Pro upgrade will expire in less than two weeks. Microsoft spokesman Brandon LeBlanc stated that the upgrade will cost close to £200, five times its original price.

LeBlanc also stated that the download copy will also go up and will cost the same as the boxed copy, which is the same strategy used originally with Windows 7.

When Windows 8 was released, it seemed like Microsoft was feeling under pressure from Apple and was willing to follow a similar pricing approach. Apple was selling its OS X 10.8, aka Mountain Lion, for just £20. But it seems like Microsoft are set in going back to their original pricing strategy.


About the Author:
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, IT training, , IT certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the IT industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Windows 8 MCSA Conundrum


About the Author:
Ed Baker is employed by Firebrand training as a Microsoft Certified Trainer specializing in Server and Client products. Ed has 20 years of experience in the IT industry in roles ranging from Strategic management to first line support. 

Having taken both Windows 8 Certification Tests recently (one live and one BETA), I am left in somewhat of a state of confusion. Not only about some of the questions and answers more fundamentally about the strategy behind the Windows client certification.

When Microsoft first released their MCSE premium qualification in the 1990’s (on NT 3.5), to become a Certified Systems Engineer required several core server type exams, some electives and ALWAYS a client exam.

This was carried on through all the variants until the certification was dropped in favour of the now defunct MCITP Enterprise Administrator premium qualification when Windows Server 2008 was launched. This required 6 exams including a client examination for Windows 7 or Windows Vista. The Server administrator qualification only required 3 exams which did not include a client.
 
When Microsoft brought back the MCSE earlier this year, it was trumpeted loud and wide, and was welcomed by many (although the real engineers of the past were heard muttering that it wasn't the same as the old one). They are in most part right (and wrong). Let me try and explain.

The new certification is the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) not engineer and the certification is not aimed at a product but at a set of skills to enable a cloud-bases solution. My point, however, and the purpose of this blog is to explain the client-side not the server.

To do so needs me to state that the MCSE does NOT require a client exam, it requires knowledge and skill of Windows 8 but no exam for the client, at all.

So finally my question, WHY train on the client, why take an exam on the client if there is no certification to gain? Well, the 70-687 – Windows 8 Configuring examination is titled the same as its predecessor (70-680) and is aimed squarely at the IT technician that uses, supports and deploys the client –below is the audience profile

Candidates for this exam are IT professionals who configure or support Windows 8 computers, devices, users and associated network and security resources. The networks with which these professionals typically work are configured as a domain-based or peer-to-peer environment with access to the Internet and cloud services. The IT professional could be a consultant, full-time desktop support technician, or an IT generalist who administers Windows 8-based computers and devices as a portion of their broader technical responsibilities.

The exam covers installing, upgrading, configuring, securing and maintaining the operating system on a local and small-scale sever basis. It covers permissions, printers, policies and other standard areas of study.  I don’t consider any exam is easy, especially not for those just learning a subject, but this one is a friendly test of the most used areas of the product. The skills measured fall into seven categories.

  • Install and Upgrade to Windows 8 (14%)
  • Configure Hardware and Applications (16%)
  • Configure Network Connectivity (15%)
  • Configure Access to Resources (14%)
  • Configure Remote Access and Mobility (14%)
  • Monitor and Maintain Windows Clients (13%)
  • Configure Backup and Recovery Options (14%)

Gone are the days (for now) of the Windows client exam being one of the hardest ones in the MCITP enterprise Administrator, these questions are not easy they are just less obscure.

So that’s all well and good and if you take and pass 70-687 as your first Microsoft exam, you become a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), but you do not become a technical specialist any more. The individual exams carry no certification beyond MCP (which you earn once for life – mine was NT4 in 1998).

So what certifications are available for the client in the world of Windows 8? As you might imagine there are only two standards in the cloudy world – MCSA and MCSE. There is no MCSE for Windows 8 but there is an MCSA and if you pass 70-687 AND the soon to be released 70-688 then that is exactly what you become. A Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate. What do I need to learn and what does it qualify me for?

The 70-688 examination (currently in BETA) is in a completely different league to the 70-687. The areas covered and skills measured for these exam are;

  • Design an Installation and Application Strategy (25%)
  • Maintain Resource Access (27%)
  • Maintain Windows Clients and Devices (27%)
  • Manage Windows 8 Using Cloud Services and Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (21%)

These are much higher level areas than to be found in the sister exam. So what is the audience profile?

Candidates for this exam are IT professionals who configure or support Windows 8 computers, devices, users and associated network and security resources. The networks with which these professionals typically work are configured as a domain-based or peer-to-peer environment with access to the Internet and cloud services. The IT professional could be a consultant, full-time desktop support technician, or an IT generalist who administers Windows 8-based computers and devices as a portion of their broader technical responsibilities.

 So that would be the same, word for word as the 70-687.

It is clear, having sat the BETA that this too is to be cloud focused  If you read my blog on the MCSE you will have seen that the level of knowledge needed for other products and supporting technologies or toolkits is much more detailed than it previously was.

This exam is no different Managing and Maintaining Windows 8 requires a detailed knowledge in;

MDT, MBAM, MDOP, DaRT, SkyDrive, Live Mesh, Office 365, Windows Intune, App-V client. Added to tablets, and other new features like Windows Store apps, side-loading etc.

 When I say detailed knowledge I mean questions relating to how to achieve a goal using that product rather than can it do such and such. How many IT technicians at a client level will use all of these day to day?

Obviously the Non-disclosure agreements prevent detailed question explanations and when the exam goes live in January (and I re-take it as I was in no way prepared for its level or intensity, having sat the 687 and been lulled into a false sense of security) the situation may have changed.

What is my impression of the exam? It is fair, hard and challenging and to gain the MCSA you must have the skills and knowledge. My question still stands.

Who is going to train and take this exam as well as the MSCE Server or Desktop Infrastructure? What will it achieve? I can see the need for and the role intended for the MSCE’s and the MCSA at server level, but the client strategy seems confusing to me.

Microsoft are taking the risk that the client MCSA will be something that sits on an MCT’s transcript and is rarely called for or exercised in anger. Now if they added an exam or made it an MCSE then that’s a different matter.


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



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 http://www.forumswindows8.com/archive/t-6911.html 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.

Evernote

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


Monday, 1 October 2012

Microsoft renames Metro apps to Windows Store apps

Microsoft has had to completely rename its 'Metro' apps when they came across a small problem last month.
Windows Store Logo
It turns out that the Metro name was already owned by a store in Germany which has been using it for over a year to ironically sell Windows 8. 

They were left without an identity after realising that Microsoft were naming their new app design 'Metro'. Because of this, the 'Metro' brand was completely abandoned, leaving thousands confused.

But they finally decided on a name. Metro will now be officially known as Windows Store.

This also affects the MCSD: Metro Style Apps certification which has also been renamed to MCSD: Windows Store Apps.

In the video below, Antoine Leblond from Microsoft reveals additional information on the developer opportunity coming on Windows 8 with the Windows Store.




Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Microsoft removing Windows XP from the radar


It looks as if Microsoft is completely trying to remove Windows XP from the history books. Office 2013 has already been stated to not run on the 11 year old operating system and now Microsoft buries it even more with its latest announcement.

It has now been stated that buyers of Windows 8 Pro will not be able to legally apply that licence to Windows XP, meaning that you won’t be able to put Windows XP on a PC that is already operating on Windows 8.

It is expected that by late 2014, most businesses would have upgraded to Windows 7. In recent studies, it is suggested that most are now in at least the planning process to do so.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Windows 8 release date


Microsoft will be releasing the much anticipated Windows 8 on October 26. Microsoft is calling it "Windows re-imagined and reinvented". Many of its new features are still under wraps but these are a few things we know so far.  It embraces cloud technology completely with its sync feature, boot times and log-in is fast, the apps look great, and one thing we all know, it's going to take a long time to get used to. 

So, are you going to upgrade? there are a few options when it comes to getting the new windows 8; wait until October 26 when most laptops and PC's will have it pre-installed, buy the Software or the last option if you have just bought your new computer is to buy the upgrade licence for $14.99. What? Yep that's right, if you bought your Windows computer after June 2, 2012, and before January 31, 2013, you will be able to buy the upgrade license for just $14.99People with the Windows 7, Vista, and XP computers older computers will be able to upgrade for $39.99. Check out the Windows 8 release preview below:


What do you think of Windows 8? are you going to upgrade?

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

New MCSA Windows 8 certification released

Firebrand has released the new Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) Windows 8 certification.


To gain the new MCSA cert, you’ll need to pass the following exams:

  • Exam 70-687: Configuring Windows 8
  • Exam 70-688: Managing and Maintaining Windows 8

Getting certified on the Windows operating system proves to customers and employers that you have the technical skills necessary to do the job.


Candidates looking for this certification are IT professionals who configure or support Windows 8 operating software. The professional could be a consultant, full-time desktop support technician, or an IT generalist who administers Windows 8-based computers and devices as part of their technical responsibilities.