Windows System Performance Ratings

If Microsoft were smart, they would have released the tool for Windows 2000/XP to test for Windows System Performance Ratings in Windows Vista. That way users could test and start upgrading if necessary, so when launch time comes around, their customer base is more ready to accept the new product.

Then again, if they are smart, they will offer massive discounts to upgraders, since I know I’m not alone in thinking that Windows XP may be more than all right for another few years. Not sure I’d pay $200+ for the privilege of installing an even more bloated OS on my computer. It could be a hard sell. It will be interesting to see how they actually do when launch time comes.

Edit [3/16/2006 @ 11:10 PM EST]: According to Engadget they will release a tool for Windows XP users to test with.


Windows XP on Intel Mac

It looks like someone may soon be declared a hero. Hopefully some verification of the process (and the process itself) will be made public soon.

Edit [3/16/2005 @ 1:17 PM EST]: Here are the instructions/downloads what you need to use Windows XP on an Intel Mac… now if only I had an Intel Mac.

Hardware Software

2 failures in a week

Last week my private server had some corruption on the system partition. Seems to be related to the system log file from what I can figure out. I’ve got it back up and running, mostly. Though not 100%. If it was running something newer than 10.2 Jaguar, I’d likely be in better shape. Not much work, but because it’s 266MHz, it takes a year to do something as simple as upgrade perl. Despite that, the tough little box is still chugging away. Thanks to partitioning, and putting the drive in an external enclosure and hooking it up to my Mac Mini with Mac OS X 10.4, all user data is intact. That’s really what’s important.

Now today a Windows XP system decides to corrupt itself. Not quite done with evaluating the damage and repairs. I got it to boot, not sure what else is hiding under the murky waters of Windows XP. That’s the goal for tonight.

What did I learn? I really need to get some better backup systems working on these two computers. I’m sick of doing this.

Apple Networking

Windows Loopback

Why does windows have a crummy loopback interface?

Once again, thank you Mac OS X for being there for me.

Edit: oh yea, 802.11 support isn’t to good either. Not sure whose fault that is. Took me a few minutes to figure that out.

Hardware Software

Vista Requirements

According to this article about Windows Vista Requirements:

Other requirements included a SATA or 7200 rpm EIDE hard drive. For Vista on notebooks, Microsoft recommended the Acer Ferrari 3400, the Acer Ferrari 4000, the HP Pavillion zd8230, the IBM Thinkpad T43 and the Toshiba Tecra M4.

emphasis mine

Sweet! If IBM/Lenovo will adjust their BIOS so there’s no more error when using a standard Hitachi or Seagate 7200 RPM drive, this sucker will be ready to go.

Very cool, this is a rather decent system. I like hearing that it’s anticipated to work well with Vista. That means I can keep it around for a while, and still be modern.

Security Software Tech (General)

Patch for WMF Exploit is out

It’s officially been released. Anyone running Windows should run Windows Update, or download the patch now. CNet has more info on the topic.

Do not wait. Install, and reboot.

In The News Software

Windows 2000 collectively crashes

From CNN 6:11 PM EST:

— A worm shut down computers running Windows 2000 software across the United States.

A preliminary article is here. Read this for starters:

A computer worm shut down computer systems running the Windows 2000 operating system across the United States on Tuesday, hitting computers at CNN, ABC and The New York Times.

Around 5 p.m. computers began crashing at CNN facilities in New York and Atlanta. ABC said its problems began in New York about 1:30 p.m.

The Caterpillar Co. in Peoria, Illinois also was reportedly affected.

The Windows world is going to feel a world of hurt. And guess what? Soon Microsoft won’t even be releasing patches! This could get pretty ugly. Just shows how vulnerable so many systems are.

Update: CNet on the case

Apple Hardware

Apple’s Intel Strategy

Apple announced it’s moving from the PowerPC processor over to the Intel platform. Most feel this is a good decision, some have reservations. Regardless Apple left quite a few unanswered questions that really impact how successful this transition will be, and what the ultimate benefit (if any) there is to the end user. I’d like to take a moment and look at a few critical questions:

Will there be 64 bit computing?
Apple with much fanfare introduced the 64 bit G5 processor and everyone talked about how that’s the future of computing. AMD, and Intel have also started producing 64 bit processors. Windows Vista (formerly Longhorn) will ship in both 32 bit and 64 bit flavors as Microsoft believes during it’s lifespan people will start using 64 bit systems. Will Apple even bother adopting 32 bit Intel chips? Or stick with it’s 64 bit strategy? ThinkSecret’s look at the Intel Mac has a nice list of what the processor supports:


What’s not on the list is EM64T. Why wouldn’t Apple ship developers 64bit systems? Intel has been shipping them for a while now. Hyper Threading is available though. It seems strange that Apple hasn’t said anything on it’s 64 bit strategy.

Disk Formats
Apple’s alleged position on the idea of running Windows on a Mac is that they won’t support it, but won’t explicitly block it, though Mac OS X will remain Mac only. But I must question if it would be in Apple’s interests to support Windows a bit more, including re-examining disk format issues. Right now, A Mac can read/write HFS+ (Apple’s disk format), UFS, and FAT32. It can only read NTFS. This is a problem for someone potentially dual booting a system in Mac OS X and Windows. On top of this, the partitioning is also an issue. Apparently Apple’s Boot ROM historically will only will boot off of Apple partitioned drives (such as my disk0 below). Windows will only boot off of FDISK or MBR. So it’s impossible to have a dual boot system using partitions on 1 hard drive. I don’t have a developer Intel-Mac to test this theory on, but I’m rather confident on it.

Robert-Accetturas-Computer:~ robert$ diskutil list
   #:                   type name               size      identifier
   0: Apple_partition_scheme                    *74.5 GB  disk0
   1:    Apple_partition_map                    31.5 KB   disk0s1
   2:              Apple_HFS Macintosh HD       74.4 GB   disk0s3
   #:                   type name               size      identifier
   0: FDisk_partition_scheme                    *279.5 GB disk2
   1:           Windows_NTFS PC Backup          120.0 GB  disk2s1
   2:             DOS_FAT_32 MAC BACKUP         75.7 GB   disk2s2
   3:             DOS_FAT_32 MAC SCRATCH        83.7 GB   disk2s3

So what should Apple do?

Apple should encourage this behavior. It allows potential Mac converts to transition much more gracefully, and allows them to see the Mac as a much more valuable product. A few things really need to be done here:

  • HFS+ driver for Windows – That’s right, I said it. Apple needs to allow you to access your data on Windows. Adding HFS+ support to Windows 2k, XP, and Vista would be appropriate. The alternative is getting NTFS write support in Mac OS X, which isn’t likely to ever happen.
  • Allow Macs to boot off of MBR partitioned drives (FDisk_partition_scheme as it appears above on OS X) – this would allow you to use 1 drive and boot both HFS+ for OS X, or NTFS for Windows. *Note:* you would need to format the NTFS partition on Windows.

By doing this, the Mac is clearly the better computer. It allows you to use both operating systems fluently. You can create a 10 GB NTFS partition and install Windows XP, then use HFS+ for all your data, and your Mac OS X volume. This would also pave the way for even more top notch Linux support (on the same drive too)

Then Apple’s silver bullet would be a VirtualMachine package, so you can run Windows in parallel with OS X, or multiple instances of OS X, or Linux. This would also aid in the server market. You can run OS X, with it’s infamous stability and excellent interface. But still get to your Windows data and programs if you need. There’s no longer any reason to say No to a Mac.

Hardware Lock in
This is the big question everyone wants to know. Today’s Mac’s are relatively easy to upgrade and repair using stock PC parts. Drives, RAM, most PCI cards (USB, Firewire, most networking cards in particular), etc. There are a few annoyances in Mac hardware today, the first being video cards. Sometimes you can hack the ROM and install Mac ROM and use them. Sometimes you can get a Mac version. Will there be good enough support to allow any AGP or PCI-X graphics card to just work? In theory, using an Intel architecture, the ROM should be the same now, so the issue may just be limited to drivers, so we may get lucky here. Presumably what makes a Mac exclusively a Mac will be it’s motherboard (or a few pieces of silicon and plastic on that motherboard). So anything else should be swappable with PC parts. Will Apple be pushing for more widespread driver support once the Intel Macs start shipping?

So Steve, if you happen to read this, and care to fill us in on Apple’s strategy, I’m sure we would all appreciate it. Apple’s Intel strategy is rather interesting, but it doesn’t quite say if Apple will be bridging the platform gap to allow for smoother transitions between Windows and Mac, or if it’s simply a processor swap.

Security Software

Windows Firewall stinks

It took me about 45 minutes, and 2 phone calls to figure out that Windows Firewall apparently suffered some corruption, blocking me from FTP to this server. Not all FTP servers (for some reason that’s beyond me). All clients failed. First I thought it was the server. Then I thought it was a networking issue (net admin said FTP was not blocked). In the end, it was Windows Firewall. Resetting it using the Default Settings button brought me back to life (for anyone experiencing this problem that may be helpful to know).

I normally SFTP these days, but sometimes FTP for some reason (likely habit more than anything).


Microsoft Changes their Mind: Continues patches for non-XP IE

Contradicting a few days ago, according to The Channel Insider, Microsoft will be releasing some IE patches for non-XP systems.

…But company officials privately told a select group of developers earlier this year of plans to port some of the IE-specific fixes to the version of IE 6 for Windows 2000 (Service Pack 5 update).

It also told some partners that it was “considering strongly” the idea of making the IE-specific SP2 fixes available for Windows NT, Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows Millennium Edition.

[Source: The Channel Insider | Emphasis mine]