Thursday, 29 September 2011

Windows 8

How Windows 8 Could Be “Windows Great”
 Before Microsoft's Windows Server 8 Reviewers Workshop, Mark Minasi had some definite ideas about what he wanted to see in the newest Windows OSs. more
Windows 8 and Windows Server 8 "Reimagining" and Whither Windows Phone?
 Windows Server 8 is a huge upgrade for businesses, one that will have ramifications a decade down the road. more
Tip: Improve Windows 8 with Third Party Utilities
 With developers now tearing up the Windows 8 developer preview and looking for hidden gems, we're going to soon see an amazing number of utilities aimed at improving the Windows 8 experience and, in some cases, making it work more like its predecessors. While I can't endorse or support that kind of thing, let alone recommend individual utilities quite yet, I figured it would be useful to collect what's out there in a single location. more
Mailbag: Windows 8 Developer Preview

 As you might imagine, my inbox is overflowing with questions about Windows 8, thanks to Microsoft's recent release of the first public Developer Preview. I don't have all the answers, but here are some of the more representative questions I've received in the past 10 days. more
Windows 8 Tip: Using a Mouse
 The new Windows 8 shell, as exemplified by the Start screen, works equally well with the keyboard and mouse, or with a Tablet PC-style stylus, as it does with touch. But because a mouse (or a similar device, like a laptop's trackpad) will be the most commonly used pointing device in Windows 8, it makes sense to investigate how you use one in this supposedly touch-centric UI. Shocker: It works just fine. more
Paul's Picks: Windows 8 Developer Preview and Small Business Server 2011 Essentials
 See why Windows 8’s UI is so successful that Microsoft is using it in other products; plus, learn why Small Business Server 2011 Essentials still needs Office 365 to ensure total SMB domination. more
Windows 8 Tip: Windows Key Shortcuts In the first in a series of articles about new keyboard shortcuts in Windows 8, I'll examine a new class of keyboard shortcuts that involve the Windows key, since this key is gaining new importance in this release. more
Reimagining Microsoft: How Windows 8 and Windows Server 8 Change the Rules
 Microsoft has put a lot of effort into Windows 8 and Windows Server 8, and that effort shows: The new and improved feature list for Windows Server 8 runs into the hundreds, with massive enhancements to existing features (like Hyper-V) and long-overdue upgrades to less flashy features -- like improvements to CHKDSK and IP address management -- that will make Windows System Administrators more efficient and give them back some precious time. more
Windows Weekly 226: Live From Anaheim and the BUILD Conference: Windows 8 Revealed In the latest episode of the Windows Weekly podcast, Mary Jo and I are joined by special guests Stephen Chapman, Travis Lowdermilk, Rafael Rivera, Sandro Villinger, Tom Warren, and Long Zheng live from the Expo show floor at BUILD in Anaheim, California. We discuss the Windows 8 Developer Preview, and shenanigans ensue. more
Windows 8 Developer Preview: Windows Explorer Screenshot Gallery

 Despite focusing quite heavily on the future with the new Windows shell and its Start screen and tailored, Metro-style apps in Windows 8, Microsoft is also investing in the classic and depreciated Windows desktop. This includes a new version of Windows Explorer.
Windows 8 Developer Preview: Client Hyper-V Screenshot Gallery
 Where Windows 7 includes the software-based virtualization solution called Windows Virtual PC, Windows 8 will usher in a new era with a true hypervisor-based virtualization platform called Client Hyper-V. Client Hyper-V utilizes the same Hyper-V Manager user experience as Hyper-V on Windows Server and offers dramatic performance, scalability, and compatibility improvements over Windows Virtual PC. more
Windows 8 Developer Preview: Explorer Auto-Personalization Screenshots
 As Rafael Rivera and I previously revealed, Windows 8 includes a new Aero auto-colorization feature that automatically configures the color of Aero glass elements--like Windows Explorer windows and the taskbar--based on the desktop wallpaper. Here's what it looks like. more
Windows 8 Developer Preview: Control Panel Screenshot Gallery
 Here's a screenshot gallery showing off each of the screens in the Windows 8 Developer Preview Control Panel. more
WinInfo Short Takes, September 16, 2011
 An often irreverent look at some of this week's other BUILD news, including Windows 8's fast start, the Windows 8 schedule, my top two Windows 8 questions (that I can answer) and the single most confusing thing about Windows 8, Microsoft's stand on Flash in Windows 8, Microsoft's new billion dollar business and a potentially huge ad partnership between AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo! more
BUILD: Reimagining Windows Is Key to Microsoft Reimagining Itself
 In town for his company's annual meeting with financial analysts, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer surprised the crowd at the BUILD Conference this week in Anaheim, California, by closing out the day-two keynote on Wednesday. more
Windows 8 Refresh Your PC Screenshot Gallery
 Here are some screenshots of the new Refresh Your PC capability in Windows 8. more
Windows 8 PC Repair Screenshot Gallery
 Here are some screenshots of the new PC repair tools available in Windows 8. more
Windows 8 Developer Preview Setup Screenshot Gallery
 Here's a quick screenshot gallery showing off the process of installing the Windows 8 Developer Preview. more
BUILD Day Two Keynote Live Blog
 Today, Microsoft holds day two of its BUILD Conference with a keynote address that will unveil Windows Server 8 and its cloud strategy. I'm live blogging the event with fellow bloggers Ed Bott, Mary Jo Foley, Kip Kniskern, Rafael Rivera, Paul Thurrott, Tom Warren, Long Zheng. Join in! The event begins at 9:00 am PT/12 pm ET. more
BUILD: Microsoft to Detail Windows Server 8 On the second day of its inaugural BUILD Conference, Microsoft will detail the next major version of its server OS, Windows Server 8. more
Windows 8 Features and Terminology
 As the author of several books about Microsoft platforms--Windows Phone 7 Secrets most recently, and of course the coming Windows 8 Secrets--I'm very concerned about documenting both the features of these platforms--applications, services, and so on--but also the terminology that Microsoft uses to describe them. These things have names, and need to be referenced properly. Here's an early peek at where I'm at. more
Windows 8 Developer Preview: Samsung 700T Photo Gallery
 Microsoft this week provided reviewers with a very temporary loan of a specially made slate PC running the Windows 8 technical preview. And when I say temporary, I mean temporary: We have to give this machine back on Thursday evening before we leave BUILD. more
BUILD: Microsoft Announces Windows 8 Developer Preview Microsoft announced a developer-preview release of Windows 8 at its first-ever BUILD Conference, ushering in a new era for both PC users and developers. Windows 8 is a "reimagined" version of the world's most popular software, as Microsoft executives are fond of saying, offering both an iPad-like "touch-first" user experience as well as the traditional Windows desktop. more
Windows 8 Developer Preview Screenshots, Part 2
 Here's a collection of live screenshots from Windows 8 build 8102--the developer preview--running on a loaner slate PC. (Part 2 of 2)
Windows 8 Developer Preview Screenshots, Part 1 Here's a collection of live screenshots from Windows 8 build 8102--the developer preview--running on a loaner slate PC. (Part 1 of 2) more
Windows 8 Developer Preview Screenshot Gallery
 Here's a small collection of Windows 8 developer preview (build 8102) screenshots, courtesy of Microsoft. more
Windows 8 Developer Preview
 On Monday, I attended an all-day reviewer workshop for Windows 8, Microsoft's next desktop operating system. And while it may be a while before I can adequately describe my thoughts about Windows 8, for now it goes something like this... more
Windows 8: A Reimagined PC, But What About Businesses? At its first-ever BUILD conference this week in Anaheim, California, Microsoft is showing off its upcoming Windows 8 and Windows Server 8 releases to the public for the first time. more
BUILD: Live from Anaheim, CA This will serve as the central clearing house for all the Windows 8 articles, blog posts, screenshot galleries, and other content I create while attending BUILD in Anaheim, California this week. more
Heading Into BUILD, What We Know About Windows 8
 Next week, Microsoft will host its inaugural BUILD conference, which has one aim and one aim only: To reveal Windows 8 to the world.

Windows 8 Features and Terminology

Windows 8 Features and Terminology

As the author of several books about Microsoft platforms--Windows Phone 7 Secrets most recently, and of course the coming Windows 8 Secrets--I'm very concerned about documenting both the features of these platforms--applications, services, and so on--but also the terminology that Microsoft uses to describe them. These things have names, and need to be referenced properly.
Looking at Windows 8, I of course see a new opportunity for this kind of documentation, both in the coming book and here on the site. But I also see a challenge, since there's a lot of misinformation out there--it is "Windows App Store" or "Windows Store"?--both from Microsoft and the over-eager technology enthusiasts who follow the company.

Call it the fog of war, or whatever, but I'd like to cut through it. And while that effort will be ongoing and will extend at least through the end of this year as I plow through the writing of Windows 8 Secrets, this is my first stab and documenting this stuff and providing some clarity. As a first effort, it won't be complete, at least not at first. So I need your help. If you know of a Windows 8 feature that's not listed here, please email me and let me know. I'll update this article over the course of the week and then turn it into a series of Windows 8 Feature Focus articles down the road.
App. A tailored application, or "Metro-style" app, that runs in the new Windows Run Time (WinRT) environment and is launched from the Start screen. These apps are full-screen ("immersive") and written in HTML 5 or a .NET programming language.
App Bar. A toolbar user interface element in tailored "Metro-style" applications that is typically hidden until needed and houses commands, which are generally user interface elements like buttons and other graphical controls.
Charms. A set of five icons, available from the so-called Edge UI, which appears when you swipe into the interior of the screen from the right side of the screen. These icons include Search, Share, Start, Devices, and Settings.
Client Hyper-V. A hypervisor-based virtualization platform used to run entire OSes (and associated applications) in a guest environment under the Windows host. Hyper-V was previously available only in Windows Server and replaces Windows Virtual PC.
Connected Standby. A new power management mode for ARM-based versions of Windows 8 that allow the PC to operate in a very low power mode for very long periods of non-use.
Contracts. A new aspect of the WinRT (Windows Run Time) development model that provides communications capabilities between separately and independently developed (Metro-style) apps. Similar but more powerful to the Windows clipboard from two decades ago, Contracts provide a number of useful services including Search and Share.
Early Load Anti-Malware. A new security feature in Windows 8 that loads the OS's integrated anti-malware functionality into the boot process in order to prevent any malware to be injected into the OS during the boot process. This happens after secured boot.
Flip. The process by which you visually flip through the available running Metro-style apps and Windows desktop by flicking right from the leftmost edge of the screen. Flicking and holding will result in a Snap, and the division of the screen into two zones, Snap View and Fill View. (See Snap.)
Glyphs. The icons that appear on the new Windows 8 lock screen, including network, power, and so on.
Groups. Sections of tiles on the Start screen that are visually grouped and can optionally be named. You can move entire groups of tiles around the Start screen as needed.
Internet Explorer 10. The new version of Microsoft's web browser, which will be available in a tailored version (or Metro-style app), and in a traditional desktop version.
Lock screen. The Windows 8 welcome screen, which appears when the computer first boots. It features the time, date, and a series of notification glyphs.
Multi-monitor. Windows 8 provides new multi-monitor capabilities for both the Start screen and the classic Windows desktop.
Picker. A tailored app user interface that provides the capabilities of a File Open dialog in classic Windows. It incorporates a basket for holding multiple items, which can be derived from any number of sources, including the local file system and various online services.
Picture password. A new method of logging in to Windows that involves a photo and a series of touch gestures and swipes.
PIN password. A new method of logging in to Windows that involves a four digit numeric password, as per a Windows Phone handset.
Progress ring. The new Windows 8 progress indicator.
Refresh Your PC. A new service in Windows 8 that automatically backs up all of your photos, music, videos, and other personal files, your customizations, and your tailored ("Metro-style") apps, reinstall Windows from scratch, and then reapplies everything back to the system. This process only takes 4 to 5 minutes.
Reset Your PC. A new service in Windows 8 that returns your PC to its factory clean state by wiping it out and reinstalling Windows. This feature is also called Push Button Reset.
Search. A Windows 8 Contract that provides searching capabilities, be it for apps, settings, files, or whatever. Search is globally accessible from the Search charm in the edge UI on the right edge of the screen.
Secondary Tile. A special kind of Start screen tile that is created from within an app. For example, an address book app would have its own tile, but it could optionally provide you with the ability to create a secondary tile from any one of your contacts so that you could access that contact more easily and directly from the Start screen.
Secured boot. A new security feature of Windows 8 that requires a modern UEFI-style BIOS and checks the boot signatures of each hardware device before the PC will boot. If an unknown or compromised device is attached before boot time, the PC will not boot.
Semantic zoom. A process whereby the user employs two fingers on the screen of a Windows 8 PC to pinch onscreen elements (or "reverse pinch" them) to enable a secondary display. On the Windows 8 Start screen, you can use semantic zoom to view the entire (multiscreen) display on a single screen, and arrange and rename onscreen elements like groups.
Sensors. Windows 8 supports a wide range of device sensors, including accelerometer, inclinometer, gyrometer, compass, ambient-light, and orientation/simple orientation.
Share. A Windows 8 Contract that allows one app to share information with another. For example, a photo app might use Share to provide a way to share pictures online. Share is globally accessible from the Share charm in the edge UI on the right edge of the screen.
SmartScreen. A Windows 8 security technology that prevents malware from infecting your system using behavioral and manual, reputation-based methods. Microsoft previously provided this functionality in its IE browser, but is extending it to the Windows Explorer in Windows 8.
Snap. The process by which two apps can be displayed, or docked, side-by-side in Windows 8. These apps can consists of two Metro-style apps or one Metro style app and one legacy Windows app. When in this mode, the leftmost app, which is said to occupy the Snap View, takes up about 30 percent of the onscreen real estate, while the rightmost app, said to occupy the Fill View, takes up the rest. You can change the space each occupies by dragging on the dividing line between them and flip their positions, so that the Fill View is on the left and the Snap View is on the right.
Start screen. The new Windows 8 shell, or user experience, which involves an immersive, full-screen user interface, tailored full-screen apps, and a new runtime environment called Windows Run Time (WinRT).
Task Manager. An update to the application, processes, services, performance, networking, and user management tool from previous Windows versions that provides startup app management and other new features.
Tiles. User interface elements found in the Windows 8 Start screen that replace icons and represents applications and other items. Windows 8 tiles can be small (square) or large (rectangular) and present "live" information to the user. They are thus sometimes called Live Tiles. Tiles are said to be "pinned" to the Start screen; when removed they are "unpinned." (This does not delete the application.)
Windows Defender. An upgraded version of the Defender tool that provides anti-virus functionality in addition to its previous anti-malware functionality. (Thus, this tool now effectively replaces Microsoft Security Essentials as well.)
Windows Run Time (WinRT). A new runtime environment for tailored ("Metro-style") apps that launch from the Windows 8 Start screen.
Windows Store. Microsoft's online store for Windows 8 applications, which will consist of both Metro-style apps and traditional applications. Users can install Metro-style apps on up to five Windows PCs. But for legacy applications, the Windows Store will not enforce a licensing model on app developers, and Microsoft will not demand a fee for each sold app. Trial versions of Metro-style apps will be available.
Windows To Go. A new method of running Windows 8 from a USB key (or other external memory) rather than from a fixed hard drive. This allows for a portable version of Windows, and corporations can use this feature to create temporary Windows installs that return to a clean state when the user logs off.
Windows Update. Microsoft's software updating service is updated in Windows 8 to not interrupt users and try to avoid unnecessary reboots.
There's more, of course, and Microsoft alluded to as much with the following slide during its Windows 8 BUILD keynote. So there's much more to do.
Related Content:
How Windows 8 Could Be “Windows Great”
New Windows 8 Feature: Logging on to the PC with a Windows Live ID
Tip: Improve Windows 8 with Third Party Utilities
Mailbag: Windows 8 Developer Preview
Microsoft Further Discusses Windows 8's Boot Process

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Computer Housekeeping 101 - Outside and Inside

It happens easily, someone sneezes or coughs, many eat right at their computer, play with pets, scratch, or use the washroom and not wash (scary, but it happens). So let's have a Computer Cleaning Boot Camp.
The product we used is a specialty solution you will not be able to get. So let's use what you have around your home.
First, be sure your computer is turned off. Many people tend to turn the keyboard upside down and shake it. One client did this before I got to clean her station, and something got disconnected. She didn't want me to see all the crumbs, so that is not a great idea. Better to use a can of compressed air. Hold your keyboard on an angle downwards so that as you blow, debris can fly out and away from your keyboard, and not further in under keys.
We have vacuum attachments that look like a Barbie doll set, but blowing with compressed air is better. If something was loose, it could get sucked up by the vacuum.
The old keyboard keys could be removed for deeper cleaning if they were sticky, but most have the newer keyboards which are very easy to keep up.
Now to wipe it, our local computer technician said they use Fantastic or Windex on a cloth. Be sure you spray the cloth and not the keyboard. A lint free cloth is best. I use a very diluted solution of H202 and water I keep in a spray bottle which also disinfects the surface. Again, spray it on the cloth. If you need to get into tight areas, use a damp Q-Tip.
LDC Screens
The LCD flat-panel display is not made of glass; therefore requires special cleaning procedures. It is important not to spray any liquids onto the screen directly and to use a lint free cloth like a micro-fiber cloth so it will not scratch the surface. You can use a Swiffer duster if you are only removing dust. The factory uses Rubbing Alcohol to clean the LCD before it leaves the factory, so you can use that, or just a damp cloth.
Glass Monitor
A glass monitor screen can be cleaned with any household or window cleaner. Spray your cloth lightly or dampen with water. If your screen has any anti-glare protection, it is best to only use water so as not to remove any of this special surface.
Don't forget to clean your mouse as well. The older ones have a removable bottom. You will need to blow that out with air and wipe the ball. The newer ones have an optical sensor that you can wipe. Also wipe the bottom to keep it free of debris so it will move freely.
Now that you are in the computer cleaning mode, let's do some inside work too. It would be good to get into the habit of cleaning old files off your hard drive that you no longer need. Also to clean up your emails. Don't forget to empty the trash too, when you delete something, it is still taking up space on your hard drive, so clear that out too.
If you have a Mac, your life is pretty easy. I do not have to worry about any anti-virus protection, everything is built in. But for extra security, and only for my own sense of well-being, I purchased ESET Cybersecurity for Mac. It just added another layer of security to give me peace of mind now that I am running an Internet Business.
Especially if you make any financial or banking transactions online, get into the habit of clearing the Webpage History.
To Do This: Make sure your Internet Browser is Open
Click on "History" on the top Bar
Then Click on "Clear History"
and "Clear" on the popup
Click on "Tool" on the top bar
Click on "Clear Recent History"
Your Cache is a collection of temporary data stored on your computer so the computer can access this information quickly rather than it going to the original source all of the time. It is basically duplicating the information and storing it in a separate memory. If you are a computer technician you can laugh at my explanation, but don't bother writing me. I like to explain things simply. If you clear the cache on a regular basis, this improves the overall speed of your computer.
To do this on your Mac, make sure your Internet Browser is open:
Click on the Word "Safari" on the top Bar
Click on "Empty Cache"
Click on the Word "Firefox" on the top bar
This is an absolute must if you have a Windows PC. My computer technician recommends you have both antivirus protection and a scanning software. Here is what he recommended, and both are free:
Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home or small business PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software for free. You can download that here: Microsoft Security Essentials
Malware Bytes protect your computer by completely removing all forms of malware including viruses, trojans, spyware, adware and rootkits. You should update it and scan your computer about once a month.
If your PC is new or Windows 7, my computer technician said it should automatically be scheduled by default to defrag your computer once a week. If your computer is older, you can do this manually. Here's how:
Click on the "Start" button
Select "All Program"
Click on "Accessories"
Click on "System Tools"
Click on "Disk Defragmentor"
Click on "Defragment disk"
Click on "Preferences"
Select the "Advanced" tab
Click on the "Network" tab
Under "Offline Storage" click on "Clear Now"
Open Internet Explorer
Click on "Tools" (or the icon that looks like a sun)
Click on "Internet Options"
On the "General" Tab
Under "Browsing History"
Click on "Delete"
Then Select
-Temporary Internet Files 
- Cookies 
- History
Click on "Delete"
Run system updates on a regular basis if they are not configured to run automatically.
Following these steps should keep your computer running smoother and faster for much longer.


n emerging markets it might be hard to find the money to start up a business. Could cloud computing be a game changer in these markets?
The emerging markets are definitely interesting to cloud developers and providers. Cloud computing is popular because of the low running costs and low need of knowledge, but for the emerging markets, there are still obstacles to overcome.
One of the main advantages with cloud computing is the low cost of implementation. You don't necessarily need a server, but can instead use of one of the many cloud providers out there. Most small and medium businesses will find that the cloud has a solution to suit their needs. Furthermore this also means that you won't have to pay for an expensive license. As we've seen in both webOS's and dedicated cloud OS's most of the software bundled with an OS is included in the monthly subscription or even free. Furthermore if developers need more resources cloud servers are easy scalable, due to the fact that many of the providers offer pay-as-you-go solutions.
Another advantage is, that the cloud can be set up anywhere with an internet access. Since it is possible to store everything in the cloud, you can practically access your systems from a bamboo hut in the jungle. Furthermore if you provide your employees with a cheap netbook, you actually don't need to provide an expensive office. This also means that if you require a person with certain competences, but such a person isn't available in your region, you can still collaborate on projects over vast distances. As we saw in LotusLive communication and collaboration isn't a problem since these functions often are integrated in cloud interfaces.
Then what about finding clients? Well, since your business is already using the internet on a daily basis it is even easier for you to bring it online and by this making your services available to customers worldwide.
Basic issues.
To be productive in the cloud requires some sort of a computer device. One obvious example could be a chromebook, but they are still as expensive as an ordinary laptop. Netbooks are much cheaper and it's easy to install a hybrid OS or use a webOS. Simmtronics have tried to make use of this and are now selling their 199$ netbook in emerging markets. This is of course positive since several organizations have stated that 200$ is the point where computers becomes widely available to the public in poor countries. It can still be done cheaper. Raspberry Pi, a UK-based nonprofit organization, are currently working on a computer of the size of a credit card. The expected price for their device is 25$. The cheapest monitor on is sold for 80$, and then you'll need a keyboard and a mouse which is 20$. This way you'll have a full set-up for 125$. Their system runs on Ubuntu, but another Linux distribution, TinyCore, could be configured to start up directly in the web browser.
In developing countries and also emerging markets power isn't always stable. Since power is necessary for a computer to work, then this is definitely an obstacle. The solution to this problem could be solar power since many of the emerging markets are located in sunny locations.
Another problem is connectivity. In quite a few emerging markets the access to broadband connections is very limited. The reason why the advanced economies are so well connected is that they had a huge density of preexisting phone lines which were easy to convert in to broadband connections. But digging cables in to the ground is expensive. Wireless internet access is much more interesting for small and medium businesses in emerging markets. VSAT was one of the first solutions, but with low bandwith and high pricing it isn't a viable solution. Instead 3G and Wimax could be the solution for these countries, but of course wireless as well as wired connections requires investments.
Each year the World Economic Forum publishes a report on the global ICT (internet and communication technology) and measures the network readiness of each country. In this statistic education plays an important role. Education must be prioritized in emerging markets for them to evolve in to an advanced market. In relations to cloud computing the question is if they know about this great concept. Is information available to entrepreneurs in emerging markets?
Three ways to evolution.
The development in the countries which are emerging markets moves to a more urbanised society. Therefore cloud computing knowledge centers need to be established in the biggest cities in these countries. By doing this both providers, developers and users can benefit from the concept. IBM is a huge player in the cloud industry and seems to spend a lot of time on developing new markets. They could be a great provider of such a facility.
To reduce costs and improve connectivity, new businesses could start out in a shared office facility. That way the firms could share a wired broadband connection, which is often more stable and faster than a wireless connection. There are obvious advantages for governments supporting such a facility. If you make it easier to start up new companies, then even if only a small percentage of these grow bigger over the years, these companies create jobs, income, export and in the end an increase of the annual GDP.
Of course we can't just invest in the main cities. If a country's leading communication providers don't continuously work to expand the country's communication infrastructure, the government has to step in. It must not act as a service provider itself though. It would be far better to present the providers with a reward as for example an exemption of taxes on new network areas within a limited period of time.
Network and education are the biggest barriers for cloud computing, but if providers work together with the governments, they can provide a perfect environment for businesses and benefit from it as well. By doing this, cloud computing can be a game changer in emerging markets.


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Improving SQL Performance

How do you know how much hardware is really needed by your applications? And what do you do when your applications are overloading your system? The answer lies with improving your SQL performance. You have to tune your hardware SQL server and monitor performance, all of which will be explained as clearly as possible on this page.
The first thing to do when you want to improve your SQL performance is you need to learn how to optimize your system by finding out how much hardware you really need to run your applications. The best way to tune your hardware and monitor performance is through the art of performance monitoring which takes experience, knowledge, and sometimes even luck.
Performance monitoring guidelines:
Make sure youre running your typical processes and work loads during the monitoring.
Dont only do a real-time monitoring of your servers; capture long running logs.
Always have the disk counters turned ON.
Set up the chart windows with an interval of 18 seconds for routine, daily desktop monitoring.
Know the tools you are working with. 
Dont be afraid to experiment.
Know the terminology (objects are lists of individual stats available; counter is a single stat; instance is further breakdown of a counter stat into duplicate components).
A bottleneck happens when the hardware resources cant keep up with the demands of the software. This is usually fixed in one of two ways: first, you identify the limiting hardware and increase its potential (i.e. a faster hard drive or increase the speed of the computer); second, make the software processes use the hardware more efficiently.
Five areas to watch when improving SQL performance and identifying bottlenecks:
Memory usage 
CPU processor utilization 
Disk input/output performance 
User connections 
Blocking locks
About Author:

Computer Hardware Preventive Maintenance Software

Computers often break down at the worst of all times. These problems can be averted, or at least minimized with preventive maintenance. Several methods of keeping computer hardware in good working order deal with the external components of the computer, such as the keyboard and monitor. For example, it is important to keep the processor away from excess heat and moisture. There are also computer hardware preventive maintenance software programs that can help with the upkeep of other internal aspects of a computer.
While it is rare to find a CMMS that works on all of a computers hardware, many different programs can be utilized simultaneously. Some computers have periodic automatic updates available that can be downloaded and used to improve the computers performance. Other software programs, known as disk defragmenters, manage hard drive space so that software programs take less time to access. Programs known as hardware diagnostic utilities can check the computers hardware components and alert the user about any potential failures. Since some new hardware will not always work on all computers and could cause existing hardware to malfunction, it is important to have a CMMS program to ensure that the new hardware is compatible with existing hardware.
Antivirus programs are another important component of computer hardware preventive maintenance software. Computer viruses have become increasingly common in recent years and can render a good computer useless. While computer viruses mainly attack software programs, they can ruin hardware as well. Several manufacturers make reliable antivirus software. A couple of well-known companies are Norton and McAfee. As with much preventive maintenance software, these programs are usually available for a free trial period before the user must pay a subscription fee.
Computer hardware preventive maintenance software is necessary to keep computers in good working order. This software manages aspects of computer hardware that would be difficult and time-consuming for even the most computer savvy users.

Texas Stampede supercomputer to join the eXtreme Digital (XD) program

The National Science Foundation is investing $27.5 million to start the project and plans to invest some $50 million throughout the next four years. Stampede will be an Intel and Dell powered system. It will be made of up several thousand Dell Zeus  containing 8-core processors and each server will contain 32GB of memory.
The cluster will be using ’s new Many Integrated Core (MIC) co-processors codenamed “Knights Corner.” This will provide the entire system with a total of 10 petaflops of performance.
Also included in Stampede will be 16  servers with a terabyte of shared memory and 2 GPUs each that will be used for large data analysis. There will be 128 NVIDIA graphics processing units to provide remote visualization and a high performance Lustre file system for data intensive computing. The entire Stampede system will provide a peak performance of 10 petaflops, 272,000 gigabytes of memory and 14 million gigabytes of disk storage.
Stampede will be used to support computational and data driven science and engineering projects throughout the U.S. and allow researchers to create advanced methods for petascale computing. The goal will also be to use Stampede to train the next generation of scientists and researchers in advanced computational science and technology.
The University of Texas at Austin is set to break ground in November 2011 for a new data center which will house Stampede.
More information: Press release

200 mn in US to use smartphones or tablets by 2015: forecast

"This market trend will have a huge impact on how video entertainment is acquired and consumed," the firm predicted in its forecast.
Technology titans such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft have been staking out territory in a "post-PC" world marked by people tapping into the Internet from instead of desktop computers

Facebook answers privacy flap over leftover cookies

Facebook “alters” tracking cookies when you log out instead of deleting them.
Cubrilovic’s findings were from his analysis of HTTP headers sent by browsers to The solution, he said, is to delete every Facebook cookie in your browser, or to use a separate browser for Facebook interactions.
The story quickly propagated as did news of Facebook employee responses that Facebook’s millions of users should not be bothered.
Facebook did not deny that cookies remain even after the user has logged out. What Facebook did seek to correct was any notion that leftover cookies were used to snoop.
Facebook engineer Arturo Bejar said that Facebook uses data from logged-out cookies to prevent spamming, phishing and other security risks.
An extended Facebook response with similar assurances came from Gregg Stefanci, a Facebook engineer. Stefani defended Facebook's intentions as user-centric, and not for profiteering by snooping.
"We don’t have an ad network and we don’t sell people’s information.” Stefanci said. "Rather, the logged-out cookies are used for safety and security protections."
One example of user protection, he said, was disabling registration if an underage user tries to re-register with a different birth date. Another purpose was helping people recover hacked accounts, and identifying shared computers to discourage the use of 'Keep me logged in.'
While Facebook staffers’ reactions defending  have been quite clear, a stinging sentence on Cubrilovic's Sunday blog is feeding news posting after news posting: “This is not what 'logout' is supposed to mean.”
The cookies flap comes at a time when privacy watchdogs are worried about Facebook's new Timeline feature and are preparing a letter to the Federal Trade Commission to look into the sharing of information via Timeline. The Electronic Information Center is especially concerned over Timeline, a new design for a profile page. Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy believes that the redesign is part of an effort to boost data collection prior to an IPO.

McAfee adds protection for mobile gadgets

McAfee billed AllAccess as an unprecedented offering for coordinated protection of desktop, laptop and  computers along with smartphones or tablets powered by , Symbian, or Blackberry operating systems.
"Most consumer households now own a combination of PCs, Macs, and mobile devices, but haven't kept up-to-date by adequately protecting all of them," said McAfee co-president Todd Gebhart.
AllAccess lets users manage security, limit Internet surfing, and back up data on devices from a central console.
It is priced at $99 for one person and $149 for a household version.
McAfee announced the new service along with the results of a global study that found people placed an average value of $37,438 on their total "digital assets," including pictures and music collections.

Twitter opening international base in Ireland

"Ireland is trending. Twitter to establish international office in Dublin," the message said.
Twitter joins a band of high-profile technology and computer multinationals with bases in Ireland, including Citigroup, Dell, Facebook, GlaxoSmithKline, Google, Intel and Microsoft.
Foreign companies are attracted to Ireland by its 12.5-percent rate of corporation tax, one of the lowest in Europe.
"IDA is absolutely thrilled that Twitter has decided to establish an international office in Ireland," the agency's chief executive Barry O'Leary said in a statement.
"Twitter is a fantastic addition to Ireland's dynamic digital media cluster and we are excited to support the company's continued international growth."
As it expands operations outside the United States, Twitter already has offices in London and Tokyo.
Tony Wang, Twitter UK's general manager, said the new Dublin office would not mean the demise of the London branch.
"The UK office is here to stay, we will have offices both here and Dublin," he tweeted.
British newspaper the Daily Telegraph quoted Twitter as saying that as it expands beyond the United States, it will "continue to evaluate the need to designate a location for our non-US headquarters."
Created in 2006, Twitter's text-based posts of up to 140 characters attract more than 400 million users every month, with an average of 230 million tweets fired off daily.
The number of new companies setting up in Ireland rose by a fifth to 47 last year. Foreign companies now employ 139,000 people and account for more than 75 percent of total Irish exports of goods and services.
Ireland's once-proud 'Celtic Tiger' economy, famed for its double-digit growth for a decade from the mid-1990s, has contracted sharply in recent years, hit by a domestic property market meltdown and soaring unemployment.
Crippled by massive debts, it required an 85 billion euro bailout last November from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.
Under pressure from its EU partners who believe it gives Ireland an unfair advantage, Dublin has fought hard to keep its 12.5 percent corporation tax rate.
Ireland's jobs minister Richard Bruton called the Twitter announcement a "massive win" that showed there was "real ground for Ireland's claim to be the Internet capital of Europe".
"It also shows that, despite our difficulties, we still have real strengths as an economy," he said.
"The challenge now is to build on our strengths and the presence in Ireland of the world-leading companies like Twitter to build an indigenous engine of growth and get people back to work."
The announcement "shows that we have real grounds for optimism in facing that challenge", he added.

New 'FeTRAM' is promising computer memory technology

The technology combines silicon  with a "ferroelectric" polymer, a material that switches polarity when electric fields are applied, making possible a new type of ferroelectric transistor.
"It's in a very nascent stage," said doctoral student Saptarshi Das, who is working with Joerg Appenzeller, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and scientific director of  at Purdue's Birck Nanotechnology Center.
The ferroelectric transistor's changing polarity is read as 0 or 1, an operation needed for digital circuits to store information in binary code consisting of sequences of ones and zeroes.
The new technology is called FeTRAM, for ferroelectric transistor .
"We've developed the theory and done the experiment and also showed how it works in a circuit," he said.
Findings are detailed in a research paper that appeared this month in , published by the American Chemical Society.
The FeTRAM technology has nonvolatile storage, meaning it stays in memory after the computer is turned off. The devices have the potential to use 99 percent less energy than flash memory, a non-volatile  chip and the predominant form of memory in the commercial market.
"However, our present device consumes more power because it is still not properly scaled," Das said. "For  of FeTRAM technologies one of the main objectives will be to reduce the . They might also be much faster than another form of  called SRAM."
The FeTRAM technology fulfills the three basic functions of computer memory: to write information, read the information and hold it for a long period of time.
"You want to hold memory as long as possible, 10 to 20 years, and you should be able to read and write as many times as possible," Das said. "It should also be low power to keep your laptop from getting too hot. And it needs to scale, meaning you can pack many devices into a very small area. The use of silicon nanowires along with this ferroelectric polymer has been motivated by these requirements."
The new technology also is compatible with industry manufacturing processes for complementary metal oxide semiconductors, or CMOS, used to produce computer chips. It has the potential to replace conventional memory systems.
A patent application has been filed for the concept.
The FeTRAMs are similar to state-of-the-art ferroelectric random access memories, FeRAMs, which are in commercial use but represent a relatively small part of the overall semiconductor market. Both use ferroelectric material to store information in a nonvolatile fashion, but unlike FeRAMS, the new technology allows for nondestructive readout, meaning information can be read without losing it.
This nondestructive readout is possible by storing information using a ferroelectric transistor instead of a capacitor, which is used in conventional FeRAMs.
More information: FETRAM. An Organic Ferroelectric Material Based Novel Random Access Memory Cell

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Monday, 26 September 2011

What Happened to My Data?

What Happened to My Data?
For months, this is the moment you have been waiting for. It's "live day" on the new software! Everyone has been anticipating the big unveiling. You're nervous. After all, you had a major role in selecting the software. You're the one that has been telling everyone how great everything is going to be. It was your responsibility to coordinate the "data conversion". How will people answer the question, "What Happened to My Data?" Will they say "Wow, I never thought our data could look so good!" with a smile or "Where's all our stuff?" with a look of panic and disappointment. If it's the latter, I'd get out before the lynch mob formulates.
Data conversions have gotten a bad rap. Why not? There are certainly enough horror stories to go around. Like everything else, everyone talks about the bad things that happen but seldom do people share news on something that has gone right - unless asked.
So how do you avoid the look of panic and disappointment? You have to start with appreciating the magnitude of what you are dealing with. In order to tackle it you need to be scared of it. You wouldn't randomly walk into a lion's cage at the zoo or step out of an airplane without a parachute. Likewise, approach a data conversion fully prepared and informed. Understand the concept of what is going to happen, how it will be gone about and the results that you can expect to receive. The last point, "expect to receive" is the most critical. Let's break the process down into 03 simple rules.
Rule # 1: Do not hand your data over to a stranger that you have never met, and ask them to handle the conversion without your input. You need a point person at your end and as many people as necessary to get involved in the process as an internal conversion team.
Rule # 2: Do not ask for everyone's opinion. They will all want something different and in the end you will have to separate people that are brawling in your conference room. Select "key" people within the organization who use the current system What Happened to My Data?
Rule # 3: When you are deciding on what data to take along, challenge yourself on why you need it and what role it will play in the new system. Remember, you are moving to a new software solution. If you spend too much time making it like your old system you will lose the impact of what the new system can do for your organization. When you are making data decisions, decide on what information will be relative to success. Do you really need that field that was added 20 years ago and was only used by the guy that left? Is it a good idea to bring along old numeric codes just because "people are used to them". What about new people that you hire that are not used to them? Now is a good opportunity to map old codes to new ones that are easier to work with. Assess what you really need. This will not only reduce the conversion cost but eliminate getting bogged down with old irrelevant data on day 1 of the new solution. Believe me you will never miss it.