Infosys Microsoft Alliance and Solutions blog


February 3, 2012

Kinect for Windows

Microsoft annouced the other day availability of Kinect for Windows SDK. This version can be used to build commercial application, something which wasn't possible with the earlier SDK. Alongside a new hardware device is also available now (priced higher than the earlier one).

While this SDK will work earlier device as well you would not be able to leverage the new near mode support which allows you to detect objects mearly 40 cms from the device unless you use the new device as well. Additionally if you are migrating your earlier code to the new SDK, you may want to use the Microsoft.Kinect.Migration assembly to aid the migration effort.

January 10, 2011

Surface 2

Microsoft Surface is a few years old, but I didn't seem to have done very well. There are limited instances of its usage and applications that run on it. Some reasons for this have been a bulky horizontal table, the cost and specialized hardware, which meant high replacement costs in case some parts were to get damaged. The base operating system was also Windows Vista, which we know wasn't all the successful

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March 24, 2010

ROI message on Windows 7

Last week, I was at Partner Summit at Seattle. During a session with one of senior executive from Microsoft, one partner representative asked what is the ROI message for Windows 7 adoption to the clients. While there is no doubt that concrete messaging on ROI directly from Microsoft will be useful; I think there are enough data points as a businress case for adoption of Windows 7. The promise of savings of $90 to $160 per PC per annum as mentioned during the launch of Windows 7, improvement in productivity, better efficiencies with new features like BranchCache, DirectAccess, Federated Search and savings due to lower power consumption etc. could also be quantified. However, this computation will obviously depend on individual client context. I tend to believe that as a broad thumb rule for an organization having 10,000 desktops to be migrated for creating a Dynamic Core Infrastructure the deployment cost could be break-even in 12 - 15 months timeframe. 

February 22, 2010

Early feedback from our customers

Had discussions with few of the IT directors and IT managers of our customers to get the vibes from their end users on the new Windows 7 operating system post the Pilot rollout. What has really excited the business users is the responsiveness of the OS. Few of the business units has come clearly stating that the “time for a user to be productive” once in office has really shortened post the Windows 7 implementation. This is by faster startup and efficient way to access data and applications capability of Windows 7. The time for user to be productive has improved by around 40% from the previous implementations.  The faster shut down time and efficient sleep modes has been eulogized by the IT and business and they have been truly daunted by the overall power management capabilities.  These are real good signs and can further strengthen the need for a better OS for other enterprises who are into their planning phase for Windows 7 adoption.

February 5, 2010

Win 7 - KB954430 installation issue

Recently Windows update had a security update for Microsoft XML Core Services 4.0 Service Pack 2 as KB954430. Like all updates I got prompted to install it, which I did and happily continued to work. But this update had a mind of its own and it would keep popping up again and again and again....

Every time I would shutdown my Win 7 Laptop, I would see the exclamation icon on the shutdown button showing that an update was pending installation. I also went to Windows update screen and installed it directly from there. Every time it would give a success message, but would popup again shortly. So much so, that I have it reflecting close to 30 times in my update history.

Finally searching online gave some hints. Most queries were for Vista, but I assumed that the solutions may work for Win 7 as well. What worked for me finally was to go to add remove programs wizard, uninstalled MSXML 4.0 SP2 (KB954430) and then installed this update again. Since then, I have been able to rest in peace :-).

January 13, 2010

Win 7 - Difference between Touch and Gesture

In my earlier blogs (here and here), I have talked about Win 7 and the new touch experience it brings.

When talking about touch, there are essentially two aspects - touch and gestures and during a recent internal discussion, I felt that these aren't that well understood by people. What's really the difference between the two and what it means to be supporting either of these?

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December 10, 2009

Win 7 - Multi Touch

In my earlier blog I had touched upon some high level concepts on touch support for applications, that is now available with Windows 7. In this I will spend some time on multi-touch and few other points around support as part of .NET and on Surface.

So when we say multi-touch, what does it really mean? This is also where the basic touch to mouse promotion and real multi-touch differ. Multi-touch means the ability to detect multiple touch points at the same time on the touch hardware and be able to program against each of them independently. In a mouse driven world, there is single point of click and hence controls really respond one at a time. With multi-touch however we now are capable of programming against multiple controls at the same time. While most multi-touch samples/demos show usage of multiple fingers, what you should realize is that it is now capable of supporting multiple people interaction. A behavior, which MS Surface, demonstrated very well.

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November 30, 2009

Windows 7 in a server 2008 environment – the best choice for branch administration

The Branch site/PoP site administration always had its own contentious points on its RoI and efficiency. So far there was no inherent support from MS on this, except GPO based throttling and BITS. With Win7 and server 2008, MS proves its focus on helping enterprises with cost-effective and efficient solutions for branch administration to increase the user productivity.

Branch caching is a new feature available in Windows 7 ideal for a typical branch office. It is integrated with BITS and is capable of caching http, https and SMB. From a security standpoint, it works seamlessly with SSL, IPSec and SMB signing. Also the solution is flexible for branch offices with/without local servers. Branch Caching should be looked upon as a feature which can complement the existing infrastructure. It brings in more value when used in conjunction with technologies like DFS, SCCM distribution, web servers etc. It is no surprise that many of the early adopters for Win 7 are looking at branch caching as a prospective solution for their branch user computing.

Together with windows server 2008, enterprises can provide more efficient solutions to their branch office users. The new active domain service in server 2008 supports read only domain controllers (RoDC) which can be of great use in offices with limited physical security. The addition of RoDC in a branch environment can substantially improve the user experience through faster authentication and authorization. Windows Server 2008 R2 comes with significant improvements in TCP/IP stack along with SMB 2.0 and other enhancements in file systems. These changes are focused on improving the efficiency and reducing the latencies, delays and utilization on WAN links. ------ Yogesh K G - Windows 7 / Windows server 2008 Architect

November 27, 2009

Win 7 - Touch

Few weeks back we got access to HP's Touch Smart laptop with Win 7 and that was our first real exposure to working with Touch. Touch isn't something of a science fiction anymore and most new mobile devices support touch capabilities, though not necessarily multi-touch. Microsoft Surface  was a very interesting innovation in this space, but was limited to some extent on its usage due to factors like restricted availability of surface table, its cost, and it being horizontal and hence not suitable for many business applications.

Windows 7 now natively supports multi-touch and if you have the right hardware like HP touch smart laptop, you can start to program some real cool applications. When I first read about WPF 4.0 will support touch at framework level, I wasn't sure what it meant and hence I decided to spend some time understanding this a bit more. Here I am not going deep into any of these aspects, but just want to highlight a few important aspects of touch and how to program for it.

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November 24, 2009

Win 7 - Manage Default Printers

Some time back i had written about the new feature in Win 7 where by you could add multiple default printers based on your network location. See here. A recent comment on it made me revisit the option, so that I could point out from where to set this. I was taken aback a bit when I could not easily locate this option.

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November 17, 2009

Windows 7 - Appropriate roadmap for Adoption

This has been the most interesting topic of discussion with CIO's and IT directors while we talk about Windows 7 adoption. The debate here is should this be approached as a vanilla OS upgrade or view this as a standard operating environment transformation. Based on my experience in working with multiple customers on Windows XP and Windows Vista upgrades the value of upgrade is multifold if the approach covers the upgrade of the surround ie the core infra components. While planning for the Windows 7 a health check of the surround components like the applications, image deployment & distribution framework, patch and image management lifecycle and IT security process can help in understanding any gaps in the existing process and corrective measures can be applied along with the Windows 7 upgrade. While this view looks to be a time consuming process this helps in clearing of the legacy from the system while transforming to a faster, secure and efficient operating system Windows 7.


November 11, 2009

Windows 7 to deliver on its promises

Probably I should have written on the Sept 29 itself when three great products Windows 7, Windows 2008 R2 and Exchange 2010 were launched by Steve Ballmer at SFO with live coverage from 6 other cities in US. However, even though we were Platinum sponsor for the launch; I wanted to wait till the last event at Berlin. This was to ascertain that it is not euphoria around the new product launch, and we do spend time to do a reality check with customers, analysts and even competition around the globe besides of course our long time association with these technologies in different capacities with Microsoft as well as our clients. I must say that since Sept 29th at SFO till Berlin on Nov 10th, it was absolutely delight to know that the products have got raving reviews across the cross-section of industries, geographies and different market segments.

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September 29, 2009

Win 7 Network adapter problem

If you are following my blabberings on Win 7, you will notice that most of things have worked fine for me so far, except for Office Communicator 2005 that I wrote about here. Another thing that I found not working correctly is the network adapter's ability to detect and connect back to network post hibernation. I found many instances of similar issues logged on the forums.

I even tried ensuring that the adapters are set to not power off, but that didn't help. The issue is specifically visible when I switch network post hibernation, i.e. say I was using LAN before getting into hibernation and post resume tried to join a wireless network. I am using a Dell XPS M1330 laptop  and have even asked my Dell vendor to check for any updated drivers, but none so far.

Are you also facing this issue? What worked for you? In my case, reboot is the only option as of now.

September 24, 2009

Windows 8

Having worked on MS platform all these years, I am well aware that while we get on to understanding and using any new releases, MS is usually well underway planning and development of next version. With self having just got onto Win 7, it wasn't a big surprise to see information on Windows 8 already being available. Check here and here.

September 14, 2009

Win 7 shuts down quickly

Another aspect of Win 7 that I noticed while using it for this past couple of week is the shutdown time. I haven't measured it explicitly but based on causual observation it does shuts down much faster than Vista. Boot time somehow doesn't seem to have changed much.

I did find this comparison on forums though and these are pretty much in line with my experience. How about your experience?

Win 7 and Office Communicator 2005

I have talked about few of my experiences with Win 7 so far here, here and here. In general the experience so far has been good and applications either work as is or by setting the compatibility mode appropriately.

However with Office Communicator 2005 there is an issue in desktop andapplication sharing. OC 2005 uses Netmeeting as the underlying mechanism for sharing and Netmeeting isn't supported Vista onwards. The OC 2005 planning and deployment guide also only lists OSs till XP as supported and Vista and Win 7 aren't. There was a hotfix released later by MS to support Netmeeting on Vista, but this isn't supported on Win 7.

So with Win 7 you can use OC 2005 for chatting, but can't do desktop and application sharing. You need to either upgrade to OCS 2007 and OC 2007 or use other tools like Live Meeting etc.

September 2, 2009

Win 7 - more reactions

Some days back I had written about my Win 7 RTM migration and about my experiences with the issues Naveen had faced. In this blog, I will capture some of the things that I noticed and most of them are those that I liked.

You will surely find lot of details about new features on Win 7. Via this entry I am only capturing the things that I noticed and have started to like.

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September 1, 2009

Win 7 - Multiple default printers

Sometime last year I had mentioned about the problem I had faced with Word, where it used to display "Word has stopped working". Many people reverted back with same issues. The good news is that with Win 7, this issue won't be seen.

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August 26, 2009

Am on Windows 7 RTM

Windows 7 RTM is available on MSDN subcriber downloads is not a new news anymore. I also had downloaded the Enterpride edition few days back and just got around to installing it. The experience so far is good.

Some months back my colleague Naveen had installed Windows 7 RC and had faced some issues that he had written about here. I will talk about some of the issues he faced and how they behave on Windows 7 RTM.

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