Archive for April 2008

This semester, the fires of sonnetry have been kindled within me again. I was afraid, after a rather dry season last year, that my unoriginal logic side had conquered me, and I would never be able to write poetry again.

So, although I have never published any sonnets that I know of, I shall post my fifth, In Restless Grove. It is rather an experiment, being the first sonnet that I have attempted writing entirely in the delviiden alphabet. This means, among other things, that I couldn’t gloss over the previous lines, which resulted in it being slightly disconnected.

Without further ado…

With all of the misleading hype about Windows 7, very few writers and tech nuts (like me!) seem to be contemplating Windows 8. However, I think they have put more thought into the OS-after-next than they realize. Allow me to illuminate and share some possible guesses about an operating system that, while being planned, is still at least four years off down the road:

  • Windows 8 will make heavy use of virtualizing technology. Backwards-compatibility cruft will be ported to a separate subsystem (Mac’s Classic, anyone?), possibly including .NET technologies.
  • Most, if not all, of the kernel’s APIs will be managed. Almost all necessary functionality will be in managed code, including low-level kernel access.
  • While most current Vista drivers should work through the compatibility layer, most hardware will use a radically newer driver technology.
  • The desktop will have changed massively; the Startbar as we know it will be gone, and the desktop itself will be more portal-like, possibly similar, though much more powerful, than KDE’s Plasma.
  • Touchscreen and voice technology will be incredibly easy to use. The mouse, and possibly the keyboard, will be merely options instead of necessities.
  • The concept of “this is my machine” will be harder to sympathize with: user switching, storing settings and applications remotely, etc. will allow desktop on demand (-r).
  • True, modular components will emerge with Windows 8. A trim, stripped-down system will emerge, possibly utilizing improvements from the experimental WinMin project.
  • Windows 8 will run on stripped-down hardware. Current XP machines should be able to run it, though possibly with some feature loss.
  • Finally, multimedia as we know it will be gone. The computer will be a portal to an amazing world, be it gaming, movie-watching, or simply listening to music. The poor teenagers of those days… homework will never get done!

While these are merely speculative musings, I firmly believe that some, if not most, if not all of these improvements will make it into Windows 8, though I doubt we will see them in Windows 7. Windows 8 will be the defining OS from Microsoft. It will be the OS that makes Apple afraid; Mac fans will begin to (almost… they’d never admit to it) look wistfully at our PCs, wishing that their operating system had the same functionality.

Over the past month or so, website after website has rolled out review after review of “Windows 7.” Of course, everything they say is almost pure postulation; with Windows Vista barely weened of its first year and Vista SP1 only recently released, any news of a new operating system from Redmond is tentative at best.

However, as a seasoned OS tester, I have a few ideas myself. Disclaimer: These are only my ideas. I don’t know the future yet.

  1. Windows 7 will not be “modular,” contrary to popular belief. Microsoft will harden the NT kernel from Vista, and they will probably get it ready for modularization, but it itself will not be modular yet.
  2. Windows 7 APIs will not be dramatically different. Microsoft cannot afford to break compatibility by changing all of its APIs.
  3. Windows 7 will probably be an interim release; it will prepare people for the amazingness that will be Windows 8.
  4. A widget engine will likely be included in Windows 7, with a dashboard probably similar to Yahoo’s.
  5. Windows 7 will include a new version of Internet Explorer… and probably not IE8.
  6. Security as we know it will be changed with version 7. Hackers, beware. Your time will have come.
  7. The perks of Linux will start to look less perky. A sleeping giant has awakened in the bowels of Redmond. Penguins, beware.

Some of this is pure speculation, and some is not. However, I am most confident that the major paradigm shift in Windows computing will wait at least until version 8. By then, touchscreens will be more common, RAM should not be an issue, and more people will have broadband Internet. Anticipate great things from Windows 7, but the true amazement starts with Windows 8; speculations on that coming up soon.

After a hiatus of many days (or months), I decided to post a photo gallery depicting what caused me to stop posting.

During the vicious, early days of the semester, I woke up one Saturday morning, eager to finish off my homework and start the next week off ahead. After going through all of my emails, replying to them, getting my schedule together, and eating, I decided that I would get some exercise in before plunging into the full swing of homework. Not too much exercise, mind you. Just a little bit. Just a few swings of my katana. That’s all.

Read on »