Well ours did that, too - somewhat better than the TV-set. But it was an oldish one, no HD etc. Then the local cable provider did not stop messing with its firmware for years until they got it to a nearly unusable state - needed repower way too often (often just after pressing a button on the remote), made the menus as awkward as they managed (the original ones were quite OK, "Topfield" was the brand IIRC). The Philips TV is way behind that - although it crashes less than the modified set top box. But while you watch a channel you can only see what comes next - not what comes after next etc., which the box was doing OK, for example. Well at least I have not seen Philips write system info into the framebuffer (the modified firmware of the set top box was doing that, too... ROFL. Not the original one though).
Oh come on, if the programmer is unable to see what the spec is missing (s)he is no good anyway.
0) it assumes that the problem with the spec is that it's missing something, as opposed to outright nonsense having been written into it explicitly.
1) it assumes that the programmer seeing it will be allowed, by other elements of the business, to have any effect whatsoever on the final product.
In other words: people here have made quite an effort at blaming the unknown programmers for what may have been irrevocably broken well before the first programmer even laid hands on anything.
I have had good experience with Prolific devices and note that many eBay vendors list the specific chip number they use. But as it turns out, Prolific had come out with a new version and won't be supporting the older cables with drivers under Windows 8. What a load of crap! At least they are only $5 or $6.
I haven't heard of /any/ company supporting cables, drivers, development tools, etc., under Windows 8. There are some - like FTDI - that say they've tested them and they seem to work, but they are not yet officially released and supported.
There are plenty of tools that don't work under anything newer than XP - and there are plenty of developers that have stuck with XP, at least partly for that reason (actually, statistics I read put XP at 10% of windows users in general, with Win8 and Vista at around 5% - and that's for "general" users). Are you saying you are using Win 8 for embedded development? I suppose someone has to go first.
I'm not yet using Windows 8 but I am expecting to buy a new laptop as soon as the prices drop to my threshold which should be soon with the post holiday price drops.
It's hard to stick with XP when you buy new hardware that comes with an OS (like pretty much all laptops). I don't like giving Microsoft any of my money and really don't like paying them for an OS and then giving them more money so I can use a 12 year old version of their OS.
I would stick with Win2k, but that really isn't practical. I have a couple of box with Win2k and they aren't always supported by third party vendors anymore.
I agree it is difficult to stick to XP - I don't think you can buy new licenses any more. For a new machine, I'd pick Win7 (and dual-boot with Linux, which is my main OS these days). I don't see significant advantages of Win7 over XP for older systems, but for new systems it makes better use of more memory and more cores than XP ever did (even
64-bit XP, which was a compatibility nightmare).
A large proportion of new machines come with Win7 rather than Win8 - in fact, only a tiny fraction are sold with Win8. It should not be hard to stick to Win7 for a new laptop.
Of course, it is also always possible to wipe the machine and install Win7 from scratch. Depending on the model you have bought, this is often much faster than the mind-numbing sequence where the machine installs the so-called pre-installed Windows from a hidden hard disk partition, along with dozens of ad-ware, crap-ware, unwanted-ware - which you then have to spend hours removing again. With a re-start for each program installed or uninstalled, of course. The clean install will also be faster and smoother than the pre-install as you can never completely remove the "free" junk, it will let you use your whole disk instead of reserving large areas for "restore" partitions whose only use is to wipe /your/ data and /your/ programs, and let you partition the disk as you want (a separate data partition, splits for dual booting, etc.)
Not sure why you say that. The only place I see Win 7 is in some items in January Micro Center flyer. They have a handful of laptops with Win7 which I assume is because there are the tail end of a run of machines that were built before the change date. I am seriously thinking of getting one of these. I've heard nothing of what is better about Win 8 although I've also heard nothing of what is wrong with it either. I just need to get the new Micro Center ad or maybe hit the store tomorrow on my way out of town.
That has two problems. One is lack of support from the maker (maybe not a real problem since support is so poor anyway) and the other is having to give Microsoft more money (a major objection in my book).
I cannot speak for Win8, but Win7 offers "virtual XP mode" and if you have 2000 discs, you can install a VM of 2000 on a win7 machine, too.
'Course, PCI devices and all are available only in the main machine and unavailable in the VMs. You can generally hand off USB devices to a VM. Besides, the VM are, SFAIK, 100% 32 bit where the host O/S won't be.
It?s not for the faint of heart, but if you?re feeling adventurous, you could try installing a type-1 hypervisor like Xen. Then you would be able to run Windows 7/XP/whatever in a VM (and it could be 64-bit), and Xen even allows PCI device assignment to guest VMs. You might need an IOMMU in your box for this to work; not sure about that (back when I was involved in Xen there were a lot of different modes for PCI assignment and I?m not really sure which ones still exist and what the requirements were).
I have no idea what "Micro Center" might be, but the key difference lies in the consumer and business markets.
For the consumer market, shops assume that the customer is ignorant (if they knew what they were doing, they almost certainly would not be going to such shops). MS gives the shops and the manufacturers heaps of marketing and advertising money and material to promote the latest version of Windows, so that is what they do. Such shops (and their suppliers) rely on persuading consumers that they need the latest and (by implication) greatest software and hardware, with a complete disregard for /real/ needs. So in such areas, Win8 is heavily promoted.
For the business market, Win8 is almost non-existent, and suppliers have to provide what their /knowledgeable/ customers ask for. These customers will continue to order primarily Win7 for the next two years at least - and my bet would be that most businesses will skip Win8 altogether (just as they did with Vista) with the hope that Win9 will be usable.
To see this in practice, look at Dell's website. If you choose the "For Home" section, there are 64 Win8 laptops on offer from $400 upwards - but only 15 Win7 laptops from $950 upwards. Go to the "small business" section and there are 79 Win8 laptops from $437, and 109 Win7 laptops from $400.
If you do some googling on sales figures, you will see that Win8 has a tiny proportion of new PC sales - it hasn't even caught up with Mac sales. You can expect the proportion of Win8 sales to go up a bit, and by definition sales figures are historic rather than representing today and tomorrow's sales - but Win7 will be the main choice for new machines for a good while yet.
So if you are having trouble finding Win7 laptops, you are simply looking in the wrong place.
First, as you say support is often poor anyway - and even if the manufacturer is happy to fix hardware issues on warranty without worrying about the software you have installed (and without having to use legal threats to enforce your rights), you usually have to send off the laptop for a month or so.
Secondly, you don't need to pay MS anything more if you have the right sort of license in the first place. I don't know the rules for Win8, but certainly a Win7 Pro license is valid for an XP installation as well
- all you need is a copy of the installation CD, and that's easy to get hold of.
For an easier-to-use solution, try VirtualBox as the virtual machine manager. It's a lot more powerful than the "virtual XP mode" in Win7 (though that can be quite a convenient solution in some cases), while also being easier to use than Xen. And if you use Linux as the host (which is highly recommended if you have the choice) rather than Windows, it now supports PCI pass-through.
VMLite uses Virtualbox as its base. The main part of VB is open source, and VMLite is made with full understanding, approval and cooperation with VB, as far as I have read. And I believe the VMLite developers are also VB contributors. However, I note that there is no obvious signs of the VMLite source code being available to download - but they only need to offer it to people that actually install the software itself.
VMLite appears to specialise in Win7 XP Mode compatibility - specifically, you can run an XP virtual machine on Win7 Pro without having to buy a new XP licence (or to use third-party activation disabling application of questionable legality). If you don't need that feature, then you are almost certainly better off with the main VirtualBox.
Note that PCI passthrough on Virtual Box is "experimental". For most purposes, USB passthrough is all you need, and that works well with a Linux host (Windows hosts are sometimes unreliable).
I guess it's a question of what you want to do, and how you like to learn - as well as finding the right "how-to" or tutorial page that matches exactly what you want to do. But I would not say that Virtual Box is particularly difficult - setting up a simple virtual machine is very simple (to be fair here, older versions of VB did not have the "wizard" that you get in newer versions). And once you have tried it a bit, you will want to do more things - having virtual machines with multiple cpu's or disks, play with memory sizes, network types, etc., set up RDP, use different OS's (such as different Linux distributions, different Windows versions, weird OS's) and all the other fun you can have with virtual machines. Of course, all that may be available via VMLite too - I haven't tried it to see.
I think if I were looking at Dell.com I would be looking at the wrong place in general. I've never found them to have competitive prices and I find their web site to make it as hard as possible to find a machine I want. I have even spoken to reps before and they have the same problem I do, the web site is not organized to let you find a machine with the features you want. Instead they require you to make arbitrary decisions like "home vs. small business vs. medium business vs. ..." and then laptop model irrespective of features. I would have to search some dozen places to verify I have checked for all possible machines that might suit my needs.
I took a look and was not able to find a way to search for machines with Windows 7. What did I miss? I'm also looking for a 17" display, 8 GB of memory, 750 GB HD, built in bluetooth, USB 3.0.
The last time I called Dell I spent some 15 minutes on the phone and ended having no confidence we had covered all the possible models with the features I was looking for.
I'm not sure that a Win7 Pro license gives you rights to installing XP. When they released Vista they had the "home" version, the "pro" version and the "ultimate" version. The ultimate version costs $100 more and included the right, and the software, to "downgrade" to Win XP. The others did not. Note the $100 extra cost!
OMG! I checked "Medium business" rather than "Small business" and found a list that let me select features rather than the goofy way they push limited options models on you in consumer and "small business" areas. However... the machine I can get elsewhere for $700 ballpark, is some $1800 at Dell for "Medium" businesses.
A similar machine with Windows 8 is only $1100. What do you think this is about?
I agree entirely with that - their website is a pain.
You missed a selection box on the left that lets you pick the OS (maybe it varies on Dell's different national sites - what country are you in? While testing, I used the US site as the nearest to "international", rather than my local Norwegian site). But I fully agree that it would be good to be able to select based on other features as you suggested.
I have found it quite helpful talking to Dell people, or emailing them a list of requirements. But the level of service you get might vary a lot between countries, and it will surely also depend on the amount of custom you have with them (or more accurately, the amount of custom they hope to get with you).
Note that it only mentions OEM versions - and it is only the Pro or "ultimate" versions that have downgrade rights.