Technologizer: The Secret Origin of Windows

oncomputers

By Tandy Trower for Technologizer

Few people understand Microsoft better than Tandy Trower, who worked at the company from 1981-2009. Trower was the product manager who ultimately shipped Windows 1.0, an endeavor that some advised him was a path toward a ruined career…Trower recounts the inside story of his experience in transforming Windows from vaporware into a product that has left an unmistakable imprint on the world, 25 years after it was first released.

51 total views, 1 views today

Continue reading


Technologizer: This Dumb Decade -The 87 Lamest Moments in Tech, 2000-2009

oncomputers

By Harry McCracken

If ever a decade began dumb, it was this one.* When clocks struck midnight on January 1st and the dreaded Y2K bug turned out to be nothing but a mild irritant, it proved once again that the experts often don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.

Which was a relief–and a fitting way to kick off the technological era we’ve lived in ever since. Yes, it’s been an amazing time. But it’s also seen more than its share of misbegotten decisions, bizarre dramas, pointless hype, and lackluster products and technologies–often involving the same people and companies responsible for all the amazing stuff.

So–with a respectful tip of the Technologizer hat to Business 2.0 and Fortune’s 101 Dumbest Moments in Business and, of course, to Esquire’s Dubious Achievement Awards–let’s recap, shall we?

31 total views, 1 views today

Continue reading


Technologizer: The State of Windows 7 Satisfaction

oncomputers

By Harry McCracken

Windows 7 is scarcely more than a month old. Most of the people who will eventually use it haven’t gotten around to trying it yet; those that have are still settling in. And the Win 7 experience will change rapidly as remaining bugs are squashed, missing drivers arrive, and compatibility glitches are ironed out. Even so, it’s not too early to start gauging what real people think of Windows Vista’s replacement.

So to riff on Ronald Reagan’s famous question from his 1980 debate with Jimmy Carter, Are Windows users better off today than they were a few weeks ago, back in the Vista era? We decided to ask the Technologizer community, a group of tech enthusiasts with a high propensity to acquire new operating systems quickly and push them to their limits. Starting on November 16th, we surveyed our readers (and Twitter followers) about their experiences with Windows 7. Our goal: to do a reality check on the mostly favorable initial reviews of the new OS (as well as our own survey of largely enthusiastic Windows 7 beta testers back in March).

101 total views, no views today

Continue reading


Technologizer: Worst PC in America Slideshow

oncomputers

By Harry McCracken

Some PCs are born crummy. Some achieve crumminess. And some have crumminess thrust upon them. Those are my conclusions after judging our Worst PC in America contest, in which we asked you to tell us about really rotten personal computers–with the lure of a snazzy HP Envy 13 laptop to be awarded to the most outstandingly awful entry. Herewith, some highlights lowlights, including both once-decent machines that have fallen upon hard times and some systems that were kind of terrible and/or just plain odd from the get go.

87 total views, no views today

Continue reading


Technologizer: Microsoft Does Tablets. Yes, Again

oncomputers

By Harry McCracken

Gizmodo is reporting on what it says is Microsoft’s prototype for a new sort of tablet computer – one with dual screens bound up like a book, and an interface that involves both multi-touch (like an iPhone) and a stylus (like a Tablet PC). It’s supposedly code-named Courier, and Gizmodo has a video walkthrough–which is done in animation, so this could be a concept rather than a product that’ll ever be available for sale.

52 total views, no views today

Continue reading


Technologizer: World’s Weirdest Portable Computers

oncomputers

By Harry McCracken

There aren’t many pieces of technological design that simply can’t be improved upon, but the clamshell-style laptop computer case–introduced by Grid Systems in 1982–may be one of them. That’s why the vast majority of the portable computers built ever since have used it. But for more than a quarter-century now, inventors have been trying to top it, with folding screens, screens on stalks, folding keyboards, two-screen clamshells, tri-fold clamshells, and more. Most never even get off the drawing board. Herewith, a gallery of designs from Google Patents (click the filing dates to see the patents). There’s only one in here I might have considered buying, but on some perverse level I admire them all.

36 total views, 1 views today

Continue reading


Technologizer: Technology’s Most Magnificent Failures

oncomputers

By Harry McCracken

Life, as John F. Kennedy once helpfully pointed out, isn’t fair. Neither is the market for technology products. There’s no law that says that the best products win: The history of tech is pockmarked with breakthrough hardware, software, and services that were dismal failures in the marketplace. (It’s also rife with mediocre products that became massive bestsellers, (insert your own example here.)

33 total views, no views today

Continue reading


Technologizer: Office 2010 ‘The First Look’

oncomputers

By Harry McCracken

Microsoft is starting to let folks in on the Webbiest, most collaborative Office ever. But it’s not all there yet.

Today at its Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans, Microsoft is announcing that it’s distributing a Technical Preview version of its upcoming Office 2010 suite to tens of thousands of testers. It won’t be a public beta that’s open to everyone who wants a sneak peek; that will come later this year, and the final version of Office 2010 isn’t due until some time during the first half of next year. But for the first time since it demoed some features last October, Microsoft is showing off the new Office and providing more information about its plans. And it’s briefed reporters and provided them with early access to the Technical Preview (including me).

37 total views, no views today

Continue reading


Technologizer: Firefox 3.5 Review

oncomputers

By Harry McCracken

Was it really fewer than five years ago that Firefox 1.0 debuted? Its arrival ended the dismal period in which only one browser–Microsoft’s mediocre Internet Explorer–seemed to be viable. With Firefox, Mozilla proved that millions of people were itching to adopt a better browser. And today, we find ourselves with multiple better browsers: Not just Firefox, but also Google’s minimalist Chrome, Apple’s flashy Safari, the ever-inventive Opera, the highly social Flock, and even the no-longer-calcifying Internet Explorer 8.

All of which means that Firefox 3.5–which Mozilla plans to formally release today–is no longer a shoo-in for the distinction of being the favorite browser of browser fans.

38 total views, no views today

Continue reading


Technologizer: Patentmania! Personal Computers of the Early 1980s

oncomputers

By Harry McCracken

The first few years of PC history were its stone age–the era when any signs of life whatsoever were history-making. The period from 1985 to the present, as amazing as it’s been, has been one of consistency and compatibility. Which is why I think of 1980-1985 as the most interesting half-decade in PC history. Almost every new system (including some that debuted in 1979) was still an experiment–and even flops could be fascinating. Herewith a gallery of notable examples, illustrated with evocative drawings from Google Patents.

39 total views, no views today

Continue reading


PC Pitstop Newsletter – May 2009

  • 5 Requirements for Windows 7
  • Windows 7 RC1 for Download
  • Windows 7 RC1 Here Goes!
  • Ask the Pros: Laptop Drivers
  • Netbooks – Who’s Using Them?
  • Bits from Bill: Windows 7 Good Bad and Ugly
  • TechBite: 5 Cool Web Services
  • Technologizer: Windows 7 FAQ
  • Chris Pirillo Video: Save Your Digital Assets
  • Tip #1: FREE Old App’s Downloads
  • Tip #2: Desktop Slideshow Alternative
  • Tip #3: Tidy Up Your Desktop
  • Tip #4: Blog with Word 2007
  • PC Pitstop Driver Library
  • 41 total views, no views today

    Continue reading


    Technologizer: Windows 7 RC – FAQs

    oncomputers

    By Harry McCracken

    Sixteen questions (and answers!) on the new, almost-finished version of Microsoft’s next OS.

    Windows 7 is here–sort of. Yes, Microsoft still isn’t talking about when it’ll ship the final version–all evidence suggests it’ll be sometime this Fall–but the company is unleashing the Windows 7 Release Candidate today. It’s a free, all-but-final version of the operating system, and it’ll work until March 1st, 2010 before Microsoft forces you to uninstall it or overwrite it with a paid-for copy of the final edition. In short, if you’re itching to give Windows 7 a try, you can.

    44 total views, 2 views today

    Continue reading