Windows 8 Launches

Microsoft has now announced the global availability of its popular Windows operating system, Windows 8.

For people planning the move to Windows 8, you should be aware that there are three consumer versions: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows RT. Windows RT is a tablet and mobile focused OS which will only run on ARM-powered devices, while Windows 8 is a full-featured PC operating system aimed at x86 devices, powered by Intel or AMD chips.

For those who have not yet seen Windows 8 or read the reviews, the benefits are as follows:

  • It is sleek, fast and fun (on the right hardware)
  • Huge security improvements
  • Much faster boot up
  • Improved battery life for mobile users
  • It is Great for touch

Some people may take a little convincing of the benefits of the change to Windows 8, so on the down side:

  • Some users will miss the Start menu
  • It will not boot to the desktop
  • It needs a touchscreen/trackpad gestures/Touch Mouse to get the best out of it
  • The new style Modern UI will not please everyone
  • Some older CPUs won’t run it

The flashy new interface is in line with other tablet styles, so will require little training for novice users to get at the obvious features. For people who really can not live without the Start Menu, there is a basic alternative which you can display by pressing Win + X, which gives you quick access to:

  • Programs and Features
  • Power Options
  • Event Viewer
  • System
  • Device Manager
  • Disk Management
  • Computer management
  • Command Prompt (both standard and Admin)
  • Task Manager
  • Control Panel
  • Windows Explorer
  • Search
  • Run
  • Desktop

Windows 8 will run all software from the Windows Store and any third-party programs that you may have used in earlier versions of Windows. On the other hand, Windows RT only supports apps from the Windows Store and its built-in version of Office 2013.

Windows RT is aimed at the consumer tablet market, so is not so business orientated. As a full-featured operating operating, Windows 8 Pro offers Remote Desktop server, Active Directory domain support, Encrypting File System, Hyper-V, BitLocker and more.

Useful Windows 8 Resources

Other Windows 8 Reviews

UK Patent Box for IP Holding Companies

From the 1st April 2013 the UK Government is offering a tax break for patent owners and Intellectual Property (IP) holders in a effort to encourage businesses to move to the UK. This so called Patent Box will reduce the rate of corporation tax payable on profits from patents and some other forms of IP.

While large IT companies like IBM and Apple have extensive patent portfolios, and may actively pursue patent acquisition as a potential revenue stream, the proposed patent box may provide a significant boost to acquisition. The proposal will apply to patent holding companies based in the UK, not just UK companies developing technology.

HM Treasury state

The Patent Box will encourage companies to locate the high-value jobs and activity associated with the development, manufacture and exploitation of patents in the UK. It will also enhance the competitiveness of the UK tax system for high-tech companies that obtain profits from patents.

Bizarrely, profits from providing software as a service will not be entitled to benefit from the reduced tax rate. That is profits from the sale of services which owe some of their value to a patented innovation. This could cause some anomalies, for example in relation to a software application which has a patented element; if the application is sold on a disk this would qualify under the Patent Box regime, but the same application provided say as a service from the cloud would not qualify.

It is suggested that companies may elect for a notional royalty to apply in this case, so we will probably be hearing more about this in the near future.

Patent Box Links and Resources

  • HM Treasury: Patent Box
  • HMRC The Patent Box: Technical Note and Guide to the Finance Bill 2012 clauses
  • Ada Lovelace Day

    Did you know that October 16th is Ada Lovelace Day? Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology.

    Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace, was one of the most picturesque characters in computer history. A brilliant mathematician, analyst and metaphysician, she is widely regarded as the founder of scientific computing:

    • Ada was born 10 December 1815, the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron
    • She was strongly interested in scientific developments including phrenology and mesmerism.
    • Ada Lovelace died on 27 November 1852 at the age of thirty-six

    When she was just 17, Ada met Charles Babbage, at a dinner party and learned for the first time of Babbage’s ideas for the invention of a new calculating engine. Ada suggested to Babbage that she should write a plan for how his new Analytical Engine might calculate Bernoulli numbers. The plan she wrote thereafter, is now regarded as the first “computer program.”

    All that people need to do to take part in Ada Lovelace Day is to talk about the accomplishments of a woman in science, technology, engineering or maths, whether in a blog post, Facebook update, video, podcast or other medium. Supporters can add their URL to the FindingAda database to make it more easily findable.

    So lets tell the world about unsung heroines in science or technology. Whatever she does, whether she is a project manager, sys-admin or a tech entrepreneur, a programmer or a designer, developing software or hardware, a tech journalist or a tech consultant, let us celebrate her achievements.

    Ada Lovelace Day – Celebrating the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths.

    FindingAda database

    5 Quick Tips for New iPad Users

    Have you been getting used to your new iPad and wondering how to do the simple stuff that is so easy on your Windows PC, iMac or Linux workstation?

    Here are five quick tips for new iPad users to help you get productive and make it work for you. they all work on iOS 5 & 6

    1. See all open iPad apps – To see all open apps displayed on the multitasking bar at the bottom of the screen either:
      • Double-click the Home button
      • Use four or five fingers to swipe up
    2. To close a running app – Touch and hold any icon on the bottom bar until the icons start moving, then tap the minus sign on the icon of the running app to close it.
    3. To switch between open apps – Use four or five fingers swipe left or right
    4. Close a book in iBooks to choose another – Tap the screen once and menu options will appear, then tap library in the top left corner to go back to he bookshelf.
    5. Download PDFs to iBooks via Browser – In iPad Safari tap a PDF download which will download and display in the browser. Touch the screen, and tap the “Open in iBooks” button at the top. When opened in iBooks, the PDF file is automatically added to the library.

    Practice the gestures, and the five quick tips above particularly the four finger swipe, and they soon become second nature. Have fun with your new iPad!