Many modern computer monitors have such a high resolution that things like icons and text are getting too small to read without reducing the overall resolution. And what’s the point of having a high-resolution monitor if you can’t use it at its maximum resolution? The situation is further complicated by the fact that today’s LCD monitors have a native resolution at which they look the best, and if you lower the resolution to make things larger, you may degrade the quality of what you see. Microsoft is aware of this issue and has created the DPI Scaling tool to fix it. The tool allows you to tell Windows to increase the size of text and graphical elements. The linked article explains it in more detail and gives instructions on how to use it under Windows 7, but DPI scaling is available as far back as Windows XP (it’s part of the advanced display settings).
Archive for the 'Microsoft' Category
Windows 8 is being touted as a “generational” change to the Windows product line, much in the same way that Windows 95 was. The linked article gives a brief synopsis of what we can expect to see. The major hurdle appears to be that every Windows user will have to learn a radically new interface—we’ll see how that works out.
October 25th was the 10-year anniversary of Windows XP, yet it still remains the most popular version of Windows for desktop users. The linked article from Ars Technica provides a bit of retrospective, then explains why it’s time to move on to something newer.
Not too long ago, Microsoft released a developer’s build of Windows 8, and some people are upset because Microsoft implemented a new “Metro style” which, among other things, replaces the venerable Start menu with an apps page. The legacy of Steve Jobs is now making itself felt on the desktop. Also keep in mind that the developer’s build is a very preliminary look at what will appear in the final version of Windows 8, and you can currently configure the system to show the Start menu.
It’s been my experience that most lists of Word tips aren’t all that useful. The linked article, however, is an exception. It explains, for example, how to perform a vertical text selection, undo automatic changes, and move table text up or down.
Microsoft has released Service Pack 1 for Windows 7. It will be available via the normal Windows Update mechanism or, for power users, via direct download.
The AutoRun feature in Windows is a significant security risk (as illustrated in this Chad’s News post), and Microsoft has finally decided to take action. With the latest Windows Update, there’s an optional update to disable AutoRun in Windows XP and Vista (it is already disabled in Windows 7). Some types of media, such as CDs and DVDs will still use AutoRun, but executable files on most removable media, e.g., USB drives, will no longer be run without the user’s knowledge.
Back in November, Microsoft filed a patent for touch screen technology that creates texture. From the linked article: “a display that uses technical tricks to convince users they are actually touching the ridges, bumps and textures of a displayed image.” Other companies are trying to do something similar, but the difference with Microsoft’s system is that the bumps are real, whereas their competitors only create an illusion of texture. This could be big, really big, if they manage to make it cost-effective.
Windows Phone 7 is Microsoft’s latest entry in the mobile device operating system arena, and it’s a “dramatic departure” from their previous offerings. They hope to be competitive against Android phones, iPhones, and Blackberries. The linked article is fairly optimistic about this being the case, but TechRepublic’s Justin James has a completely different opinion.