Articles: Operating Systems

Back to the Future – Windows 95

For those of you who just like to geek, or to reminisce, or have too much time on your hands..

You can now install Windows 95 in your browser if you want to see what the good old days used to be like. I’m not sure why you would, but it is there if you want to.

See http://www.techradar.com/news/internet/get-a-window-to-the-past-by-running-windows-95-in-your-browser-1314269

For those who want to go back even further, you can of course still use MSDOS by going to the command prompt on your computer.

The Year 2038 problem

Remember the Y2k problem where the world was expected to end because computers did not know what to do when the year 2000 was reached?

Well start preparing, a similar issue will arise if you are still using a 32 bit computer on Tuesday 19 January 2038!

Technically it is because “when the clock strikes 03:14:07 UTC on Tuesday, 19 January 2038, a total of 2147483647 seconds since 1 January 1970 will have passed. Computers will then not be able to distinguish between the real time and date, and the year 1901.”

You don’t need to wait till them to have the problem hit you though – it may affect you sooner if you are trying to enter the year 2038 into any of your programmes (eg maybe financial planning etc)

The easy solution is to run 64 or 128 bit operating systems (like later versions of Windows). The majority of PC’s were expected to be capable of running 64 bit systems by this year. Not sure when exactly 64 bit systems will crash but it is way, way further into the future.

see http://www.nzherald.co.nz/technology/news/article.cfm?c_id=5&objectid=11375717 for more info.

So what use is this and why am I telling you? Just interesting and a piece of useless information that you might be able to drop into the Xmas lunch conversation to show how intelligent and well informed you are!! Hope it helps you to make small talk with that (not) favourite rellie that you never ever see and have nothing in common with!

Microsoft XP Support finished

Most users will know that from April 8 2014, support and updates for Windows XP are no longer available. The XP operating system has reached the end of it’s Support life from Microsoft.

This has largely been communicated in such a way as to “encourage” Windows XP users to upgrade to a new computer.

But what does this actually mean?

Your computer will not suddenly stop because of this!

New programmes you install may not be compatible with Windows XP

There could be some security issues that Microsoft will not be fixing with automatic updrades.

However, on the whole, if your XP computer still works fine, and you have good security software installed, you should be OK to continue using it.

As always, be vigilant about having up to date Antivirus and security software and strong regularly changed passwords. See our articles on passwords at

http://www.netaction.co.nz/internet-security/passwords/

Google Cracks Captcha Codes

You have seen the distorted “captcha codes” that you enter to prove you are a human when making an enquiry or similar on a website. Google themselves use them on their site.

But when they photograph your house for their Street View on Google maps, they need to read street numbers etc. So they have developed the technology to decode distorted images of house numbers and words – similar to captcha codes. So they have now developed the technology that would allow spammers to get around the Captcha codes designed to prevent spam!

Ironic if it reduces security on Google’s sites as well!

Windows 8

Another technology upgrade that has not gone as well as the developers expected its Microsoft’s Windows 8

Pretty much an operating system designed for touch devices, Microsoft has taken the unusual step of releasing a major update only a short time after the initial product release (v8.1). This is because many users don’t actually have touch screens and many more don’t want to use them, preferring more traditional keyboard and mouse. Users also did not like the opening screen layout, preferring the more traditional Windows screen layout and functionality.

Apparently Microsoft will be releasing more updates soon to cater for these preferences. Somewhat of a backward step for them but good that they are listening to users – doesn’t happen often from the big corporations like Google and Microsoft.