Advisory: Russia’s possible return to Winter Time in 2012

Earlier this summer we received news reports that the Russian government was considering a move to Winter Time, changing their prior decree in 2011 to abolish Daylight Saving Time in the federation.  At that time, we weren’t certain the government would make this change.

Recent news confirms there is a move in government to revise the current Federal Law and allow for the transition from summer to winter time…

“Russia’s railways have halted ticket sales for trains leaving after late October amid confusion created by the authorities’ failure to decide in good time whether to put the clocks back this winter.

“… the head of the parliament’s health committee submitted a bill calling for Russia to stay in winter time all year round, paving the way for the switchback.”

If you recall the change in Russia last year (which was intended to be a permanent change) we provided most updates and guidance in our products and services in advance of the change. This year is different: the changes could be enacted into law quickly and impact our ability to provide a comprehensive set of updates and guidance.

We don’t have a complete picture of the proposed changes but should learn more after Parliamentary hearings on the issue later this week. More information will be provided externally at

Tags: Microsoft, Daylight Saving Time, Daylight Savings Time, RSS,DST, Russia

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Advisory: Armenia will not observe daylight saving time in 2012

If you read this blog regularly, you’ll recall that Armenia proposed changes to their stand on daylight saving time…

We now have confirmed reports that similar to the move in Russia, that Armenia, Belarus and Ukraine won’t fall back but also stay permanently on summer time on October 30. (There have been some initial rumours about other countries following Russia’s lead and considering cancelling Daylight saving time too. We will also provide details on these changes as they come up and are ratified and enacted into law.)

Today we confirmed that Armenia has cancelled DST starting in 2012, as noted in this blog post advisory…

In an attempt to improve the country’s economy, the government of Armenia has cancelled Daylight Saving Time. This will result in the country staying on permanent ‘winter time’ and not moving an hour ahead on Sunday, March 25th 2012.

Since the new date published by the government is different from what was defined in the previous years, Windows-based computers will not correctly interpret the time after March 25th 2012.

Microsoft will not be issuing an update for Windows at this time to address this change. The recommendation is to move to an alternate time zone: Russian Standard Time [DisplayName: “(UTC+04:00) Moscow, St. Petersburg, Volgograd” ]

The time zone Caucasus Standard Time [DisplayName: “(UTC+04:00) Yerevan”] will be updated in the next cycle of cumulative time zone update for Windows (next planned is August 2012).

Essentially the recommendation is that customers in Armenia to move to an alternate time zone: one alternate time zone recommendation is “Russian Standard Time” DisplayName: (UTC +4:00) Moscow, St Petersburg, Volgograd) in Windows.

We don’t plan to issue a hotfix or update at this time for Windows, but plan to include and revise the native time zone for Armenia in the next release of Windows cumulative time zone updates, planned for August 2012.

We’ll continue to watch the developments and changes around the world. As noted previously, we do provide some guidance on, that in order to achieve more seamless transitions to new DST and time zones policies, Microsoft requests that governments provide the following:

  • Ample advance notice (1 year or more) of the planned change.
  • Official published confirmation of planned changes to DST or time zones.
  • Concentrated efforts on promoting the change to the affected citizens.

Tags: Microsoft, Daylight Saving Time, Daylight Savings Time, RSS,DST, Armenia

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Another look at the PC of tomorrow, in your pocket with Windows To Go

A couple of months ago, I opined about what will the PC might look like in five years, and offered a view of my son’s possible Windows PC in 2016

“The icing on this hardware cake will be the additional power outside the box. Given he’ll be connected to the most powerful servers on the planet anywhere and everywhere, the cloud will provide the real computing horsepower he needs to handle heavy computer lifting.

“So I’ll stick with my wager: off hours, my son’s primary technology consumption and communication device will be a phone… with his two PCs and cloud storage allowing him to express his creativity and manage his life. (What the phone will look like is anyone’s guess, but I do like where we’re going with the Windows Phone form factor – eventually I’ll be able to replace the contents of my slim wallet with my phone, but I’m not sure we’ll get there by 2016.)”

Today, I wanted to add to that list, primarily looked at from a consumer point of view, with a bent towards enterprises, given the announcements today on the Windows blog and live at CeBIT supporting an even smaller, more portable and affordable form factor: a USB drive.

My friend Erwin Visser from the Windows org noted how enterprise customers will be able to leverage Windows To Go, which provides a Windows 8 desktop on an external USB drive…

“… that a user can boot from any PC available at work, at home, or just about any location, with or without connectivity. It’s like having your secure corporate PC in your pocket. And this means employees will be able to do things like travel light without sacrificing productivity, IT organizations can support the “Bring Your Own PC” trend, and businesses can give contingent staff access to the corporate environment without compromising security.

“Every time I talk with customers about Windows To Go, a new scenario comes up, like how it will be helpful in situations like working from home or vacation and disaster recovery, and we expect it will be highly valuable for certain industries like military or education. I’m excited to hear how Windows To Go will be used within your organization because I truly believe it will give businesses an array of new possibilities in mobile productivity.”

Imagine besides having your phone, also having a secure corporate PC in your pocket, with the same security and management you have on your corporate Windows 7 PC today. At today’s prices – roughly $1/GB – users will have affordable yet robust systems with a huge amount of storage space, further enabled with cloud connectivity, processing and storage, all on a small form factor that operates just about anywhere.

Ars Technica wrote about Windows To Go today with a step-by-step guide on creating your own Windows 8 “mobile” alternative…

“In theory, Windows to Go could give administrators a way of creating a verified, locked-down image of the Windows 8 OS that can be given to wandering users, temporary off-site contractors, or telecommuters to allow them to connect to the corporate network with confidence from their own (or someone else’s) computer.

“So is this a potential solution for enterprises? Since this works with any USB-mountable storage, it’s certainly one way to deal with the whole bring-your-own-device conundrum companies are now facing in various ways. It would allow employees and contractors to use the hardware of their choice (as long as it’s up to the task). And by using administrative tools to do system policies and Active Directory lockdown, it’s possible to prevent users from exfiltrating data to their own systems, or infect the corporate network with the viruses they’ve downloaded to their own systems.”

Today I carry a couple of password protected USB drives (using as I noted here with Bitlocker To Go) with the files I need on the go. It won’t be long until I have the entire computer experience in my pocket.

Tags: Windows, Windows 8, Windows 7, Microsoft.

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Microsoft on standards, behind the scenes building Windows 8, and more of what I’ve read this week

A few links of interest today… a quick post as I need to get through my email. Busy week.

With Valentines around the corner, I particularly enjoyed these 16 things Calvin & Hobbes said better than anyone else via @moorehn

Thanks to Larry Hryb (aka @majornelson) we’re reminded what happens to the losing team’s championship shirts: #SuperBowl

This great news on the Microsoft Giving Campaign: Microsoft Employees Give Back in Record Fashion: US$100.5 million in 2011

My take on what the PC will look like in five years, with a nod to my son’s possible Windows PC in 2016:

Microsoft’s public statement on support for industry standards:, plus our blog post on Microsoft’s position and support for industry standards:

BuildWindows8: Good grief. We said “Media Center will definitely be part of Windows 8” in

Also from the Win8 team: Behind the scenes building Windows on ARM, “WOA”.. video demo and tons of details see post … lots to read about! 🙂

While we’re on the topic: CNET reported that Metro’s not just an interface to Microsoft. “It’s an ethos.” Here’s why it rules.

Since we’re on a roll, how about this post on Windows 8, which should be called “Alive and kicking!” 😉 via @MichaelGillett

And worth reading: “Designing Windows 8 or: How to Redesign a Religion” via @MPalermiti

Via toddbishop: Microsoft merges voice-response tech into 24/7 Inc., promises smarter self-serve calls

From Microsoft Australia: SMB Video Series: How to manage your PCs #intune

Via Forrester Research: Top customer experiences can come from unexpected places – what brands surprise you with their customer experience?

From Linda Thomas: Facebook Timeline: Disliked by the Masses

Related, @marypcbuk‘s article ‘Why Windows 8 needs architectural hygiene for WOA’ #zdnetuk

Via danah boyd: More people live alone than at any other time in history. This is good & bad. @NYTimes oped by @EricKlinenberg:

Is This Living Room Big Enough for My TV? @NYTimes has some helpful hints:

Related, this from Om Malik on why smartTVs are going to be the next net neutrality battle ground.

From Eric Ligman, Microsoft Unveils Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile #msuspartner #mspartner via @kevinmachayya

Alan Moore explains the Guy Fawkes mask, Occupy, Anonymous and anti-ACTA protests

The erudite Michael S. Kaplan blogs: The oft-repeated ‘What version of Unicode do we/will me support?’ question, Redux

Vinod Khosla: Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science – Magazine –

The average price of a home in Menlo Park has already gone up from $1.8m to $2m ahead of Facebook’s IPO

From Roger von Oech, creativity strategy: For a fresh approach: “Change Viewpoints.” Fun story at:

Via Fast Company: With “Lillyhammer” @Netflix Wants To Destroy Traditional TV, Get You “Hooked” On All-At-Once Watching by @AustinCarr

By SAI: The Least Stealthy Startup In The Valley Has Officially Launched $CSCO by @Julie188

From Techland: Study suggests that Apple mobile apps are more crash-prone than Android apps |

From VentureBeat: Dylan’s Desk: What it takes to compete with Silicon Valley

In the Wall Street Journal: Are French parents superior? This author says while American’s fret, French raise happy children without the anxiety.

Just a reminder: Google+ ‘is not a social network’ via @Telegraph. Confused with a movie of the same name

Via Bruce Temkin: Thinking about a Chief Customer Officer role within your company? Check out my new post: #cx custexp

Cisco’s Vision: Top 5 Future Technology Trends

Harvard Biz Review: America’s Next Top Engineer: She Needs Your Models

Via Dare Obasanjo: the difference between solving problems in real life versus school – #programming

How can we capitalize on #cloud computing to strengthen the #EU economy? from Microsoft Europe

More on Kinect for Windows: Game on for commercial use

Tarran Vaillancourt, Why I love #Windows7 – it can help employees be more productive while achieving better work-life balance “Ohmmm” 🙂

W3C co-chair: Apple, Google power causing Open Web crisis (@stshank / CNET)

Here’s How Microsoft Could Sell Lots Of ARM Tablets To Big Companies (MSFT), via Everything Microsoft

Also courtesy Vinod Khosla: The Future of Peer Review –

From Jessica Vascellaro, With 5.2% of PC shipments and 13.9% of smartphone shipments globally here’s one way Apple wants to close the gap.

Thanks to David Aronchick for the pointer on this great essay… may you all never have this problem: How to Minimize Politics in Your Company via @bhorowitz

Steve Wildstrom reports Why Tablets are Important For eCommerce | The Daily @Techpinion

And to round it out, from @tgrumm: Hilarious – Will Ferrell introducing da Bulls

Did you see ‘Walk Off the Earth’ cover song that got 50,000,000 views AND a record deal?

Tags: articles, what I read, twitter.

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What will the PC look like in five years? Here’s one look at my son’s possible Windows PC in 2016

The other day I mused about my past predictions of future PCs, noting how far we’ve come for price/performance over the last few years since 2004…

Way back in 2003, I worked in the Windows Hardware group, and was asked [in 2004] to present at an industry conference about “the PC of tomorrow”. Looking at what we had shown off that year at our Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC), I suggested the machine of PC of 2008 would be a multi-processor, 8GB machine with a 200GB HDD, DVD-multi optical and integrated web cam and telephony for under a grand (US$).”

Last night after the kids went to bed, I decided to address the question of what I thought my son’s PC would look like in four or five years. (This is my own look at one possible scenario, and not to be taken as a definitive view from our company on the direction of the PC. Now you know a little more about how I spend my spare time. #geek)

My initial thought in 2008 was that by the time our eldest son would be in high school (that will be this fall), he’ll be taking a light and sleek, slim-line, multicore notebook with slot-loading DVD, wide screen display, 16GB or memory and a 256GB SSD drive… all for under $1,000.

But I said that his main device will be a phone.

Since that prediction in 2008, we’ve seen comparatively incredibly powerful machines available for under $1,000, noting the recent addition at our home of a new Sony VAIO AIO, complete with an Intel core i5 processor, 4GB of memory, a 1TB HDD, touch input and much more in a very stylish package. By this fall, you’ll likely see similar packages complete with a faster processor, more memory and a larger HDD for the price I recently paid. Given inflation, the price in 2016 may be higher than $1,000, but it’s likely you’ll still be able to find a good PC at that level, and at various price points depending on your needs.

My guess in 2008 that he would spend more time on his phone than he does his notebook is probably true, but that’s changing: he now creates much more content with his PC than ever before. Today he has a sub $1,000 Alienware M11x notebook as his primary PC, with an Intel core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 500GB HDD, which may be upgraded to a larger traditional HDD or even a new solid state drive (SSD) in the fall (shhh… don’t tell him). The processor and RAM may be fine… but we’ll see what the market offers during the back to school and holiday 2012 shopping season.

But what about the time our oldest is ready for college, in 2016?

First, I’ll bet he’ll have more than one PC, but with a similar user experience on all of them.

  • One computer will have a keyboard in addition to touch input. That’s the convertible tablet notebook PC.
  • The other will likely be light, streamlined and have very few moving parts. That’s the slate.
  • The last will be a smartphone.

Last year, Steve Ballmer said that there were three areas of innovation to watch:

“No. 1, your computer will learn to recognize you, even more than it does today. It will see you. It will recognize your gestures, your voice, your fingers,”

“Secondly, “My computer will actually learn to understand me,”

“Then he mentioned cloud computing, where software and data are stored at remote servers run by companies like Microsoft and People access the software through computers, mobile phones and televisions.

“The cloud is essentially a buzzword that refers to using the Internet to connect you even more seamlessly to the people and information that’s important to you,” Ballmer said. “Those phenomena, in the large, will be the source of so many new companies … that it will be a really exciting time over the next five, 10 years.”

All good things to consider in the PC of five years in the future. Perhaps even this fall, given some of the advances we see today, particularly when it comes to touch input and speech recognition, plus the incredible shift to the cloud (for storage and services).

As my son will be editing video, writing code, playing very involved online games and managing his multimedia website empire, his primary PC will likely be a convertible tablet the size of a magazine that is power-smart and runs for hours on a single charge, plugs into a nice dock and large screen/TV on his desk, complete with array mics, HD quality cameras (front and back), and a HD quality multi-touch screen. He’ll still type and mouse, given the need to interact with content (audio, video and code) as well as having his computer handle day to day dictation. Today, I like having the option of using my current HP Elitebook 2760p either as a slate or a full fledged notebook PC with attached keyboard (that also protects the screen). I’m also intrigued by the form factor of the Acer Iconia Tab W500 (at right), providing the mobility of a slate with the productivity of a notebook.  (I wonder if this approach will catch on in the future or be supplanted by a slate with an external keyboard.)

I think that his slate, used for consumption, reading assignments, social media, entertainment content and some limited game play, will have very similar specs –  just as we see in the specs closely shared by the current Samsung Series 9 notebook PC and the complimentary Samsung Series 7 slate PC (shown at right) – both running the same Windows OS.

Not only will these devices recognize his voice, his face and his fingerprints, with the Windows OS and the right Office suite 😉 they will understand his schedule, his likes and dislikes, priorities and help him make better decisions (with a great decision engine, no doubt ;).

Given our household, I expect we’ll have a future iteration of the Windows Home Server – perhaps a networked NAS device that also connects and synchronizes with offline storage for cloud access and back up to avoid catastrophes. When you consider today that each member of our household has 25GB in the cloud for free on Windows Live (via SkyDrive), signing in to Windows with a Windows Live ID will be a more seamless experience, and (as Steven noted in the linked post) more personal and easier to set up as it protects your privacy and safety. As connections to these servers gets faster and more efficient, new scenarios that have not been fully available before will be possible. We’ve started to outline some of the ways that the cloud will be a mainstream way to access and leverage content from just about anywhere you have a connection.

Common to these devices will be incredibly fast boot times. You can also imagine that 16 to 32GB of RAM will be more common, and given recent market research report estimates, the top size of a single very large capacity disk drive will increase to 8TB, with 1TB (perhaps 2TB) of on board SSD storage – maybe half that on the slate – will be available. The processors on these PCs of 2016 will have power that easily bests the Core i7-3960X of today (with six cores and a 15MB L3 cache) to manage what’s there on the PC, as well as his constant communications over the mobile Internet.

Absent on both of these: DVD-multi optical. Just as the floppy disk disappeared from view a few years ago (is there a mainstream OEM offering an on-board floppy?), I expect that mostly desktop machines will feature Blu-Ray DVD read/write support, with most slim notebooks looking to the Web for content and apps, on occasion utilizing external drives for adding archived content and installing legacy applications (for installing classics like Zoo Tycoon 2, of course).

Still prevalent will be the ubiquitous RJ-45 Ethernet port, headphone and mic jacks, USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports, and of course the SD card slot. I’ll still be using SD cards for the vacation photos and video on 128 and 256GB SD cards from my HD camcorder on the PC, for editing, publishing and archival.

In 2003, I suspected that telephony would be better integrated into the PC of 2008 – perhaps not as literal as the telephone handset of our Athens PC prototype shown in the mock ad above, but integrated with an array of microphones and integrated. That’s there as well, just as it is today, via a headset or on-board audio, but I expect even better integration with mobile phones. I expect that he’ll make most of his phone calls from that PC as well, multitasking as he does today: chatting away while playing games, doing homework and working on his various projects on a slim, fact slate/notebook.

The icing on this hardware cake will be the additional power outside the box. Given he’ll be connected to the most powerful servers on the planet anywhere and everywhere, the cloud will provide the real computing horsepower he needs to handle heavy computer lifting.

So I’ll stick with my wager: off hours, my son’s primary technology consumption and communication device will be a phone… with his two PCs and cloud storage allowing him to express his creativity and manage his life. (What the phone will look like is anyone’s guess, but I do like where we’re going with the Windows Phone form factor – eventually I’ll be able to replace the contents of my slim wallet with my phone, but I’m not sure we’ll get there by 2016.)

Now if I could only get him to clean up his room to make it as organized as his Windows desktop. 😉

Additional perspectives:

Q&A: “Athens” Prototype PC Inspires Innovations Showcased at WinHEC 2004: A blast form the past, in an interview with Tom Phillips at the 2004 Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, talking about the evolution of the PC as a center for information-worker communication and collaboration.

Microsoft’s Home of the Future: If you want to get a glimpse of one Microsoft view on the Home of the Future, then take a tour with Steve Clayton, as shown here:

Microsoft Office Productivity Future Vision: Find out how technology could transform the way we get things done at school, at work, and in the home over the next 5 to 10 years. (Video release: 2009)

Tags: Windows, Windows 7, Microsoft.

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