Windows 8 double-fail

I was expecting to jump right into the Windows 8 experience today and do some upgrading and testing this weekend as well as play with my new Microsoft Surface tablet, but it appears that this will not be happening as Microsoft managed to fail twice in just one day…

I had, of course, been testing previous pre-release versions of Windows 8 and like the new features, but when I went to upgrade my home PC to Windows 8 Pro today, the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant failed spectacularly every time I tried to actually spend $39.99 and purchase a downloadable upgrade:


Furthermore, there is no back-button and so if this happens and you want to try again - thinking this might just be server overload - you have to re-enter all your information. It is also somewhat discouraging that a company like Microsoft has to rely on a 3rd party company called "arvato digital services, llc." to process upgrades? Why is this not sold through the Microsoft Store? Last, but not least, wouldn’t you think that Microsoft would run a spell-checker on their error messages? "Intializing" isn't' even a word…

So I figured I'd wait with my PC upgrade until tomorrow and was looking forward to instead work with my new Microsoft Surface tablet that was supposed to be delivered today. I had pre-ordered the device on the day it was announced and was promised a delivery today, October 26th. Imagine my surprise when I checked the FedEx tracking info from the Microsoft Store link:

Surface RT FedEx non-delivery

So it seems the pre-ordered Surface that was guaranteed to be delivered today is going to show up on Monday instead.

Great job, Microsoft, making a first impression with Windows 8…

UPDATE: On the fifth attempt the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant worked, the order completed, and the download progress is now at 32% with 5 minutes remaining…

UPDATE 2: FedEx ended up doing a separate delivery run today, so the Surface also arrived.

Altova unleashes 64-bit power for working with XML

It’s no secret: XML files are getting bigger every day as people devise more ways to utilize XML for real-world applications that involve large amounts of data. Up until now people were limited in the size of XML files that could be comfortably edited or processed due to the 32-bit nature of Windows and the limitations of memory that was available to applications.

Not anymore! I am very excited to announce that Altova today launched version 2010 release 2 of our entire product line and all our applications are now available in both 32-bit and shiny new 64-bit versions. Obviously, the 64-bit versions of our tools require a 64-bit version of Windows Vista or Windows 7 to be installed on your computer. And once you take the leap to 64-bit you will never want to look back.

I’ve personally been using Windows 7 64-bit since the launch of Windows 7 last fall and my computer now has 20GB (!) of RAM and you just won’t believe how super-fast applications like Adobe Photoshop CS4 (which is available in a 64-bit version!) suddenly are in such a configuration.

And now you can add XMLSpy, MapForce, UModel, StyleVision and all the other MissionKit applications to the list of super-fast and efficient 64-bit applications. Here is an example of the 64-bit version of XMLSpy 2010r2 editing a 2.7GB XML file – in this case a Wikipedia abstract dump (i.e. all abstracts for all Wikipedia articles):

XMLSpy 64-bit editing a 2.7GB XML file

You just can’t do that in any other XML editor today. There may be some competitors who want to make you believe that just by running their Java-based editor on a 64-bit version of the JVM you suddenly have a 64-bit app, but if you read their tech support forums you will quickly find that they cannot actually edit any files larger than 2GB. Hmmm, really?

What it boils down to is this: XMLSpy really is the only 64-bit XML Editor you can use today for working with large files without any limitations, provided you have enough RAM in your computer. And “large files” doesn’t necessarily mean GB-sized! You will notice that working even with 100MB files is significantly faster in the 64-bit version.

To ease the transition period from 32-bit to the new 64-bit world for our customers, we have configured all our tools so that you can install both versions in parallel. This might be necessary especially if you are using database drivers that aren’t available in 64-bit versions yet. Read more about the new 64-bit versions here and learn when you may want to use which version. Also, if you are using a Microsoft Access database you might want to read our new TechNote about Using Access Database in a 64-bit world.

In addition to the new 64-bit versions of our applications, we have also added several significant performance improvements that affect both 32-bit and 64-bit applications, such as optimizations upon opening files that result in files sized 10-100MB opening about 15 times faster than before.

And version 2010 release 2 contains tons of other new features, such as SharePoint support, UML 2.3 support, DiffDog integration for Windows Explorer, external C# and Java calls in MapForce mappings, and many more features.

Download and install the driver for ... Windows Vista?

I received this curiously strange error message today, after Windows Vista on my desktop computer came back from a blue screen:


It seems that Windows Vista is asking me to download and install a new driver to run … Windows Vista???

That's the same error message format that you sometimes see when a graphic card or other hardware device malfunctions and Windows recommends that you download and install a new driver for that hardware. But it appears that in this case Windows has a problem running itself...