Lexicon Systems, LLC Blog

lex'•i•con: the vocabulary of a branch of knowledge. Thoughts on environment, health & safety (EHS), sustainability and information technology to support them.


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I hope that you have been using Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, or an Internet browser other than Internet Explorer for the last two weeks or so.

Though Microsoft ended support for its popular Windows XP operating system on 08 April 2014, recent security threats spurred the company to issue an emergency security patch on 26 April. The security vulnerability affects users of Internet Explorer versions 6-11 on various Windows operating systems.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 Logo

“We have made the decision to issue a security update for Windows XP users,” Dustin Childs, group manager of Microsoft Trustworthy Computing, wrote in a blog post. “Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, and we continue to encourage customers to migrate to a modern operating system, such as Windows 7 or 8.1.” 

Read more…

Logo: Google

In news releases on 28 April, the US and UK governments asked people to stop using Internet Explorer (IE) until its security vulnerabilities were fixed. According to netmarketshare.com, over half of the desktop PC market used IE in one version or another when the “zero day” vulnerability was identified. Many organizations immediately switched from Internet Explorer to Google Chrome.

 

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With Windows XP End of Support, Chromebooks are a popular option to Windows PCs

Now that Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, organizations that still use the 13-year-old operating system (OS) must face reality–at some point, they must upgrade their OS, and likely their computer. When Microsoft released Windows XP to market, more organizations provided desktop than laptop computers. Using a laptop meant sacrificing features and forking over more dollars to gain mobility.

Those who have yet to “sunset” Windows XP no longer need to be tethered to their desks (See: Windows XP Sails into the Sunset… Maybe). A world of technologies became available (and affordable) since 2001, notably:

  • Wireless networks (WiFi) and Mobile hotspots (MiFi)
  • Lightweight notebook computers
  • Smartphones, tablets and apps
  • Social networks, Cloud applications and data storage
  • More power-efficient chips and hours of operation between charges
  • Solid state “flash” drives
Image: hp

Image: hp

Windows XP End of Support lets organizations rethink their IT strategies. Businesses and educational institutions alike can consider alternative Windows , Mac and Google OS and hardware. Chromebooks are a popular option, with their simplicity and low entry cost of $275 to $300 USD.

Read 10 Reasons Today’s Chromebooks Look Like a Smart Mobile PC Buy.

 


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Microsoft Pulls Plug on Windows XP Support

Just last week—08 April 2014—Microsoft stopped supporting the tremendously popular Windows XP operating system. They will provide security updates/patches for another fifteen months, through July 2015.

Loyal XP users need to decide if “I’d rather fight than switch” or “I’d rather switch than fight…” and they need to decide soon, since upgrades in large organizations can take 12-18 months.

pull-the-plug-square

Windows XP Sails into the Sunset… Maybe speaks to the impacts and unintended consequences of the long-announced end of support.

End of support impacts millions of users. Where does that leave the millions of business and consumer users still on that operating system? Will they fight upgrading to Windows 8.1, or switch to an alternative operating system. What challenges will people face when upgrading to a new OS?

End of support has unintended consequences. First, it resulted in a resurgence in Windows 7 laptop sales and Windows 7 OS upgrades. Second, it resulted in the purchase of Windows-alternative hardware and software. End of support gives organizations a reason to evaluate whether they need laptops into the future, or if other technologies (cloud, mobile, and social) are better alternatives.


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Windows XP support ending soon

Microsoft stops support for the Windows XP operating system (OS) early in April, and stops support for the associated malware software in July. Despite Microsoft’s warnings to update from Windows XP to Windows 8.1 before “end of support,” many large organizations continue to use the almost 13-year-old computer operating system. It is the most popular OS next to Windows 7. And some companies will switch to Windows 7 rather than Windows 8.x.

windows-xp-computer

Image: Microsoft

Companies can

  1. continue to use Windows XP and later change to another OS;
  2. upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1; or
  3. upgrade to an OS such as Chrome OS, Mac OSX Mavericks or Android.

Windows XP end of support allows an opportunity to evaluate how IT needs have changed in the last 13 years. Organizations can decide which new technologies—hardware, operating systems, mobile, Cloud and Big Data—will work best for them.

The next “IT Insight” column, Windows XP sails into the sunset… maybeappears in em Magazine on April 1. Check back here or on our web site early in April for a link to the column.


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Planned obsolescence

Today I was reminded–again–of how things just don’t last the way they used to. We tried to repair a 2 1/2-year-old desktop computer that bit the dust. The extended warranty ran out at 2 years. So, it was back to the “big box” store to recycle yet another nonfunctional big ticket item.

Per Wikipedia, planned obsolescence is the concept of designing a product with a limited useful life, so that it will become obsolete after some time. This concept favors the manufacturer and stimulates the economy when consumers must purchase a new item to replace the obsolete one. Forms of planned obsolescence in the IT arena include

  • technical or functional obsolescence, where new technologies replace the old. Great examples are personal computers, software, hard drives and storage. A PC can last through about one operating system upgrade, or 3-4 years, before it lacks the speed and memory to run the latest software.
  • systemic obsolescence, where the product can no longer be maintained, and/or the manufacturer stops supporting it. With PCs, Microsoft will support Windows 2-3 versions back. When Windows 8 debuts this week, organizations and consumers will have a limited time to replace systems running Windows XP, which no longer will be supported a number of months from now.
  • obsolescence by depletion, where the product consumes a resource. All printers consume ink/toner, as well as items like print heads, belts and fusers. When my latest ink jet printer needed a set of four new print heads, it was less costly to buy a brand new one. I received a $50 credit for turning in an old printer, and got a replacement with new ink, new print heads and several technical refinements, including “e-printing” from smartphones and tablets and remote PCs.

Admittedly, the desktop computer did not fall neatly into any of these three categories–it simply stopped working, and a $100 1TB hard drive did not fix the problem. But it simply did not last even the 3-4 years we expected. At the same time, we have a fully functional computer that’s 13 years old. We upgraded the operating system a couple of times and installed a DVD drive years ago. It keeps on running.

 


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Should the enterprise upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8?

Organizations currently running Microsoft Windows XP need to do something, as support for this operating system (OS) ends in about 18 months.

“…enterprises using Windows XP …are entering a danger zone as all support for the OS will end in April 2014. Moving to a new OS for a large organization takes up resources, money and time, and according to Gartner, XP users will run out of time if they don’t act now.”

Source: Microsoft

Should they wait for Windows 8 to be released, or upgrade to Windows 7? A new Gartner report says that enterprises currently running Windows XP should upgrade to Windows 7, not Windows 8 (scheduled for release this month). Windows 8 has a total user interface redesign that will make user adoption a challenge for those who resist change.

When Microsoft releases Windows 8 to market, it will not be mature–many organizations wait until the first or second service pack is available–which could take a year. Gartner advises organizations to start upgrading to Windows 7 as soon as possible. Read more at shar.es/5HXRw.