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Windows 8‘s newest feature yet that Windows 7 and other major operating systems won’t have is to allow users to sign into their accounts with picture password. Before you say, “Hey, that doesn’t seem to be that secure,” it turns out Microsoft is coupling touch gestures with picture password so it won’t be too easy as in just selecting the correct picture password. If I’m not straying too far from facts, then each user should be able to log in faster with picture password by gesturing with at least three different touch gestures on a specific picture password.
Administrators can turn off the picture password feature if they favor text password feature. To prevent hackers from illegally attaining easy remote login, Windows 8 automatically disables picture password for remote login. It makes sense, users should be able to have a way to log in to their accounts faster and less problematic but still be considered as secure as usual, and so Microsoft’s answer is picture password for local network only.
I’m hoping Microsoft would add one more layer of security such as simple pin number or face recognition or voice recognition just to make logging into one’s account would be even more secure. Of course, face and voice recognitions aren’t hard to hack, because hackers could always photo someone’s face and record someone’s voice to bypass face and voice password recognitions. This is why I think such additional password recognition measures are good only if these are coupling with each other in layers. This way hackers must attain more than one things to bypass the layers of authentication.
I think it’s a good thing if users don’t have to remember long text passwords, because they might write down long passwords and leave such passwords in obvious places that anyone could have access to their passwords, consequently defeating the whole purpose of strong passwords. I think Windows 8’s picture password feature might not be adequate in protecting users’ logins even though Windows 8 is coupling picture with touch gestures to create stronger picture password. This is why I emphasize that picture password and touch gesture combination as an authentication method for Windows 8’s new password feature might need one or more layers of authentication such as face recognition. As long the additional layers of authentication are accurate and fast to execute, I don’t see there will be a problem of allowing users to log into their accounts fast, safe, and easy.
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Microsoft is bold and subtle at the same time. Many people might not realize that they would unintentionally switch to Windows Phone eventually, because when they use Windows 8 on PC more and more, the benefits of having Windows Phone are tremendous. Of course, nobody knows the future, and that is only a guess of mine. Nonetheless, to be bold and somewhat careless I say that Microsoft’s Windows Phone might eventually win the smartphone war if there is actually a smartphone war. How? Only Microsoft can convince people to stick with PC longer, and we don’t even have to wait for the arrival of Windows 8 to prove it since Windows 7 is doing a good job of staying relevant.
Business sector is so important to the economy, and the economy is so important to business sector; business sector and the economy are very important to Windows Phone and Windows Phone might too be very important for so and so. Especially, the economy has been hopping on one leg, I don’t see how the business sector would want to buy each employee a Mac unless Apple makes the Mac a lot cheaper or makes a special case for business sector. This is why I think when Windows 8 comes out, the business sector will go on trying to upgrade their affordable PCs and laptops to Windows 7. While at it, they will ponder on upgrading to Windows 8, too. Windows 8 is the key to why I think Microsoft will win the smartphone war if there is truly a smartphone war.
Windows 8 is designed to shine on as many components there are within Microsoft ecosystem. It’s all about the coherence of an ever tighter software and hardware intertwining ecosystem; connecting people tightly together through technology so data can be facilitated as if hardware and software boundary don’t matter in a technology ecosystem. Well, that’s how I see Windows 8 would do for Microsoft ecosystem. So, in the very very near future, you and I pick up a tablet or a smartphone, it might not be too hard for us to see that PC isn’t going anywhere as Windows 8 would remind us of PC even though we might be holding a smartphone or a tablet. Think about it, business folks don’t do serious typing and calculation and planning and designing on smartphones and tablets, because it’s just simply a fool’s errand to do such things on those half-serious devices. Just take a look at real estate of a screen of one of those on-the-go (i.e., mobile) devices and it would be crystal clear to see why it’s not possible to do serious works.
I think PC will stay around much much longer than we could ever imagine. Its form might change but its purpose has to be making serious works seem easy. So, as long PC stays around for foreseeable future, who says Microsoft doesn’t have a chance to convert most people over to Windows Phone? It is just making sense that Windows Phone and Windows 8 would fit nicely alongside each other. It is just making sense that people might want to fully invest in Microsoft ecosystem for Windows 8 is the key to encourage them to do so. From PC to smartphone, and even gaming console such as Xbox 360, all could be somewhat coherent as Metro style would be the dominant design/theme to tie most components within Microsoft ecosystem together. I think, a coherent ecosystem is the main key for Microsoft future success in regarding to a bid to win more customers over unless Metro style fails to charm the mass. While at it Microsoft, why don’t you throw in your own version of Siri?
Long before Windows 8 ships, PC makers are already implementing new hardware and firmware on upcoming batches of computers so when Windows 8 is ready for the mass, these newer computers will be ready to use Windows 8. There is a new feature that PC makers could implement which worries open source communities very much, and this feature known as Secure Boot. Microsoft recommends Secure Boot so hackers won’t be able to install rootkits on systems with Secure Boot enabled easily. This very same feature can also prevent users from installing unsigned operating systems such as Ubuntu. Linux communities are worrying how Secure Boot might be too hard to be disabled, and users won’t be able to install various Linux operating systems alongside with Windows 8 easily (i.e., dual boot). Some users might prefer to install Linux operating systems such as Ubuntu over Windows 8, and without an easy way to disable Secure Boot users won’t be able to do such thing.
Personally, I think Secure Boot is a very good idea. If it’s true that Secure Boot can prevent hackers to insert rootkits between the firmware and the signed operating systems, then it’s more power to users. Still, I have to agree with folks who are concerning of the possibility that Secure Boot might be too hard to be disabled. Let hope they will come to term and make sure that all new computers to be shipped with Secure Boot will have an option somewhere in the BIOS to allow easy disabling of Secure Boot. I know I will not be happy if I can’t run Linux operating systems alongside with Windows 8 through a method known as dual boot. Of course, I can always use virtualization to run Linux operating systems within Windows 8, but virtualization is always going to be a lot slower and uglier than dual boot — virtualization can’t allow the virtual machines to use full capacity in term of power of hardware.
Hackintosh users should worry too!
You can read more about Secure Boot through these sources: http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2011/10/the-right-to-dual-boot-linux-groups-plead-case-prior-to-windows-8-launch.ars?comments=1#comments-bar, http://blog.canonical.com/2011/10/28/white-paper-secure-boot-impact-on-linux/