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June 13th, 2013

NEWS FLASH: Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2013 has taken over San Francisco’s Moscone Center this week. Already we know that the product codenamed “Cabernet” is the new OS X Mavericks, and there’s a new Mac Pro, iOS 7, and other Apple-icious stuff to talk about. And we will, with 20/20 hindsight, too—check out our complete WWDC wrapup on Tuesday, June 18!

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Windows-XPSometimes it seems like tomorrow never comes. We’ve been hearing about the “expiration date” of Windows XP for a couple of years now, and it’s still another nine months or so until Microsoft officially abandons it. Come April 8, 2014, there will be no more bug fixes, patches, updates, or anything else from Microsoft related to XP. This third-generation OS (Operating System) runs on an estimated 570 million computers worldwide, the second highest installed base (38%) behind Windows 7 (45%). No one has any idea of how consumers will react, but Microsoft is sparing no effort in promoting Windows 7, its new net offering Office 365, and, in particular, Windows 8 (make that 8.1).

Among the most convincing reasons to update consistently is for the ever-improving security infrastructure in business-critical software. Nothing is 100% safe, of course, but that is no reason to forgo updates, patches, and upgrades that do offer greater security from outside (and inside, too). Running Windows 98 on a computer rental of yesteryear would be “security suicide” today, not to mention the compatibility problems that would be inherent in a world using such a sleek, slick modern OS as Windows 8 or the new OS X Mavericks (see WWDC wrap-up on Tuesday, June 18). The new Mac OS will be showing up this fall on the just-announced Mac Pro as well as all the other Mac models.

Hang on anyway?

There are more computer users working on obsolete systems (hardware and software) than you’ll ever know, and it happens with Mac users, Windows users, and Linux “lone rangers,” too. Some computer makers, most notoriously Apple, make product changes that orphan entire user populations, which contributes to Apple’s steady loss of its “coolness factor.” With XP fading away, Microsoft is more concerned about a loss of people, as the user population of Windows XP is well over half a billion. Real soon you won’t be able to rent laptops with good ol’ XP anymore, and after the official end-of-support day (4/8/2014) not only will Microsoft not support it, more and more browsers, programs, and online services won’t, either.

Where will the XP folks go? Most will end up with Windows 7 or 8; a few will opt for RT on the low-end Surface; some will bail and get an iMac or Linux box; and an unknown number of early-adopter types will go for a potent Android tablet. Another “last” for XP was the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, which replaced MS Pen Computing in 2002. All Windows iterations since Vista have natively supported pen computing. The very latest OS, Windows 8.1, was retooled to wring the maximum efficiency out of ever-more-accurate touch screens, deploy “smart” power management tools for a dramatic increase in battery life, protect you with beefy security features, and not give you the Blue Screen of Death.

Sooner… or later?

Time waits for no one. It’s easy (make that effortless) to be a slow adopter, and perhaps not so costly in your personal life. But if your business doesn’t keep up with the Jones Corporation’s latest and greatest hardware, software, and Whatever-as-a-Service, your bottom line can suffer. In about eight months, XP slips into limbo, a gray area in which the unsupported OS could actually remain installed on many companies’ computers—and work just fine, according to some experts. So, go or no-go? You have enough time to make an unhurried, careful decision, so take a deep breath, do your homework, and get help if, when, where, and how you need it. There is life after XP. In fact, considering the Never Say Never Rule, there just might be XP after XP, too. To be continued—in other words, we’ll keep you posted!

In the meantime,  CRE will continue to serve you with everything from laptop and desktop computer rentals with Windows to the mass storage needed for post-production. Wherever you need help—on-site, on the road, or at a convention—your solutions are all right here. Call an experienced Account Executive at (877) 266-7725, send us a message, or visit our Quick Rental Quote page if you know what you need. We are always ready to help you!

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