Fixing failed wifi on Surface Pro

I experienced an odd problem on a Surface Pro (first edition). This happened shortly after upgrading to Windows 8.1 Update though not immediately after.

Symptom: I could connect to wifi but although I had five bars of signal strength, according to the notification area icon, I had no connection; and ipconfig reported “Media disconnected” for the wifi adapter. Tried a different wifi point, same problem. Rebooted (of course), same problem.

My next thought was another old favourite: reset tcp/ip with netsh int ip reset. Restarted, no change.

The fix I found was to go into device manager (which was not reporting any issues) and to remove the Marvell wireless network controller. Scan for hardware changes to reinstate same, and I was up and running.

The incident reminds me of how fragile Windows seems to be at times. One of the reasons I like Windows RT (the ARM version) is that its locked-down operating system should be more resilient though it is not immune (you can still scramble the registry if you feel so inclined).

Update: I may not yet be in the clear. Later in the day, wifi failed again, and this time the Marvell adapter showed in device manager with a fault icon. Enabling and disabling the device restored connectivity. A driver issue with the latest Windows update? Or failing hardware?

Review: Velodyne vLeve on-ear headphones

Velodyne is best known for its fine range of sub-woofers, but the company also makes a range of headphones, of which the vLeve is towards the bottom of the range.


The headphones are supplied in a smart glossy box with the reassuring words “High performance headphones” on the front. I am not sure what the name signifies though the word Leve means “Live” in some languages so it perhaps hints at enjoying life – what better way than listening to music through high quality cans?


Inside the box are the headphones, a handy bag, and a 3.5mm jack cable. There is no adaptor for a 1/4″ jack socket; a shame though these are easily optainable elsewhere. The headphones fold for portability.


The vLeve is lightweight and feels even a little flimsy though it seems well made. The design is the on-ear type. I found that careful positioning of the pads on your ears is essential for the best sound; it is surprising how much difference is made by a small change in position.

Velodyne is keen to sell you add-on skins to give a more colourful appearance.


Since you may well be out and about wearing these the appearance is important and a matter of taste; personally I am happy without a skin as I care mainly about the sound, but these distinctive skins will appeal to many.

So how is the sound? It seems too obvious: but as you would expect from a sub-woofer company, the bass is exemplary. At first I thought the sound was a little bass-heavy, but comparison with other headphones does not bear this out. Rather, the bass is particularly tight and tuneful so you pay it more attention.

I played the excellent SACD We Get Requests by the Oscar Peterson Trio and the sound of Ray Brown’s double bass is a delight with a clean and natural sound.

The sound is relaxed, even slightly recessed, and may not appeal if you prefer a more analytical or exciting presentation. Swapping to my reference Sennheiser HD600s showed that the vLeve is not the last word in clarity or openness, but it was not disgraced and its compromises are easy to live with.

I did find the sound substantially better when using a headphone amplifier rather than an iPad or Nexus tablet (two that I tried). While this is not surprising in one sense, others are more tolerant of lesser amplification.

One annoyance: the cord at 130mm or just over 4 feet was too short for my liking, but again you can easily get a replacement if needed.

Note that Velodyne also make a similar wireless model, the vFree, which is reviewed separately.

A good choice especially for acoustic music and for use with high quality sources.

Price is $219 though available from around $130 if you scout around. UK prices to follow.

Published specifications:

  • Driver size: 34mm
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20 kHz
  • Sensitivity: 98 dB/1Khz/1mW
  • Impedance: 32 Ω

A quick hands-on with native code compilation for .NET

I had a quick look at the .NET Native Preview. I am interested to see what the benefits might be. Note that currently the preview only supports 64-bit Windows Store apps.

Here is what is promised:

For users of your apps, .NET Native offers these advantages:

  • Fast execution times
  • Consistently speedy startup times
  • Low deployment and update costs
  • Optimized app memory usage

I created a small C# app that counts prime numbers using a simple approach. I created it first as a Universal App that does not use .NET Native, and then as a second app that does use .NET Native.


My initial results are disappointing. The time taken to count prime numbers is similar in both apps.


As a further test, I added code that adds the prime numbers found to a ListView control using an async task. The idea was to see if GUI interaction and multi-threading would be more revealing than simply crunching numbers in a tight loop. The apps takes much longer with this enabled, but again, there is nothing to choose between the two.

Did I really succeed in compiling the app to native code? I think so. Here are the contents of the AppX folder for the standard .NET executable:


and here for the native compiled executable – note the additional DLLs:


I am not actually surprised that there is no performance benefit in my example. JIT (just-in-time) compilation means that any .NET application is native code at runtime, though optimization might be different.

I have ended up with a much larger app to deploy, though the relative difference would be less, I imagine, with an app that contains more code.

I can also readily believe that start-up time will be better for a native compiled app, since there is no need for the JIT compiler. However my app is so small that this is not significant.

My question though is what kind of app will benefit most from native compilation? I would be interested to see guidance on this.

Of course it is also possible that later iterations of the technology will yield different results.

Microsoft Build 2014: what happened

It’s curious. Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella has been in place for only a month which means that almost everything announced at Build, Microsoft’s developer conference which took place last week in San Francisco, must have been set before he was appointed; yet there was a sense of “all things new” at the event, as if he had overseen a wave of changes.

The wave began the previous week, with the simultaneous announcement and delivery of Office for iPad. The significance of this is threefold:

  • It demonstrated Microsoft’s decision to give first-class support to mobile platforms other than Windows
  • It demonstrated that Office can be redesigned to work nicely on a tablet
  • The quality of the product exceeded expectations, showing that in the right circumstances Microsoft can do excellent non-Windows software


Next came Build itself. It was a tale of two keynotes. The first was all about Windows client – both Phone and PC. The core news is the arrival of the Windows Runtime  (WinRT, the engine behind Metro/Store Apps) on Windows Phone 8.1. This means that WinRT is now the runtime that developers should target for apps that run across phone and desktop – and even, we were shown, Xbox One, which will support WinRT apps written in HTML and WinJS (Microsoft’s JavaScript library for Windows apps).

In support of this, Microsoft announced a new Universal App project for Visual Studio, which lets you share both visual and non-visual code across multiple targets. How much is shared is a developer choice.

There is more. A Universal App is now (kind-of) a desktop app as well as a Store app, since in a future free update to Windows 8, it will run on the desktop within a window, as well as appearing in the Start menu on the desktop. We were even shown this; apparently it is a mock-up. This was the biggest surprise at Build.


What did Executive VP Terry Myerson say about this? Here is the exact quote:

We are going all in with this desktop experience, to make sure your applications can be accessed and loved by people that love the Windows desktop. We’re going to enable your Universal Windows applications to run in a window. We’re going to enable your users to find, discover and run your Windows applications with the new Start menu. We have Live Tiles coming together with the familiar experience customers are looking for to start and run their applications and we’ll be making this available to all Windows 8.1 users as an update. I think there will be a lot of happy people out there.

This is significant. When Myerson says, “we are going all in with this desktop experience”, he does not mean backtracking on Windows Store apps, to return to desktop windows apps (Win32 or WPF) as the future of Windows development. Rather, he means Windows Store apps integrated into the desktop.

There is a further twist to this. Windows Store apps are sandboxed and cannot communicate with each other or with the operating system other than via carefully designed and secured paths. This is in general a good thing, but restrictive for businesses designing line of business apps. It also means that legacy code cannot be carried over into a Store app, other than by full porting.

In the just-released Windows 8.1 Update this has changed. Side-loaded apps (in other words, not deployed from the Windows Store) can now escape the sandbox thanks to Brokered Windows Runtime Components. There are some limitations (32-bit only on the desktop side, for example) but this will make it possible to implement business applications as Store apps even if they need to interact with existing desktop applications or services.

There is still a huge blocker to Store apps from a business perspective, which is that you need Windows 8. Still, my guess is that once the update with the restored Start menu appears, most of the objections to Windows 8 will melt away.

We also saw Office for the Windows Runtime, which will run on both Phone and PC. It is written, I discovered later, in XAML, DirectX and C++ (“Blazingly fast”, we were told). Corporate VP Kirk Koenigsbauer introduced a preview of this, or at least PowerPoint.


No detail yet, and several references to “early code” suggest to me that this is a year or more away from full release (giving Office on iPad a big head start); but it will come. Koenigsbauer did not call it cut-down; in fact, it was instanced as proof that WinRT is suitable for large-scale apps, so I would expect something more complete than Office on iPad; yet it is hard to imagine things like the VBA macro language appearing here in its current form (VBA is based on the ancient Visual Basic 6.0 runtime), so there will be some major differences.

We also saw Windows Phone 8.1, including the Cortana virtual personal assistant who responds to voice input. For me other things in Windows Phone 8.1 are more significant, including new swipe-style keyboard for fast text input, VPN, S/MIME secure email, and a new notification centre. Unlike touch Office, Windows Phone 8.1 is coming soon; Nokia’s Stephen Elop (soon to be in charge of Windows Phone at Microsoft) said that the first 8.1 Lumia devices could be out from May, depending on territory, and that all Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices will get the update in the summer.

On to day two, which was Cloud day, though we also got significant .NET developer news.

Executive VP Scott Guthrie introduced a new portal for Microsoft Azure, the cloud platform. This is not just a new look, but integrates with Visual Studio online so you can easily view and edit the code and track team projects. There are also new monitoring and analytics features so you can check page views, page load time, browser usage and more. Guthrie also announced integration with Puppet and Chef for deployment automation.


Language designer Anders Hejsberg also came on stage. He announced the release version of TypeScript, a “typed superset of JavaScript” which is suitable for large applications. He also announced a new preview release of the compiler project code-named Roslyn, and on stage pushed the button that published it as open source. What is Roslyn? It is the next generation compiler for C# and VB, and is itself written in C#. This enables compiler and workspace APIs, which in turn enable rich editor features:

The transition to compilers as platforms dramatically lowers the barrier to entry for creating code focused tools and applications. It creates many opportunities for innovation in areas such as meta-programming, code generation and transformation, interactive use of the C# and VB languages, and embedding of C# and VB in domain specific languages.

Roslyn will be fully released in the next version of Visual Studio, for which we do not yet have a date. Roslyn will be delivered alongside C# 6.0.

There is also a new .NET Foundation which will oversee open source projects for .NET, with backing from folk including Xamarin’s Miguel de Icaza and Umbraco’s Niels Hartvig. It is all a bit vague at the moment:

In the upcoming months, the .NET Foundation will be inviting many companies and community leaders to join the foundation, including its Board of Directors and will then finalize its operational details, including governance models for its open source initiatives, membership structure and industry and community engagement.

Another significant event in the .NET story is the arrival of true native code compilation for .NET, although currently only for 64-bit Store apps. More on this soon.

A couple of events during Build caught my eye. One was de Icaza’s session on using C# to build for iOS and Android, not so much for the content itself (though there was nothing wrong with it), but rather for the huge attendance it drew.


The session was moved to the Build keynote room, and while there were spare seats, the room felt well filled. This speaks loudly about the importance of those platforms even to Microsoft platform developers, as well as of Microsoft’s support of Xamarin’s work.

Another was the appearance of John Gruber, author of the Daring Fireball blog and an Apple enthusiast. He appeared in a video during the keynote, explaining how a project in which he is involved uses Azure for back-end services, and then in person at another session, interviewing journalist Ed Bott about what is changing at Microsoft.


Gruber seems to me representative of a group of smart observers who have not in general been impressed with Microsoft’s endeavours over the past few years; but he for one is now more positive on the subject. Windows Phone is much better than its market share suggests, he said. This alongside Azure and a new openness to supporting third-party clients has made him look more favourably on the company.

My summary is this. On the Windows client side, Microsoft is taking its unpopular Windows release and its minority Phone platform and making them better and more compatible with each other, making sense of the client platform in a way that should result in growth of the app ecosystem both on Phone and PC/Tablet. On the cloud side, the company is building Azure and Office 365 (two platforms united by Azure Active Directory) into a one-stop platform that is increasingly compelling. The result was a conference and a direction that was largely welcomed by those in attendance, as far as I could tell.

That does not mean that the PC will stop declining, or that iOS and Android will become less dominant in mobile. There is progress though, and more clarity about the direction of Microsoft’s platform than we have seen for some years.

For the official news from Build, see the Build Newsroom.

Microsoft Build goes nuts over Xamarin’s C# and .NET for iOS and Android

Xamarin’s Miguel de Icaza was booked for a standard session room at Build, Microsoft’s developer conference in San Francisco, but the session was moved to the keynote room because of demand. I am not sure how the likely demand was calculated, but it was possibly something to do with the event app that lets attendees plan their agenda.

It was just as well that the session got moved.


The attendance at the session mirrored my observation that Xamarin’s stand in the third-party partner exhibition was drawing more attention than any other. Xamarin’s tools let developers port applications to iOS and Android while still using C# and the .NET Framework.


I am not sure what to conclude from the obvious high level of interest in compiling apps for iOS and Android. You can interpret this as good news for Microsoft, in that it keeps developers working in .NET and with easy access to the libraries that support Microsoft services; or as bad news, in that it shows how many developers are moving towards non-Microsoft platforms in their app deployments.

It was the second time today that de Icaza appeared on the keynote stage. Earlier he stood there with Anders Hejlsberg, the author of C#.


It has been a long journey, from the time when Mono (the open source implementation of .NET founded by de Icaza) was viewed with distrust by Microsoft (as far as I could tell), as an open source competitor to the official version.

Now there is talk of whether Microsoft might acquire Xamarin – of which there is no news here at Build, I should emphasise.

What is a Universal Windows App?

At its Build developer conference in San Francisco, Microsoft has announced a new kind of Windows app: a Universal App. In fact, you can download the latest Visual Studio 2013 update (Update 2 RC) and


A Universal App runs on both Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1. But what is it really?

The place to start is with the runtime. In Windows Phone 8, Microsoft migrated the kernel in Windows Phone from the cut-down CE version of Windows, to the same kernel used by desktop Windows. However the app runtime in Windows Phone 8 remained Silverlight, Microsoft’s Flash competitor which was originally designed as a browser plug-in.

In Windows Phone 8.1 Microsoft has taken the next logical step, and ported the Windows Runtime (WinRT) to the phone. WinRT is the runtime behind the Metro/Modern/Store App environment introduced in Windows 8.

A Universal App runs on WinRT. This means that Windows Phone 8.1 supports the same variety of development options as Windows 8: XAML and C#, XAML and C++, HTML and the WinJS Javascript library (now open source), and DirectX for games.

The port is not 100%; there are some platform-specific APIs. Apparently compatibility is about 90% in terms of APIs available.

That said, a Universal App is not a universal binary. Apparently you can have a universal binary, but it is not the approach Microsoft is taking. A Universal App is a project type in Visual Studio.


When you create a Universal App you get a project with multiple targets.


By default you get two targets, but we have also seen Xbox One as a target, and conceptually we could see more: maybe Xamarin might extend it to support iOS and Android, for example.

The way this works is that at compile-time any code (which can include XAML and project assets such as images as well as C# code) that is in the Shared project gets merged into the target-specific project.

This means that a Universal App could contain very little shared code, or be almost entirely shared code. This is a developer choice.

Separately, Microsoft has now enabled an app identity to run across multiple Windows platforms in the Store. This means a user can purchase an app once for multiple platforms. However, this is more a business than a technical feature. It would be possible for the developer to offer a multi-platform app in the Store, but keep the development for each platform entirely separate.

That said, the shared WinRT aspect means that code sharing in a Universal App is very feasible. Most if not all non-visual code should work fine, and XAML experts will be able to share most of the UI code as well, thanks to the flexibility built into the XAML UI language.

That is the good bit. There is a problem though. Neither the Windows Phone app platform, nor the Windows 8 app platform have been hugely successful to date, but of the two, Windows Phone has fared better. There are now 500 new apps per day for Windows Phone, we were told here at Build.

Unfortunately, porting those Windows Phone apps to become Universal apps is not easy. Developers have to port their app from Silverlight to WinRT, before they can add a target for Windows 8. They will also need to maintain the old Silverlight app for users with versions of Windows Phone earlier than 8.1. Nokia has promised to offer upgrades for all Windows Phone 8 Lumia models, but that will not the base for all Windows 8 phones out there, and as ever operators have a role here.

Life is easier for Windows 8 app developers who now want to support Windows Phone 8.1; but there are not so many great Windows 8 apps for which Windows Phone users are anxiously awaiting.

Still, the Universal App approach makes perfect sense for the future, once Windows Phone 8.1 is established in the market. It also makes sense for enterprises with internal apps to deploy for mobile and tablet users.  

Saving Windows the sequel: the Return of the Start

Day one at Microsoft’s Build conference in San Francisco was Windows client day – including Windows Phone as well as full Windows. Two slides made the biggest impression on me. One was this one, the return of the Start menu to the desktop, and a Store app (the Mail client) running in a desktop window:


The other was this: Office redone for the Metro, sorry Modern user interface:


Note that Touch Office will run on Windows Phone as well as on full Windows. Microsoft has ported most of the Windows Runtime (WinRT), the software engine that runs the Modern UI, to Windows Phone. The new Office is written in XAML and C++ so will run on both platforms.

Has Microsoft backtracked on the Windows 8 concept championed by former Windows VP Steven Sinofsky?

To some extent it has. Sinofsky’s Windows 8 was a purer conception, in which the whole focus is on the Modern environment and the desktop is presented like a legacy component, an app within the environment that happens to run all your old stuff.

Users rebelled, businesses swore to stick with Windows 7, and Microsoft has been gradually unpicking bits of it to make it more palatable to existing users. In Windows 8.1 we saw the return of the Start button and an option to boot directly to the desktop. In Windows 8.1 Update 1 we see a window bar appear across the top of Store apps, when the mouse is at the top of the screen, Store apps on the desktop taskbar, and the taskbar running at times across the Modern UI.

The security boundaries are getting slightly eroded, with an option for side-loaded apps (mostly the realm of enterprise deployments) now able to escape the sandbox and run legacy code.

Windows 8 vNext goes further. Store apps in windows: is there anything left of Microsoft’s tablet platform?

Well yes, there is. Store apps will still run primarily full-screen, and more important, will still use the new controls – menus, buttons, lists – that can be operated easily with touch. They still use the blocky “Metro” design concept, which for all its faults (it is not the most beautiful of UI concepts) is easy to operate without mouse or keyboard.

The other perspective on Microsoft’s shifting approach to the Windows client is that it is putting all its energy into promoting these modern apps.

Sinofsky’s idea was to push users into the Modern environment by making it the heart of Windows 8 – the Start screen. That did not work, so now Microsoft is taking a gentler approach but with the same goal in mind. If users are working mainly on the desktop, the argument goes, we will bring the apps to them there.

Windows 8.1 Update 1 discreetly plants a link to the Windows Store on the desktop taskbar, making this point perfectly.

For users who work on the desktop, Store apps will now be more visible, and more appealing again once they run in a desktop window.

For developers, there is another big change. They  can now target both Windows and Phone with a single app project, called a Universal App, so the effective size of the target market, though still small compared to Android and iOS, has significantly increased. Users can buy an app once in the Store and run it on both platforms.

The Universal App can be further extended to Xbox One, which also includes WinRT.

It is all about the apps – as it always was. If developers support Microsoft’s app ecosystem with renewed vigour following these changes, the future of Windows in the new mobile world does look brighter.

The forthcoming Office, you will recall, is also a Store app. You will finally be able to get real work done in the tablet environment.

Microsoft has not backtracked, in the sense that we are not hearing at Build about a renewed focus on the desktop. Rather, we are hearing about a more integrated approach to supporting both desktop and Store apps in Windows, but with the same goal as before, to make Windows an operating system fit for purpose on tablets.

It is worth recalling that Windows 8 was not only about supporting touch. The WinRT environment is also about security, where apps are sandboxed, and easy deployment via the Windows Store. This way Microsoft can prevent Windows from being wrecked by malware and other unwanted software.

What of Windows RT, the ARM version? With Office coming to the phone, I am more or less convinced that the next tablet-only Windows devices will be based on Windows Phone rather than Windows RT. You will have Office, but not the desktop, for better or worse. But no such announcement has yet been made.

Microsoft announces the return of the Start menu to Windows 8 – again

Just announced at Microsoft’s Build conference in San Francisco: a new desktop Start menu:


Note that this is not part of Windows 8.1 Update 1 (about to become available) but rather a future Windows 8.1 update. It will be free to all users.

The Start button was re-introduced in Windows 8.1, but only takes you to the Start screen. This new one runs entirely on the desktop.

Another key new feature in this future update is the ability to run universal Windows apps (which are Store apps) in a window on the desktop.

The plan to make Windows 8 a more compelling update for desktop users, and to promote Store apps to users who use keyboard and mouse and mainly desktop apps.

Microsoft Build Sessions published: Windows Phone XAML and HTML/JS apps, new Azure APIs and more

Developing for Windows Phone is now closer to developing for the Windows 8 runtime, according to information from Microsoft’s Build sessions, just published.

Build is Microsoft’s developer conference which opens tomorrow in San Francisco.


Building a Converged Phone and PC App using HTML and JavaScript states that “An exciting part of Windows Phone 8.1 is that you can now start building applications natively in HTML and JavaScript.”

Other sessions refer to the Common XAML UI Framework, which seems to refer to a shared UI framework for Windows Phone and WIndows 8, but using XAML rather than HTML and JavaScript.

This is in addition to Silverlight, not instead, judging by this session:

We’ve been doing a lot of work with new converged XAML app support on Windows Phone 8.1, but what about legacy Windows Phone Silverlight XAML based apps?  Come learn about all the new features we’ve enabled with Silverlight 8.1.

Microsoft has also come up with new APIs for applications that integrate with its Azure cloud platform and with Office 365. The Authentication library for Azure Active Directory lets you build both Windows and mobile applications that authenticate against Azure Active Directory, used by every Office 365 deployment. There is also talk of using Azure for Connected Devices, meaning “Internet of Things” devices using Azure services.

Some other sessions which caught my eye:

Connected Productivity Apps: building apps for the SharePoint and Office 365 platform.

What’s new in WinJS: the road ahead. XAML vs HTML/JS is a big decision for Windows developers.

Anders Hejlsberg on TypeScript

Automating Azure: “The Azure Management Libraries and Azure PowerShell Cmdlets allow this type of automation by providing convenient client wrappers around the Azure management REST API”

Authentication library for Azure Active Directory: The Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL)

Panel discussion on desktop development: is there a future for WPF? Maybe some clues here.

Miguel de Icaza gets a session on going mobile with C# and Xamarin. I recall when de Icaza ran sessions on Mono, the open source implementation of the .NET Framework which he initiated shortly after Microsoft announced .NET itself, in nearby hotels at Microsoft events; now he is inside.

Learning from the mistakes of Azure: Mark Russinovich on what can go wrong in the cloud.

Looks like both cloud and apps for Windows Phone/Windows 8 are big themes at Build this year.

Review: When computing got personal by Matt Nicholson

This is a book which ends too soon; but it is a good read nevertheless.

Journalist Matt Nicholson here provides a history of personal desktop computing, beginning with machines like the DEC PDP-8 in 1965, which was not a desktop computer but merely the size of a refrigerator so more convenient than a mainframe, and the Canon Pocketronic in 1970 which was an early pocket calculator. The key enabler was the invention of the integrated circuit, which packs thousands (and today, sometimes billions) of semiconductors into a single package.


Early chapters follow the history of the MITS Altair, IBM’s first portable computers, Apple, Commodore, Atari, Intel and Microsoft. The reasons why IBM adopted Microsoft’s MS-DOS rather than CP/M from Digital Research are explained in detail; it was not merely because Digital’s CEO Gary Kildall was out flying when IBM called. Nicholson goes on to describe the battle of the WIMPs, graphical user interfaces from Apple, Digital Research and Microsoft, the triumph of Windows and the near-death of Apple before the return of Steve Jobs in 1997. The closing chapters look at the history of the Internet and the world wide web, and the rise of open source software and how Microsoft fought it.

I have read numerous books on the history of personal computing and rate this one highly. The research is excellent, backed by a 20 page bibliography. Nicholson also shows his editorial expertise by keeping the writing brisk and compact; the book is only 300 pages long.

That said, the book is stronger on the early years than it is on later developments. The bulk of the material relates to the years up to around 2004, a decade ago. Google hardly gets a mention, and the mobile revolution kicked off by Apple’s iPhone in 2007 has only a couple of paragraphs.

The reason I presume is that Nicholson aims to cover only desktop computers; yet the title of the book refers to personal computing, and a tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard being used for productivity (I am typing this review on one now) is part of the same story.

Nicolson describes how Microsoft turned on a pin in 1992, when Bill Gates authored his Internet Tidal Wave internal memo that marked the beginning of the company’s conversion to the web and its success with Internet Explorer.

It seems to me that this is a parallel with the announcement of Windows 8 in 2011 and Microsoft’s adoption of a touch user interface, though the outcome so far has been less successful; and that the extraordinary rise of Google Android is far enough along that it deserves more than the single mention it gets in this book. Google’s Chrome OS and Chromebook, which is hybrid desktop and internet technology, is another important development.

I would have liked Nicholson to write more about the last ten years then; but that does not take away from the high quality of what is covered here; recommended if you would like to understand how personal computing began.