Feeds

How the US military chivvied up Microsoft

Look sharp!

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Divine intervention, or simply a divine coincidence? Long suffering Tablet PC users weary of unscheduled reboots didn't mind too much last week. Over a year after it came to light, and months after we highlighted the issue, Microsoft finally issued a patch for the memory leak that caused the problem. One pundit called it "the most anticipated patch in Tablet PC OS history".

Microsoft had spent February "working overtime", reporters were told at the time, but the promised fix still hadn't appeared when we returned to the topic on June. So what prompted this sudden burst of inactivity?

Well, one vertical niche that likes the Tablet idea very much is the US military, and the US Air Force was one of the first customers. Modded tablets were being used early in the Afghanistan air campaign, and had experienced "no blue screens", ComputerWorld reported three years ago. Those machines were running Windows 2000, and Tablet XP launched five months later.

"A big military customer saw the fuss and complained," suggests Peter Rysavy, in a nice summary of the saga.

"Bangalore were flown in to fix the problem in two hours flat after a year of lots of empty Starbucks containers and denying the problem to the public," he adds, metaphorically speaking.

But he's also correct, we can confirm.

According to a comment left on Jonathan Hardwicke's blog - he's the brave soul at Microsoft Research who first acknowledged the issue, and pushed to get it fixed - the Tablet developers were itching to fix the problem, but had to fight the notorious Redmond bureaucracy. "The process of getting QFEs evaluated by Dev, Test, Management; then approved by Executive Management, war, etc is a long one," writes a tester who worked on the patch.

Nothing concentrates the mind like the prospect of a terrible accident.

Could regular fly pasts speed up the development process? ®

Related stories

Microsoft, Dell win $500m US Air Force contract
Wireless cola gives USAF target practice
USAF seeks space weapon mandate
The mysterious case of the 'gay-bomb' request
Bush twins to join Air Force tech unit in Iraq

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.