Microsoft Surface

Late last night, Microsoft accounced Surface, or rather I should say re-announced and rebranded surface. Surface was Microsoft's table top operating system for touch screens. This is now called PixelSense.

Microsoft has hijacked the Surface web site at and are pre-announcing their new iPad killer. This is a tablet computer running Windows 8 (or variations such as RT) with a detachable multi-colour keyboard and uses a pen instead of a mouse for those people who do not wish to mess up the screen with greasy fingerprints.

It seems that the first version aimed at consumers will be running the ARM version of Windows 8 - Windows RT (Metro UI only) and future Intel based devices will run the full Windows 8 with the full desktop + Metro.

No prices or dates were given. 

What is very interesting is that this is Microsoft hardware. This means that Microsoft are changing or adding to their existing business model of using third party hardware suppliers to license Windows. This could be a pivotal moment in which Microsoft transforms itself into what Apple has become.

After Google bought Motorola's mobile division, they themselves will get into the mobile device game. Microsoft will complete the trio of technology companies who have a complete software (operating systems, applications, servers, cloud hosting) and hardware stack. This game is going to get really interesting in the next few months.

Restart Remote Desktop Function

We have now added new functionality to our web site to allow remote desktop (formerly ASP) customers to restart their individually assigned hosted application server in the event that the server becomes non-responsive. This can happen occasionally when the Amazon EC2 server incorrectly starts up and fails to load all necessary network drivers or other software components. When this happens, users are often unable to login. This new function allows users to force their server to restart which will stop and start the instance to enable login.

The new Restart Remote Desktop option is available from two places:

You must be logged in using your active directory credentials (forename.surname) to use this functionality.

When you click the Restart button, the browser will show that the server is being stopped/started: 

If your server is already started, this whole process could take around 5 minutes. During this time, the server is stopped, started and pinged to ensure that it is responding before you will get confirmation that the restart has completed.