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Windows 8 Update: Bill Gates gushes about Surface Pro - 'It's very nice'

Windows 8 Update: Bill Gates gushes about Surface Pro - 'It's very nice'

He also confided what's left on his bucket list: "Don't die."

Never let it be said Billl Gates is a hype machine. When asked what type of computer he was using to participate in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session, he confided it was one of Microsoft's new Surface devices that the company talks about in glowing terms.

How does Gates describe it? "I just got my Surface Pro a week ago and it is very nice."

He said he was actually viewing the AMA on a jumbo whiteboard, technology Microsoft bought last year. "I am using a Perceptive Pixel display right now - huge Windows 8 touch whiteboard. These will come down in price over time and be pervasive," he wrote and linked to this picture of himself:

Gates also responded to a query about how Windows 8 stacks up to earlier releases. "Windows 7 or Windows 8? Be honest Bill," one questioner wrote.

"Higher is better," Gates said.

He also confided what's left on his bucket list: "Don't die."

Sound advice.

[IN DEPTH: Microsoft's Surface for Windows 8 Pro 

TEST YOURSELF: The Windows 8 quiz 

NAVIGATE: 12 essential Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts]

Not enough apps? There's an app for that.

While there are tens of thousands of Windows 8 apps available at the Windows Store, there are hundreds of thousands of Android apps available from Google Play. BlueStacks has optimized its software that adapts these Android apps to Windows 8, specifically to Microsoft's Surface Pro hardware. BlueStacks is available from GetYourAppsBack.com. Here's a review of it.

Dealing with Windows 8 BYOD

When workers start bringing their own Windows 8 Pro devices to work, it can pose a security and management problem for IT.

Wave Systems is introducing an upgraded version of its Wave Mobility Solution that deals with the problem and also makes it simpler for mobile end users to sign in to the corporate network.

The software takes advantage of Windows 8's support for trusted platform module (TPM), which links a security chip in Windows 8 hardware with a PIN that turns the device into a virtual smartcard.

End users who want to access the corporate network authenticate themselves to their Windows 8 machine, and it creates connections securely with the network, negotiating Active Directory sign in to join a domain.

Wave's software supports drive encryption so data on the mobile machine is secured via BitLocker making the devices safe-to-lose, says Wave's CEO Steven Sprague.

The Windows 8 upgraded version of Wave Mobility Solution is available now, and because Windows 8 certified devices are still rolling out, may need tweaking to meet the implementation variations of hardware manufacturers. Enterprise licensing costs less than $100 per device, and subscription licensing is available to lower up-front costs.

Surface Pro shortage?

Many locations, including the online Windows Store, ran out of Surface Pro ultrabooks during its sales launch last weekend.

There's no telling how significant that is because Microsoft won't say how many were sold.

Microsoft's Surface chief Panos Panay says via Twitter that more of the 128GB Surface Pros will be available Saturday, but not why there is a shortage in the first place.

Surface user manual

If you can get your hands on a Surface Pro, you might want the instruction manual to figure out how to make it and Windows 8 work. Unlike the Surface pro itself, the manual is available right now so you can start reading and be prepped for when it's back in stock. The manual also covers Surface RT, for which there is no shortage.

Tim Greene covers Microsoft for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at tgreene@nww.com and follow him on Twitter.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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