- Dell ST2420L(Digital) monitor
- NVIDIA Quadro FX 1700 graphics card
- Internet Explorer 10 desktop app
- Windows 8 Professional
- Dell Precision Workstation T7400
- Xeon processor
- 64-bit Operating System
- Windows Live Writer 2012 installed
- Non-touch device
- Microsoft keyboard/mouse for input
Found the command Blog This in Windows Live Writer while I was looking at the following article online just now.
Nice way to post an article to WordPress if you’re currently viewing an article in Internet Explorer that you want to post online. I’m not sure what Chrome or Firefox has in terms of posting to WordPress from a non-Internet Explorer (non-Microsoft) browser.
Command bar menu
Click on Command bar to place a check box next to the label to indicate the menu is on. This will give you the ability to see the Tools menu above. At the moment, I prefer to enable the Favorites and Command bar in the Internet Explorer 10 (desktop) since I use Favorites bar for pinning my core Favorites. I don’t turn on the Menu bar. Mainly because I like the extra screen real-estate and can press the Alt key on the keyboard to access the menu bar.
Snagged this from my PC yesterday (Ctrl+S*). On Windows 8 Pro if you press the Start key and simply type Resource Monitor, by the time you get out Res you should have it filtered down enough to see it at the top of the search results. Click on it or press the Enter key.
The executable is resmon.exe
I keep Resource Monitor up from time to time. Typically if I see a performance issue, such as a lag or just a complete freeze when I can’t do anything.
Here’s a screenshot of Resource Monitor, pinned to my task bar.
Note how the CPU Resources for LiveComm.exe and Win8keys.exe. Both apps are (codename) Metro, now referred to as Modern applications. These are the apps that are the original built-in tiles. But not all tiles are to Modern apps. Microsoft Office apps on Windows 8 Professional on Intel or AMD (as opposed to RT which is targeting the ARM processor).
Basically, Windows 8 suspends these apps when I’m in Desktop mode.
Photo is from Windows 8 Shortcuts by FirstLook: A free app that I downloaded from the Windows Store several months ago launched via the Start Screen in Windows 8. Searched for keyboard shortcuts and there it was. Screenshot (above) courtesy of the Start key + S key combo that you get with OneNote 2013 desktop (paid) version. There is also a OneNote 2013 modern (free) app available in the Windows Store. However, the keyboard shortcut (Start+S) is installed by the paid version is, unfortunately, not there in the free one. Gotcha!
The Start Screen in Windows 8, in my opinion, is the major gotcha in Windows 8. What do I mean by gotcha? An unforeseen obstacle. For who? For anyone who buys or sees it. Why? Some folks may not need all the bells and whistles and at this point may not view it as a wise investment. For me, yes, it’s a wise investment. But I’m blogging about this stuff and I need to keep my Dell T7400 running in tip top shape to be able to run the max amount of apps and get more done, be more productive. So for me it has been a wise investment. But if you’re interested, the Surface RT and Surface Pro are the prototypes Microsoft has built to inspire other OEMs to create their own RT (ARM) or Pro (Intel/AMD) device. If you haven’t tried it yet, there’s probably one at Best Buy or Staples if you live near one if you are truly interested in Windows on a touch. Then compare against a desktop (non-touch) device in the same store if possible.
Why am I talking about accelerator keys and QAT then? Accelerator keys are just keyboard shortcuts that you can either program or configure on your operating system, or even into Word. Macro shortcut keys are a good example. The Quick Access Toolbar that was introduced with Office 2007’s Fluent UI (User Interface), or the Ribbon.
Photo of the “Start” screen my Dell Precision Workstation T7400 running Windows 8 Professional 64-bit. Took it by pressing Start+S and pasting into Live Writer by placing my insertion point (cursor) above this paragraph, in a paragraph with nothing typed in it yet, and simply pressed Ctrl+V.
So how could it be viewed and rationalized by information workers (power users) that it may not be a wise for others then? They’re not “all in” on the Microsoft vision for the cloud. It’s probably they don’t own a portable device. Whether it be a tablet or a smartphone. They may just not need one. Either they don’t need to be portable or they’ve defacto committed to iPhone or Droid via wireless contract. Bleeding edge consumers who like their gadgets may just be committed to Apple and Google altogether, they’re lifelong users and that’s just that. Apple users, who are by choice Apple consumers, who a required by their job to use Windows 8 may have interesting opinions on this topic. But I digress, for now.
Let’s look at the scenario I found myself in when I installed Windows 8 RTM* (no service pack, yet, obviously) on my home computer back about last October (2012). Before that I had tested the beta but only for work. Not regularly, in a non-controlled environment and outside the think-tank (workplace) to play freely.
I had the following scenario:
1-PC with Windows 7
1-Mobile phone with Windows Phone 7
When I installed Windows 8 on my home computer that was the first time I had tested it on a physical machine. Before that it was in virtual machine environments. I knew about the Start screen. But what I really cared about was if the Start “key” on the keyboard would work. In the Hyper-V manager connection it didn’t. So I checked and found the on-screen keyboard which you can get by hitting Start menu, move cursor to far lower right corner of the screen, then move up to hit Start. You can also do that from the top right corner or the lower left to get your old Start+Tab screen (live thumbnail preview of cycling through programs via Alt+Tab.
“Where’s that Tab I ordered…”
Here’s what I have today:
1-PC with Windows 8 Professional
1-Surface Pro with 128 GB built-in storage (SDD)
1-Windows Phone 8, an HTC 8x
From my experience on this configuration, here’s my final synopsis, or review if you will, on Windows 8:
Great for touch devices and bleeding edge Windows geeks.
Good for anyone interested in getting a touch device. Whether it be a tablet or desktop. They make those now you know.
Bad for non-touch, desktops users who want to get things done and IT helpdesk staff.
Ugly for those implementing, migrating, upgrading, evangelizing. The only good scenarios I foresee is if you have folks from the first two either in your social network or colleagues at work.
I guess I’m stuck in the final quadrant. But, for me, I see lots of software come and go and don’t blame the companies as much anymore that make it. But with that said, the end-users ultimately rule the roost and have a strong influence on how and why I write content such as this article.
Bottom line, don’t fee pressured to move to Windows 8 just yet if you haven’t already. If you’re comfortable staying there, especially if you’re purchasing the licenses for your org, and you’re on Windows 7, then you’ve staved off upgrades for another year. But with a warning, be sure to get it in your budget for next year or look at Windows codename Blue. Yep, they’re already going there.
But what about search? When I click on the Start button I want to be able to search there! Start + Q. However, this will be a problem for those intermingling, or co-existing in the workplace using different versions of Windows. My answer for Windows 8 users talking to Windows 7 users: Start key. Or, let’s say, if you yourself have Windows 7 at home but Windows 8 at work or vice versa. Or worse, Vista!!! Same steps, same ultimate result. Just a different search experience once you get past that point. But I digress, again. Windows 7 users will likely still want to use their mouse and click the Start button. Understandable. The old option for searching on Windows XP was Ctrl+F. Don’t get me started on those Fn keys! (laptops)
Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) in Windows Live Writer 2012. Notice that I’ve customized mine a bit, adding the from your computer command that you get here:
Inserting a photo from computer. Also possible if you copied to clipboard using Ctrl+V, provided you actually copied a photo by selecting it and pressing Ctrl+C.
Probably the best command in Live Writer would be Post draft to blog, just right-click it on the Ribbon if you have Live Writer 2012.
And there you go, it’s now on the QAT. Brilliant!
Takes some time getting used to though. I still find myself going down the same path of clicking the Insert tab.
But why do I say “a lost art” in the title then when commenting on shortcuts, accelerators, and QAT? Because art is activity. Thus, if you are in the activity of being productive (working in an office) and are an information worker, then work is kind of your art. So keyboard shortcuts, in my opinion, can be a great way to maximize your productivity even though you may not agree, like, care, or ever want to even look at another Windows 8 or Vista box. All the new bells and whistles, sometimes, cover the forest behind the trees: Getting things done faster in less time with less clicks.
And finally, a word on pinning. On my desktop non-touch Dell T7400 device at home, I hardly use the Start Screen as much as I used to, unless I’m testing a new Windows app or something related to the new Modern UI. So what I do is pin items to my Taskbar and Start menu, any chance I find one that I need via Start+Q. To me it’s all about real-estate. How much you can fit into that strip on the desktop.
As far as the Surface, I’m only using that when I’m on the road which hasn’t been much lately. I’ll need to blog from that this upcoming weekend. Provided I can get Live Writer on there.
One tip for those interested in purchasing a Surface. Ask for devices with ARM chips running Windows RT and compare pricing to Intel/AMD devices. Do a comparison of Windows RT to Pro features. You’ll want to get to know those gotchas for down the road.
RTM stands for Release to Manufacturing
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer (e.g. Dell, HP, IBM, Apple, Google). They make the device, PC, hardware, etc…
ISV stands for Independent Software Vendor (Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!). They focus more on the software (OS/apps) side of things.
Softpedia article with Windows (keyboard) shortcuts: http://news.softpedia.com/news/The-Complete-List-of-Windows-8-Shortcuts-305477.shtml
Photo #3 of Homer Simpson courtesy Bing Images.
When I opened my email this morning I was startled (eye roll) to find another scathing review on Windows 8. Sigh. Why? Well, it’s stuff that I was thinking like a year ago but didn’t really feel the need to get into why Windows 8 is like New Coke. Why? Because there’s no testing, review, discussion, debate, analysis. Just….New Coke…and a rehash of everything I already know. Anytime someone releases a product and it gets compared to New Coke what are they trying to say? Is it a bad product or poor marketing? Or a little of both? It’s not a bad comparison. But what is the comparison trying to tell us? To be completely honest I’m not really but if you read an article with those words and Windows 8 in you can probably get a good vibe, or indication, that folks are none too please that they took away their precious Start menu. Well, kind of. But not really. What? Never mind. Let’s continue.
As much as some would be disturbed to hear, I actually remember drinking New Coke and going “eh, this ain’t bad. I “guess” it’s a little better than the original thing.” The takeaway I had was that it was what by today’s standards, and probably those back then as well, it was a gimmick. So are they saying that Windows 8 is how you say, gimmick. To me, at least, they’re insinuating it. But that’s not what I saw from CNET’s article. Who, I most certainly trust and have been around for years now. The article has, what I would call, good tagging (linking), by actually linking their statement, claims, expressions with an actual hyperlink. Something you see less and less of and you don’t get in a newspaper article, except for footnotes on page C7. This is smart and probably just something that they know and promote. It’s also not engaging in what Microsoft mentioned in their blog post on “staying centered”, referenced in that same CNET article, about hyperbole. Or what I like to call “anecdotal evidence” that are merely musings, scratching’s, expressions… Basically, opinions; points of view, reactions, subjunctives(?), narratives, nuances… Because it’s something basically saying, “here’s the dirt on Windows 8, not happy with our criticism, click on this link for more” That’s my preferred way to handle something like this. Because you need to get the good, subjective, content on what people are actually saying. Like a doctor or an auto mechanic trying to diagnose a problem. The more human you can make it the better chance you’ll have of going “oh, yeah, I remember another customer with an issue like that” So, I don’t think there’s a problem with the way folks are blogging and what they’re saying. Hyperbole? Yes. However, for some (like me) it’s good for because I’m so technical and on the backend of things with my career path, more on the server and virtualization, that I miss the boat sometimes on what customers, sometimes referred to callously as end-users, think. But to me, an “end-user” is simply a number tied to a real person. They’re employee number xxxxxxx, but they’re also Joe Finkelsteenmen or something (fictitious name). They’re a number, and a human being. It’s just their “claim” not their “name”.
In my opinion, sometimes folks who buy software feel a little patronized perhaps? Perhaps someone saw a help article calling them a user and got offended. Like that
But my reaction typically to articles on software is, well, it’s software! It’s not hardware, something you can physically pick up.
You can’t really compare a can of Coke to a computer program right? Well, yes and no. While you can’t compare the physical can of Coke you can compare it to a soda machine selling New Coke, especially if all the buttons on the machine are, you guessed it, NEW COKE buttons!!! So, that’s the rub here. That Microsoft promoted it’s new operating system and now folks are going “sigh” and “give me my Start button back” like some angry teenager from the ‘90s screaming about why MTV doesn’t play videos anymore. Hello? Nelsons. Market research! Actually, I’m just kidding, but I do watch AXS now. Oh, wait. I’m not even watching TV anymore, but I still follow AXS. There’s nothing on MTV that interests me except for a cartoon from ‘93 that I can get on Hulu.
But what about Bob? Yes, what about that Bob character. That’s an OS that should be taken to the woodshed. I’m still not “going there” yet with Windows 8. I’ve actually liked some things about Windows 8 and I’m typing into Live Writer on a Windows 8 box now. I’ve only “dreamed” about what Bob would have been like or Window ME. I never got to use that either. But, I had a neighbor who had it. Don’t recall any Coke or Pepsi references, but I’ll have to check my memory. Sure something is bound to crop up.
What about Vista? This is a comparison I would agree with. But with that said, if you have the right hardware, the real problem with Vista in my opinion, then it should “perform” as designed pretty reliably provided it’s fully patched on a clean install. OEM pre-built images and hardware were the major problems in Vista, but just blaming an end-user (person) for not having their equipment up to snuff, when the software company may not exactly point out, or broadcast, that you may need to. Here’s what’s funny though, Intel does! And, if you watch commercials now it’s all about what device loads what OS and with what apps and yadda yadda yadda. The major difference between Windows 8 and Vista is the device choice and platform independence model that they’re hoping to achieve with Intel, AMD, and ARM. A very wise move. One that makes me not hate Vista so much. But that’s not to say we still can’t kick the tires on that old car every now and then. C’mon, it’s fun right? (crickets)
For what it’s worth, Microsoft does have a better resource to find hardware now than they did on Vista. Check out PC Selector – Microsoft Windows – Microsoft Home Page …
So here’s food for thought. Check out www.coca-colacompany.com and look under brands. They have brands. Today. That’s right. Pretty diverse selection. So what was the lesson in this exercise? What’s the purpose of the fishing expedition. Not much. Just me blogging about something I take an interest in. But mainly the fact that sometimes we don’t see the forest through the trees. For the actual individual, consumer, purchasing Windows 8 or a company for that matter, they’re living in the now. Which is, as a business, or just a single information worker, employed or not, probably the best perspective to be in. It’s what I would expect any rational person to think. If they want their start button back, put it back.
But the focus of tech companies is much more focused on bleeding edge technology, keeping up with the Jones’, the future landscape of technology. Does that mean they’re leaving their consumer base in the dust? From a philosophical standpoint, yes. From a marketing perspective, no. They’re still promoting their vision of the operating system across all platforms and the cloud. If a customer is not in on that philosophy TO-DAY, then my best suggestion to a customer would be to look elsewhere. But, with a warning. With all the new mobile device, online streaming videos, music services, etc… it’s almost silly to think a company other than Apple or Microsoft would be a wise solution to maintain some sanity across devices. So in this case, it’s similar to comparing Coke and Pepsi, because you can find them at fine retailers throughout the world. Much like Apple and Microsoft, only in a software sense. But the soda, or vending, machine in this case is simply the web (Apple.com, Microsoft.com, Amazon, CDW) and large software resellers such as Best Buy, Staples, and Walmart. The good thing with going to Best Buy or Staples is that you can see the devices now side-by-side and ask the staff to help you make a decision.
What would I tell someone to buy if someone complained to me about the Start button? I would ask them a few follow up questions: Have you upgraded to Windows 8 yet? If not, are you considering going to 7 at least? If you’re on Windows XP, have you thought about trying an iPad or Surface or Google book? If the consumer is seriously that upset with the Start button and they haven’t tried Windows 8 yet, have them try it out in the store. Compare against other brands, etc… But for me, do NOT, try to add hyperbole to the exchange about Windows 8 or Apple or Google. Or weigh one versus the other. The main thing I would point out to any consumer is the point of the Start key on the keyboard, which has always been there, the new Start thumbnail you get in the lower left on desktops, and the fact that you can pin a majority of your applications onto the Start screen AND the Taskbar. I like to encourage pinning of both websites, by adding to Favorites, and programs. But also show them the Charms menu, keyboard shortcuts for search….Okay, I’d be biased since I have more experience with Windows than the others, but you get my point. Have them try it against a Macbook or a Kindle Fire, Nook, or something. Surface RT is another option for tablets. But RT is a bit of a confusing topic. It’s simply Windows for the ARM chip devices. But for consumers/end users, it should really be noted that Windows RT is not Windows Pro. But, the contrast in experience is negligible.
So, without trying sound to bitter and overly narcissistic (no, never) and a tad bit neurotic, let me just close with a trip down memory lane with those old jingles in a newer form.
OSX is the RC Cola of operating systems. Droid is the Orange Crush of Operating Systems. Ruby: The programming language of a new generation! Ruby is for the birds, literally. (Hey, that last ones not fair! What could I be trying to say about that?) Stay tuned. I’ll add links to those jingles as I see fit. I wouldn’t want to be accused of spoon-feeding my readers, would I?
As someone who works on the more technical side of things, if they are going to add the Start button back, I just hope it doesn’t break the good things and ruin the good experiences I’ve had with Windows 8 so far:
- Hyper-V support. Be warned however, you need SLAT support on your device.
- Performance telemetry. Windows 8 suggests programs and background processes to kill to improve performance
- Live tiles. Live updates on your Start menu. Nice to have on mobile devices if you arrange your tiles correctly.
- File downloads over file shared via Explorer (SMB protocol) now give you a download manager with a pause button. Thank you!
- New Task Manager. This was a good idea to upgrade. It’s more like Process Explorer and allows you to expand. Also has a button to open Resource Monitor, which I strongly encourage people on Windows use for performance benchmarking and troubleshooting performance issues that arise.
Got prompted for the new Windows Phone 8 update on my HTC 8x about half an hour ago and figured I’d blog about it since I haven’t gotten many screenshots from both my phone’s built-in screenshot abilities (Start+Camera button) and taken from another external camera from outside the phone of the physical screen, since [I don’t think] I can’t take screenshots while it’s booting up.
I tapped Install on the screen above to kick off the update. It (the phone) said goodbye to me (powered off) and rebooted automatically to the sight of two gears dancing (animated) in sync with each other.
Tapped install (in above pic) and got the gears…
The gears are supposed to be telling me it’s updating (patching) and changing stuff??? Educated guess. Gears run for about 5 min, until it….
Canon PowerShot SD1000 in the reflection…
Here we are booting up…
…past the first HTC welcome BIOS screen into the next splash screen…
Windows Phone blue splash screen
Forgive the linear cavalcade of pics, I should organize them into a table if it permits. Use the mouse scroll wheel if you have one to navigate downward…
Took a break, came back in five minutes…
Your update is all done!
Tapped done which brought me to Start screen on the phone.
Swiped left and typed s for Settings and tapped it.
So here’s what I’m now at on my phone for details on the software (OS) side…
OS version: 8.0.10211.204
One of the great philosophical debates: If a tree were to fall in the woods, would it make a sound? At face value I’d have to say, no. Because sound is subjective. Our ears, however, are clearly there (objective) even without the tree and we can visualize a tree falling based on our experience with nature or, at the least, nature shows (e.g. Discovery/Nat. Geo.) or school field trips to Redwood National Forest or something. But I base my argument on the fact that nobody is there to report it so I guess we’ll never know…
I got that thought just now based on my experience with blogging. There’s two sides to someone justifying their time spent online blogging (creating content) even if nobody cares. My experience in the big business (real) world of deadlines, office politics, communiqués, canned text, and focus groups is that if you don’t think anyone will read it then it’s a waste of time. Kind of like wondering if a tree is going to fall in the woods at some point in time.
Drawing inspiration from the previous paragraph: What if you posted something on your blog tonight, and approximately fifty years from now it had its first view? That tree just got some pipes now didn’t it?
Photo: Courtesy greenbuzz.net website via bing.com search
Photo taken from my home (apartment) is the RJ-11 (phone) jack, wiring is for DSL. It’s a fixed apartment building, no false ceilings or wall jacks where my desk/computer is. Prefer being wired to wireless at home so ran the cable which Qwest* provided when they activated my DSL service. You can see the little white flat phone cable plug into the right-back of the DSL modem, shown below.
Above photo is my Actiontec DSL modem. Four Ethernet (RJ-45) ports, one wireless antenna.
Download speed 7168 Kbps
Upload speed 896 Kbps
*Modem branding and firmware is Qwest, now CenturyLink. Only aDSL, copper, to building at the moment. According to 702 Communications they have fiber run to the building but I’m waiting for CenturyLink to run fiber optic cabling to the building in the next month.
This post is mainly technical in nature. Main goal is to document my home network setup specifications (specs), mainly the devices and operating systems (OS’s, plural) in case I ever blog, either here or elsewhere, about anything related to computers/software/internet/hardware/devices all rolling up under “technology”. By specifications I mean not only the items, mostly hardware, that I have but the way I use them in my home network. I want to have something to link back to. That’s the main purpose of this post really.
The following is a list of devices in my home that I consider to be “smart” devices.
- Actiontec aDSL modem/router from Qwest*
- Dell Precision Workstation T7400
- Maxtor OneTouch Backup external USB drive.
- Dell Precision Workstation T7500
- Surface Pro (tablet)
- Windows Phone 8 (smartphone)
- Lexmark X7350
- LG 47” LED TV
Dell Precision Workstation T7400
Primary home computer. Used mostly for personal (Email) but some business (web) and a little of both (video).
- Processor: Intel® Xeon® CPU X5450 @ 3.00GHz (2.99GHz)
- Installed Memory (RAM): 8.00 GB (2x4GB) @ 667MHz FB-DIMM DDR-2 SDRAM (ECC)
- Hard Drive: Samsung HD103UJ – 1.00 TB (SAS/PCI)
- Display Adapter: NVIDIO Quadro FX 1700
- Network Adapter (NIC): Broadcom NetXtreme 57xx Gigabit Controller
- Operating System: Windows 8 Professional 64-bit
RAM allocation table in BIOS. I get there by powering off my T7400, waiting 10 seconds (cycle power), press the power button, then after about 5 seconds, as soon as I see the Dell screen flash for the first time press F2.
Device Manager – View – Devices by Connection
From the keyboard, hold down the Start key, press X, release both Start and X at the same time, click Device Manager
You can also move your mouse pointer to the far lower left of the screen, in desktop mode, then right-click, click Device Manager. On touch devices, press Start+Q, type Device Manager, click Settings, click on Device Manager.
For the internal* hard disk, expand Disk drives, select the hard disk, in this example an ATA SAMSUNG HD103UJ SCSI Disk Device, click View, click Devices by connection.
*The Maxtor OneTouch USB Device is external backup drive.
As you can see above, the drive is connected to a Dell SAS 6/iR Integrated Workstation controller, connected to an Intel® PCI Express Downstream port, to a PCI Express Upstream Port, attached to the Intel® 5400 Chipset PCI Express Port 9 – 4029, up to the PCI bus, seen below
Rolling up to the HAL (hardware abstraction layer) of the operating system (Windows 8), a Microsoft ACPI-Compliant System, (seen below) on an ACPI x64-based PC. Nothing else above it except the root (machine name) in Device Manager.
For the video card: Click View, click Devices by type
…expand Display adapters, select the video card, in this case an NVIDIA Quadro FX 1700…click View, click Devices by connection…
Here you can see the monitor, a Dell ST2420L(Digital) monitor. It connects to the PCI (video) card on the back of the T7400 with a DVI cable (not SVGA cable/adapter), hence the word Digital in parenthesis. Not sure if an SVGA cable would invoke Analog to display.
Devices by Connection comes in handy when trying to ‘trace’ where your hardware goes, on the software side, behind HAL. (software abstraction) The other nice thing is you can use this to update drivers by right-clicking on then device and choosing the Update Driver Software… command. But also for looking at the properties of each device and checking driver version, whether it’s WHQL (Windows® Hardware Quality Labs) certified, date installed, etc…
Dell Precision Workstation T7500
Virtualization (Hyper-V) server for testing computing scenarios (education/development) using virtual machines. I’ve used VMWare before but more familiar with Hyper-V since it’s on the Microsoft stack.
- Processor: Intel® Xeon® CPU E5620 @ 2.40GHz (2.39 GHz)
- Installed memory (RAM): 48.0 GB (3x16GB) DDR-3 @ 800GHz*
- Hard drive: 1TB hard disk with hardware RAID 1 (mirroring) applied resulting in a 500GB disk recognized by Windows.
- Operating System: Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise SP1
*Need to verify speed in BIOS but I believe it’s similar to my primary machine, SDRAM (ECC), just that the T7500 has a faster system bus.
Everything else is pretty much the same on this one. I need to get screenshots from the BIOS next time I power it down. At the moment I’m installing a Vista SP2 virtual machine and adding Office 2007 on it for testing legacy scenarios. Good way to learn without paying for a bunch of cheap computers that may die out and suck up way to much power for mass consumption (and distribution). Just pay $1,400 to $3,500 (guestimate) for one really powerful one and you can run anywhere from 8-45 virtual machines on my box, because of the 46GB of RAM. The RAM would probably raise your bottom line (operational costs) but you can add as you go and with the enterprise SKU (datacenter) you can hot-swap RAM, I believe all the way back to Server 2003 R2.
The most current Precision Workstation model from Dell is the T7600 which is what I would recommend for Windows 8, not the T7400 which was for Vista, the T7500 I believe was for Windows 7.
The Precision Workstation class from Dell has been pretty reliable. But it’s just a high power client (end-user) device, not a server (service host). Haven’t had a piece of hardware on it fail yet. I typically will only power it down when I’m going to be out of town (like once a month) or will be out for the night. But you can now put your computer to sleep or log off (which I recommend) in the evening or before you go out of something.