Sunday, October 31, 2004

MSN Remote Record for Windows Media Center Edition

Great news for all those people who are lucky enough to have this powerful consumer product already in their home. Who knows maybe this will push you over the limit for your list of must have features and you'll rush out and buy one. I can't wait for this product to hit Australia. O-well I'll just sit here waiting. No, I think I’ll go back to the Playstation2 and play GTA: San Andreas. If only it was available on Xbox already.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Microsoft Executive email updated

I think this form of communication with customers works really well. While they don't seem to come out very often understandably, it makes it even more important to get around to reading these emails when they get sent to you. If you haven't subscribed yet here is the link. The latest email can be found here along with the archive.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Microsoft's new Photo Story 3 - free!

You just have to download this program. I can't think of anyone with a Windows XP computer that would not benefit from this great digital media experiance upgrade. More news over on Scoble's weblog where i found this little gem along with some great videos on the Channel9 site.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

DIY: Media Center PC

Here is a tool from Microsoft to check a machines configuration to see if it will run with the newly released Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
This program will install a collection of software utilities intended to assist Media Center PC OEMs and device driver developers in evaluating readiness for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005.

Microsoft Download

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

MSN Music supports RSS

It's really great seeing MSN Music adopt RSS for a number of updated feeds.


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Data Sheet

Scoble linked to this on his linkbog. Now if only I was willing to install Acrobat to read this PDF file. Maybe ill have to venture out and look for a lightweight PDF reader, either that or Microsoft publish this again in .doc format.

Microsoft Download

Sunday, October 17, 2004

All Windows Mobile devices should have Media Player 10

It looks like Dell has just released a ROM update for the older Axim X30 PocketPC (available here). I'm hoping that all Windows Mobile hardware manufactures will release an update for each and every Windows Mobile product they currently have on offer and quickly.

I suppose the question would be - Did Microsoft really need to leave it up to the system builders to provide this update to Windows Mobile? I really hope that the DRM and other components really warranted this to be done at a system level opposed to just making an update available that would sit in the units RAM instead of ROM. The main reason I say that is that in the past if these updates are rolled out anything like previously it could take months or not even come out at all.

Media Center 2005 release in Los Angeles

Bill Gates releases the Windows XP Media Center 2005 and Microsoft Media Everywhere Experience.

Video link (1 hour)

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Did anyone else have their computer restart?

Scoble posted about an unhappy customer who'd had their computer restarted due to the WindowsUpdate system forcing a restart. Scoble goes on to talk about how the dialog box that comes up allows you to prolong the restart yet this option has a number of flaws I’ve found.

First if you’re working in a limited user account (which all users should be) the option to stop the restart is disabled. Now I understand why it would be disabled in a non-administrative account, yet the following commands should be the method used to stop the shutdown provided you have access to an administrative account.

runas /user:COMPUTER\Administrator cmd {ENTER PASSWORD}
shutdown -a

Doing the above said no shutdown events were scheduled, which shows that the method they used to shutdown the machine is a bit inconsistent with the rest of the Windows platform. Yet after saying that I'm happier to be put out and reopen my SAVED work after a reboot then run my computer unprotected.

Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 full review

Paul Thurrott's uploaded the following review on his SuperSite for Windows.
--This is technology for people--like my family, and, I suspect, your family--who just don't care about technology. I know Media Center is something
special because people come into my home and see it, and without any prompting,
they ask about it. They want to know more. They want to know how they can get
this wonderful thing. And they are so blown away by how well it works.

Well, I'm blown away too. You can call this release a minor revision, a point release, or whatever. I can't hear you. From where I stand, this is a lifestyle revolution. And from here on out, life will never be the same.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Quick Interview with Bill Gates at Media Center release

Not too long yet has some interesting questions answered. I'd have to disagree with Bill on his security response yet you decide for yourself.


Thursday, October 14, 2004

Mobile Application Development Toolkit

Some great content to get started working on your Windows Mobile devices (Smartphone or Pocket PC).
The kit includes:
Windows Mobile Development Guided Tour
Hands-on Labs
Technical Articles
Business Success
Information about Developer Tools and SDKs
Software and Special

Download Here

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Lots of news about XP Media Center 2005

Microsoft Press

Microsoft Media Center Home Page

Google News (note this link will not last - here is a CNET site just in case)

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

MS Scobleized!

It looks like Scoble added the Podcasting vs logic article into his gargantuan Link Blog (archive).

Thanks Robert!

Microsoft's New Support Site Don't you just love Microsoft URL's? - they almost always make sense. Have not been given a feature-set yet of what the site has to offer over its predecessor, yet judging by the applet on the right side of the main page you will be able to store articles and revert back to them more easily.

Microsoft Releases Energy Bliss (Royale) Theme

For those of you who read the Media Center PC review from yesterday. You may have seen this theme mentioned and displayed in one of the many screenshots. If you’re interested in obtaining this Windows XP theme you can use the following link. It's a shame that Microsoft don’t release more themes yet I suppose they are leaving this area for the enthusiasts and third party developers.

The download will tell you that this theme is only available to Tablet PC customers yet if you follow this link to NeoWin you'll discover this is not the case.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Media Center PC opened... maybe?

Mike Hall points us to a early review about the upcoming Windows XP Media Center PC 2005 release over on his WebLog.

Microsoft's Windows Media Center Edition operating system has long been something of a mystery to most PC users. While most users are familiar with the concept of Microsoft breaking off the same Windows XP core operating system into "Home" and "Professional" versions, the Media Center brand of the Windows XP tree has never really been explained in great detail, and due to the tight licensing rope Microsoft has kept on this product, not many have had the chance to actually use this operating system in real life.

In this release the above article tells us that you will be able to purchase the software in an OEM bundle. Yet Paul Thurrott insists in his Weekly Short Takes that the ability to get your hands on this package will be hard, also even if you do get an OEM copy it will be even harder getting it to work.

I tend to disagree with the difficulty of obtaining this OEM copy and with Paul's assumption that compatibility will be a major issue. Let’s not forget why Microsoft was so successful in its core business of making Windows open to all hardware vendors.

Acer TravelMate C303 Tablet PC review

Ed Kaim's got a review on his blog about the new Acer 303 Tablet PC which is marketed as a desktop replacement.

There are a ton of little features that I’ve noticed since using the last tablet years ago, so many of them might just be common across all. For example, when I rotate the monitor into ink mode, the screen automatically readjusts for me. The pen comes with an eraser. I can be productive, even while sandwiched between two sucky seats on a Delta flight. The headphone jack is in a good location for either landscape or portrait mode, so it doesn’t easily fall out, blasting my music for all to hear. The battery life is friggin amazing!

All in all, I would definitely recommend this tablet, provided the startup procedures are followed from above. If anyone else has used this tablet I’d be interested in your opinions.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Podcasting vs logic

Scoble has an interesting take on this very new content creation system, which for those of you who are still wondering is a blog sound clip that you publish for general consumption called pod-casting. Now while I do agree with “The Scobleizer” (credited with bringing blogging to Microsoft along with the Channel9 website) that bleeding edge technology and innovation should be just about having fun and trying a different approach, I can’t help but think that this medium will not become common even amongst the geekiest of enthusiast circles.

The problem IMHO with Podcsating apart from the name being associated with a product and not a technology is that it takes too long. When I sift through the mountain of blogs of an evening it should generally be done as efficiently as possible. That is after all the ideology behind our RSS aggregators which support text searching/filtering and copying. Now unfortunately in its current state which is very early in the peace Podcasting offers none of these vital attributes without at least a lot of work. The fact that I can read faster then listen to someone else talk is a major detraction, along with the fact that your much more inclined to jot something down and publish text then setup your mic and have potentially multiple takes at getting your message out in podcast format to further promote the sound of your own voice.

NEW ClearType Tuner

This PowerToy lets you use ClearType technology to make it easier to read text on your flat panel screen, and installs in the Control Panel for easy access.

Microsoft just released the new ClearType PowerToy which can be used to get the most out of the ClearType technology for your flat panel screen using Windows XP. I recall a similar system was available on the MS website yet was not a download and was not as comprehensive in the amount of options available for you to configure. Note this font setting is best left turned off for those of us who are still using the somewhat primitive (nowadays) Cathode Ray Tube monitors.

It's great to see that Microsoft have moved this option to being a control panel applet in this PowerToy. Previously it was buried under the Display Appearance Tab > Effects which no one could find and even if they did they would not know what it was. I don't know how many times I've had to turn this option on for people using LCD monitors who would have otherwise gone without. Let’s hope this applet can make it to Windows Update so more people get to make use of ClearType technology.

For anyone wanting a better understanding of ClearType here is a video on Channel9 with Bill Hill (the father of ClearType) explaining what it is all about

PowerToys Download Site

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Make IE play nice with Google

Scott from the IE Team talks on the IEBlog about how hard it is to change preferred autoseach options in Internet Explorer to Google from your local MSN site. I agree with Scott that its great to be able to download the registry entry from the Google website ( if your not sure *wink*) yet its much better to be able to know the GUI or CUI way of doing things.

Blog Entry

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Microsoft looking to fix spyware

Gates did say, however, that Microsoft is dedicating "hundreds of millions of dollars" of its $5 billion annual R&D budget toward solving the problems of "malware and adware." Although Gates says that he's never been victimized by a virus, his PCs have been riddled with spyware, forcing him to run third-party spyware scanners. "I haven't had a virus on my machine basically ever," he said.

SP2 did solve a lot of these problems. The two main fixes being the Internet Options tools to Manage Add-ons along with being able to reset search and home page settings. But the more work done on this the better.

It will be interesting to see if Microsoft buys into this space or if they use the above R&D money to develop a wholly in house solution

More info on Paul Thurrott's Featured News.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Outlook LookOut!

Lookout is lightning-fast search for your e-mail, files, and desktop integrated with Microsoft Outlook™. Built on top of a powerful search engine, Lookout is the only personal search engine that can search all of your e-mail from directly within Outlook - in seconds...

I've been meaning to link to this program for some time. This Outlook plugin was made by a company recently purchased by Microsoft and is now given away through MSN Sandbox for free.


Developer gem

Eric Fleischman posted about a little ERR.exe application he found on the Microsoft Download site.
There are few tools I would say that I use *every* day. This is one of them.ERR.exe is a tool I use all the time to look up error codes. When someone gives me an error code, the first thing I do is toss it in err so I know what I'm looking at.

Download Here

NEW Visual Studio 2005 Beta Documentation

Information of changes

New Site

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

MS Search preview v2

Our new algorithmic search engine with a few more features and a bigger index than last time you visited this site.

Pocket Streets 2005 Downloadable Maps

Download maps of major cities for Australia, Canada, the United States and Europe. Your mobile device must be running Microsoft Pocket Streets for you to be able to view these maps. To find a map that you are looking for, please visit the Pocket Streets 2005 web site.

It's great to see Microsoft making these maps available in Australia finally.

Bill 2.0: 5-Year Performance Review

When Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates traded his chief executive officer title for the newly crafted chief software architect role nearly five years ago, the company spin was that he would work in areas that most interested him—and best used his talents.

Microsoft's bottom line: Gates didn't want to be so involved in the day-to-day running of the company. Turning that over to his trusted lieutenant Steve Ballmer gave Gates the time to think about future technologies and drive product development.

MCP Mag has a quick overview of what Bill's done after releasing his CEO title 5 years ago.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Bill Gates talks GPL

CNet have provided the following clip:

Speaking to a packed house of engineering students at the University of California at Berkeley, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates gave his opinion on the role of open source and the company's relationship to it in a conversation with A. Richard Newton, dean of the school's College of Engineering.

Details of Interview

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