Thursday, September 29, 2005

More on Gadgets

Scott Isaacs points to a great article explaining Gadget/Widgets (your new and Windows Vista sidebar companions) and what Microsoft's strategy is.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Office 2003 Service Pack 2 out

Mainly fixes yet this release also includes Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003 Phishing Protection

Origen Xbox 360 teaser site opened

Remember me talking about the following teaser site for the new Xbox 360 gaming console. Well today's the big day. Knock yourself out.

Monday, September 26, 2005

What do managers do and how big should my team be?

I thought this was a great article I hope you like it too. Thanks Steven Sinofsky (He's in charge of the Office team).

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Microsoft Company Meeting 2005

It looks like the company meeting went well. More news over on the Mini-Microsoft blog.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Lighting Up on Windows Vista

1. Follow the Windows Vista style guidelines
2. Enrich the user experience
3. Enable users to visualize, organize, and search
4. Run securely
5. Design for reliability and manageability
6. Establish a customer feedback loop
7. Build for connected systems
8. Bring data to the user with RSS
9. Make document data accessible
10. Build for mobility
Find out more here

Monday, September 19, 2005

Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar Beta

The IE Developer Toolbar provides several features for deeply exploring and understanding Web pages.

  • Explore and modify the document object model (DOM) of a web page.

  • Locate and select specific elements on a web page through a variety of techniques.

  • Selectively disable Internet Explorer settings.

  • View HTML object class names, ID's, and details such as link paths, tab index values, and access keys.

  • Outline tables, table cells, images, or selected tags.

  • Validate HTML, CSS, WAI, and RSS web feed links.

  • Display image dimensions, file sizes, path information, and alternate (ALT) text.

  • Immediately resize the browser window to 800x600 or a custom size.

  • Selectively clear the browser cache and saved cookies. Choose from all objects or those associated with a given domain.

  • Choose direct links to W3C specification references, the Internet Explorer team weblog (blog), and other resources.

  • Display a fully featured design ruler to help accurately align objects on your pages.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Windows Vista Home Page Update now with RSS feed

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Windows Workflow screen shots

Thanks ActiveWin again.

Screen shots of Microsoft Digital Locker and Windows Workflow

Digital Locker is an advancement on the Windows Marketplace to allow you to contain your digital software purchases from different suppliers. Thanks ActiveWin for the screen shot.

Media Center Edition Vista Style

Thanks Chris Lanier for these shots.

MCE Update Rollup 2 details…

Found these details over on Ed Bott's new Media Central feed. Not what most people were expecting.

  • Free Download from Windows Update
  • Available in about 1 month
  • 2nd HD Tuner supported
  • No CableCARD
  • No QAM
  • DVD Changer (No other public information)
  • Xbox 360 Extender support
  • Sonic DVD Burning fixes
  • Slight improvements in Media Library performance

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

What new features I’m looking forward to in Windows Vista

In no particular order of preference, the Quick Tabs feature in Windows Internet Explorer (above) which allows you to glance at all your open tabs in IE at once - a little like Expose on the Mac yet browsing.

The new Ribbin menu (above) in Office 12 will be drastically improved to be task orientated. It will bring commands closer to the user and in a better context.

Improved Alt+Tab now works in real time (supports Windows Media Player) giving a preview of each window. Another option with a different key combination that escapes me allows you to have the windows show up like the below example which allows you to also cycle through each window in real time.

Preview of taskbar items lets you hover over each individual task item and get a real-time preview of that screen (including Windows Media Player).

Outlook and Outlook Express will now be able to get RSS feeds (think NewsGator) using the common RSS store in Vista. An Outlook only feature (not Express) will be the ability to download referenced URLs in RSS feeds that are in Outlook. Allowing you to work with your disconnected Outlook client to read your RSS feed along with any accompanying websites that the feed points to. AWESOME!

Windows Gadgets (think Yahoo's Konfabulator and Apple's Dashboard) allows you to add widgets to the new Sidebar in Vista's desktop area or on the desktop itself. Another location you will soon find these little programs that can also take advantage of the Windows Presentation Foundation (think killer 3D and 2D) will be on your Windows mobile device or even the side of your laptop. This auxiliary display on the outside (duh!) of the new Vista laptops will now be referred to as the SideShow). These widgets that could will also find their way on to the MSN portal that was in beta over the last couple of months. Allowing contained widgets (I mean gadgets) to be added directly into you new proposed IE startup page. Very interesting!

Super Fetch me! The new prefetch feature that Ed Bott does a fantastic write up for in Windows XP has now been supercharged - hence the name change. It now does a analysis of your computer usage over the life of Vista's install and figures out how to best guess what programs you are going to run and load those programs into memory so they are ready to go. I've heard this works really well!

One of the things that Jim Allchin talked about in his keynote was that many of today's older systems just won't have the resources to take advantage of Super Fetch. Thankfully Microsoft have thought about this and have come up with a simplistic yet extremely practical way of combating this issue. You know that often useless bit of memory you have hanging around your neck all day? (You know what I'm talking about right?) The USB keys that you use to transfer files from one computer to another (and the more tech savvy of you use to load operating systems from) will be used to cache programs in turn increasing Super Fetch's usefulness by the amount of free space you have on the USB key. How cool is that?

Virtual Earth Beta 2 coming soon

Looks like the Earth part is not too far away. Heh

  1. Eagle Eye image view – photos taken from fairly low altitude at a 45° angle (as opposed to the 90° that the imagery currently uses). This makes for a really neat perspective view.

  2. User pushpins and collections

  3. Improved aerial and satellite imagery (of the 90° kind)

  4. Driving directions

  5. New content types – Traffic, Movies etc

  6. Mobile – send to phone. This looks like you’ll be able to send details of a location or locations to your mobile (or someone else’s). Imagine being able to send a “meet me here …” SMS.

  7. The big one (for me) is the geographic expansion – currently planned to be England and perhaps some more of Europe. More and more data will come on line as the team source and massage the data.

Check out Andrew Coates blog for more details

Microsoft's photo application example for Vista

Microsoft Max

More from Office 12

More over on NeoWin

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Hello Office 12

More over on

No more phishing please!

The IE team have put together a clear explination of how the anti-phishing countermeasures will be incorporated into Windows XP SP2 and later versions of Windows Internet Explorer.

The first screen shots of Vista PDC build

More here

News of PDC Vista build 5219 coming out

Looks like the pictures linked to on NeoWin have exceeded the bandwidth limit.

What's new and changed:

Sidebar is back
Outlook express how has an RSS reader integrated
Outlook express showing more of the visual overhaul
glass taskbar
previews of applications on taskbar
3D task switcher and 3D Carosel type task switcher
Picture editor
Photo album
Movie Maker 3 with DVD authoring
.NET 2.0 framework
System restore wizards
System backup wizards
Software version of windows update (now does updates like OSX)
Pictures have a border around them in thumbnail view
Popup extended preview on items in explorer (bigger thumbs)
Expanded driver support
Performance fixes
Bigger LDDM Driver support
IE's CSS support has been expanded since beta 1
PNG support for Icons (icons are all in PNG format now in a package called .ICO)
Windows Media Player 11 (not included yet, but bits and pieces of it are in this build)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Wish you were here

PDC05 Gear

System Font (Segoe UI)

Segoe UI (pronounced, "SEE-go") is the new Microsoft® Windows Vista™ system font. It is designed specifically for user interfaces and is optimized for ClearType font technology.

Segoe UI:
Improves consistency in text styles across all languages.
Is optimized for ClearType, which is on by default in Windows Vista. Segoe UI is less readable without ClearType enabled.
Has the standard font size increased to 9 pt. to accommodate for better layout and readability for all languages.
Has a new set of themed font styles that can be referenced through the Aero theme file.
Contains currently the Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic characters. Microsoft will continue to develop, add character sets and support this font.

More Vista eye candy

Max icon size 256 x 256.

The start of PDC 2005

This is going to be good!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Exchange 12 will ship (only) on DVD

This article looked like a bit of a non-issue until i read the reason as to why the team are going to release E12 on DVD. See below highlight.

A while back, we asked you what you thought about having Exchange 12 ship on DVD. We also did some market and customer research outside of the blog and carefully weighed all of the feedback together to make our decision: Exchange 12 will ship on a single DVD.

I wanted to let you know how important your feedback was to us making this decision as well as address some of the concerns that were raised on the anti-DVD side. Another plus of this experience was it was a great proof of concept as to how useful this blog is in gathering diverse customer feedback, so thanks for all the comments and please keep them coming. Even when we don't explicitly ask for feedback, the comments are still useful, any time you tell us what you think about something, positive or negative, we appreciate it.

First, I should explain what would be taking up this much space. The main feature is unified messaging, which is a core feature in E12 that we're very excited about bringing to the masses (and trust me on this one, there are some amazing features in UM). The largest part of this feature are the text-to-speech engines that are needed for each language. These engines allow you to call up your server on your phone and have it read your email and appointments over the phone to you. We estimate that the final size of each language of these engines (using a non-lossy
compression) will be around a couple hundred megs and we are working on
including as many languages as we can.

I should also mention that it's a natural progression we're making towards DVD -- as several commenters said, "it's only a matter of time." Exchange will likely be one of the first products to make the switch to only DVD, but we aren't doing this without good reason and without carefully weighing the pros and cons (and if we didn't need the space, we wouldn't make this move). We are announcing this change over a year in advance in order to give our customers enough time to plan for their
Exchange 12 deployments to ensure that they have a DVD drive available for copying E12 to a network share or for installing E12.

News Source:

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Microsoft answers my tabbed browsing request with GroupBar

I wrote an article here talking about the issues of tabbed browsing and grouping liked windows together. Here is the solution produced by Microsoft Research's VIBE (Visualization and Interaction for Business and Entertainment) group that implements exactly what I was suggesting. GroupBar is a program to allow taskbar groups to be dragged and dropped to better suit the context of the windows and not just the program creating the window.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

RE: Windows Vista Beta 2 Preview Shots!!

No no no... This is not Beta 2 everyone! Slow down.. we only got Beta 1 just over a month ago. The current preview build that was displayed at TechEd 2005 in Australia and New Zealand was build 5219. This is also the build that is slated for preview at the PDC next week. Microsoft Windows Vista Beta 2 is not expected out until November at the earliest..

Posted At: Wednesday, 7 September 2005 4:25 PM
Posted To:
Subject: Windows Vista Beta 2 Preview Shots!!

Just weeks after releasing Windows Vista Beta 1, Microsoft has shifted our paradigms again, unveiling a preview of beta 2 at the TechEd 2005 developer conference this morning.

Among the breakthrough new features shown to the 2,000 developers paying $2,000 each to attend TechEd: Solitaire with new background images, a scrolling Alt+Tab bar and Microsoft's version of Mac OS X's Expose function, which allows all the open Windows to be viewed at once.

News Source:

Microsoft's New Keyboards and Mice

More photos here.

APC Interviews Iain McDonald

Iain is a very interesting charactor. See the Channel9 video on my previous post. Here is the APC interview from TechEd 2005 where Iain was the main speaker.

PDC’s Vista Build 5219

It looks like APC have the scoop on the Professional Developers Conference next week. APC along with the rest of the TechEd 2005 Australia event attendees were treated to a preview of the next build of Vista by Iain McDonald (recently on Channel9 again).

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Windows Vista Self-Guided Tour

Microsoft TechNet:

This document is a high-level user's guide for information technology (IT) professionals who are building and deploying desktops by using the Beta 1 release of Microsoft Windows Vista delivered as part of the Beta 1 program. It is not intended to be a detailed process-oriented guide but rather a high-level introduction to some of the new features and capabilities of the next release of Windows. For more detailed information about this release, see the release notes in the Readme.htm file in the root directory of the Windows Vista DVD.

The Windows Vista operating system is designed to help users become confident in using their PC, help them find creative ways to easily find information they need to do their work, and make them better connected to systems, information, and people. For IT professionals, Windows Vista will be the easiest Windows ever to deploy, secure, and manage.

With Windows Vista, Microsoft is making significant investments in the areas of security, deployment, and desktop management.

To become familiar with Windows Vista, complete the following steps after you have completed the installation process. Enjoy!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Windows Vista Fast User Switching on domain joined machines

Bink has the following:

Looking over at John Howard's blog today (not the Aussie Prime Minister, the other one!) I noticed John is excited at the discovery that Fast User Switching appears to be enabled in the Vista Beta whilst joined to a domain. For those who don't realise, currently XP only supports this feature in a workgroup environment, not in a domain. IF this feature makes it through to the final release of Vista then it will be quite a change.

Freeze Dry for Windows Vista

Ed Bott:

Looks like Windows Vista will have a cool new feature with a cool name. The word comes from ZDNet Australia:

Windows Vista will include a new technology known as Freeze Dry designed to maintain application states and unsaved documents even when patches are automatically applied and PCs are rebooted.
Speaking at the Australian Tech Ed conference on the Gold Coast in Queensland this week, senior product manager Amy Stephan offered a preview of the Freeze Dry technology.

Many IT managers plan to automatically install patches and updates on machines during periods when they are inactive, such as overnight or on weekends. However, as some patches require machines to reboot, users who leave documents open and unsaved run the risk of losing that data if the machine is automatically updated.

Freeze Dry eliminates that problem by automatically saving application state and documents and then restoring them once the system restarts, Stephan said.

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