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Hardware | Windows Vista @ TechnoReality

Windows Vista @ TechnoReality

Micorosft Windows Vista & Compatible Items

Archive for the ‘Hardware’ Category


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 Are you accumulating flash drives in a bottom drawer somewhere? Don’t throw  them away just yet because you can use them with Microsoft Windows Vista. Plug any USB 2.0 flash memory drive that holds at least 256MB but no more than 4GB into your PC and Autoplay gives you a choice to invoke ReadyBoost, where Vista will use the drive’s memory as an additional disk cache to speed things up. Just click Speed up My System and you’re off and running.
 If you’re skipping Vista or you’re a Mac user, why not just donate your old thumb drive to charity? But hey, what the f#ck do kids in Africa need with thumbdrives? How about food, education, computers, stable government…

Faster Vista [Shiny Shiny]
Thumb Drive Drive [Inveneo, via boingboingvia Gizmodo


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Xbox 360 to Deliver TV Shows


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REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 6, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today announced agreements with CBS, MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures, Turner Broadcasting System Inc. (TBS Inc.), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to bring an initial lineup of over 1,000 hours of hit TV shows and movies to Xbox 360™ gamers in the U.S. by the end of the year. Furthermore, Xbox 360 will be the first gaming console to bring standard and high-definition TV shows and movies via digital distribution over the Internet directly to the consumer.

Beginning Nov. 22, on its first anniversary, Xbox 360 will be the first gaming console in history to provide high-definition TV shows and movies directly to gamers in their living rooms. Xbox 360 gamers will have access to the full-length TV shows as downloads to own and movies to rent via download from the Xbox Live® network, the worldwide leader in online distribution of high-definition gaming and entertainment content. This announcement also brings with it several additional “firsts”:

For the first time, consumers will get an integrated gaming and entertainment experience on a gaming console that includes downloadable high-definition TV shows and movies. This new full-length content adds to the ever-expanding number of choices gamers have on their Xbox 360, whether they want to play games or play a movie on a disc or as a download in high definition or standard definition.

For the first time CBS will deliver high-definition download-to-own TV shows including “CSI,” “Jericho,” “Numb3rs” and remastered “Star Trek” episodes; gamers can buy them and watch them repeatedly.

For the first time on any platform, NASCAR.COM will deliver download-to-own condensed versions of select NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races from “Race Rewind.”

For the first time, the Ultimate Fighting Championship will make 50 of its most intense fights available for download as well as select episodes from the original season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series.

“This groundbreaking announcement is a win for everyone,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “It connects our partners with one of the most coveted audiences in entertainment today, and provides even greater value to our Xbox Live community, allowing them to enjoy the games and entertainment they want, when they want it.”

The initial lineup of TV shows available for download to own and feature films available for download to rent will include a growing catalog of popular hits. Examples of content that will be available on the network by the end of year include the following:

• “Robot Chicken” and “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” from Adult Swim

• “CSI,” “Survivor” and “Star Trek” from CBS

• Emmy and Peabody award-winning “South Park” and “Chappelle’s Show” from COMEDY CENTRAL

•  “The Real World” and “Pimp My Ride” from MTV

• “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and ”SpongeBob SquarePants” from Nickelodeon

• “Skyland” and “The Nicktoons Network Animation Festival” from Nicktoons Network

• “M:i:III,” “Nacho Libre” and “Jackass: The Movie” from Paramount Pictures

•  “Carpocalypse” and “Raising the Roofs” from Spike TV

• “Race Rewind” provided by NASCAR.COM

• Select episodes of the original season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series and the “UFC: All Access” shows from the UFC

• “Breaking Bonaduce” and “Hogan Knows Best” from VH1

• “The Matrix,” “Superman Returns” and “Batman Forever” from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Xbox 360 gamers can access Xbox Live Marketplace with a free Xbox Live Silver membership and a broadband connection. More information about the content available on Xbox Live Marketplace can be found at http://www.xbox.com/marketplaceentertainment.

Support From Digital Entertainment Partners

“CBS is very pleased to be the first broadcast network to provide programs for the Xbox 360 game console, which marks a new and innovative way to distribute and monetize CBS’s world-class content in the digital space. Backed by the formidable marketing power of Microsoft, this platform also offers great potential to recruit new and younger viewers to our Network programming and creates added opportunities for our existing viewers to remain engaged with their favorite program.”

- Nancy Tellem, President, CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group

“Xbox Live Marketplace provides a truly unique opportunity to connect the core audience with movies that really resonate with them such as ‘Jackass: The Movie’ and ‘M:i:III.’ The gaming community is fully engaged with online entertainment, and this is just the beginning of what we will provide to this fan base.”

- Thomas Lesinski, President, Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment

“We are thrilled to be part of this launch and bring some of our most popular and targeted programming, including Adult Swim’s ‘Robot Chicken’ and ‘NASCAR.COM,’ to this platform direct to gamers via Xbox Live on Xbox 360 as part of their online gaming and entertainment experience. Partnering with Xbox Live represents the ideal environment to extend the relevant Adult Swim and NASCAR.COM brands and reach our fans in the coveted 18–34 demographic.”

- Dennis Quinn, Executive Vice President, Business Development, TBS Inc.

“When gamers are taking a break from playing ‘Gears of War,’ I can’t think of a better way to keep the adrenaline flowing than with some high-impact UFC fights. For the first time ever, the original season of our hit reality series ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ will be available for digital download, plus many UFC fights will also be available for download to Xbox 360 in HD.”

- Dana White, President, UFC

“Warner Bros. has been aggressively pursuing a strategy of getting our content to consumers when and where they want it. This is a fantastic opportunity to reach the gaming world with our rich menu of content including next-generation formats.”

- Simon Kenny, President, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution

Source: Microsoft Press Release


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Windows Mobile Device Center Beta


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There are a lot of questions regarding release of the Windows Mobile Device Center.  Here is the heads-up that next week you will get your chance to download the new WMDC Beta and sync your mobile devices up with newer builds of Windows Vista.
When the Beta goes online, it will first be available only in English, with more language supported in short order.  Don’t worry on this last count, as language support is indeed a priority.

In the meantime, here’s an image of the start-up screen for your viewing pleasure:

Source: Windows Vista Team Blog : Windows Mobile Device Center Beta Coming Soon


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In the city that helped influence the works of artists including Gaudi, Miró and Picasso, Microsoft Corp. delivered the fine art of gaming at X06 showcasing an extensive, groundbreaking collection of games for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system, Games for Windows® and Xbox Live® Arcade for Xbox 360. For the holiday season and beyond, Microsoft offers amazing experiences for all types of gamers — ranging from the hard-core gamer with the award-winning “Gears of War®” to the gamer interested in a variety of genres with the broad reach title “Viva Piñata™.”

Xbox 360 games arriving for the holidays include these:

“Gears of War” (Epic Games Inc.). 2006 E3 Best Console Game winner “Gears of War” thrusts gamers into humankind’s horrifying epic battle for survival against the Locust Horde. This third-person tactical action/horror title lets gamers play in several modes (single, cooperative and customizable Xbox Live multiplayer gameplay) that unite next-generation technology and graphics with classic storytelling and a revolutionary tactical combat system.

“Viva Piñata” (Rare Ltd.). The “Viva Piñata” world is an evolving paradise where players of all ages create a fantastical island to attract and care for the more than 60 species of wild-roaming Piñata animals. In the United States, the animated TV series “Viva Piñata” debuted Sept. 9 on 4Kids TV and licensed merchandise will be available in 2007.

“Call of Duty® 3” (Activision). The follow up to the No. 1 next-generation title delivers gamers right to the frontlines, closer than ever to the fury of combat. “Call of Duty 3” also offers intense multiplayer action for up to 24 players to team up online.

Pixar’s “Cars” (THQ).Disney Pixar film, is aThe “Cars” video game, based on the Disney high-performance interactive experience in the open world created in the film, challenging players to relive the excitement created by Lightning McQueen and his friends. Fans will discover unique characters and environments inspired by the film with more than 10 playable characters and 30 races and minigames to choose from.

“Dead or Alive®: Xtreme 2” (Tecmo Inc.). The girls of “Dead or Alive” are back and ready to battle it out in the tropical waters of Zack’s Island, race high-performance watercraft, compete in beach volleyball, sunbathe on white sand beaches and go all-in at Zack’s casino.

“FIFA 2007” (EA). “FIFA 07” on the Xbox 360 heralds the start of the next generation of football gaming with the dynamic new EA SPORTS™ engine and all-new gameplay. Moving away from the traditional animation-based game engine, raw physics and data now drive the action, creating true-to-life movement, an unprecedented level of responsiveness and the most advanced visuals seen in a football game. Partner the new engine with the most innovative and extensive online feature sets to date, with 4 v 4 and streaming real world news, “FIFA 07” truly blurs the lines between video games and reality.

“NBA 2K7” (2K Sports/Visual Concepts). “NBA 2K7,” the latest installment of the No. 1 rated NBA 2K series, features breathtaking graphics, tight controls and a revolutionary shooting game. “NBA 2K7” delivers a new benchmark in high-level player details with Signature Style player animations that add a new level of gameplay strategies as gamers adjust to the different shooting styles of each NBA player. “NBA 2K7” also enhances the overall atmosphere with hyper-detailed arenas, enhanced arena lighting and numerous new camera angles to truly deliver the next generation of basketball video games.

“NBA LIVE 07” (EA). Building upon the depth and authenticity that the NBA LIVE franchise has delivered for more than a decade, this season the game will once again revolutionize basketball gameplay. With new moves that are matched only by the game’s stunning visuals, players will be given more control than they ever imagined with the all-new EA SPORTS™ Total Freestyle Control. This year “NBA LIVE 07” will partner with the worldwide leader in sports to deliver more in-game ESPN content while you play.

“NHL™ 07” (EA). Whether you’re running the front office or dominating the rink, “NHL 07” is the most intuitive and realistic hockey experience ever created. Powered by advanced gameplay, “NHL 07” features new responsive controls and photo-realistic graphics. Players take complete command over every movement on the ice without ever taking their hands off the analog sticks.

“Need for Speed™ Carbon” (EA). Delivering the next generation of adrenaline-filled street racing, “Need for Speed Carbon” will challenge players to face the ultimate driving test on treacherous canyon roads. “Need for Speed Carbon” delivers the next generation of customization, giving you the power to design and tweak your crew’s cars in every way using the groundbreaking new Autosculpt™ technology. Represent your car class, your crew and your turf in “Need for Speed Carbon,” a revolution in racing games.

“Pro Evolution Soccer 6” (Konami Digital Entertainment GmbH). With more than 150 individual moves, techniques and tricks at your disposal, “Pro Evolution Soccer 6” enables you to play the “beautiful game” in any way you see fit. From slick passing moves to hard-tackling, crowd-pleasing exhibitions of individual skill to dogged, desperate defending, no other game can rival its ability to capture the essence and atmosphere of the real-life sport.

“Sonic the Hedgehog” (Sega). “Sonic The Hedgehog” redefines his trademark speed for the most intense, high-velocity adventure yet! Blaze through enormous and exotic worlds with all-new custom moves and take on Dr. Eggman and his horde of robotic minions to rescue a princess in peril.

“SUPERMAN RETURNS™: THE VIDEOGAME” (EA). “SUPERMAN RETURNS™: THE VIDEOGAME” challenges players to master Superman’s unrivaled powers to save Metropolis. Based on 60 years of DC Comics and the hit motion picture, “SUPERMAN RETURNS: THE VIDEOGAME” creates the ultimate open-world superhero experience. As the Man of Steel™, you’ll hone your unworldly super powers such as Flight, X-Ray Vision and Freeze Breath to fight villains that only Superman™ can defeat.

“Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 07(EA). In its latest installment, “Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 07” brings realism and emotion to the golf course like never before, while players see and hear the crowds around them with enhanced playing environments. “Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 07” is packed with new content, including 12 courses, and the all-new UCAP technology makes Tiger more realistic than ever.

“Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas” (Ubisoft). Rainbow operatives take to the chaotic streets of Las Vegas as an escalating terrorist siege in “Sin City” threatens to take world terrorism to new, uncontrollable heights. The future of global security hangs in the balance as you battle to defend classic Vegas locations and environments such as Fremont Street, the Strip and casinos.

“Tony Hawk’s Project 8” (Activision). Re-engineered from the ground up for Xbox 360, “Tony Hawk’s Project 8” immerses players in the definitive skateboarding experience using ultra-realistic graphics, enhanced physics and extremely responsive controls that simulate the feeling of skating with every trick and bail. The game challenges players to experience the intensity and pressure of skating against some of the world’s top pros in true-to-life competitions as they aim to become the No.1 skater.

Windows titles available for the holiday include these:

“Age of Empires® III: The WarChiefs” (Ensemble Studios). The new expansion pack for the best-selling real-time strategy game of 2005, “Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs” lets gamers of all ages enjoy 15 new missions leading the Native American civilizations as they expand their empires and fight for control of the Americas.

“Flight Simulator X” (ACES Studio). The franchise that’s been flying high for more than two decades lets gamers of all ages and skill levels experience what it is like to be an aviator traveling the globe either solo or online with others. With more than 50 new missions to choose from, Windows aviators can pilot dozens of new aircrafts including the Aircreation 582SL Ultralight and Maule M7-260C Orion.

“Neverwinter Nights™ 2” (Atari). Available this fall, “Neverwinter Nights 2”is the sequel to Atari’s best-selling and genre-defining role-playing game (RPG) set in the fantasy world of the Forgotten Realms, one of the popular campaign settings of Dungeons and Dragons. The game takes players from the tiniest of villages into a sweeping tale of danger and war, chronicling their rise from a peasant to a full-fledged hero of the Realms. More information can be found at http://www.nwn2.com.

“Zoo Tycoon® 2: Marine Mania” (Blue Fang Games). Aspiring marine biologists can turn their dream zoo into an aquatic extravaganza with the “Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania” expansion pack. Care for 20 new marine creatures including great white sharks, giant squids and manta rays, build captivating tanks or create extraordinary aquatic shows featuring dolphins or killer whales.

More Xbox 360 games announced or shown at X06 include these:

“Assassin’s Creed” (Ubisoft). The new action title developed by an all-star team from Ubisoft Montreal. “Assassin’s Creed” delivers a truly next-generation experience with stunning visuals, compelling storytelling and never-before-seen crowd gameplay. Gamers will take on the role of a skilled assassin and shape events during the pivotal moment in the Third Crusade.

“Crackdown™” (Real Time Worlds). Real Time Worlds, led by “Grand Theft Auto” mastermind David Jones, pushes the action-driving hybrid genre into the next generation with a 3-D open-world, free-form playground. Experience highly innovative co-op gameplay and an interactive world where nearly everything can be used as a weapon.

“Fable® 2” (Lionhead Studios). In “Fable 2,” the sequel to “Fable,” the groundbreaking role-playing adventure, gamers can control the decisions of the characters and the resulting outcome. Gameplay will evolve to include the ability to choose your character’s gender and employ the use of firearms in combat.

“Forza Motorsport™ 2” (Turn 10). “Forza Motorsport 2” roars into the next generation with more than 300 customizable cars and 60 frames per second of head-turning, high-definition gameplay. Plus you can race on real-world tracks from around the globe — from the famously challenging Nürbugring Nordschleife track to the spectator-lined streets of Rio de Janeiro.

“Halo Wars” (Ensemble Studios). Expanding on the universe that made the “Halo®” franchise so beloved, “Halo Wars” provides gamers with an unparalleled real-time strategy experience for the console that will showcase the power of Xbox 360. Players will command the human UNSC armies as they deploy for their first encounter with the evil Covenant forces.

“Half-Life® 2” (EA/Valve). “Half-Life 2” for the Xbox 360 system is the entire award-winning single-player game together with the first two episodes of the continued story. Research scientist Gordon Freeman finds himself on an alien-infested Earth being picked to the bone, its resources depleted, its populace dwindling. Freeman is thrust into the unenviable role of rescuing the world from the wrong he unleashed back at Black Mesa. And a lot of people — people he cares about — are counting on him.

“Lost Planet™: Extreme Condition” (Capcom). “Lost Planet: Extreme Condition” is a riveting sci-fi action shooter with intense cinematic gameplay set within the ruthless conditions of a war-torn ice covered planet. With a gripping single-player campaign and numerous multiplayer modes, “Lost Planet” promises to deliver an epic gaming masterpiece when it is released in January 2007.

“Mass Effect” (BioWare). “Mass Effect” is set in an expansive, living universe and will deliver an immersive gameplay experience in which players are put in a position where they are the only person aware of an ancient danger that threatens all life in the entire galaxy. They must stop the threat at all costs, which can lead to morally challenging decisions. The science fiction RPG has racked up more than 30 awards and nominations and quickly becoming one of the must-have games of 2007.

“Project Gotham Racing® 4” (Bizarre Creations).An exclusive to Xbox 360, “Project Gotham Racing 4” promises to continue its pedigree of innovation by introducing exciting new driving experiences to racing fans throughout the world. Always setting a high standard and delivering on breakthrough technology for the Xbox® and Xbox360 platforms, “Project Gotham Racing 4” will deliver on new experiences that will delight gamers. The critically acclaimed “PGR” franchise has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide.

The next game in the “Banjo-Kazooie®” Franchise (Rare Ltd.). The beloved franchise from Rare returns as gamers reunite with Banjo, Kazooie, Gruntilda and a cast of new and returning characters for a new, exclusive adventure only for Xbox 360. Expect sharp wit, hilarious humor and next-generation visuals. The official title will be announced at a later date.

Titles for both Xbox 360 and Windows titles announced or shown include these:

“Alan Wake” (Remedy Entertainment). “Alan Wake” is a psychological action thriller from Remedy, the legendary and renowned developers of highly successful action titles. In this exciting new title exclusively for Windows Vista™ and Xbox 360, gamers assume the role of Alan Wake, a best-selling suspense author who escapes to a small town to recover from the mysterious disappearance of his fiancée.

BioShock (2K Games). A revolution in the genre that will forever change the expectations for first-person shooters, “BioShock” will be released exclusively on Xbox 360 and Windows next spring.

“Crossfire” (Eidos, Pivotal Games). This is the new first-person shooter from the award-winning developer Pivotal Games. “Crossfire” draws its inspiration from a group new to the gaming world: the CIA’s denied operations Special Activities Division. The action focuses on the exploits of two field operatives in an innovative approach to the military squad shooter.

“Alone in the Dark” (Atari). The franchise that gave birth to the modern survival horror gaming genre, “Alone in the Dark” returns on next-generation platforms to deliver an edge-of-the-seat survival experience facilitated by state-of-the-art real-time physics and unparalleled environmental interaction within a meticulously detailed, open game world. Developed by Eden Games, “Alone in the Dark” will propel the survival horror genre into the future with the new level of available technology that allows for unprecedented advances in gameplay and unmatched action-orientated gaming experiences in wide-open environments.

“Kane and Lynch: Dead Men” (Eidos, IO Interactive). “Kane & Lynch: Dead Men” is a violent and chaotic journey of two men — a flawed mercenary and a medicated psychopath — and their attitudes toward right and wrong. This volatile partnership combined with innovative technologies allow for an unparalleled gaming experience.

“Marvel Universe Online” (Cryptic Studios). Microsoft, Marvel Entertainment and Cryptic Studios will be bringing Marvel’s epic world of Super Heroes to life in this highly anticipated massively multiplayer online video game. “Marvel Universe Online” will be exclusive to Xbox 360 and Windows Vista gamers, and as a cross-platform title, it will allow both platforms to experience the world together online.

“Shadowrun™” (FASA Studio). FASA Studio, the creative minds behind “MechWarrior®” and “Crimson Skies®,” are back with “Shadowrun,” the new cross-platform multiplayer first-person shooter based on the much-beloved role-playing game franchise. Up to 16 players can battle with a blend of modern weaponry and ancient magic for control of this new world through Xbox 360-to-Windows Vista online compatibility.

“Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Double Agent” (Ubisoft). Sam Fisher is back, but he’s never faced an enemy like this before. This time he must infiltrate and destroy a terrorist cell from within. For the first time ever, experience the relentless tension and gut-wrenching dilemmas of life as a double agent. Lie, sabotage, kill, betray. How far will you go to complete your mission?

The next “Splinter Cell” title (Ubisoft). It’s official. The only place to play the next installment in this series after “Splinter Cell Double Agent” is on Xbox 360. The “Splinter Cell” series never fails to deliver an incredible, immersive gaming experience that takes full advantage of Xbox 360, and this title will be no different.

“World Series of Poker®: Tournament of Champions” (Activision). Building on last year’s No. 1 poker title and No. 1 brand in poker, “World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions” takes a story-based approach as you enter the Circuit as Chris “Jesus” Ferguson’s protégé. You’ll test your skill against more top pros than ever before as you compete in the premier Circuit Events. Your goal: qualify for the winner-take-all, invitation-only Tournament of Champions at the Rio Resort in Las Vegas and compete to be the World’s Best. 

Highly anticipated Windows titles announced or shown include these:

“Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures” (Eidos/Funcom). Offering two gameplay options, “Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures” lets gamers choose between an online action-RPG with a deep, story-driven single-player experience or a massive and brutal multiplayer endgame, bringing to life the ultimate representation of the “Age of Conan.”

“Halo 2” for Windows Vista (Bungie Studios). The battle lands on Windows Vista as the epic storyline unfolds with Master Chief standing as the only thing between the relentless alien Covenant and the destruction of all humankind. In addition, the “Halo” community can now create an unlimited supply of exciting multiplayer levels thanks to the exclusive “Halo 2” for Windows Vista Map Editor.

“Hellgate™: London” (NAMCO BANDAI Games). “Hellgate: London” is the first original title from premier developer Flagship Studios, whose team hails from such blockbusters as the Diablo, StarCraft and WarCraft series. Set in the near future, “Hellgate: London” introduces a world devastated by a demon invasion. Players are thrust into a desolate city scorched by hellfire where the survivors meld science and sorcery to gain a foothold against the minions of darkness and save the bloodline of humanity.

“Rail Simulator” (EA). Coming to Europe. Release the brakes and drive contemporary and historical locomotives along four real-life routes, all re-created in stunning detail. This massively anticipated simulator lets you take the controls to drive in challenging scenarios or to your own timetable on the route of your choice. Indulge your creative skills by crafting your own routes, content and scenarios to play or exchange with other players. Your journey begins here!

“The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™” (Midway). “The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar” lets players join in an epic adventure — exploring a massive online world while defending the lands of Middle-earth from the Dark Lord Sauron. Players of all levels will explore incredibly detailed realms and join familiar characters in an evolving and persistent re-creation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved world. Gamers can adventure solo or choose from thousands of players online to forge their own fellowships. “LOTRO” is co-published by Turbine and Midway in North America and Codemasters Online Gaming in Europe.

Xbox Live Arcade

Yesterday, in a surprise unveiling, one of the greatest games of the 3-D era premiered on Xbox Live Arcade: “DOOM®” (id Software) is now available for 800 points. The game brings legendary DOOM mayhem to gamers, who for the first time ever can relive the classic demon-blasting fragfest in both single-player and two-to-four player cooperative and deathmatch modes over Xbox Live. Also, a new, multititle relationship with Codemasters was announced, with the first title being the classic, fast-action soccer game, “Sensible World of Soccer.”

Xbox Live Arcade titles playing on the X06 show floor include frenzied music puzzle game “Lumines Live!™” (Q? Entertainment Inc.), classic side-scrolling action shooter “Contra” (Konami), an original action shoot ’em up “Heavy Weapon: Atomic Tank” (PopCap Games), space-shooter “Gyruss” (Konami), arcade fighting favorite “Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3” (Midway), the multiplayer brawler “Small Arms” (Gastronaut Studios), the all-time coin-op classic “Defender” (Midway), the futuristic street-racing action game “Street Trace: NYC” (Gaia Industries), innovative action combat “Assault Heroes” (Vivendi Universal Games), and the frenetic shooter “Mutant Storm Empire” (Pom-Pom Games).

Source: Microsoft Press Release


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  • Zune has a release date - November 14


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    Microsoft Corp. is putting the social into digital music, starting this holiday. Today the company announced that the Zune™ digital media player and online service will be available to consumers in the U.S. on Nov. 14, 2006, just in time for the holidays. The Zune device will retail for $249.99 U.S. (ERP) and will create new ways for entertainment fans to connect and share media experiences device-to-device through the use of wireless technology and new software scenarios.

    For $249.99, consumers will get an incredible entertainment experience right out of the box:

    30GB digital media player will come equipped with wireless functionality for Zune-to-Zune sharing of music, pictures and home recordings; a bright, three-inch LCD video screen that works in portrait or landscape mode to view pictures and videos; and a built-in FM tuner. The device will be available in three colors: black, brown and white.

    A selection of preloaded content including songs, music videos and film shorts are installed on the device’s hard drive to help consumers discover new artists and entertainment.

    Zune makes it easy to find music you love — whether it’s songs in your existing library or new music from the Zune Marketplace:

    Its dynamic music service will be continually updated with new content and experiences so there is always something to discover. The Zune Marketplace lets users browse and purchase songs individually.

    A Zune Pass subscription gives consumers access to millions of songs for $14.99 per month.

    Users can purchase songs individually using Microsoft® Points for 79 points per track. Similar to a pre-paid phone card, Microsoft Points is a stored value system that can be redeemed at a growing number of online stores, including the Xbox Live® Marketplace.

    In addition, consumers can choose from a full line of accessories to enhance the Zune experience and help Zune users enjoy their entertainment where they want to, at home or on the road. Accessories range in price from $19.99 to $99.99.

    “On Nov. 14 we’re delivering not only a device, but a shared, social experience that will be shaped by the collective imagination of consumers,” said Chris Stephenson, general manager of global marketing for Zune. “We’re infusing the spirit of discovery and sharing into everything we do — from the experience we crafted around the device and service to pre-loading music and videos on every device to expose people to something new.”

    Pre-Loaded Content

    Zune is a vehicle to explore new sounds and experiences. With that in mind, Microsoft pre-loaded each Zune device with a variety of songs and music videos from hot, new artists as well as some fun films and images. With something for everyone, the pre-loaded Zune content may just help you discover your new favorite band. Zune preloaded content includes the following:

    Audio Tracks

    Band of Horses, “Wicked Gil” (Sub Pop Records)
    Bitter:Sweet, “The Mating Game” (Quango Music Group)
    CSS, “Alala (Microsoft edit)” (Sub Pop Records)
    Darkel, “At The End of The Sky (edit)” (Astralwerks)
    Every Move a Picture, “Signs of Life” (V2)
    Small Sins, “Stay” (Astralwerks)
    The Adored, “Tell Me Tell Me” (V2)
    The Rakes, “Open Book” (V2)
    The Thermals, “A Pillar of Salt” (Sub Pop Records)

    Music Video

    30 Seconds to Mars, “The Kill” (Virgin Records)
    BT, “1.618” (DTS Entertainment)
    Chad VanGaalen, “Red Hot Drops” (Sub Pop Records)
    Coldcut featuring Roots Manuva, “True Skool” (Ninja Tune)
    CSS, “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above” (Sub Pop Records)
    Fruit Bats, “Live: The Wind That Blew My Heart Away” (Sub Pop Records)Grandaddy, “Elevate Myself” (V2)
    Hot Chip, “Over and Over” (Astralwerks Records)
    Kraak & Smaak featuring Dez., “Keep Me Home” (Quango Music Group)
    Kinski, “Live: The Snowy Parts of Scandinavia” (Sub Pop Records)
    Paul Oakenfold, “Faster Kill Pussycat (Featuring Brittany Murphy)” (Maverick Records)
    Serena-Maneesh, “Drain Cosmetics” (Playlouderecordings)

    Film Shorts

    5 Boro: “A New York Skateboarding Minute” (Skateboarding)
    Radical Films: “Kranked — Progression” (Mountain Biking)
    TGRTV The North Face (Skiing/Snowboarding)

    Images

    A variety of images to personalize a Zune device, including 12 classic rock posters from “Art of Modern Rock”

    Zune Accessories

    For entertainment fans who want to experience their media from anywhere, Microsoft will offer the following accessories:

    Zune Home A/V Pack. The Home A/V Pack includes everything you need to amplify your Zune experience. This set of five products integrates Zune with your big-screen TV and the best speakers in your house. The wireless remote puts you in control from virtually anywhere in the room. When you buy the Zune Home AV Pack, you’ll get the AV Output Cable, Zune Dock, Zune Wireless Remote with Lithium Battery, Zune Sync Cable and Zune AC Adapter for $99.99.

    Zune Travel Pack. The Travel Pack includes everything you need to travel with your Zune device in style. This set of five products is designed to keep you and your friends and family entertained while you travel. When you buy the Zune Travel Pack, you’ll get the Zune Dual Connect Remote, Zune Premium Earphones, Zune Gear Bag, Zune Sync Cable and Zune AC Adapter for $99.99.

    Zune Car Pack. The Car Pack includes everything you need to hit the road with your Zune device. With AutoSeek, setup is easy, and you can enjoy your music on the go and charge at the same time. When you buy the Zune Car Pack, you’ll get the FM tuner with AutoSeek and the Zune Car Charger for $79.99.

    Sold Individually

    Zune AV Output Cable. The A/V Output Cable lets you connect your Zune device to a TV and home stereo. Ideal for listening to music and showing pictures and video, the A/V Output Cable is simple to set up and use, and will retail for $19.99.

    Zune AC Adapter. The AC Adapter lets you charge your Zune device without a PC. For convenience, the AC Adapter will charge your Zune device in about three hours and will retail for $29.99.

    Zune Sync Cable. The Sync Cable lets you connect your Zune device to your PC or the Zune AC Adapter (sold separately). It works as a replacement for your original sync cable or as a spare for travel and charging, and will retail for $19.99.

    Zune Car Charger. The Car Charger lets you charge your device in the car while listening to your favorite music and even while using the FM tuner with AutoSeek (sold separately). The Car Charger will retail for $24.99.

    Zune Dock. The Dock elegantly displays your Zune device anywhere in your home or office. Featuring a connector port and an audio/video output, the Dock is ideal for syncing, charging and connecting with home A/V equipment. (A/V connectivity requires the Zune A/V Output Cable, sold separately.) The Dock will retail for $39.99.

    Zune Wireless Remote for Zune Dock. Designed for use with Zune Dock (sold separately), the Wireless Remote lets you control your device from across the room. The Wireless Remote gives you quick access to your current playlist as well as full control over menu navigation and volume. The Wireless Remote will retail for $29.99.

    Zune Dual Connect Remote. The Dual Connect Remote offers convenient playlist control and two headphone jacks with independent amplifiers and volume controls so you can listen with a friend or family member. The Dual Connect Remote will retail for $29.99.

    Zune FM tuner With AutoSeek. The FM tuner with AutoSeek lets you wirelessly listen to music through your car’s stereo through the FM radio. AutoSeek automatically finds the optimal station so it’s easy to set up, and will retail for $69.99.

    Zune Gear Bag. The Gear Bag lets you bring Zune and related accessories with you wherever you go. The Gear Bag comes with a rugged exterior and fitted compartments to protect your device while you travel. The Gear Bag will retail for $29.99.

    Zune Premium Earphones. Designed exclusively for use with Zune, the Premium Earphones produce superior sound and feature a noise-isolating, in-ear design. With a convenient storage case and three earpiece sizes to choose from, you can listen to your music with added comfort and quality. The Premium earphones will retail for $39.99.

    The Next Step in Connected Entertainment

    In addition to the rich service and Zune-to-Zune sharing capabilities available at launch, the built-in wireless technology and powerful software provide a strong foundation for Zune to continue to build new shared experiences around music and video. “We’re offering a compelling experience right out of the box and providing customers with a solid base to customize and personalize their entertainment,” Stephenson said. “This is just the beginning.”

    Get the Zune Accessories at shop.xboxfanatic.com - our Amazon store

    Source: Microsoft Press Release


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  • Microsoft to upgrade Xbox 360 CPU


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    Microsoft will upgrade the CPU used in its Xbox 360 games console early next year, the CPU’s manufacturer announced today. 

    The new CPU will be built using technology that can reduce heat and power consumption, as well as potentially increasing speed. It will also help Microsoft cut the console’s cost.

    The improved Xbox 360 CPU will be manufactured using 65 nanometre technology starting in the first quarter of 2007, Chartered Semiconductor of Singapore said. The existing CPU uses 90nm technology. 

    Although the launch of the Xbox 360 last November was generally hailed as a success for Microsoft, the console has been troubled by reports of overheating causing games to crash or freeze.

    These have come despite the unit using a pair of powerful fans, together with heat pipes, to carry heat away from the CPU core.

    Microsoft acknowledged last year that it had received “isolated” reports of problems. One US buyer has initiated a class action suit against the company, alleging that both the CPU and power supply were prone to overheating.

    As is common with advances in chip building methods, the 65nm technology that the new Xbox 360 CPU will use can provide lower power consumption and reduced heat output compared to older production methods.

    While the new CPU may help Microsoft alleviate any overheating problems with the existing Xbox 360 design, it is standard industry practice for hardware makers to take advantage of newer semiconductor technology as it becomes available, simply because this helps them reduce manufacturing costs.

    Read the rest of the story at vnunet.com


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    ATI leads the way with industry’s first graphics hardware certified for Windows Vista’TM’

    Underlining the company’s leadership in developing hardware and drivers to support Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Vista operating system, ATI Technologies Inc. (TSX:ATY)(NASDAQ:ATYT) today announced that its driver has been granted the graphics industry’s first Windows Hardware Quality Lab (WHQL) certification for Windows Vista by Microsoft. WHQL certification sets a high bar for quality and reliability, and is considered essential by many business and home users.

    Windows Vista is the first version of the Microsoft operating system that requires hardware for 3D acceleration. WHQL certification reassures businesses and consumers that ATI graphics processors are fully ready to unlock the stunning graphical features of the powerful Windows Vista platform, including Windows Vista Premium(1).

    “ATI is working closely with Microsoft to ensure the best performance and most reliable Vista experience through our top-to-bottom line of graphics processors,” said Ben Bar-Haim, vice president of software, ATI Technologies Inc. “With Windows Vista, 3D graphics now matter to everyone and ATI’s WHQL certification gives businesses and consumers alike the confidence that their ATI system is ready for Vista.”

    (1) Currently shipping ATI boards certified for Windows Vista Premium include the X1300, X1350, X1400, X1600, X1700, X1800, X1900 and X1950.

    Source: ATI Press Release


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    Getting ready for Vista, you are going to need good hardware. I have long been a fan of  PCStats hardware reviews… so without further ado,,,

    The future for Intel ’s P965 chipset is a bright one, particularly with Core 2 Duo processors finally rolling out the door (actually, physically so). Aside from PCI Express x16 videocard support, the Intel P965 chipset leads with a 1066 MHz front side bus, a new 12.8GB/s ‘Fast Memory Access’ memory controller, and a few other technologies we’ll touch upon momentarily. Released in tandem with the Intel 975 chipset, the more economical 965 core logic is likely to be the real favourite of the show with most consumers.

    As PCSTATS embarks upon the review you’ve come for, the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 motherboard, it’s worthwhile to note that little has changed since Asus and Gigabyte merged. Both Gigabyte and ASUS will maintain separate product lines, but the motherboard manufacturer is now among the largest in the world. The only direct competition left comes from the industry behemoth Foxconn, which aside from its own brand of motherboards figures into just about every single motherboard produced at some level…. but that’s another story.

    Gigabyte’s GA-965P-DS3 motherboard offers a good mix of performance and value for the Intel Pentium D or Core 2 Duo microprocessor. The board itself retails for a reasonable price of $156 CDN ($140 US, £75 GBP) with scant little in terms of bundled in accessories. The GA-965P-DS3 is made for Intel’s remarkably proficient Core 2 Duo processor series, and for the purposes of this review PCSTATS will be testing it with an Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 CPU - the sweetheart of the bunch for its 2.4GHz clock speed and 4MB of L2 Cache.

    Featuring Intel’s P965 Express northbridge and ICH8 southbridge chipsets, the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 motherboard supports all Socket 775 processors from the flagship Core 2 Duo/Extreme to the Pentium D/4 and Celeron D. Either 1006MHz Front Side Bus or 800MHz FSB is the number to remember, but it will also accept 533MHz FSB chips if you’re really strapped for a chip. The ATX motherboard’s four DDR2 memory slots accommodate a maximum of 8GB of DDR2-533/667/800 RAM, and unofficially at least it also works with DDR2-1066 memory modules. There are a few integrated devices outside of the standard collection associated with the P965 Express chipset; such as an IDE controller, 7.1 channel Azalia High Definition Audio and a 10/1000 Gigabit network card.

    The rest of the story is at PCStats

     

     


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    A 15 yr old talks about Microsoft Zune


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    Leave it to a 15 yr old to give some great impressions of Zune

    zune_multi.jpg 
    Thanks to Mikeysblog.com for creating this..”Sam on Zune”…

    From Mikeysblog:  With all the conjecture on various blog sites about what Zune is, what it will look like, etc. I decided to  take a different angle on the whole story. I grabbed my son, Sam, who was reclining comfortably, Gameboy in hand and put him in front of our camcorder. While I admittedly did try to guide some of his answers unconsciously (at the end of the interview I try to steer him around future inclusions of Xbox mobile features and… well he is a 15 year old and has a mind of his own ;-)  

    The Interview is on what he, as a 15 year old kid thinks it will take for the Zune to succeed and what he thinks will cause it to fail. “nuff said on to the video

    http://www.mikeysgblog.com/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=213

    After much commenting Mike uploaded it to Youtube: YOUTUBE LINK


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    Built in Wireless Technology lets consumers share experiences device to device 

    REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 14, 2006 — Marking the next big milestone for its Connected Entertainment vision, Microsoft Corp. today unveiled details of the first products to be released under its Zune™ brand. Designed around the principles of sharing, discovery and community, Zune will create new ways for consumers to connect and share entertainment experiences. The Zune experience centers around connection — connection to your library, connection to friends, connection to community and connection to other devices.

    “The digital music entertainment revolution is just beginning,” said J Allard, vice president, design and development, at Microsoft, who is leading the charge for building the family of Zune products. “With Zune, we are not simply delivering a portable device, we are introducing a new platform that helps bring artists closer to their audiences and helps people find new music and develop new social connections.”

    The Zune Experience

    Available this holiday season in the United States, Zune includes a 30GB digital media player, the Zune Marketplace music service and a foundation for an online community that will enable music fans to discover new music. The Zune device features wireless technology, a built-in FM tuner and a bright, 3-inch screen that allows users to not only show off music, pictures and video, but also to customize the experience with personal pictures or themes to truly make the device their own. Zune comes in three colors: black, brown and white.

    Every Zune device creates an opportunity for connection. Wireless Zune-to-Zune sharing lets consumers spontaneously share full-length sample tracks of select songs, homemade recordings, playlists or pictures with friends between Zune devices. Listen to the full track of any song you receive up to three times over three days. If you like a song you hear and want to buy it, you can flag it right on your device and easily purchase it from the Zune Marketplace.

    Zune makes it easy to find music you love — whether it’s songs in your existing library or new music from the Zune Marketplace. Easily import your existing music, pictures and videos in many popular formats and browse millions of songs on Zune Marketplace, where you can choose to purchase tracks individually or to buy a Zune Pass subscription to download as many songs as you want for a flat fee.

    To get started with great music and videos out of the box, every Zune device is preloaded with content from record labels such as DTS, EMI Music’s Astralwerks Records and Virgin Records, Ninja Tune, Playlouderecordings, Quango Music Group, Sub Pop Records, and V2/Artemis Records.

    Zune Accessories

    To enhance the Zune experience, three accessory packs help Zune users enjoy their music where they want to, at home or on the road. The packs and the individual accessories, all designed exclusively for Zune, will be available at launch:

    The Zune Car Pack includes everything needed to hit the road with a Zune device, such as the built-in FM tuner with AutoSeek and the Zune Car Charger.
    The Zune Home A/V Pack enhances your experience in the home through five products that integrate Zune with the TV and music speakers: Zune AV Output Cable, Zune Dock, Zune Sync Cable, Zune AC Adapter and the Zune Wireless Remote for Zune Dock.
    Zune Travel Pack is a set of five products designed to keep friends and family entertained on the road: Zune Premium Earphones, Zune Dual Connect Remote, Zune Gear Bag, Zune Sync Cable and the Zune AC Adapter.

    Providing consumers with additional options to customize and personalize their Zune experience, Microsoft is also working with leading accessory manufacturers Altec Lansing, Belkin Corp., Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO), Dual Electronics, Griffin Technology, Harman Kardon and JBL, Integrated Mobile Electronics, Jamo International, Klipsch Audio Technologies, Logitech, Monster Cable Products Inc., Speck, Targus Group International Inc. and VAF Research

    The Future is Bright

    In addition to the features available at launch, built-in wireless technology and powerful software provide a strong foundation to continue to build new shared experiences around music and video. As Zune evolves, the device can be easily updated. The Zune software on your PC will let you know when these updates are available for download.

    About Zune

    Zune is Microsoft’s music and entertainment platform that provides an end-to-end solution for Connected Entertainment. The Zune experience includes a 30GB digital media player, the Zune Marketplace music service, and a foundation for an online community that will enable music fans to discover new music. Inspired by the vast and varied community of music fans, Zune focuses on helping emerging artists shape the digital canvas. Zune is part of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices division and supports the company’s software-based services vision to help drive innovation in the digital entertainment space. More information can be found online at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/zune.


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