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Windows Vista @ TechnoReality - Part 6

Windows Vista @ TechnoReality

Micorosft Windows Vista & Compatible Items

First Full Zune Review


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Microsoft was kind enough to get us some hands-on time with the Zune, not batting an eye as we eagerly slided the player down our pants, enjoying the material it was made out of. Our thoughts first, then a gallery later.

The outside is made out of a rubberized plastic, which goes through an interesting process where they paint the inside a different color than the case—this gives the Zune a two-toned look which both looks and feels great. The corners (meticulously selected down from hundreds of minutely different corners) look like they glow, which is called the “doubleshot effect”. This comes from the inside radius being different from the outside radius.

So the big news: The Zune will be upgradeable. How? Let us explain…

Microsoft’s put in WiFi on the Zune, which even though it doesn’t seem to be a big draw to consumers now. The hardware paves the road for them to do various other “scenarios” with the Zune. In the future, via software update, the Zune should be able to possibly do stuff like share songs over the internet, wirelessly sync with the computer, stream music/video to other devices, and much more. The hardware is there, but it just needs to be activated by software. Microsoft’s decided to focus (wisely) on making the Zune simple to use and intuitive for people to pick up. Something that we think they’ve achieved.

zuneui.jpg  The UI is snappy and has lots of zooming, sliding and various cool effects when you’re navigating. Luckily, the eye candy doesn’t get in the way of usability. The click-pad isn’t too bad to use, but it’s not touch sensitive like the iPod wheels. The community menu options like sending files and pictures are all over the place. If you hit the middle button to get the context menu, you’ll most likely notice an entry called “send”, where you can send what you’re currently listening to to nearby Zunes. Overall the UI is pretty well designed, and iPod users shouldn’t be lost if they decide to migrate.

The Zune’s screen was bright even outside, and had pretty much zero glare. Movies and pictures played back smoothly, and the display transitioned automatically to landscape mode when you start a slideshow/movie. Pictures are auto-cropped to display large on the screen, and will be auto-resized down from the original whenever you send them to your friends over WiFi. The Zune was easy to hold in both landscape and regular modes—no problems at all.

There are also two new concepts: inbox and flagging. The Inbox is an area separate from your library where pictures and songs come in from other Zunes. You play your received songs from here, and once you sync, the songs will be uploaded to the Inbox on your PC. Flagging is similar—whenever you flag a song, the song will show up flagged on your PC after syncing for later reference. What was the 5th song I heard in that big random shuffle I listened to on the train? Oh right, I flagged it. It’s useful because you can’t go on your Zune Marketplace after you sync your songs and see your “recently played” list like you can on iTunes…..

Finish this review at the source:  GIZMODO


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  • Office 2007 goes RTM


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    REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 6, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the completion of the 2007 Microsoft® Office system code and confirmed its release to manufacturing (RTM). This gold code milestone concludes the largest Microsoft Office beta program to date, with more than 3.5 million people downloading Beta 2. The unprecedented quantity of feedback from beta testers and customers helped the Office development team effectively validate product quality and optimize performance. Microsoft Office RTM also marks a critical step toward worldwide business availability of the 2007 Office system, Windows Vista™ operating system and Exchange Server 2007 on Nov. 30, 2006. To underscore the significance of this new day for business, Microsoft executives will participate in events around the globe, including an event with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in New York. General availability of the products will follow in early 2007.

    “We’ve crossed the development finish line, and the team deserves to celebrate,” said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division. “The 2007 Microsoft Office system RTM completes the most significant improvements to the products in more than a decade. It’s rewarding to be able to send this release off to our customers and help them take the next big leap forward in productivity.”

    Today’s RTM begins the delivery of new tools and resources that will allow customers to learn about, try and buy the next release of Microsoft Office:

    Learn. Microsoft Office Online has been redesigned to help people learn about what’s new in the 2007 Microsoft Office system. Through the new enhancements, information workers can easily determine which products are best for their needs and find related productivity resources — whether it is assistance from one of the nearly 50,000 new help articles, a how-to refresher through one of the 35 new demos, online training through any of the 24 new courses, downloading one of the more than 400 new templates, or accessing other product downloads and tools.

    Try. Starting Dec. 1 in the U.S. and Canada, and coming soon after to an additional 13 international markets,* Microsoft will make available free, downloadable product trials via Office Online. Expanding on the Online Test Drive already available today, the trials will allow people to try the new desktop programs before they decide to buy or upgrade to the 2007 release.

    Buy. To support purchase and adoption, the 2007 release of Microsoft Office includes the largest investment in deployment and management tools in the product’s history. IT professionals can significantly reduce the cost and complexity of desktop deployments and upgrades by utilizing resources such as the Office Migration Planning Manager, Open XML Formats Conversion Toolkit, the Business Desktop Deployment 2007 Solution Accelerator, the Office Resource Kit, and more.

    Beyond overall code quality for RTM, other notable updates include the following:

    SMS Link for Office Outlook® 2007. This new service allows Outlook 2007 users to connect with friends’, families’ and colleagues’ mobile phones by using SMS text messaging. It allows people to send and receive e-mail, contacts, appointments and tasks as text messages to mobile phones.

    Localization. Most desktop application products in the 2007 Office system will be comprehensively localized in 38 languages.

    Multilanguage support. For the first time, 2007 Office system customers will be able to purchase individual, single-language add-on packs that enable applications and suites to instantly become bilingual. The packs add a secondary localized user interface, help files, dictionary and thesaurus.

    More information about the 2007 Microsoft Office system and trying the new SMS Link service can be found by visiting the new Office Online at http://office.microsoft.com.

    Source: Microsoft Press Release


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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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    The previously covered theme Royale Noir is officially available from Microsoft as the Zune Theme. It is now a finished theme without the rough edges. Get it at Zune.net   Download it directly HERE.

    Source: Zune.net


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  • The Ultimate Box


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    and the way they will all open….


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    Via blogmaverick

    I first saw this posted on the Pho List. A media related list that I have participated in for years with lots of smart people with great insights. THe posting, as you will read is fascinating and was originally posted anonymously. I emailed the list asking for permission to post it on my blog. In response, the “anonymous author”, who I respect and trust.
    I cant say this has been fact checked. It hasnt. I cant say its 100 pct accurate, I dont know. But it rings true, and as I said, I trust the source
    > I’m an experienced veteran in the digital media business and thought
    > I’d share my version of events that happened at Youtube. Some of this
    > is based on talks with people involved and some is speculation based
    > on my experience working in the industry, negotiating settlements and
    > battling in court.
    >
    > In the months preceding the sale of YouTube the complaints from
    > copyright owners began to mount at a ferocious pace. Small content
    > owners and big were lodging official takedown notices only to see
    > their works almost immediately reappear. These issues had to be
    > disclosed to the suitors who were sniffing around like Google but
    > Yahoo was deep in the process as well. (News Corp inquired but since
    > Myspace knew they were a big source of Youtube’s traffic they quickly
    > choked on the 9 digit price tag.) While the search giants had serious
    > interest, the suitors kept stumbling over the potential enormous
    > copyright infringement claims that were mounting.
    >
    > Youtube knew they had an issue and had offered a straight revenue
    > share deal if the complainants would call off the dogs and give them
    > time. The media companies quickly rejected this path for two reasons.
    > First off Youtube wasn’t making any money and was fuzzy about how they
    > would generate revenue in the future. But more important the media
    > companies view is that there was a mountain of past infringement that
    > Youtube had engaged in and built their business on and they felt they
    > deserved some of this accumulated value. And who could blame them. In
    > spite of the media “user generated” puff pieces it was clear to all
    > involved that they generated that content by hooking up their TV tuner
    > cards to their PCs.
    >
    > It didn’t take a team of Harvard trained investment bankers to come up
    > with the obvious solution and that is to set aside a portion of the
    > buyout offer to deal with copyright issues. It’s not uncommon in
    > transactions to have holdbacks to deal with liabilities and Youtube
    > knew they had a big one. So the parties (including venture capital
    > firm Sequoia Capital) agreed to earmark a portion of the purchase
    > price to pay for settlements and/or hire attorneys to fight claims.
    > Nearly 500 million of the 1.65 billion purchase price is not being
    > disbursed to shareholders but instead held in escrow.
    >
    > While this seemed good on paper Google attorneys were still
    > uncomfortable with the enormous possible legal claims and speculated
    > that maybe even 500 million may not be enough - remember were talking
    > about hundreds of thousands of possible copyright infringements.
    > Youtube attorneys emphasized the DMCA safe harbor provisions and
    > pointed to the 3 full timers dedicated to dealing with takedown
    > notices, but couldn’t get G comfortable. Google wasn’t worried about
    > the small guys, but the big guys were a significant impediment to a
    > sale. They could swing settlement numbers widely in one direction or
    > another. So the decision was made to negotiate settlements with some
    > of the largest music and film companies. If they could get to a good
    > place with these companies they could get confidence from attorneys
    > and the ever important “fairness opinion” from the bankers involved
    > that this was a sane purchase.
    >
    > Armed with this kitty of money Youtube approached the media companies
    > with an open checkbook to buy peace. The media companies smelled a
    > transaction when Youtube radically changed their initial ‘revenue
    > sharing’ offer to one laden with cash. But even they didn’t predict
    > Google would pay such an exorbitant amount for Youtube so when Youtube
    > started talking in multiples of tens of millions of dollars the media
    > companies believed this to be fair and would lock in a nice Q3/Q4.
    > [Note to self: Buy calls on media companies just prior to Q3/Q4
    > earnings calls.] The major labels got wind that their counterparts
    > were in heated discussions so they used a now common trick a “most
    > favored nation” clause to assure that if if a comparable company
    > negotiated a better deal that they would also receive that benefit.
    > It’s a clever ploy to avoid anti-trust issues and gives them the
    > benefit of securing the best negotiating company. They negotiated
    > about 50 million for each major media company to be paid from the
    > Google buyout monies.
    >
    > The media companies had their typical challenges. Specifically, how to
    > get money from Youtube without being required to give any to the
    > talent (musicians and actors)? If monies were received as part of a
    > license to Youtube then they would contractually obligated to share a
    > substantial portion of the proceeds with others. For example most
    > record label contracts call for artists to get 50% of all license
    > deals. It was decided the media companies would receive an equity
    > position as an investor in Youtube which Google would buy from them.
    > This shelters all the up front monies from any royalty demands by
    > allowing them to classify it as gains from an investment position. A
    > few savvy agents might complain about receiving nothing and get a
    > token amount, but most will be unaware of what transpired.
    >
    > Since everyone was reaching into Google’s wallet, the big G wants to
    > make sure the Youtube purchase was a wise one. Youtube’s value is
    > predicated on it’s traffic and market leadership which Google needs to
    > keep. If they simply agreed to remove all unauthorized content and
    > saddle the user experience with ads Youtube would quickly be a
    > skeleton of its prior self. Users would quickly move to competing
    > sites. The media companies had 50 million reasons to want to help.
    > Google needed a two pronged strategy which you see unfolding now.
    >
    > The first request was a simple one and that was an agreement to look
    > the other way for the next 6 months or so while copyright infringement
    > continues to flourish. This standstill is cloaked in language about
    > building tools to help manage the content and track royalties, some of
    > which is true but also G knows that every day they can operate in the
    > shadows of copyright law is another day that Youtube can grow. It
    > should be noted that Google video is a capable Youtube competitor with
    > the ONE big difference being a much more sincere effort to not post
    > unauthorized works - and Google fully appreciates what a difference
    > that makes. So you can continue to find movie clips, tv show segments
    > and just about every music video on Youtube today.
    >
    > The second request was to pile some lawsuits on competitors to slow
    > them down and lock in Youtube’s position. As Google looked at it they
    > bought a 6 month exclusive on widespread video copyright infringement.
    > Universal obliged and sued two capable Youtube clones Bolt and
    > Grouper. This has several effects. First, it puts enormous pressure on
    > all the other video sites to clamp down on the laissez-faire content
    > posting that is prevalent. If Google is agreeing to remove
    > unauthorized content they want the rest of the industry doing the same
    > thing. Secondly it shuts off the flow of venture capital investments
    > into video firms. Without capital these firms can’t build the data
    > centers and pay for the bandwidth required for these upside down
    > businesses.
    >
    > There are some interesting chapters yet to unfold. One is how much of
    > this will become public. Google is required by the SEC to disclose
    > material financial developments at their company. Working in Google’s
    > advantage is their enormous market capitalization and revenues will
    > give them considerable leeway to claim that a 50 million transaction
    > is not significant to their business. If the other video sites have
    > the wherewithal to put up a legal fight any decent attorney will
    > demand access to Youtube acquisition documents. Expect a claim of
    > collusion between Google and the media companies as a defense
    > strategy.
    >
    > Infringement lawsuits will be served on Youtube and the new proud
    > parent Google in the coming months. Google will respond with two
    > paths: an expensive legal fight or a quick and easy settlement with
    > most choosing the latter. Are there any larger copyright holders such
    > as music publishers, movie studios, or unlicensed record label EMI
    > that put up a fight rather than accepting the check? We’ll have to
    > watch and find out.

    ****All I can say is Wow, those are some scary details. Now the $1.6 Billion seems to start to make sense, when you have to pay off so many players, it adds up pretty quick…*******


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  • Here’s the Vista and Office 2007 Boxes


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    Here’s what’s coming….

    Here’s the Office box


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  • SyncToy 1.4 for Windows Vista released


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    SyncToy 1.4 for Windows Vista is available as a free download from the Microsoft Download Center. The easy to use, customizable application helps you copy, move, rename, and delete files between folders and computers.
    There are files from all kinds of sources that we want to store and manage. Files are created by our digital cameras, e-mail, cell phones, portable media players, camcorders, PDAs, and laptops. Increasingly, computer users are using different folders, drives, and even different computers (such as a laptop and a desktop) to store, manage, retrieve and view files. Yet managing hundreds or thousands of files is still largely a manual operation. In some cases it is necessary to regularly get copies of files from another location to add to primary location; in other cases there is a need to keep two storage locations exactly in sync. Some users manage files manually, dragging and dropping from one place to another and keeping track of whether the locations are synchronized in their heads. Other users may use two or more applications to provide this functionality.
    Now there is an easier way. SyncToy, a free PowerToy for Microsoft Windows Vista, is an easy to use, highly customizable program that helps users to do the heavy lifting involved with the copying, moving, and synchronization of different directories. Most common operations can be performed with just a few clicks of the mouse, and additional customization is available without additional complexity. SyncToy can manage multiple sets of folders at the same time; it can combine files from two folders in one case, and mimic renames and deletes in another case. Unlike other applications, SyncToy actually keeps track of renames to files and will make sure those changes get carried over to the synchronized folder.
    We listened to your feedback. SyncToy was released as a beta in early August 2005 for Windows XP. We collected feedback from the discussion forum on the Windows XP Professional Photography web site, from customer feedback surveys, from a large number of professional and hobbyist photographers at Microsoft, and from various world-wide forums, sites, reviews and blogs on the web. Most of you (55%) asked for the ability to type in a UNC path to select a folder. We added this feature between the beta release and the v1.0 release. Features we added in response to customer feedback include:

    • The ability to type in a UNC path;
    • Support for longer folder pair names and ability to widen the left pane to see those longer names;
    • The ability to support the maximum length for folder paths, and documentation was added to the help file about how to set up a share to be able to sync deep folder pairs;
    • Better handling of the difference in precision between NTFS and FAT timestamps;
    • More discoverable link to the help file for information on how to schedule SyncToy using the Windows XP Task Scheduler;
    • Support for 800×600 screen resolution;
    • Added a warning for users if the selected action will take some time to complete;
    • Added brief explanations of the actions in the user interface;
    • Improved behavior when choosing folders to include or exclude when there are large numbers of folders involved;
    • Improved support for accessibility modes. In March 2006 we again listened to feedback and release v1.2, which fixes a bug caused by Daylight Saving Time changes, and also added some documentation updates.
      In October 2006, in response to customer demand, we released SyncToy 1.4 for Windows Vista. This version has all the features and functionality of the previous version. It requires the .NET Framework 2.0 (and takes advantage of the improvements available in the 2.0 version of the Framework) and it has been improved to run on Windows Vista.
      Please continue to send us feedback about our tool, using the Professional Photography forum or the online feedback survey available from the SyncToy Help menu.
      Note: We’ve taken great care to ensure that this tool operates as it should, but it is not part of Windows and is not supported by Microsoft Technical Support. For this reason, Microsoft Technical Support is unable to answer questions about SyncToy. To speak to other users and contribute feedback about your experiences with SyncToy, please use the forums accessible from the Professional Photography web site at http://www.microsoft.com/prophoto.

      Download from Microsoft


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  • 10 Tweaks for Vista RC2


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    No beginner-level stuff here, and I’ve clearly labeled which are tips and which are tweaks.

    To see the entire collection of tips and tweaks in order, start here. Or, if you’d prefer to jump directly to whatever interests you, pick from the following quick list:

    Tweak #1: Add an elevated Command Prompt By running a Command Prompt as an Administrator, you can start just about any program or Control Panel applet without being bothered by UAC prompts.

    Tip #2: Get an expanded shortcut menu Holding down one extra key when you right-click a file or folder icon gives you some useful options.

    Tweak #3: Make text easier to read You’re not getting any younger, and neither are your eyes. Use this tweak to keep your monitor running at its high native resolution but bump the size of text up.

    Tip #4: Snip a screen shot This little utility was originally designed for use with Tablet PCs, but in Vista it’s available to anyone running a premium version. Use it to snip all or part of a screen and paste the screen shot into a document or e-mail message.

    Tip #5: Get a quick system checkup A shortcut buried deep in the Performance and Reliability section of Control Panel allows you to generate a quick, information-packed report that spotlights any problems with your system. Here’s where you can find it.

    Tweak #6: Pump up the volume If you’ve got the right sound hardware, you can tap into some excellent audio enhancements, including virtual surround sound and tools for cranking up the bass output.

    Tip #7: Master the Quick Launch bar Did you know that each of the first 10 shortcuts on the Quick Launch bar has its own custom keyboard shortcut?

    Tweak #8: Make the blinking cursor easier to see The cursor that marks the insertion point in a program or dialog box is thinner than Kate Moss. A well-hidden option lets you put a little weight on this skinny pointer.

    Tweak #9: Make Security Center go away Security Center is a nag. The little icon sits in the taskbar, popping up annoying messages and generally making a nuisance of itself. Until you find the switch to make it go away for good, that is.

    Tweak #10: Use the Mobility Center on a notebook This miniature control panel is only available on portable PCs. Use it to enable or disable a wireless adapter or an external monitor and to get a quick fix on battery life. It’s even easier if you know the easy keyboard shortcut.

    This is from Ed Bott on ZDNet


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  • Secret XP theme revealed


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    During Royale’s development (the XP Media Center theme), the graphic artists also produced a black version of the skin, sans the overused “glass” effect. The result is an aesthetic black skin named “Royale Noir”, it even works with Office 2003.

    Since the skin was never released (or reached final adjustments) there are a few issues with it: some of the colors don’t meet the overall “feel” (they’re too purple-ish compared to the greys of the bitmaps) and the inactive titlebars are a little too dark.

    You’ll find it’s been signed by Microsoft and doesn’t require a custom UxTheme.dll in case there are any doubts as to its authenticity.

    If you already have Royale installed, you’ll need to remove it as both of these skins share the same name.

    This skin has not been released to anyone outside Microsoft, until now

    Download it at the source

    Source: I Started Something via Bink.nu


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