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Windows Vista @ TechnoReality - Part 7

Windows Vista @ TechnoReality

Micorosft Windows Vista & Compatible Items


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Big Screen Photos allows you to experience Yahoo!® flickr™ in your loungeroom - using your remote control.


This program is designed for both Windows® XP and Windows® Vista® Media Center (Beta 2) - and also runs via your Xbox® 360 Extender.
‘Big Screen Photos’ uses the latest Microsoft.NET® v3 (aka Microsoft® WinFX®) - to provide a powerful animated User Interface which is optimized for Televisions and the 10′ experience.

Features at a Glance Include..

  • Browse and View your flickr™ Photo’s (and everyone elses) directly from flickr online.
  • Browse and Search Groups, Photosets, Tags, People and more to find what you want.
  • Access Detailed User and Photo Information and drill down on metadata.
  • (NEW) Rotate, Zoom and convert your photos to B&W/Sepia tones quickly and easily.
  • (NEW) Bookmark your favorite Photo Streams - and view them later via ‘Local Favorites’.
  • UI Theme Support - change the appearance of Big Screen Portal with 7 inbuilt color themes.

Get the rest of the details at mobileware.net


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  • MCML finally pops something SWEET


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    Ok this is one of the best Media Center Markup Language application I have seen so far.

    Its an RSS reader for Media Center written in MCML for Vista. You can browse the feed setup by Niall Ginsbourg (the developer) or add your own feeds using IE7. It plays enclosed videos and audio files.

    Niaill has made good use of MCML, and I hear more is on the way from Niall too

    Download from HERE, more screen shots from HERE

    Source: Ian Dixon Blogg


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  • Vista will not RTM next week


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    Vista is not on track to be released to manufacturing on October 25, according to Jim Allchin, co-president of Microsoft’s platforms and services division.

    “We won’t RTM (release to manufacturing) in a week,” Allchin told me on October 18. “We are in pretty good shape. And there are still months before (the January 2007) launch.”

    Allchin said Microsoft is looking at Vista across five categories right now to determine whether it’s RTM-ready.

    The five: Reliability, security, performance, driver coverage and application compatibility. While some of these categories — such as driver coverage and app compatibility — may not be as robust as many would expect in order for Vista to RTM, Microsoft looks at things a bit differently, Allchin said.

    “We have to be done with Vista before the ecosystem can finish the rest,” Allchin said.

    In other words, while many Vista drivers are still MIA and a number of applications are still not 100-percent Vista-compatible, vendors are giving Microsoft assurances that they will be by certain dates. And Allchin said he’s feeling good about those targets.

    Source: ZDNet Blog

    Allchin would not say when Vista will RTM. But my new guess is early November. And like CRN, I am now hearing that the business launch of Vista and Office 2007 is looking like the very end of November. So I am revising my November 9 business launch guesstimate to November 30.


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  • Internet Explorer 7 FINAL


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    You can now download the Final Build of Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP and Server 2003.

    Get it from HERE


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    test


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    this is a test post for RSS feed compatibility testing


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  • Thoughts on Vista Media Center


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    Over the past week I have got a great amount of feedback (more feedback) from my question about switch to Vista Media Center.  First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has commented.  Reactions are all over the board to this question.  From people who will switch right out of the gate, to those waiting for the dust to settle, to those who see no point in an upgrade, and those who think it’s time to move on to another product.

    I have mixed views about Vista Media Center, keep reading to see what they are!
    PVR/CableCARD:  CableCARD is–without a doubt–the reason to upgrade to Vista Media Center.  Native digital cable support, native HDTV support.  However, a common problem however is that CableCARD’s are a technology only available within the United States.  Those outside of the states have yet to see any additional advances for Media Center being used as a PVR.  There is no addition DVB support, no MHEG support, no DAB support.  Those in the US don’t have to worry about these, but basically broadcasts outside of the US use different technologies then those inside of the US.  We can all thank the FCC for wanting another “standard” for the US to use.

    We all know that only OEM systems are getting CableCARD, which is a real drag.  Not much to say about this though, I’ve said before it’s CableLabs way or the Highway.  I would much rather see CableCARD support then not.

    EPG/Guide:  There are several enhancements in the EPG, the one everyone wants to the “mini-guide” which has been common to STB’s for years now.  Most people however, do not see this as something that they are dieing to have.

    Extenders:  This is one of the biggest reasons not to upgrade to Vista Media Center.  v1 Extenders including the Linksys WMCE54AG, HP x5400, and Xbox v1 title are no longer supported under Vista.  This is a huge problem for people who have spent $300 a-pop on either the Linksys or HP Extenders.  It’s going to be very costly to upgrade Extenders.

    v2 Extenders are on the way, codenamed Pika, and these better support additional formats like DivX and XviD or I’m going to feel even worse about not being able to use v1 Extenders.  If you are going to take away something, the second offering better provide what was lacking in the first-generation, along with a lower price tag (which, I believe they will).

    UI:  I’m getting used to the UI more-and-more, but you just don’t mess with success like this.  Let’s not forget about the Media Center 2005 UI was actually an “award winning” design.  The UI is ok, but nothing special.  I like the MCE 2005 UI over the Vista UI, plain-and-simple.

    Lack of Features:  Vista Media Center just doesn’t seem like its being enough to the table, to make up for what it dropped.  Windows Messenger support has been dropped, Caller ID support has been dropped, v1 Extenders have been dropped, the UI we all love has been dropped, even with RC2 stability is not what it should be, and the list keeps going.

    Microsoft had a big chance with Vista to bring together all of the features it has lacked for the past four years.  I can’t say that they have done this.  First up, DVD Streaming something that I have talked about several times here.  I have said that Microsoft has the technology to do it, but for whatever reason Vista Media Center doesn’t support it.  While I don’t know everything about it, there is an public interview posted that talks about it.  With Sony’s DVD Changer selling for $300 Microsoft missed the whole idea here.  If DVD Streaming to Extenders can’t be done, I can surely understand that.  However, one thing that everyone would like to know from Microsoft is why.

    This brings me to another point which has nothing to do with Vista, but Microsoft needs more transparency with its Media Center team. Since Matt Goyer has left Micosoft, it’s been very quite from the other Media Center bloggers.  Of course, working on Vista should be Microsoft’s top priority, but anyone from the Media Center team reading this I would like to see you start blogging.  Media Center has a growing community behind it, we need transparency with some of the issues and features that we (the community) feel you should be providing.

    Back to Vista Media Center, Windows Messenger support being dropped kind of sucked.  We all know that Windows Messenger itself was dropped from Vista, but wasn’t the implied use of that fancy Microsoft Remote Keyboard for Windows XP Media Center Edition for Messenger?  It might have just been me, but it was a perfect thing.

    Called ID support has been dropped, which I can kind of understand—except—why drop it?  Even if it’s not used by many did the system change so much that it would have taken a ton of work to get it going again?  Somehow, I doubt.  Those who need Caller ID should now check out mceTapiRex which also support Skype.

    “Softsled”:   On December 4, 2004, Paul Thurrott let the world know that Microsoft had a software-based Extender for PC’s.  Yet to see the light of day, there are several conspiracy theories why it has not be released.  Frankly, I don’t care what Microsoft reasons are they need to release it or open up development for the platform so it could be done by a third party.  Beyond TV Link does this for SnapStream’s product, I believe Myth TV has a like solution, and Sage TV Placeshifter does it for Sage products.  Those are all of Microsoft’s main competitors.  There isn’t much to say about this, but Microsoft needs to do something here.  I have seen many people dump Media Center for this very feature.

    Overall:  Anyway, Keep bring your reasons for upgrade or not upgrading!  I know I left out some things above, and I’ll add too it below this when I think of other reasons why I will be upgrading (or not upgrading).

    Right now, I’m sticking with MCE 2005.  I’m waiting to see what DIRECTV Support is going to look like.  If it’s not above what cable can offer, I will be buying a new PC with Vista and CableCARD.  I’m going to wait for that to play out, and by then maybe we can find out more about “Softsled” and DVD Streaming and I will be sold 100% on Vista Media Center again.  I’m still locked on Media Center, other packages just can not compete from my point of view until they either support CableCARD or DIRECTV.

    Media Center still has the most potential, and at the same time is still very far behind.  Anyone want to get me a job at Microsoft and I’ll be the transparency for the team??  Just kidding.

    Additions: Ian pointed out that Media Center Markup Language (MCML) could allow development of a Windows Messenger Live plug-in.  One thing I didn’t bring up above is that Media Center development for third parties has been much improved in Vista.  Plug-ins can now be much richer then the HTML ones from past versions of Media Center.

    Continue at Source


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  • Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive on a PC?


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    Will you be able to hook the new Xbox 360 HD DVD drive to a PC?

    According to this article on Gizmodo, it may be possible, but only with the right software.

    READ IT HERE


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  • Microsoft throws a party for hackers


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    Given the number of attacks Windows usually attracts it is not surprising that Microsoft has been speaking to anyone they think can help.

    A team from Microsoft headquarters went to Malaysia for Asia’s biggest gathering of hackers - not to confront the enemy - but to throw the hackers a party.

    But behind the charm offensive, said Microsoft’s Security Programme Manager Sarah Blankinship, lies a serious purpose.

    “We come to conferences like Hack in the Box to engage with the security researcher community, to deepen our existing relationships, to understand new technologies, tools and methodologies, and ultimately to help us make our products more secure and to keep our customers safer.”

    READ THE WHOLE STORY HERE


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  • A sneaky change in Windows licensing


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    I’ve seen several sites point to Microsoft’s new Software License Terms page, which contains PDF versions of the license agreements for many Microsoft products. Most sites that have commented on the new Windows Vista licenses have picked up on this blurb from the Windows Vista Team Blog:

    Two notable changes between Windows Vista license terms and those for Windows XP are: 1) failure of a validation check results in the loss of access to specific features (this is the SPP news you’ve likely been reading about this past week); and 2) an increase in our warranty period from 90 days to 1 year, which brings Windows in line with most other Microsoft products.

    I read through the license agreement for Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate (PDF) and saw lots of new language. Much of it just formalizes what Microsoft has been doing under separate agreements for some time, such as the Validation requirements introduced with Windows Genuine Activation.

    But I have yet to see anyone point out one significant change in retail licensing terms. Think you can transfer that retail license to any machine you want? Think again. In Section 2, “Installation and Use Rights,” the text reads:

    Before you use the software under a license, you must assign that license to one device (physical hardware system). That device is the “licensed device.”

    Sections 15 and 16, “Reassign to Another Device,” and “Transfer to a Third Party,” are new. You can go read the exact terms for yourself. The sort version is that you may “reassign the license to another device one time” or “make a one time transfer of the software, and this agreement, directly to a third party.” [emphasis added]

    That limitation on retail licenses is a remarkable change. Previously, a retail license could be removed from one computer and reinstalled on another with no limits. Now, you get to reinstall one time and one time only.

    I looked at the license agreement for Windows XP Professional (PDF) for comparison’s sake. The difference is … interesting. Section 1, “Grant of License,” says, “You may install, use, access, display and run one copy of the Product on a single computer, such as a workstation, terminal or other device (”Workstation Computer”). Section 4, “Transfer,” describes what you can do with the underlying license:

    Internal. You may move the Product to a different Workstation Computer. After the transfer, you must completely remove the Product from the former Workstation Computer. Transfer to Third Party. The initial user of the Product may make a one-time transfer of the Product to another end user.

    With a retail version of Windows XP, there are no restrictions on the number of times you can transfer the software from one computer to another in your household or office. That’s about to change for the worse in Vista, with only one lifetime transfer allowed. It makes the outrageous price difference between retail and OEM copies even more difficult to justify.

    Will this affect a lot of people? Not really. Those most likely to be affected are hobbyists who constantly rebuild, replace, and upgrade systems. Presumably, the new two-machine limit will be enforced by Windows Product Activation.

    I wonder why this change didn’t make it into a press release?

    From Ed Bott on ZDnet


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  • Windows Vista RC2 is available


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    Here is what is on that page at Microsoft…..

    This page includes information to help you download Windows Vista RC2, a new test build. This build (5744) has a number of improvements and updates from previous builds, and has been through daily testing processes to refine quality and performance. We are making this release available for a limited time only (and only by download) in order to get broad distribution and testing in a variety of PC configurations. Please note: This build may not have the same level of support or servicing via Windows Update as RC1, and you may not be able to upgrade from this build to the final version of Windows Vista. To continue, please use the links below to start the download.

    click here to access the download for Windows Vista RC1 (build 5600).

    Once you complete the download you must burn the ISO file to a DVD. If you don’t know if your DVD-burning software will support burning an ISO file, please refer to your DVD-burning software program and search Help for instructions on creating a disc from an ISO file. Additional instructions can be found on the Customer Preview Program website.

    Link to Windows Vista RC2


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