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Microsoft: Better Listen to Your Beta Testers

September 30th, 2005 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

As a Microsoft beta tester, I’m forced to use the 1995’esque (lynx optimized) Beta Place and/or the halfhearted Connect sites to manage program acceptance and feedback. Dumb. Dumb ditty dumb ditty dumb-dumb-dumb. Nobody should be leaving ANY kind of constructive feedback in a newsgroup anymore, neither in a Web-based forum nor through a mildly-antequated NNTP hierarchy. Empower the community, don’t just placate it. Here’s the kicker: Microsoft already has a better product, and it’s already using it – but only in a limited fashion. This is a call-to-arms for all Microsoft software beta testers on the planet: we must all start using “Ladybug” for all future beta software releases. Strongarm your contacts to steer directly into its headlights. As suggested by another annoyed supporter, Brandon Bloom [sic]:

Continue at source

Posted in MS News | Comments Off on Microsoft: Better Listen to Your Beta Testers

New wireless protocol coming soon

September 30th, 2005 by Zack Whittaker

I’m sure most people are familiar with most wireless protocols nowadays, and even if you get put off by the word “protocol”, you probably know regardless. We know Infrared (IrDA), we know Bluetooth, and I’m sure some know 802.11b and 802.11g, but looking back over the security news and information about them, there are vulrenabilities and problems and security flaws all over.

Now, a brand new protocol named 802.11i (WPA2) will be hitting us very soon. It is not necessarily a replacement for the widely used 802.11g protocol, but will surely be implemented a whole lot more and maybe relace in certain scenarios. To cut a long story short, the new security features will implement a brand new method of authentication between server and client, as well as improve security and encryption by using a “four way handshake” as opposed to the current more popular EAP method. It works by having more components to the equation, and the key’s used will be exposed as little as possible.

Operating systems now have already built patches and upgrades to support the new protocol; Windows XP have released a hotfix for this at
Microsoft Knowledge Base
offering a free download to update your Windows XP edition, as well as Mac OS X to update their AirPort software including AirPort Extreme Base Station and AirPort Express.

Posted in Computing, Security | 3 Comments »

Computer repair… at 39,000 ft?

September 29th, 2005 by Patrick Elliott

(reposted from my personal blog at the request of Zack W.)

I realized last night how much I want to be a Microsoft MVP. On a red-eye flight from Seattle to Newark, I was just about to doze off to sleep when the flight attendant came by (it was a very late flight) and started up a conversation. She asked me if I worked for Microsoft, as to anyone not part of a TAP, TechBeta, or MVP program I probably looked like a Microsoft employee as my luggage as well as the pullover I was wearing had some Microsoft product logo on it.

I laughed, and told the flight attendant that I was a technical beta tester for Microsoft, and was returning home after a meeting in Redmond, Washington. She then started to tell me about some issues she was having with her laptop, involving Windows Error Reporting more specifically. (I thought to myself, if she was running Windows Vista and this was two years from now, WER would be much more useful as a diagnosis tool)

Anyway, to make a really long story short, I ended up cleaning spyware and doing a quick training session for her on how to keep her system running optimally — at 39,000 feet.

I realize now what being a Microsoft MVP means – It is about sharing your passion for technology freely and openly on a daily basis. It is about going beyond what is simply expected when researching or providing solutions to people’s problems. I had the honor to meet several well known MVPs during my most recent trip to Redmond. I mean – some of these guys wrote books that I have on my bookshelf, and I was sitting on the Microsoft Shuttle with them, talking about networking experiences, or limited user access, or anything. I was at first intimidated, because these are the names you read in the newsgroups all the time as a definitive answer to critical questions, and I had the opportunity to talk to some of these guys personally.

So, whether you are a Microsoft MVP, or a Technical Beta or TAP Beta participant – share your knowledge often – whenever you get the opportunity to help someone understand technology – seize it. The beauty of all of this is it is exactly what Microsoft developers and PMs do with us, therefore, to pass it on with some added value should come as second nature.

Posted in MS News | 3 Comments »


September 28th, 2005 by Patrick S

Every now and then you come across A person that is just so Generous! Today I was browsing through some News and saw an article about Bill Gates and thought to myself, “what a legend!!”
Gates I commend you!

“Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, is to donate $40 million to his old school in Seattle. Lakeside is a fee-paying school and the money from Microsoft will go towards scholarships for children in the local area. The generous donation was announced at a parents’ event earlier this weekend. Bill Gates said to parents “”I can say without Lakeside there would be no Microsoft, and I’m here to say thank you.”

Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, was also a former student at Lakeside School and had also made a previous donation of $20 million. Bill Gates is well known for his donations to charity, along with his wife Melinda, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.”


  • Lakeside school
  • The Gates Foundation
  • Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

    Microsoft Agent. Anyone heard of it?

    September 27th, 2005 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

    For all of you MS enthusiast! Have you heard of Microsoft Agent? I found this Microsoft Agent and find it hillarious and interesting:

    Try out the Tell a Joke! (Although some jokes are just lame to me lol)

    Posted in MS News, Uncategorized | 11 Comments »

    Windows and Treo combine to make new device

    September 27th, 2005 by Zack Whittaker

    It seems that the two computer giants, Microsoft and Treo have finally joined forces to make a new type of Pocket PC with a mobile phone integrated. Although the new device hasn’t been named yet, we do know a few things about it. Firstly, it’ll be running the brand new Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 (rather than the other latest version, Windows Mobile 2003 SE). It will also be exclusive to Verizon Wireless. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, said some time ago that Treo had the upper hand in the market for pocket devices.

    Continue at source.

    Posted in MS News | 2 Comments »

    IE7: My Review

    September 25th, 2005 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

    What’s new in Internet Explorer 7

    – Security
    – User interface (UI)
    – RSS
    – Printing of web pages

    Why this feature?
    Have you ever receive any emails from “eBay” or “Paypal” asking you to update your personal information by clicking on a link in the email? Have you ever wondered whether the sit eis real and can be trusted, before you submit your “updated” information? This new feature from IE7 is here to solve your doubt.

    How it works:
    In IE7, when you enter a site, phishing filter will send the websit eurl (with the field’s value removed to protect user privacy) to MS server for checking. It’s all done in real time.

    Reported as suspected website (yellow): A yellow suspected website sign will be shown beside the web address field. User can opt to send in feedback whether they think it is a phishing site or not.
    Reported as Known phishing website (red): A red sign will be shown. Website is blocked from viewing.

    Protected Mode:
    Why this feature?

    Your mother, a computer illiterate (but still uses a PC), visits a malicious site, and insatlled the ActiveX as instructed. From now and then, advertisements about casinos, matchimaking or strange things happens to the mchine. How do we prevent this?

    How it works:
    With IE running in protected mode, IE7 cannot save files beyond the “Temporary Internet files” folder.

    IE with no-add ons:
    Why this feature?
    If IE crashes often, or is unstable and acts weird, you can isolate the problem caused by installed ActiveX by running IE with no add ons.

    How it works:
    When IE starts acting weird, you can run IE with no add ons from Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools > Internet Explorer (no Add ons). If this IE instance works perfectly fine, the user can try disabling Add Ons that starts when IE runs to solve the problem (In IE, Tools > Manage Addons.

    IE with no Addons

    IE with no Addons Window

    User Interface
    Tabbed browsing:

    Why this feature?
    You want to surf numerous websitse without filling out the taskbar.

    How it works:
    If you used firefox or Opera before, IE7’s tab browsing works just the same. Open a new tab window (Ctrl+t), and now you can surf without filling out the taskbar.

    Note: There is a new tab bbrowser option under Internet Options > Advanced tab.

    IE7: lots of tab windows

    Search Field:
    Why this feature?

    Want to search without opening MSN Search/Google/ websites? You can now search through the search field of IE7.

    How it works:
    On the search field located at the right of web address, just type your query and press enter. Additionally you can change the default search engine in the search properties.

    Why this feature?

    You want to know if any websites that you are visiting support RSS/web feeds? Whenever you see the RSS icon turns red or clickable, it means that the page supports web feeds.

    How it works:
    Whenever you see the RSS icon turns red or clickable, it means that the page supports web feeds. You can click on the icon and click on the web feed to view the web feed.

    RSS on IE7

    Printing of Web pages
    Why this feature?

    Actually you can print through all previous version of IE, but in this IE7 update, you can shrink to fit (in the printing options) if the webpage is abnormally long (width).

    How it works:
    Just print like any normal page, and print. By default, it should Shrink to Fit before it prints. You can do a preview of the page before you print.

    IE7 on Vista: Print Preview

    IE in Vista (with Aero glass):
    – The address bar will show through a percentage bar

    IE7 on Vista loading

    – Each tab has a gradient blue colour, which looks really pretty.

    Since there’s a whole lot more of changes in IE7 (that’s why the development time for it is so long), you can find it Here

    Posted in MS News, Products | 3 Comments »

    Greetings from Redmond/Seattle!

    September 25th, 2005 by Patrick Elliott

    I’m your Microsoft reporter in the field Patrick Elliott, here in Kirkland, Washington right outside Microsoft’s Corporate Campus in Redmond. After many hours of travelling today, I’m here resting up for what should prove to be an exciting several days! Look for some updates about Windows Server Codename Longhorn, as well as the Windows Server 2003 R2 Beta!

    Posted in MS News | Comments Off on Greetings from Redmond/Seattle!

    Happy Birthday Microsoft!!

    September 23rd, 2005 by Patrick S

    Yayyy Congrats Microsoft!!!

    Today Microsoft Turned 30 years old!! :O

    Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates and Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer will congratulate employees for their contributions to date at a lavish annual Company Meeting Today at Safeco Field in Seattle.

    It’s expected that as many as 16,000 out of the 60,000 strong workforce will be celebrating the historic date and the company’s memorable history.”

    Rock on Microsoft!


    Posted in MS News | 1 Comment »

    Jim Allchin announces retirement

    September 23rd, 2005 by Zack Whittaker

    Bless that man, one of the Microsoft executives of the company Jim Allchin, once music man and now Co-President of Platforms Products and Services Division has announced his retirement from Microsoft at the end of the 2006 calendar year, just after Windows Vista is released. To make sure a clean transition, Kevin Johnson will also be Co-President, the same as Allchin so that he can take over after he leaves.

    I’m sure the MSBLOG team would like to send our thanks to Mr. Allchin for everything he’s done, and everything he continues to do for Microsoft and that he leads the rest of his life to the full 🙂

    View more at source:
    Microsoft PressPass

    Posted in Daily Life, MS News | 1 Comment »

    Office 12 Servers… coming soon?

    September 23rd, 2005 by Zack Whittaker

    Well if you didn’t know already, with Office 12 there shall be a server componant with it. During Steven Sinofsky’s (Microsoft Senior Vice President of Office Systems) keynote speech at the PDC conference in LA, he didn’t say as such anything about Microsoft’s plans for Office but instead he indirectly talked about the Office Server’s plans.

    He talked about the different products of Office products using server technology, such as Excel Server 12 for example. and others along the way to provide more features and infrastructure to the Office suite. This will also coinside with the new version of SharePoint services and server version 3.0 coming relatively soon. He also said in his keynote speech that SharePoint Server is the “core platform element we build from”.

    The new version of SharePoint services will be released in conjunction with Office 12 (still in pre-beta for the time being, opening up to beta late this year) in the thrid quarter of 2006, more than likely after the release of the highly anticipated Windows Vista.

    View more at source:

    Posted in Office 2007, Products, Windows Vista | 1 Comment »

    Microsoft Introduces New Security Tool

    September 23rd, 2005 by Patrick S

    I didnt write this article but thought it was rather interesting…

    Microsoft on Monday introduced the final version of a new security tool for locking down computers that operate in shared environments. The Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP enables administrators to restrict users from changing system settings and running unauthorized software.

    The toolkit, which is specifically designed for Internet cafes, school computer labs and libraries, can also keep out viruses and spyware by resetting a hard drive to a “clean” state each day. By removing advanced features, the desktop is also simplified to improve the end-user experience, Microsoft says.

    The three primary features of the program include: User Restrictions, Windows Disk Protection and Profile Manager.

    A beta version of the toolkit went live in June, and over 60,000 customers have downloaded it since that time and provided extensive feedback, Microsoft told BetaNews. “Customer Involvement in our public newsgroup has been terrific.”

    Changes in the 1.0 release include new restrictions added to the User Restrictions tool, which has been renamed from “Windows Restrictions.” Customers with Active Directory domains can also now apply the toolkit’s user restrictions to domain accounts with a Group Policy template.

    In addition, many international issues have been resolved and the user interface of the toolkit was improved based on usability feedback, Microsoft says.

    Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP 1.0 has been released as a free download, with a hard copy book and CD set to be available for purchase starting October 1.


    Posted in MS News, Windows XP | 2 Comments »

    Evolution or Revolution?

    September 22nd, 2005 by Dennis Fraederich [MCP]

    Can you remember the first GUI button of Windows 1.0? Or from Windows 3.0? Ok, but you remember the buttons from Windows 95 right? But how will a button in the near future look like? Find out now !

    Big thanks to Andre Da Costa for sending me the higher resolution version of it !

    Check it out: HERE

    Posted in Windows Vista | 2 Comments »

    Hi, it’s me…

    September 22nd, 2005 by Dennis Fraederich [MCP]

    Hi… to all readers of our microsoft blog.

    Today I like to introduce myself a little bit. My name is Dennis, Iam a Microsoft Certified Professional and I live in germany since 1983. Iam working as a system administrator in a little company in Berlin city. In my free time I spend much time on testing beta software for microsoft, since 2003 now. My second hobby is to earn certifications. Currently I own one microsoft certificate (MCP). My next step is to get the MCSA and CCNA (Cisco) certification.
    I think that is enough about me now… if you would like to talk to me feel free to message me on MSN: mcgiga[at]

    So when I have free time expect some postings from me.

    Dennis Fraederich

    Posted in Daily Life, Introductions | 5 Comments »

    Super Prefetch ON XP!!

    September 21st, 2005 by Patrick S

    I Saw Patrick E’s post on tweaking Microsoft Windows Vista to enable the “Glass” effect and it got me thinking. What about those poor people that don’t have Vista and want some of the added features of Vista on their XP (SP2) computer.

    I dug into my LIMITED reg editing library and found this…
    This feature will add “Prefetching” (a feature in Vista that makes it much faster at loading Applications AND Applications) If done correctly XP will include the ability to launch apps 15% faster than Windows XP (standard), boot PCs 50% faster, patch systems with 50% fewer reboots, and let firms migrate to Longhorn 75% per cent faster (So I am told 😀 )

    The only reason why its faster is they added a superfetch feature to the prefetcher. If you look at the key:
    Memory Management\Prefetcher
    you will notice in windows xp;
    EnablePrefetcher = 3
    and you will notice in windows longhorn;
    EnableSuperfetch = 1

    Well, guess what? You can put the Enable Superfetch = 1 in windows xp and get the same speed.
    Wow, Microsoft just added a feature that was already there in XP.
    From what I have been reading the tweak is designed for at least Windows XP SP2.

    “One of the many claims Microsoft makes for Windows Longhorn is that it will launch applications 15% faster than Windows XP does currently. This is down to improvements in the Prefetch functionality. There’s no need to wait until Longhorn arrives; this improvement is already in Windows XP thanks to Service Pack 2. It just needs to be turned on.”

    So-To enable super prefetch:
    * Use a registry editing tool to navigate to the following key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\
    Memory Management\PrefetchParameters
    * Insert a value with the following details:
    Data Type: DWORD
    Value Name: EnableSuperfetch
    Value: 1
    * Reboot your computer for the changes to take effect

    I would Recommend You Back Up Your registry before attempting this
    (I also take no responsibility for any stuff ups 😛
    Well thats all for now…Good luck with your tweaking;
    Patrick S

    Posted in Products, Windows XP | 7 Comments »

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