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What are Steve and Bill up to?

January 6th, 2007 by André Nogueira

CES and Macworld are almost here, and many surprises await us (as well as confirmation of some rumours!). Bill Gates will deliver the CES Pre-Show Keynote on Jan 7th, and Steve Jobs the Macworld opening Keynote on Jan 9th. But what can we expect from Microsoft and Apple?

Both have set the bar high, and with so much at stake both are bound to show their greatest weapons. It will be a critical point for Microsoft Vista – with general availability so close, having a myriad of Vista-enabled and Vista-optimized hardware is the best thing Microsoft could have. On the other hand, with Mac OS X Leopard so close (it’s to be released on “Spring 2007”) Apple will also have to show what it’s worth, and why it’s better than Vista.

So here what I think can and cannot be expected from both companies. Let me know if you disagree, or if I forgot something! (Please note: I do not have any kind of inside knowledge at any company, nor do I work for any of them. This is just what I expect from what I’ve seen on the web, and no part of this list came from “someone who knows”, either at Apple or at Microsoft)

Microsoft:

  • Vista Origamis. As far as I know there hasn’t been much talk about it, and even the original origami went by pretty much unnoticed. This is a pretty small market niche, so it’s really hard to get it right… Most people who would need Origami have both a PDA and a laptop, thus eliminating the need for a “Laptop Mets PDA at the price of a laptop”. If it’s going to be announced, they’d better reduce the price… So I’m not sure about this one
  • Windows Sideshow-enabled hardware. This is the techonology which is designed to help Windows communicate with small devices. There’s not much hardware for it now (appart from a Digital Photo Frame), so I expect this to be a part of Bill Gate’s announcements.
  • Windows Ultimate Extras. Right now, Windows Ultimate is little more than a superset of Home Premium and Business – kind of like Windows XP Professional with Media Center. But Windows Ultimate Extras, a group of programs, games, utilities, etc available free of charge to Ultimate users, is set to change all that. A game of Texas Hold’Em Poker has already been confirmed as an Extra by Paul Thurrott and Fox News, but they’d have to be crazy not to have something else in the works – something maybe not huge, but at least big. I’m waiting anxiously to see what it is.
  • Windows Live. This seems to be a huge part of Microsoft’s strategy now, so most likely they’ll announce something from the Windows Live team. There’s been talk of Windows Live Drive and Windows Server Home. If these are indeed on the works, why not join them and launch them under the Windows Live umbrella? “Your content, anytime, anywhere”. You’d have access to it from you network when you’re at home, and from the internet when you’re on the go. Makes sense to me!
  • And, of course, we can expect to hear first hand how Vista changed the life of a couple of System Administrators and companies, who just couldn’t work with XP and who would have gone bankrupt if it weren’t for Vista!

Apple:

  • iPhone (which, by the way, is already trademarked since 1996.. and not by Apple). People take for granted that an iPhone will be announced at Macworld, but will it? I don’t expect the iPhone to be announced until the very moment it’s ready to be launched, so I’m not sure on this one. After the “Mobile Tunes” flop, Apple should be very careful
  • iTV. I expect this to be announced with either a huge feature set – much bigger than what we’ve been led to believe so far – or with a very small price price tag. Come on… a device which can’t even record shows selling for $299? You’ve gotta be kidding! The only way it’s going to win, is if it’s like Media Center – and then some. I’m talking about recoding shows and moving them to your video iPod. The ability to schedule recordings through the internet. Being able to use Macs on the iTV’s network as a television. You get the point…
  • Leopard-optimized software for x86. After years of telling their customers that the PowerPC platform was light-years ahead of x86 and x64, they need to justify their change. And to do that, what’s better than support from other companies? Having Adobe Premiere back on the Mac is a good start.
  • Leopard’s date of general availability. If Apple doesn’t set a precise date for the availibility of Leopard, it’d better be because it will make Vista look like DOS. It was announced for the first time on June 6, 2005 and there still isn’t a release date. I hope they’ll tell us why.

And what do you think will be announced?

Posted in MS News | 4 Comments »

‘Bill Gates’ signature on a Windows Vista retail box?… Yes

January 6th, 2007 by Dennis Fraederich [MCP]

A friend of me has sent me a link to an offer of amazon.com. They will sell special editions of Windows Vista at the end of january. But what is so special about them?

These editions are called ‘signature edition’ and got a signature of Bill Gates on the front of the retail box. The signature editions seem to be limited because above the sign you will find a consecutive number.

vista_sig.jpg

Accordingly to amazon.com Windows Vista Ultimate UPGRADE (Signature Edition) will cost 259.00 $.
Other editions of Windows Vista are not available as ‘signature edition’ on amazon.com yet.

Source: http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B000M2WPIQ/

Feel free to post your opinion, ideas etc.

—

Dennis Fraederich [MCP], a Microsoft Betatester
Contact via Email / WLM: mcgiga[at]web.de

Posted in Windows Vista | 10 Comments »

From the desk of loki…

January 5th, 2007 by Dennis Fraederich [MCP]

Yesterday I received a dark letter from “Loki” at One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052. I was really amazed about that dark cover. So I opened it and found a small letter and a 256MB usb thumb stick. The header of the letter says “From the desk of loki…” and at the end of it stands “ENIGMA DIRECTOR”.         

100_0833.JPG          100_0831.JPG

The text between is as follows:

Dennis,

You are now a decoder. There are only a few like you, but thousands more are looking for you. Find the other decoders before Zero Hour. Go to: www.vanishingpointgame.com

A spectacular adventure is on the horizon… can you find it before it disappears?

-L

Then I connected the usb thumb stick to figure out what’s on it. There a is a text file called “from_Loki”, a video file called “Cipher Key 5” and a picture called “Loki”.

When you visit the website you will see a “Vanishingpoint” picture and a coutdown timer.

You can enter the deciphered key on the website and will see a different information page with each key. 

There is a website called http://vanishingpointwiki.com/. There you can find other cipher keys and of course presumptions about the vanishingpoint game.

Let’s wait until the countdown timer stops to see what happens.

Feel free to post your opinion, ideas etc.

—

Dennis Fraederich [MCP], a Microsoft Betatester
Contact via Email / WLM: mcgiga[at]web.de

Posted in MS News | 6 Comments »

How many bits are in a Kbit per second? More than you though, I’m sure…

January 4th, 2007 by André Nogueira

I’ve always been taught that a Bit per second is 1 bit per second (well, duh!), one Kilobit per second is 1000 bits per second, and that 1 Megabit per second is nothing more than 1000 Kilobits per second.

But apparently, I’ve been wrong all my live. Google Calculator disagrees, but who am I to disagree with Google?

Using their handy (but, as I discovered, sometimes wrong calcutor) I wanted to do some calculations for an exercise I was solving. I was studying Computer Networking, so I was bound to use Mbps and MBps units. (For those who are wondering if I just made a typo, I haven’t. Mbps = Megabits per second, and MBps = Megabytes per second. 1 byte = 8 bits).

It was then I noticed something was wrong with Google Calculator. It treats 1Mbps as if it were 1/8 MBps – which I think is wrong.

According to Google:

1 bits per second = 1 bits per second
1 bytes per second = 8bits per second

So far so good.

1 kbps = 1 024 bits per second
1 KBps = 8 192 bits per second

And here is the problem. From the Wikipedia article: “A kilobit per second (kbit/s or kbps) is a unit of data transfer rate equal to 1,000 bits per second. It is sometimes used to mean 1,024 bits per second, using the binary meaning of the kilo- prefix, though this is rare and non-standard.”

Being rare and non-standard, I do believe it should use 1000 bits per second and not 1024. Besides, I did use the “kilo” and not the “kilo-” prefix…

If you try to convert “1 kbit to bits”, you’ll also get 1024. This isn’t exclusive of the ” per second” conversion.I’ve posted a message on Google Groups regarding this. Hopefully, it will be fixed soon.

Google Calculator problem
Wikipedia article on Kbps

Posted in MS News, Rants | 7 Comments »

VistaBase v4 ready

January 3rd, 2007 by Zack Whittaker

It’s taken me many hours to get this finally going – but a knowledge base is now complete of which you can put your input in on any article – leave a comment, leave a reply, ask questions then get answers – it’s a real knowledge base where your input gets easily submitted back to me for improvements.

  • Leave a reply and get a response
  • Comment on each individual post
  • Comment on each demonstration
  • Fully Firefox compatible
  • Mobile site coming soon

It’s what you all asked me to do – so I did it. To make it easy for existing users, it still looks pretty much exactly the same – but waiting times for articles to load are slashed to a fraction of the time as before. Big thanks to Dean and Oliver who helped with the backend stuff behind it (as I’m not so good at that!). The old URL still works, but it’ll redirect to here where the real magic is – so check it out!

www.vistabase.co.uk

Posted in Internet Explorer, MSBLOG Related, Windows Vista | 2 Comments »

Has your Office eXPired?

January 2nd, 2007 by André Nogueira

Nick White, a Program Manager at Microsoft, posted what I think is a quite imaginative poster on his blog:

The other day I was wandering through Building 27 here on the MS campus and found that Michael Howard has a great little poster hanging on his office door.  I thought you folks might be interested 🙂

You can download the poster here (901KB).Hope you like it!

Posted in Humour, MS News, Windows Vista, Windows XP | Comments Off on Has your Office eXPired?

MVP Insider: January 2007-MSBLOG’s Daniel Lai

January 1st, 2007 by Patrick S

I, on behalf of MSBLOG would like to extend a big congratulations to our very own Daniel Lai-This years first MVP insider for 2007. Daniel is frequently writing Knowledge Base (KB) articles for Microsoft, participating in beta & public News Groups and being an all round mentor to Microsoft beta testers in general.
Congratulations Daniel 🙂
See Daniels MVP Insider article here

On a side note, I would also like to congratulate another MSBLOG author, Joseph Bittman AND Jabez Gan for being re-awarded MVP status in their work in the DPM/Windows Server field for another year.

Posted in MVP Program | 1 Comment »

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