Archive for July, 2007

Todays Windows News

What Will Windows 7 Look Like? Microsoft hasn’t said what features will be in Windows 7, but analysts have some ideas of their own.

Friday Rant – Things I hate about Windows Vista First, some background. When I?ve been sitting in front of a Vista machine during the six months since its release I?ve usually been in one of two modes. The first mode is where I?m exploring Vista and getting to know the features of the operating system, where things are and how they work. The second mode is where I?m actually doing my day-to-day work or play.

Microsoft: less vulnerabilities in Vista AND XP than Mac OX Tiger Microsoft?s chief operating officer Kevin Turner implicitly claimed yesterday that Vista and XP are safer than Apple?s Mac OS Tiger. As expressed during a conference call with analysts, Turner noted that ?there have been just 12 serious vulnerabilities reported with Vista over the first 180 days versus 25 for Windows XP over the same period. This number is also lower than for Apple and other operating systems. We have also seen 21 percent fewer support calls for Vista versus XP over the same period,? he said.

SolutionBase: Application compatibility testing for Windows Vista Deployment One of the most critical tasks in preparing a deployment of Windows Vista is to test the compatibility of your applications. Many applications that run perfectly under Windows XP simply do not run on Windows Vista. Since you don’t want to spend time and money to deploy Vista if none of your users are able to run their applications afterward, it is absolutely imperative to test each application ahead of time.

Gartner: Windows XP A Shaky Bridge To Windows 7 Gartner warns that businesses that decide to stick with Windows XP — Vista’s predecessor — until Windows 7 is available may be pushing their luck. “If the release date slips, enterprises will find it difficult to fully eliminate Windows XP before ISV and Microsoft support [for Windows XP] ends,” Gartner analysts write in the note.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - July 30, 2007 at 6:10 pm

Categories: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP   Tags:

Vista and XP Performance, Reliability and Compatibility Packs

Microsoft has released 2 Windows Vista fix packs and one for Windows XP. The one for XP is actually downloadable now, get it here, the two Vista fix packs have been uploaded to mediafire file serving site and can be downloaded here for the X86 version and the X64 versions here. It is being speculated that these two fix packs will be the majority of what comprises the Windows Vista sp1 and that it will not contain much more, but most all of the service pack information concerning Windows Vista is speculation right now.

938979 Vista Performance and Reliability Pack
This update resolves a number of individual issues which may be affecting some computers running Windows Vista. These issues have been reported by customers using the Error Reporting service, product support, or other means. Installing this update will improve the performance and responsiveness for some scenarios and improves reliability of Windows Vista in a variety of scenarios. Some examples of the improvements contained in this update are:

  • Improves performance in resuming back to the desktop from the Photo and Windows Energy screensaver.
  • Resolves an issue where some secured web pages using advanced security technologies may not get displayed in Internet Explorer on Windows Vista.
  • Resolves an issue where a shared printer may not get installed if the printer is connected to a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 system and User Access Control is disabled on the Vista client.
  • Resolves an issue where creating AVI files on Vista may get corrupted.
  • Improves the performance in calculating the ?estimated time remaining? when copying/moving large files.
  • Improves performance in bringing up Login Screen after resuming from Hibernate.
  • Resolves an issue where synchronization of offline files to a server can get corrupted.
  • Resolves a compatibility issue with RAW images created by Canon EOS 1D/1DS Digital SLR Camera which can lead to data loss. This only affects RAW images created by these two specific camera models.
  • Resolves an issue where a computer can lose its default Gateway address when resuming from sleep mode.
  • Improves the performance when copying or moving entire directories containing large amounts of data or files.
  • Improves the performance of Vista?s Memory Manager in specific customer scenarios and prevents some issues which may lead to memory corruption.

938194 Vista Compatibility and Reliability Pack

  • Improved reliability and compatibility of Vista when used with newer graphics cards in several specific scenarios and configurations.
  • Improved reliability when working with external displays on a laptop.
  • Increased compatibility with many video drivers.
  • Improved visual appearance of games with high intensity graphics.
  • Improved quality of playback for HD-DVD and Blue-Ray disks on large monitors.
  • Improved reliability for Internet Explorer when some third party toolbars are installed on Vista.
  • Improved Vista reliability in networking configuration scenarios.
  • Improved the reliability of Windows Calendar in Vista.
  • Improved reliability of systems that were upgraded from XP to Vista.
  • Increased compatibility with many printer drivers.
  • Increased reliability and performance of Vista when entering sleep and resuming from sleep.

Source: Major Windows Vista updates, Vista Performance, Reliability and Compatibility Pack

Looks like a lot of improvements for Windows Vista users, lets hope that it is actually the case. No reports from anyone using them currently that I am aware of. Mary Jo Foley got a look at the email sent to the testers and it had some service pack 1 information in it.

Q: What is in Windows Vista SP1?

A: ?Windows Vista SP1 is an update to Windows Vista that, along with improvements delivered to users via Windows Update, addresses feedback from our customers. In addition to previously released updates, SP1 will contain changes focused on addressing specific reliability and performance issues, supporting new types of hardware, and adding support for several emerging standards.?

Q: What is not in Windows Vista SP1?

A: SP1 is not intended to be a vehicle for releasing new features; however some existing components do gain enhanced functionality in SP1. ?

Q: What are some examples of ?improved security and quality??

A: SP1 delivers improvements that target what we?ve found to be the most common causes of crashes and hangs, giving users a more reliable experience. SP1 also improves upon performance in key scenarios, such as copying files and shutdown time.

Beyond improvements to the basics, SP1 addresses other areas where we have received feedback. For example, SP1 improves the success of peer-to-peer connections, such as Windows MeetingSpace or Remote Assistance, when both PCs are behind symmetric firewalls. It also gives vendors of security software a more secure way to communicate with Windows Security Center. Source: New Vista fix packs provide updates promised for SP1

Some of the folks over on the AeroXperience.org website have benchmarked the time it takes to copy files before and after the fixes and the improvements are indeed promising.

During the tests, we quickly found copying small files (1MB-10MB) proved too difficult to time and therefore were cut from the benchmark. The other tests, however, blew us away (sorry, we’re pessimists when it comes to NVIDIA drivers and Microsoft hotfixes)…

After some very lengthy re-learning of percentages, we calculated the transfers completed over twice as fast! One oddity, however, was the fact the speed indicator in the file transfer dialog remained at a fairly constant rate (48MB/s), giving us the impression the speed calculation code is borked. Despite this, however, these numbers are very encouraging given the hotfix’s short life; we can’t wait to see what the final build delivers! Source: KB938979 to Fix File Transfer Woes. No, really.

So, it definitely appears that it will be a help to most people.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - at 3:50 pm

Categories: Windows Vista, Windows XP   Tags: , , , , ,

CBS to Broadcast Video Game Matches

Here is something I have been waiting on, maybe my kid can be famous kicking ass in video games..

Tomorrow at noon, CBS, the august home of the Masters and March Madness, will become the first broadcast network in the United States to cover a video game tournament as a sporting event.

And so, along the bottom third of the screen, Mr. Gordon had added six fat red health meters, like digital fuel gauges, reflecting the fortunes of the game?s players. For anyone actually playing the game, the same information would be conveyed by just a few minuscule pixels tucked in a corner of the screen.

?We need to add the health bars so TV viewers can understand what?s happening,? Mr. Gordon said. ?Otherwise, forget it.?

Other assists for those unfamiliar with gaming will include explanatory boxes on screen (?Iceblock: a spell that encases a player in ice, protecting him from enemy spells?), play-by-play announcers and hosts, like Greg Amsinger and Susie Castillo, better known, respectively, for college sports shows and MTV?s ?Total Request Live.?

The producers have even tweaked some of the games? rules to make them more viewer-friendly. For example, in Guitar Hero II, players are normally scored on how accurately they pretend to play the notes for various rock anthems. But for the broadcast, a score from a showmanship judge has been factored into the result. Naturally, the crowd goes wild. Source: Video Game Matches to Be Televised on CBS

Here is a local kid who kinda got famous playing WOW and making his buddies mad, hehe.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - July 28, 2007 at 5:50 pm

Categories: Video Games   Tags:

The Storm Worm is Back and He’s Bad

Looks like we get another round of the Storm Worm, and it looks like it could be the biggest virus attack in over 2 years, according to security company Postini. They say this is the most sustained attack they have ever seen, and it has been going on for 9 to 10 days.

Swidler said in an interview with InformationWeek that the attack started a little more than a week ago, and Postini since then has recorded 200 million spam e-mails luring users to malicious Web sites. Before this attack, an average day sees about 1 million virus-laden e-mails, according to Postini. Last Thursday, however, the company tracked 42 million Storm-related messages in that day alone. As of Tuesday afternoon, Postini researchers were predicting they would see that day between 4 million and 6 million virus e-mails — 99% of them associated with the Storm worm.

While the number of spam e-mails has dropped significantly, it’s still far above normal levels, so Swidler isn’t ready to say the attack is over.

The viruses are not embedded in the e-mails or in attachments. The e-mails, many of them otherwise empty, contain a link to a compromised Web site where machines are infected with a generic downloader. This helps pull the computers into the malware authors’ growing botnet, while also leaving them open for further infection at a later date. Source: Storm Worm Erupts Into Worst Virus Attack In 2 Years

This is all about refilling their botnets full of willing computers so they can get back to the bigger fish, making money off of users. They are also sending out e-card spams, and we are at the level now that we were at back in December, one of the biggest months for that kind of spam because of the Christmas holiday. They assumed it would spike for Independence Day, but it has continued until now and shows no signs of letting up. Don’t click on any links in strange emails, and if you get e-cards from someone you know, I would email them first to see if they really sent it or not.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - July 26, 2007 at 5:36 pm

Categories: Virus Info   Tags:

How to Fix the Xbox 360′s Red Rings of Death

Some enterprising young individual shows you how he fixes his red rings of death problem. Don’t try this at home folks, the man is a trained professional. ;)

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - at 11:47 am

Categories: Xbox   Tags: ,

Computer Deals, Bargains and Coupons

I have been receiving loads of emails from merchants who are running some great coupons or just generally good hardware deals.

Dell Coupons:
$55 off Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z1050 Silver 10.1 MP 3X Zoom Digital Camera. Expires July 20th. Use coupon code: H8PJQF186HBWDC. Applicable order code: A1146587

$200 off Tivo Series3 HD Digital Media Recorder. Expires July 31st. Use coupon code: LG2BD8$1MNG$WS. Applicable order code: A0749340

50% off Sennheiser RS100 Premium Supraural Wireless Headset. Expires July 31st. Use coupon code: W?2TV0$$2P09CV. Applicable order code: A1179951

$25 off Philips 7-inch PhotoFrame Digital Photo Display. Expires July 30th. Use coupon code: QXNM3GL3QP2Q2L. Applicable order code: A1141873

$125 off Sony DCR-SR42 30 GB Handycam Camcorder. Expires July 30th. Use coupon code: 0Q5V3H7DKW0PB9. Applicable order code: A0938484

$66 off Nikon D40 6.1 MP Digital SLR Camera (with 18-55 mm Lens). Expires July 30th. Use coupon code: 2S27P6T3J9T749. Applicable order code: A1116228

Toshiba Coupons
Get Free Shipping on the new Qosmio G45 mobile digital entertainment notebook

Receive 3 accessories for Free after mail?in?rebate with purchase of Qosmio or Satellite notebooks. Hurry, offer ends 9.15.07!

$599 Toshiba Satellite laptop and additional Free 512MB memory ? Hurry, offer ends 8.31.07 or while supplies last!

Receive FREE ground shipping on your entire order with any new Toshiba notebook purchase. Hurry, offer ends 8.15.07!

Save $50 when you customize any stackable Toshiba Satellite notebook PC. Use coupon code TOSHAFF50. Hurry, offer expires 7.31.07!

Save up to 20% on select Toshiba Satellite notebook PCs.

Toshiba Financing. 6 Months Same As Cash (No Interest, No Payments).

Computer Deals from TigerDirect
“DEAL OF THE DAY” – Cables to Go 6-Foot HDMI Male/Male Cable Black $FREE (US) Price after $9.99 MIR, rebate expires 07/29/07

EXCLUSIVE DEALS – Toshiba 42HL67 42″ REGZA HD LCD TV 1366×768 720p Native HDMI PC Input ATSC Tuner $1019.99 (US)

Magellan – Maestro 4000 – GPS Navigation Device With 4.3-Inch Touch Screen $289.99 (US) – New price will sync live after 2pm EST

TODAY’S BEST SELLERS

Zonet ZEW1502 PCMCIA Wireless Adapter 54Mbps, 802.11g $4.99 (US) or $9.99 (CA) Price after $10 MIR, rebate expires 07/31/07

Logitech V400 Laser Cordless Mouse for Notebooks (Dark Gray) $9.99 (US) or $27.97 (CA) Price after $15 (US) MIR, rebate expires 07/31/07

Brother MFC-420CN 6000×1200 dpi 20ppm Black/15ppm Color USB 2.0 6-in-1 Inkjet Printer w/Networking $59.99 (US) or $65.97 (CA)

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 500GB 7200RPM 8MB ATA-100 EIDE OEM Hard Drive $109.99 (US) or $119.97 (CA)

HP dx5150 AMD Desktop PC AMD Athlon64 3500+ 2.2GHz 1GB DDR 80GB SATA HDD DVD ATI Graphics Gigabit LAN WinXP Professional Small Form Factor $399.99 (US)

Garmin Nuvi 370 GPS Navigation with 3.5″ Screen (North America/Europe Maps) $499.99 (US)

Acer Aspire 3100 1711 Notebook PC AMD Sempron 3500+ 1GB DDR2 120GB HDD Dual Layer DVD RW 15″ XGA WinVista Home Premium $499.97 (US)

Office Depot Deals and Coupons:
Airpacks AirDynamic Backpacks

Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator

Office Depot Brand Harrington High-Back Leather Chair

Zune 30GB Music-Video MP3 Player

Get $20 off purchases of $100 or more at Office Depot! Excludes Technology

Office Depot’s July Coupon – $30 off $150

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - July 24, 2007 at 11:48 pm

Categories: Computer Deals   Tags:

Second Life and Support for Vista

I have used Second Life on a Windows Vista machine a couple times and have not really had any trouble, other than getting it to work to start with, but, I believe in hindsight that the issues I did have were bandwidth related at the time and nothing with Vista, as others in my area had trouble getting online as well. But, in a blog post from Linden Labs, they announced that Vista is working well with SL as long as you are using a supported graphics card and the latest native drivers from the manufacturer, specs are System Requirements.

Here?s an update on Second Life support for Vista users. We?re in the process of validating our support of Vista. We?ve finished a couple of rounds of testing. We?re now pulling together our findings and laying the internal groundwork for formal support of Vista.

Generally speaking, Second Life and Vista are happy together as long as a supported graphics card is installed and the most recent native graphics drivers are being used. Please see http://www.secondlife.com/corporate/sysreqs.php for more information. Source: Vista support in Second Life

I’ll have to try a friend?s machine out who is using Vista to get my own personal opinion, not taking a chance with my main machine and Vista, just yet.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - July 23, 2007 at 4:56 am

Categories: Second Life, Windows Vista   Tags:

Updated Google Earth Layers and NASA

Google has added a NASA Google earth layers group to Google Earth, and they have updated the European roads in Google Earth, adding 15 new countries in Europe, as well as adding more content for the Netherlands, like business listings layers and country names in Dutch. Get Google Earth as part of the Google Pack here,

A few months back, Google Earth team and NASA began a collaborative effort to bring awareness and promote knowledge of NASA’s “earth” programs. After months of production, the “NASA” layer group is now live in Google earth.

Personally, I find it quite eye-catching. People are usually familiar with NASA’s space missions, but not everyone knows that NASA also devotes a considerable amount of effort to Earth explorations. This new NASA layer group showcases some of their most interesting content.

The new “NASA” layer has three components:

Astronaut Photography of Earth
Satellite Imagery
Earth City Lights

Source: NASA in Google Earth

The Satellite Imagery layer highlights some of the most interesting Earth imagery taken by NASA satellites over the years. Some place marks also offer the option of downloading additional imagery from different years or seasons and overlaying them on the earth’s surface.

“Earth City Lights” offers a new perspective on this popular image. One can identify some interesting urbanization patterns around the globe. I find it even more interesting to have roads and place name layers on at the same time as I fly over this layer. The United States interstate highway system appears as a lattice connecting the brighter dots of city centers.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - July 20, 2007 at 6:17 pm

Categories: Google, Ramblings   Tags: , ,

Todays Tech Notes 7/20/2007

Digital DNA could finger Harry Potter leaker A few lines of ‘digital DNA’ could allow the publishers of Harry Potter to find and finger the person apparently responsible for leaking the final adventures of the boy wizard.

Opera Software Opera Web Browser BitTorrent Dangling Pointer Vulnerability Remote exploitation of a dangling pointer vulnerability in Opera Software ASA’s Opera web browser could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the logged in user.

Microsoft?s Annual Revenue Surpasses $50 Billion Microsoft Corp. today announced revenue of $13.37 billion for the quarter ended June 30, 2007, a 13% increase over the same period of the prior year. Diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $0.31. Excluding $0.08 of previously announced charges primarily related to Xbox 360 warranty policies, earnings per share would have been $0.39, an increase of 26% over the same period of the prior year when also adjusted for certain items.

Microsoft Hit With A Second Xbox 360 Class Action Suit “Microsoft improperly and/or negligently manufactured the Xbox 360 console in a manner that causes the expensive game discs … to be scratched, rendering the games unusable,” the suit alleges. The complaint was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for Southern California by two residents of the state: Christine Moskowitz and Dan Wood. The suit is seeking not less than $5 million in damages for Xbox 360 buyers affected by the alleged glitch.

Class Action Suit Against Microsoft Alleges XBox 360 Skwatches Disks, Makes Baby Saaad! Tongue in cheek(?) article describing the Xbox 360 lawsuit.

Facebook: the new data black hole Scoble continues to pimp Facebook, which is cool with me, if he likes it, he likes it. I haven’t tried it yet myself, he commented in the comments the exact reason, no time to keep up with everything.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - at 6:07 pm

Categories: Security, Tech News   Tags:

No Vista SP1 for Us This Week, Some Testers Yes

Remember when I mentioned some beta testers already have a copy of Vista SP1 and the rest of us would be getting it this Thursday, hehe, well, never mind that. Microsoft is trying to clear the air of all of the Vista service pack rumors flowing around the internet and have sent out an official announcement to stop the rumors.

?There will be a Windows Vista service pack and our current expectation is that a beta will be made available sometime this year. Service packs are part of the traditional software lifecycle ? they?re something we do for all Microsoft products as part of our commitment to continuous improvement, and providing early test builds is a standard practice that helps us incorporate customer feedback and improve the overall quality of the product.

Service packs are just one example of the work we do to constantly improve the Windows experience. We also deliver improvements to Windows via Windows Update, which is an excellent channel for providing our customers with the most significant updates as they happen. And, since Windows Vista launched, we have continued working with partners to improve overall device coverage and application compatibility. There are now more than 2.1 million supported devices and more than 2,000 logoed applications for Windows Vista. We think customers will have a great experience using Windows Vista today.? Source: No Public Windows Vista SP1 This Week

So, ignore this post and this post. Microsoft has been trying to make it look like stuff was coming out later than it really is as part of their new policy under promise and over deliver, so, we shall see, I bet it is still earlier than they say it will be.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - July 19, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Categories: Windows Vista   Tags:

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