The final release of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is getting closer all the time as Microsoft has released the release candidate to Microsoft Connect and it will be available to TechNet and MSDN subscribers tomorrow and it will be available to the public next week. They also made Windows Server 2008 RC available and everyone can grab it here.
Let me call out several changes made since the Beta release of Service Pack 1 — many of which came about as a result of direct feedback from our Beta-testing community (thank you!):
- The size of the standalone installers have decreased significantly. For example, the standalone installer packages consisting of all 36 languages (x86 and x64 chip architectures) are smaller by over 50%. The standalone installer packages consisting of just the 5 languages (again, x86 and x64) slated for initial release are more than 30% smaller in size.
- The required amount of disc space for SP1 installation has also decreased significantly. Furthermore, with the RC, if more space is required to install SP1, an error message will now display exactly how much space is needed to complete the installation.
- Previous SP1 versions left behind a directory of files that wasn’t needed after installation and occupied about 1GB of space; the RC includes automatic disk clean-up to remove this directory.
- Installation reliability has been improved based on bug reports and error codes reported from Windows Update (thanks, Beta testers!). Testing shows that these improvements have significantly increased the proportion of successful installations of the RC.
- We’ve improved the user experience of installing SP1 via Windows Update. During the Beta release, users installed without much guidance from Windows Update. The RC now contains a series of screens with detailed information on SP1.
We also have information to share with IT professionals and system administrators regarding final plans for SP1: we’re on track to complete and release SP1 in the first quarter of 2008. When SP1 is complete and we reach our release to manufacturing (RTM) milestone, then shortly after the standalone installer will be released to the Web in two waves. The first wave will consist of the standalone installer (x86 and x64) for the 5 initial languages — English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese. These languages will be deployed shortly after the RTM milestone. The second wave will launch 8-12 weeks after the first and will consist of all remaining languages, for both chip architectures (x86 and x64). Source: Announcing Windows Vista SP1 Release Candidate (RC)
Microsoft has done what some said they would not do, and what some said they would do, how’s that for making sense, they have dropped the price on the Xbox 360 by $50. Better still, if you live in Canada, they are dropping the price of it by $100!
Microsoft Lowers Price of Xbox 360 by $100 in Canada Price drop coincides with release of “Madden NFL 08″ on Xbox 360, one of many titles that make up the greatest holiday lineup in video game history.
Microsoft trims Xbox 360 price by $50 Although rumors of the price cut had swirled since last week, Microsoft didn’t make the deal official until late yesterday. Even then, the company did not tout the $50 cut as much as highlight how long it resisted discounting the machine. “The fact that we have been able to keep our launch price longer than any other console while retaining our leadership position demonstrates that consumers believe in the value of Xbox 360,” said Mitch Koch, a vice president in the entertainment division’s sales and marketing group, in a statement.
Xbox 360 System update They also released an update to Xbox Live to allow you to use some wireless guitars that are coming out.
Madden NFL 08 Side-By-Side PS3 And Xbox 360 Comparison Game Videos compiled some footage of Madden NFL 08, which you all know by now has one distinct difference between the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions ? the PS3 version will run at 30 frames per second, while the 360 version will run at 60.
Halo 3 themed Xbox 360 Don’t forget about the Halo 3 themed [tag]Xbox 360[/tag] coming out in September.
360 Cores and Premiums with HDMI? An inside source spills the beans According to my source, Microsoft wants to cut through all their existing inventory of hardware. They will then quietly “soft launch” a new version of the Core and Premium hardware in late August or September that will include an HDMI port. It’s also expected that this new hardware will feature the 65nm process for the CPU and quieter DVD drives. The new hardware will ship in boxes very similar to what we saw on store shelves now, but there will be a small “call out” on the box so you know you’re getting a system with the HDMI connection.
Here are a couple interesting articles for you gamers. Their is now some new content on the Xbox Live Marketplace for Command and Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars, a free map, a preview of some maps you have to buy, new maps and some gamerpics.
Name: Ground Zero Map
Availability: All Xbox Live regions
Dash Details: Ground Zero Map Lead your army against a rival commander in this 1v1 map featuring a huge meteor impact crater. Download this free map now! This map is also playable in single-player skirmish mode.
Name: Map Pack 1 Developer Interview
Availability: Not available in Japan
Dash Details: Get the developer?s insider tour of the five intense map designs available in Command & Conquer 3 Map Pack One. Discover the key strategies to dominating the Tiberium fields and securing victory, whether you play GDI, NOD or Scrin!
Name: Map Pack 1
Price: 500 Points
Availability: Not available in Japan
Dash Details: Map Pack 1 What kind of commander are you? Are you a defensive specialist, an air-superiority junkie, or a clandestine operations fanatic? Whatever your preferred strategy, test your skills and your wits against other commanders in five new multiplayer maps. Ranging from brutal 1v1 shootouts to gigantic 2v2 showdowns, this pack has something for every commander. Includes: Black?s Bigger Battle | Tiber River Valley | Frontier Fracas | Tiberium Gardens III | Tournament Desert Redux. All maps are playable in single-player skirmish mode as well.
Name: Factions Picture Pack
Price: 80 Points
Availability: Not available in Japan
Dash Details: Whose side are you on? Support your favorite Command and Conquer 3 faction with these gamerpics! Includes 4 gamerpics: GDI, NOD, Scrin, and unique Tiberium EA logo. Source: Command and Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars content (some Free)
Xbox360 Achievements.org has posted the achievements that will be available for Halo 3. There are 49 achievements worth a total of 1000 points. Check the full list here. 9 missions with a skull for each, achievements for beating the game on normal, heroic and legendary and many more.
I almost forgot, yesterday I red an article that said Microsoft paid Take 2 50 million dollars for exclusive episodic content for the Xbox 360 for Grand Theft Auto IV. 25 million for content that will come out by March of 2008 and another 25 million for content that will be released later that year. GTA has a huge following so they are trying to pull in more gamers to the Xbox 360 side with extra content for GTA IV. This is surely a good way to do it, exclusive content for your favorite game might persuade you to pony up the money for a new system. Either that or someone will find a way to port it to the PS3.
Lots and lots of security news today, I will be detailing the SiteAdvisor report in more detail later.
Group rips Microsoft over Internet user profiling research Microsoft Corp. research on Internet user profiling could lead to tools that help repressive regimes identify anonymous dissidents, the Reporters Without Borders advocacy group warned last Friday. In a paper presented at the International World Wide Web Conference last month in Calgary, Canada, four researchers at Microsoft’s Beijing-based lab laid out work that predicted the age and gender ( PDF format) of unknown Web users based on the sites they visited. Their new algorithms correctly guessed the gender of a Web surfer 80% of the time, and his or her age 60% of the time.
The State of Search Engine Safety We find that AOL returns the safest search results, while Yahoo! returns the greatest percentage of risky results. Since May 2006, search engine results have become safer, primarily due to improved safety of sponsored results on Google, AOL, and Ask. Despite this improvement, dangerous sites are found in search results of all of the top five search engines, and sponsored results continue to be significantly less safe than search engines? organic results.
Online tunes are more risky than Web porn More data from the SiteAdvisor article. About 9% of adult sites produce spyware, adware or spam, compared with 19% of digital music sites found in a study by McAfee.
McAfee Reports Drop in Malicious Search Results Article from PCMag that talks about the drop in malware when compared to the previous years SiteAdvisor article.
Google As Terror Tool? Terrorists use Google Earth instead of their own video.
Microsoft unveils integrated security Microsoft shared details of its long-term security product strategy as part of its ongoing TechEd 2007 training conference on June 4, lifting the lid on plans to deliver an integrated suite of its software by mid-2009.
Gaping holes exposed in fully-patched IE 7, Firefox Polish hacker Michal Zalewski has ratcheted up his ongoing assault on Web browser security models, releasing details on serious flaws in fully patched versions of IE 6, IE 7 and Firefox 2.0.
Big announcement from Microsoft today, well, actually yesterday, surface computing is here and hopefully, it will be coming my way soon, can’t wait to check it out, but there are plenty of videos and information out already to wet your whistle. Microsoft says it will first appear in hotels, restaurants, etc, where touch screens already exist, but not in the same way or amount of screens, I am sure.
Picture a surface that can recognize physical objects from a paintbrush to a cell phone and allows hands-on, direct control of content such as photos, music and maps. Today at the Wall Street Journal?s D: All Things Digital conference, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer will unveil Microsoft Surface?, the first in a new category of surface computing products from Microsoft that breaks down traditional barriers between people and technology. Surface turns an ordinary tabletop into a vibrant, dynamic surface that provides effortless interaction with all forms of digital content through natural gestures, touch and physical objects. Beginning at the end of this year, consumers will be able to interact with Surface in hotels, retail establishments, restaurants and public entertainment venues.
Microsoft Surface puts people in control of their experiences with technology, making everyday tasks entertaining, enjoyable and efficient. Imagine ordering a beverage during a meal with just the tap of a finger. Imagine quickly browsing through music and dragging favorite songs onto a personal playlist by moving a finger across the screen. Imagine creating and sending a personal postcard of vacation pictures instantly to friends and family, while still wearing flip-flops.
Consumers now have an entirely new way to get the information they need, turning their everyday tasks into enjoyable and engaging experiences,? said Pete Thompson, general manager of Microsoft Surface Computing. There are hundreds of thousands of restaurants, hotels and retail locations that are looking to give their customers the unique and memorable experiences that Surface will provide. In turn, companies have a new opportunity for generating additional revenue streams and increasing retail traffic. Source: Microsoft Launches New Product Category: Surface Computing Comes to Life in Restaurants, Hotels, Retail Locations and Casino Resorts
I can see this being handy in a busy bar, where each user selects their drink or refill and it goes into a queue for the bartender to make, taking the decision on who gets served next out of his hands and placing it into the correct order. But, never mind restaurants, bars and hotels, where else will surface computing be useful? Scoble saw a demo for it two years ago and this is how it worked then.
Anyway, surface computing is real and is wild. I want one of these in my house, but it is too expensive. Anyway, here?s how it works:
1) It has a piece of holographic glass that can display images that a projector shoots at it.
2) It has a projector underneath.
3) It has two cameras, aimed at the glass which can triangulate on objects on it.
4) It has software, written in Windows Presentation Foundation, that take advantage of the new hardware. Source: Ahh, the PlayTable, er Surface Computing, how it works?
Popular Mechanics got to see a demo of surface computing from Microsoft, listen to a couple of the cool things they showed them, and then visit their site and check out the video.
Gattis took out a digital camera and placed it on the Surface. Instantly, digital pictures spilled out onto the tabletop. As Gattis touched and dragged each picture, it followed his fingers around the screen. Using two fingers, he pulled the corners of a photo and stretched it to a new size. Then, Gattis put a cell phone on the surface and dragged several photos to it ? just like that, the pictures uploaded to the phone. It was like a magic trick. He was dragging and dropping virtual content to physical objects. I’m not often surprised by new technology, but I can honestly say I’d never seen anything like it. Source: Microsoft Surface: Behind-the-Scenes First Look (with Video)
They also have some great shots and text on how it works exactly. Channel 10 has a great video here. They also answer the question of when will we see these in homes, they said that the first adopters, Harrah?s Entertainment, Starwood Hotels and T-Mobile, will have it first and as it gets bigger and used by more companies, prices will come down and our coffee tables will be surface computers before we know it. Wonder if they will be easier on our kids heads than the coffee tables were?
Techcrunch wonders when it will recognize that our beer is empty and replenishment is automatic. Robert McLaws has a GREAT wrap-up of the history of Microsoft Surface, and says that it started as TouchLight. Lots of great videos and images available at the official site for Microsoft surface here.
Check out this video demo, and the complete list of Microsoft Surface videos we have available.
Lots of interesting tech news today, lets get to it.
Universal search: The best answer is still the best answer Google updated their search engine results, they are introducing content from Images, Maps, Books, Video, and News into the search results, and making one big pile of stuff, instead of keeping it separate like they used to.
Making The Switch From Twitter to Jaiku Tired of the downtime Twitter has had lately? In a post from Techcrunch, Duncan Riley talks about people making the switch and some of the tools already available and some they want. He’s not switching, btw, and neither am I, at least not until everyone else does. Mine has been quiet recently, but you can check it here, Jimmy Daniels Twitter microblog.
More Firefox Bloat? Say It Ain’t So, Mozilla Do you feel bloated? Er, I mean, does your Firefox feel bloated? You’re not alone…
New Stuff At My Yahoo Michael Arrington covers the new stuff from My Yahoo. No, not my Yahoo, your Yahoo, no, just read it…
BitTorrent in Focus: TV-series are Hot TorrentFreak says TV is hot online, with 50% of people on BitTorrent downloading TV shows, while TV shows only make up 10% of the available “content”. Interesting, sounds like good news for Joost.
Latest AACS revision defeated a week before release Remember when Kevin Rose lost control of digg? I said they should just give up on the [tag]DRM[/tag] because someone will always be around to crack it for them, well they already have. A new volume key used by high-def films scheduled for release next week has already been cracked. The previous AACS volume key was invalidated by AACS LA after it was exposed and broadly disseminated earlier this month. The latest beta release of SlySoft’s AnyDVD HD program can apparently be used to rip HD DVD discs that use AACS version 3. Although these won’t hit store shelves until the May 22, pirates have already successfully tested SlySoft’s program with early release previews of the Matrix trilogy.
Google to Yahoo and Microsoft: the $1.65 billion was worth it Can you say du huh?
Microsoft apologizes for Halo 3 problems, extends beta The press invites sent out before the Halo 3 beta became widely available were the calm before the storm apparently, as there was a problem with gamers who had the Crackdown invites grabbing the file yesterday. Frank was caught up in the foolishness and it seemed like the entire Internet was going to come down. I know how hard it is to plan something this big, but seriously, this is Microsoft. They should have been better prepared. Now we’re at the point of apologizing, after a very unhappy player-base spent a frustrating day yesterday pulling out their hair waiting for the beta to become available.
Again, too much stuff to really comment on, so here are the highlights.
Aero and battery life First off, the Aero theme drives the GPU harder and therefore uses more power. But in the big picture, it’s really not that much more, the display on most laptops will consume somewhere between 15-25% of your power when you are running on battery. Nevertheless, in our testing we’ve seen that turning on Aero consumes only about 1-4% more of battery life. In terms of making your battery last longer, turning off Aero will not go very far while at the same time costing you some of the cool features that make Windows Vista fun to use, such as Flip 3D, taskbar previews, window transparency and so on.
Microsoft Details Patent Breaches Microsoft has given the most detailed description to date of the number of open-source computer programs it says infringe on its patents, but the company says it still prefers licensing deals with open-source developers, software distributors and users instead of taking legal action against them.
Facing the full horror of Windows Vista So far, Transit has been using Vista Business full-time for a fortnight. And so far, we’ve found nothing that works better than in Windows XP, dozens of things that are annoyingly different without being a functional improvement, and several things that work at best intermittently and at worst not at all. On the whole, we wish we’d never moved. Sounds like a bunch of whiners to me, I mean, come on, after one day they are ready to go back? Sounds like someone wanted some website traffic.
Microsoft delves further into manufacturing with Zune plant Microsoft is making a new push in hardware manufacturing by building a factory in China to produce its Zune media player. The factory will produce a second iteration of the Zune, which has so far failed to impress.
Microsoft building a Zune factory The fact that you all voted the Zune Worst Gadget of the Year in the recent Engadget Awards doesn’t seem to be causing any hand-wringing in Redmond, as Microsoft confirmed today that they’re building a dedicated Zune factory in China with an unnamed partner to crank out the oft-rumored next-gen Zune. Probably because there are so many Apple guys on Engadget?
WinHEC 2007 has begun Uncle Bill went on stage 30 minutes ago to begin this year?s Windows Hardware Engineering Conference. For those who aren?t familiar, this is the place to see the some of the coolest new hardware coming to the Windows ecosystem. If you must see the news as it happens, then go and grab the hot and tasty WinHEC Keynote stream.
Twitter Cloning: Tiny Blogs Bloom Everywhere Over the past few months, a flood of clones has appeared, imitating and repurposing the micro-blogging concept popularized by the San Francisco-based social networking start-up. People generally use Twitter to post short status updates telling their friends via SMS what they’re doing right this minute.
Sneak peek at Windows Live Folders Microsoft’s new Windows Live Folders feature still isn’t ready for public release, but the system showed up online briefly, giving folks a chance to see what the Redmond-based software company has planned for the future in online storage.
Lots of news as always.
This one is more so I don’t forget where it is at, as I plan on covering this in the future. Compete CEO: ISPs Sell Clickstreams For $5 A Month David Cancel, the CEO of Compete Inc. reveals that ISPs happily sell your clickstream data — and that it’s a big business. They don’t sell your name — just your clicks — but the clicks are tied to you as a specific user (User 1, User 2, etc.). How much you ask? About 40 cents a month per user (per customer)… and the Compete CEO estimates that there are 10-12 big buyers of this data. In other words, your ISP is probably making about $5 a month ($60 a year) off your clickstreams. And they aren’t the only ones, ever wonder how some of these sites are making money…
DOD blocking YouTube, others As many organizations are doing nowadays, this social stuff should be taken care of from home, not from a school or work computer, the DOD is blocking Youtube, Myspace and others.
Microsoft Claims Open-Source Technology Violates 235 of Its Patents Microsoft is using the threat of patent violations by the free and open-source software community to try to drive enterprise customers to SUSE Enterprise Linux and to further muddy the waters around the next version of the upcoming GNU General Public License.
Microsoft’s (Beta!) VoIP Device Blitz You can?t buy them yet, but if you are an enterprise IT exec who is kicking the tires on VOIP telephony offerings you might at least want to take a gander at the wide range of Microsoft-centric IP voice devices ? phones, headsets, videocam monitors ? being informally unveiled Monday at the Windows Hardware Engineering conference in Los Angeles.
Second Life Key Metrics – April 2007 Another batch of Second Life key metrics were released by Linden Labs this week; I’m struck by how different this Second Life report is from a recent ComScore report about Second Life population.
Battle of the botnets Criminal gangs are fighting over your computers, no longer do they just want a small slice of the money to be made online, they want it all, and they want their botnets to rule.
Help Key: The Essential Guide to Piracy Piracy is an action sport. The ability to infringe copyright and steal valuable work induces a rush like no other. Whether you steal music, movies, books, applications, or whatever, it feels like breaking the law and it saves our wallets and purses from becoming empty.
Some of the interesting technology stories around.
Security: Thumb sucking, slurping, snarfing, Excuse me? Sounds like a kid show, but security experts are using better names to make these hacks, data theft and more in the publics mind.
Phisher Says He Makes a Fortune Using Re-used Passwords What caught me was the phisher’s acknowledgment that he uses passwords stolen from social networking sites to break into e-mail accounts, where he then searches for financial account details. He says he can make $3-$4,000 a day selling this information. Interview is here.
Google buys a start-up once every few days, or around one a week “Google buys a start-up once every few days, or around one a week, Schmidt estimated” comes from a eWeeek article recapping a Google reporter briefing earlier this week. One of the things I have learned from being on the Fortune 100 side is that large amounts of cash in reserve typically don’t remain in reserve. Whether its stock buyback, capital expansion or acquisitions, the cash must go.
Yahoo To Finally Upgrade MyBlogLog Techcrunch talks about MyBloglog being upgraded, their past problems and are hoping it is looking up. “MyBlogLog, the ubiquitous blog widget that shows pictures of recent visitors to a site, was one of the “instant” success stories of 2006 – Yahoo acquired the company before most people even had a chance to hear about it. Like many blogs, we had the MyBlogLog widget on TechCrunch for months. We eventually removed it due to performance issues (it slowed down the site on a couple of occasions) and this incredible amount of spam that started to appear.”
Microsoft takes on the free world Microsoft claims that free software like Linux, which runs a big chunk of corporate America, violates 235 of its patents. It wants royalties from distributors and users. Users like you, maybe. Fortune’s Roger Parloff reports.
Joost Invitations: 2000+ Sent I?m happy to say Mashable has distributed thousands of Joost invitations over the past 2 weeks – I?m guessing in excess of 2000, although I haven?t done a manual count for obvious reasons. Praises be to those readers who reciprocated by inviting others, and curses upon those who didn?t. They still have a Joost invite thread here, but if you can’t get one, leave a comment here and I will send you one, I still have several hundred left.
Some stuff I ran onto covering different Windows Servers and Operating systems.
A first look: Microsoft Longhorn Server Beta 3 After Microsoft released the Beta 3 version of Microsoft Server, code named Longhorn, Techrepublic shows you the basic installation and configuration screens that are found in Beta 3 of Longhorn.
Testing 1, 2, 3 ? Beta 3 of Windows “Longhorn” Server goes public Microsoft is finally releasing the first public test version, Beta 3, of its Windows Longhorn Server, and they say Beta 3 is “feature complete,” but there will be a near-final release candidate version released before sometime before the launch in 2008.
Windows Home Server installation Pictures of the installation process on Windows Home Server Build 3790.
How do I… Configure Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Remote Access? Step-by-step procedures to get remote administration installed and configured in your enterprise using Windows Small Business Server.
Microsoft patches nasty DNS server, Exchange flaws Seven groups of patches were released today, fixing 19 bugs. Microsoft rates all seven of the updates as critical, but, everyone should make sure they check out the MS07-026 and MS07-029 updates, which fix flaws in Microsoft Exchange and the Windows DNS, or Domain Name System, server.
Hands on: Windows Server ‘Longhorn’ Beta 3 review Features have been added, including the much-anticipated Windows Server Virtualization code, which was called Hypervisor. There are some small improvements to features that have been on Windows Server for a long time, like Terminal Services, and clustering and server management, with some new capabilities as well, like Server Core and PowerShell.
Microsoft doc names Longhorn as ‘Windows Server 2007′ Microsoft will name the server operating system known as Longhorn, with the name “Windows Server 2007,” according to a document on the company’s site. Man that’s one good name.