QuoteIntel is offering a "dashboard" for Windows that allows the user to choose and control which applications or files are loaded into the Intel Turbo Memory cache (based on flash memory chips) for performance acceleration. Intel calls this "User pinning." Custom pinning profiles can be created to pin applications or files that match the user's activity, according to Intel. Data intensive programs, gaming, digital media editing and productivity software are examples of applications that will see the most benefit, according to Intel. Intel is trying to address a longstanding shortcoming of Windows: its inability to take full advantage of flash storage devices. "There are issues related to taking full advantage of the speed of a (flash drive)," said Troy Winslow, marketing manager for the NAND Products Group at Intel, in an interview at the Flash Memory Summit.
Quote"We are offering free-of-charge support to anyone who is having issues installing Windows Vista SP1," Microsoft blogger Brandon Le Blanc said. Unlimited installation and compatibility support is available at no charge until March 18, 2009, according to the Microsoft Service Pack 1 support site. There are three options available under the free support plan for U.S. users: e-mail support, which will be answered within one business day; online chat, which has a current waiting time of around 40 minutes; and call, available only for users who have a software-assurance agreement, professional contract, TechNet subscription, or MSDN subscription, or for those who come under the Microsoft Partner Program.
QuoteMicrosoft's newly released Service Pack 1 may solve some of the performance glitches that have annoyed Windows Vista users and discouraged others from adopting the OS, but it doesn't appear from our initial tests to be a panacea. In our first tests of the service pack, file copying, one of the main performance-related complaints from Vista users, was significantly faster. But other tests showed little improvement and in two tests, our experience was actually a little better without the service pack installed than with it.
QuoteIt's not that Vista is awful. The integrated security and parental controls are nice, and the Aero interface is as whizzy as it gets. Searching and wireless networking are much faster and easier than under XP. It's just that Vista isn't all that good. Many of the innovations the operating system was supposed to bring--like more efficient file and communications systems--got tossed overboard as Microsoft struggled to get the OS out the door, some three years after it was first promised. Despite its hefty hardware requirements, Vista is slower than XP.
QuoteAny operating system that provokes a campaign for its predecessor's reintroduction deserves to be classed as terrible technology. Any operating system that quietly has a downgrade-to- previous-edition option introduced for PC makers deserves to be classed as terrible technology. Any operating system that takes six years of development but is instantly hated by hordes of PC professionals and enthusiasts deserves to be classed as terrible technology.
QuoteMicrosoft has launched a "fact rich" program to help customers understand why they should "proceed with confidence" in rolling out Vista across all their PCs. "Some customers may be waiting to adopt Windows Vista because they've heard rumors about device or application compatibility issues, or because they think they should wait for a service pack release," the company said in a newsletter. "To help partners and customers get the real story, Microsoft has created a comprehensive set of fact-rich materials illustrating how Windows Vista is ready today and tomorrow."
QuoteThat's because Vista uses a compatibility database and several heuristics to recognize installer executables and, every time the OS detects that an executable is a setup program, "it will only allow running it as administrator." This, in Rutkowska's mind, is a "very severe hole in the design of UAC." "After all, I would like to be offered a choice whether to fully trust given installer executable (and run it as full administrator) or just allow it to add a folder in Crogram Files and some keys under HKLMSoftware and do nothing more. I could do that under XP, but apparently I can’t under Vista, which is a bit disturbing," she added. A few days after Rutkowska flagged the UAC shortcoming, Microsoft's Mark Russinovich wrote a detailed technical explanation of the way the mechanism works. One thing that stood out in Russinovich's explanation is an admission of sorts that the default configuration of UAC puts the user at risk of a sophisticated code execution attack.
QuoteMicrosoft says you have to buy Vista because it makes you much safer online than XP, or any of its previous operating systems. Do you believe that?
Thompson: Consumers should not be confused. Vista is not a security solution. Vista is an operating system, and Vista provides some very important advances from Microsoft's perspective and for the industry's point of view on building a more stable, more reliable, more secure operating platform, but people still need the efficacy that comes with the products that Symantec and others in the industry build, and so we should not be confused by the marketing rhetoric with what Vista is. It's a hopefully much better product than XP or any of its predecessors, but it's not a security solution.
QuoteBecause, as I learned shortly before the doors opened at 10, there was more to the late-night event at CompUSA than Windows Vista. The store had offered up a smattering of impressive deals on tech gear and peripherals--including Bluetooth headsets, webcams, printers and monitors--designed to complement to the Vista launch. But it couldn't possibly have helped Microsoft's PR efforts, as it was quite clear that the majority of the people waiting in line were eager to capitalize on the slashed prices and had no real interest in Vista or Office 2007. There were Microsoft-hued balloons on the ceiling, and prominent displays for the new products out of Redmond, Wash., but most of the customers at the store at 10 p.m. were completely blind to the decor as they dove for the specially priced gadgets. (Microsoft's Zune music player, by the way, was not among the specially priced items.)
QuoteAfter five years in development and endless feedback from Allchin and thousands of other testers, Vista is ready for the masses. It will hit store shelves on Tuesday. One day later, Allchin, as promised, will retire after 16 years with the software maker. It's not yet clear how Allchin's latest product will affect his legacy. While early reviews of the operating system have been lukewarm, Allchin said he is confident that time will show Vista to be a significant improvement over previous versions of Windows.
QuoteSome of the applications that still aren't compatible with Vista include IBM Corp.'s Lotus Notes e-mail and collaboration suite; Cisco Systems Inc.'s and Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.'s VPN clients; Intuit Corp.'s accounting software QuickBooks 2006 and earlier versions; and anti-virus (AV) software from Trend Micro Inc. Intuit even took time in mid-December to warn QuickBooks users in a note that they should hold off on upgrading to Vista until after the U.S. tax season ends in April, citing compatibility with older versions of its software and "potential reliability issues" with Vista. IBM said Lotus Notes will support Vista by mid-2007; Lotus Notes 8, the next version of the suite, also will be available at that time on Vista. Cisco's VPN will support Vista some time in the first quarter of 2007. QuickBooks, Check Point's VPN client and Symantec and Trend Micro's AV software will support Vista following the consumer release. However, in some good news for users, McAfee Inc. already has Vista AV software on the market.
QuoteGames for Windows is still very much a vision. The first priority, a retail initiative, is currently underway. By employing marketing strategies used by console makers, namely platform-branding, Microsoft hopes that PC gaming (under the 'Games for Windows' banner) will become less intimidating to mainstream consumers -- no longer will the PC games isle be a cluttered mess of disparate titles. Computer Gaming World was also renamed as Games For Windows to help drive Microsoft's new brand. Aside from retail consolidation, this branding will ensure certain requirements are met by games' publishers. To earn the GFW brand, a title must comply with certain Microsoft-tested specifications, including widescreen support, compatibility with the Xbox 360 controller, parental control features, and simple installation. GFW games will also begin to carry a system rating, based on a 5-point scale. Vista will assess the value of your PC's gaming abilities and assign a rating (or "WinSAT"), say 4.5. You can then weigh that rating against a game's recommended rating (example: 5.0) and its required rating (example: 3.5) before purchasing. Update: The scale will begin at five points, but is designed to grow as newer technologies enter the market.
QuoteAccording to Microsoft's Windows Vista End User License Agreement (EULA), the platform's Home Basic and Home Premium editions cannot be run as a virtual machine (VM). Such restrictions do not apply to the business versions of the OS. "Today, customers using this technology are primarily business customers addressing application compatibility needs or technology enthusiasts," the spokesperson said. "For everyday use, Windows Vista Home and Home Premium cannot be installed in any virtual machine technology, but Business and Ultimate versions can. Each virtual installation of Windows requires a new license just as it was for Windows XP."
QuoteVista's DRM technologies fall into several distinct categories, all of which are either completely new to the operating system or represent a significant change from the technology found in previous versions of Windows. The Intel-developed Trusted Platform Module (TPM) makes DRM harder to circumvent by extending it beyond the operating system and into the PC's hardware components. TPM is used with Vista's BitLocker full-drive encryption technology to protect a PC's data against security breaches. A TPM microchip embedded on the PC's motherboard stores unique system identifiers along with the BitLocker decryption keys. If a system is tampered with -- for example, if the hard drive is removed and placed in a different machine -- TPM detects the tampering and prevents the drive from being unencrypted.
QuoteApparently, Microsoft has been so focused on getting Zune out the door in time for the mad holiday rush that it hasn't gotten around to supporting the player under its next-generation operating system. Though seemingly implausible, the screenshot below tells the story (while raising some questions at the same time). "This operating system is currently not supported by Zune," reads an error message when trying to install Zune software on the latest versions of Microsoft's own Windows Vista operating system.
QuoteAs we revealed last week, Microsoft now starts the countdown clock to the official launch of Vista and Office 2007 to the business community, which will take place on November 30. This will be bookended by a 'consumer launch' which we've already tipped as January 30 2007, although Microsoft spokespeople are still towing the company line of 'late January' rather than circle a specific day on the calendar. Vista RTM followed the announcement Monday of Office 2007 RTM, so we expect quite a bit of partying at Microsoft's sprawling Redmond campus. The Vista gold code (christened with the build number 6000) will be available for download to members of the MSDN network within the next seven days, along with Office 2007, so next week should be a big one for downloading.
QuoteFive years, three months and five days after Windows XP made its debut, Microsoft will usher its next-generation OS onto the stage.
APC has been advised by a very well placed source that January 30, 2007 is about to be announced as the official release date for Vista. In addition, in a move that mirrors previous side-by-side launches of Microsoft's OS and Office suite (in the 95 and XP waves), Office 2007 will also touch down on that day. However, as previously planned, Vista and Office 2007 will first step out for a 'business launch' on November 30 (alongside Exchange 2007). From that date, the programs will be available to corporate customers who hold an enterprise licence or software assurance deal with Microsoft.
Quote"As we stated from the beginnning of Windows Vista development, the quality of the product will always be our first priority," Microsoft said in a statement. "That said, Microsoft continues to target Windows Vista availability for volume license customers in November 2006 and general availability in January 2007, although the final delivery will be based on quality." The software maker had hoped to have Vista on store shelves and in new PCs in time for this year's holiday season, but said in March that it would miss that date.
QuoteBut IPv6 is far from being universally used. So, Vista will also support the current IPv4. The side effect, according to Mockapetris, is that a Vista PC will make two DNS requests, one for each IP version, instead of just one. "It is going to try a DNS lookup for the IPv6 address and then a DNS lookup for the IPv4 address," Mockapetris said. "It just uses more DNS, and until we increase the supply, things are going to go slower."
QuoteH.264 hardware decoding, HDCP support, multi-monitor support, HD audio and automatic detection of a connected HD audio device, Serial ATA 2.5 support, 50MB NV cache on a hybrid hard drive with at least 8MB/sec write and 16MB/sec read in mobile devices, support of USB flash drive booting, Windows Vista green button on the computer remote, and a Green driver quality rating.
QuoteThe DQR system relies on scores to indicate a driver's quality level, and it derives those scores from user-submitted crash reports. Microsoft's Online Crash Analysis Team will analyze crash reports to determine the ratio of crashing systems to non-crashing systems. Drivers that rarely cause crashes will be rated "Green," while moderately problematic drivers will be rated "Yellow." The horrid stuff gets a big, fat "Red" rating. (Microsoft has not revealed the exact methodology for determining these scores, only that "Green" maps to 7-9 points, "Yellow" 4-6, and "Red" 1-3.) Furthermore, to achieve a "Green" status, a driver must have been released and in use for at least 120 days (starting on June 1, 2007), and must maintain its stability throughout time. Driver manufacturers (or OEMs) must rectify any problem that causes a driver's rating to fall to "Yellow" or "Red" within 90 days, or suffer the consequences. For drivers of this sort, updates must be made available through Windows Update, as well.
QuoteThe software giant is launching a subscription service aimed at providing better protection for the Windows operating system, which has been vulnerable to Internet attacks. Windows Live OneCare will protect up to three computers for about 50 dollars a year.
QuoteI'd like to propose a further extension to this conventional wisdom, applying it to the U.S. economy. There is clearly no case for the small hardware store in Woodside, Calif., to continue to exist. The fact that the clerks are helpful, courteous and know where everything in the store is located isn't relevant. There is no logic to why the store continues to be in business when there is a "good enough" mega-store just a few miles down the road. In fact, the whole economy, with its boundless energy and diversity, should be an abomination to the proponents of the "good enough" theory.
QuoteUbuntu 6.06 LTS introduces functionality that simplifies common Linux server deployment processes. For system administrators setting up large numbers of web, mail and related servers, Ubuntu 6.06 LTS offers the fastest and most consistent path to deployment, combined with the availability of global commercial support where needed. "Ubuntu has a reputation for working well out of the box on desktops, and we have worked to bring that same ease of deployment and configuration to the server marketplace" said Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu project. "Based on our analysis of the ways people were already deploying Ubuntu on servers, we have aimed to streamline their experience while expanding the range of software available to people deploying Ubuntu in the data centre."