Monthly Archives: November 2005

Microsoft plans more Vista previews

 
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"(REUTERS) – Microsoft Corp. is releasing preview versions of its new Windows Vista operating system about once a month in an effort to get more customer feedback than usual ahead of next year’s launch, the company said today.

The world’s largest software maker also reiterated its plan to launch Vista in the second half of 2006, five years after the release of its current version, Windows XP. It’s the longest gap ever between major launches of Microsoft’s core Windows product, the company’s cash cow, which accounts for more than a quarter of its $40 billion in annual revenue.

Microsoft gave some customers preview versions of Vista in September and October and expects to offer another version with more improvements in December."

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Dear Bill Gates: Fixes and Features for Vista

 
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"I’m sure that anyone who has used Windows has at least one pet peeve they’d like to see remedied. Although I like Windows in its latest incarnation, I’m no exception.

Without further ado, here’s a look at four problems I’d like to see fixed in Windows Vista:

1. Focus, focus, focus. The way Windows decides what window or application is active is one of my long-standing gripes. Example: Say you need to reference a Web page while editing a Microsoft Word document. As you type, the browser is launched, but you’re not paying attention to it. As you continue to type in Word, you realize midsentence that you’re on your home page and have been typing in the address bar. Exasperated, you have to click to your document and retype the sentence from where Windows changed the active window.

Here’s the deal, Bill: Never, ever change focus from the window I’m working on until I explicitly command Windows to do so. We all work in specific ways, and most of us, I’m sure, would be grateful to be given a choice on how Windows handles change of focus."

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Totally agreed, this is one of my biggest gripes about Windows, hopefully we will see these changes realized in Vista. Other great suggestions are in this column worth reading and I hope the Windows Team is listening.

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First Looks at Windows Vista Media Center

 
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"Microsoft’s Media Center Edition of Windows XP has had a hard time. Though it’s hard to call it a poor seller, MCE certainly has a market penetration that represents only a tiny fraction of the many millions of computers running Windows XP. And why should it? Most users don’t have nice hi-def TVs hooked up to their PCs, or TV tuners, or really any need to enjoy their music, video, and TV stored on their PC via a 10-foot user interface. It doesn’t help that the first edition of Media Center wasn’t very good, either. Then again, Microsoft bounced back with its second effort, Media Center Edition 2005, one of the most improved software products ever.

Over the last year, and continuing for the next couple years, digital media on the PC has really started to take center stage. People actually care about video, music, and TV on their PCs. Managing all these things with a simple, intuitive interface that can be easily used from across the room has become more of a priority. Microsoft recognizes this, and as such it will no longer segregate MCE to its own SKU, destined for PCs masquerading as set-top boxes. With Windows Vista, the Media Center functions will be built into the "Home Premium" and "Ultimate" editions, which will probably quadruple its installed base in no time flat. We all know Windows Vista will cause a huge change in the way the desktop looks and feels, and MCE is getting a similar face-lift."

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Windows Vista Build 5259 Review: Part 1 – Installation and the new interface

 
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Is there a November Vista CTP in the Wings? asks Mary Jo Foley from Microsoft-Watch.com. So what happened? The long overdue November CTP (Community Technology Preview) was supposed to be released to selected testers on November 18th but nothing happened. A few days later, official Microsoft partners and vendors received the 5259 bits through the TAP (Technology Adaption Program) and we hear that they declared it too buggy and unstable. Rumors are that Microsoft reconsidered the release of 5259 to the waiting Windows community. Instead, they will most likely take 5262 or 5263 and optimize it in terms of performance and especially stability.

However, we will not let you wait and give you all the news about Windows Vista Build 5259 which is one of the predecessors to Beta 2 (Release date: Between February and April 2006).

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Some cool screenshots too, worth reading!

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No Vista Beta 2 this year

 
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"The second beta of Windows Vista will not come until next year, Microsoft said Tuesday.

The software maker did not give a time frame for the release of Beta 2 of the operating system, and said only that it would have more to say next year. Microsoft had not said when Beta 2 will come, but some had expected it might come in December or January.

Microsoft did say it still plans to release the final version of Vista in the second half of next year.

"First and foremost, we are still on track for general availability in the second half of calendar year 2006," said Amitabh Srivastava, a corporate vice president in Microsoft’s Windows unit.

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I think the aim really is to have a near feature complete build, not to meet a CTP demand, so yes, don’t expect a December CTP. I see this more as progress than a let down for Technical Testers, users should see some exciting stuff in the next build of Windows Vista.

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Will the Real November Vista Build Please Stand Up?

 
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"A new Community Technology Preview release of Vista, made available to select testers last week, may or may not make it out to a wider group. What’s going on with the Windows CTP program?
When Microsoft released its first Windows Vista Community Technology Preview (CTP) build this fall, company officials said they did so in the name of transparency.

But testers say Microsoft is being anything but transparent about the November CTP build of the next version of Windows, which some company watchers are speculating will go to a wider pool of testers on Tuesday.

However, one tester, who requested anonymity, said he believed there would be no November CTP, and possibly no additional CTPs at all."

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Becareful Mary-Jo, Eminem might file a lawsuit against you.

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Windows Vista Beta 1 vs. Mac OS X “Tiger” (Part 2)

 
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In part one of my comparison of Windows Vista Beta 1 and Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger," I looked at three key aspects of each system: Look and feel, desktop search, and data visualization and organization. For the most part, OS X came out well ahead of Windows Vista, as you’d expect, since it’s a polished finished product. Vista, meanwhile, is all knees and elbows, an awkward teenager on its way to maturity. Microsoft will iron out the details, I’m sure, but the end result will likely not change much. Specifically, OS X will always be elegant, and Windows will almost certainly lag behind in the fit and finish department. The only questions are how much Vista will improve when compared to previous Windows versions, and whether it will be enough to keep customers from moving to OS X.

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Check out Part I here

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