Monthly Archives: October 2006

A Quick Look At the New Windows Vista Multimedia and Productivity Icons

Since the Longhorn Project started, we have been seeing early concepts of new pictorial representations of task throughout the operating system. Over time, we have basically gotten tired of the same old thing, since we have been seeing them for so long now. Microsoft has hinted since the start of Vista BETA 1 that more fit and finish will be added to Vista as the project heads to RTM. Confirmation of this was recently revealed on Paul Thurrotts Windows Supersite for Windows with a banner linking to his soon to be release final review of Windows Vista. I would like to take a look some these changes with the new Multimedia and Productivity icons expected in the final Vista RTM code.

Windows Vista Multimedia Application icons

Windows Productivity Icons

Ok, you are saying to yourself, there is strong use of the orange African Daisy. But I like them, I did not at first, but they have grown on me really quick. They are rich, retro and edgy and use what seems to be either a Glass or plastic element for keeping your data. The use of the flower itself is representation of both beauty and workflow, you see the different scenarios in which you can control, manipulate, reuse and exploit your data. I personally did not get the DVD Maker icon off the bat, but eventually it came to me when I realized the circle was a DVD disk. For ages, Microsoft has really stuck to just slightly updating their icons, and much of this is still true, Computer, Network and others still are the same, but do they need any drastic departures as these are? Overall, its a change that communicates ease of use, fun and most of all integration, I like ’em!


Filed under My Articles

The MSTechToday Show: Blogcast #1 by Brandon Leblanc

"Tonight I bring you the first episode of my (hopefully) ongoing blogcast show here at MSTechToday. Topics covered in tonights show: Windows Live Essentials, Windows Live Messenger 8.1, Xbox 360 Dashboard Update, and Windows Vista."
Listen to the PodCast here
This was very good Brandon, enjoyed every bit of it. Informative, funny and personalized is how I would describe it while keeping it really professional.

I just realized you are running Vista on all your systems, I am still back forth between XP and Vista. In the case of Messenger 8.1, its running great on XP, but your problem seem to be specific to Vista, hopefully it will be fixed by RTM.

Keep up the great work brandon.


Filed under Windows Vista

Windows Vista Packaging – What has changed?

Microsoft yesterday revealed the new product boxes for Windows Vista which would be considered a new age design that migrates from the traditional four edge squar box we have been using since the 80’s. The new boxes seem to be in a hard polycarbonated frame which aims to protect contents from both damage and theft which is today used by Windows XP when purchased through Retail channels. When I say theft, an unscrupolous individual cannot go into a store and simply open the case take the disk out and walk away.

The consumer and business client edition Windows boxes.

According to Nick White of the Windows Vista Blog: "Designed to be user-friendly, the new packaging is a small, hard, plastic container that’s designed to protect the software inside for life-long use.  It provides a convenient and attractive place for you to permanently store both discs and documentation.

The new design will provide the strength, dimensional stability and impact resistance required when packaging software today.  Our plan is to extend this packaging style to other Microsoft products after the launch of Windows Vista and 2007 Office system."

Two of the new Windows product editions added to the Vista product line, Home Basic targets first time PC buyers, one PC homes and persons on a budget who want a secure, productive out of box experience. Windows Vista Ultimate is at the top of the pyramid and includes all the features from all the SKU’s including a set of services called Ultimate Extras available only to Vista Ultimate customers.

The two other editions that do not have retail product boxes are Windows Vista Enterprise and Starter Edition. Vista Enterprise will only be available to Volume License customers who have a Software Assurance or Enterprise Agreement (SA/EA). Starter Edition will be available in only in emerging markets such as Asia, Africa, Brazil and Mexico to name a few through OEM vendors on new PC’s. All Windows Vista retail should include both x86 and x64 platforms, with one product key, leaving the decision up to the user to choose which platform they want to install or depending on what instruction set their PC supports.

Windows XP boxes, Home and Professional.

For the traditional SKU’s such as XP Home and Professional, Microsoft has remained very consistent with the Home Premium and Business Editions by retaining the familar Green and Blue themes. The two new retail SKU’s Home Basic and Ultimate are different, Basic blends with green and white shade while the Ultimate box uses a strong black tone with blue Aurora accents. Missing from the packages are slogans that tell us what Vista represents. XP’s slogan was "Experience the best of the digital decade", its possible because they want to deliver a very clean frontal view, this will be available at the back of the box, also the Microsoft Company log is at the bottom right hand instead of top right hand. People have noted incorrectly that the new design looks similar to Microsofts Office for Mac 2004 product boxes, the answer is simply, no. Also Office 2004 product boxes use a unique design its still different and retains more of the 4 edge look with equal sides. Its a strong theme that speaks elegance and simplicity, I must say, I love it. Good job Microsoft!

Windows Vista Product Editions Page
Windows Vista Team Blog


Filed under My Articles

Vista and Office 2007 Flash Flood of Products Coming!

The Windows Vista Team Blog this evening revealed the final packaging for the Company’s next generation Operating System and Office Productivity software. Hints of the packaging have been around for while now, you can find the a similar looking box in the Windows Vista Welcome Center.

Windows Vista Ultimate Package



Filed under Windows Vista

Public Release of Windows Live Messenger 8.1 BETA Available for Testing

Connect and share instantly on the world’s most popular IM network – Download

What’s new with Windows Live(TM) Messenger 8.1 Beta
Check out the features we’ve added:

• Redesigned, smarter contact cards give you more data about and easier access to your friends
• Your display name, status and personalization roam with you to any computer
• Try PC-to-phone calling with two free calls to virtually any phone in the world*
• Better server performance
• Automatic updates
• Improved sign-in performance


Filed under MSN Spaces

Windows Media Player 11 RTM Now Available for XP x64 and x86

From Microsoft Downloads

"Windows Media Player 11 offers great new ways to store and enjoy all of your digital media. It’s easier than ever to access all of your music, video, pictures, and recorded TV on your computer. Play it, view it, organize it, and sync it to a portable device for enjoying on the go, or share with devices around your home – all from one place. Windows Media Player 11 is designed to work with all versions of Windows XP with Service Pack 2, including Windows XP Home Edition N and Windows XP Professional N."

Download HERE

Update: You can download the x64 build here

Thanks again to Volkan for the tip.


Filed under Music

A Look at Volume License 2.0 in Windows Vista

From Microsoft Volume License

"Microsoft includes product activation technology in some products that are sold through original equipment manufacturer (OEM), retail, and Volume Licensing channels. The Windows Vista operating system will require Volume Licensing customers to use a new type of activation, called Volume Activation. Volume Activation is a flexible solution that enables Volume Licensing customers to more securely and easily activate computers that are running Windows Vista. In the future, Volume Activation technology will be used for all Microsoft products, but it is being introduced in Windows Vista."

Read the rest here 

Thanks Volkan for the tip. 🙂


Filed under Windows Vista