Sandeep Venugopal’s Weblog

June 30, 2008

The end of Windows XP Today!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 10:08 pm
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Software giant Microsoft will stop selling its ubiquitous XP operating system from today. But that doesn’t mean the seven-year-old software won’t continue contributing to the company’s financial performance for years to come. Terminating XP was expected. It comes just 18 months after Redmond, Wash.- based Microsoft introduced a new, more advanced operating system called Vista. While the new system is powerful, upgrading means spending lots of time and money to rework applications designed to run XP specifically. As a result, some companies, including Microsoft partner Intel Corp, have balked at adopting Vista, preferring instead to continue using XP.

Though today will be the last day Microsoft sells XP or provides free support for the “hundreds of thousands” of computers that are estimated to run on it, the company has come up with a novel way to wring money from the aging operating system: It is killing XP but isn’t letting it die. One way Microsoft will still make money from XP is by charging to provide support. Because the software continues to be popular, Microsoft’s “extended” support program is sure to generate lots more revenue. Microsoft will offer the program at least through 2014. That will likely attract lots of big corporate customers. Meanwhile, Microsoft will make more money by supplying XP to computer makers Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Inc. and others. Because Vista has had trouble making headway in the corporate market, computer makers have asked for “downgrade rights” – the right to continue offering XP on their notebook and desktop computers after.

Source: CNN, Martin

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June 3, 2008

ASUS unveiled subnotebooks Eee PC 901 and 1000!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 9:42 pm
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Asus kicked of Computex 2008 with the Eee PC 901, the Eee PC 1000 and the Eee PC 1000H. The product family is quickly evolving from once was a cheap sub-$300 notebook to a trendy gadget that is expected to hit mainstream notebook prices. Also on display is a WiMax-equipped EeePC 901 that could become available in the U.S. as soon as the WiMax confusion clears up and a broadband network becomes available in more areas. Joining the widely anticipated and already previewed Eee PC 901 with an 8.9” screen, Asus also launched two 10” models – the Eee PC 1000 and 1000H.

Detailed specs other than the screen sizes were unavailable from Asus in the U.S. at the time of this writing, but leaked information from Taiwan suggests that at least the 1000H model will come with a 10” or 10.2” screen, Linux or Windows XP, Intel’s Atom processor and SCH chipset, up to 2 GB of DDR2 memory (the maximum supported by SCH), up to 5 hours of battery time an 80 GB hard drive as well as a weight that is slightly above three pounds.

While the 1000 models appear to be a reaction to MSI’s Wind notebook, the focus of Asus’ announcements is certainly on the 901 model. Equipped with an 8.9” screen up to 20 GB flash memory, and an Intel Atom Z520 1.33 GHz processor, the notebook is expected to launch in the $600 to $650 range, which means that the 10” model could break the $700 mark. Asus also has a working demo of an Intel Atom-based WiMax Eee PC 901. Asus is offering both 802.16e USB dongles as well as integrated WiMax solutions covering the frequency range between 2.5 and 2.7 GHz. The company did not say when the WiMax version will be available for purchase in the U.S.

Source: Cnet, TG Daily, Martin

May 28, 2008

Gates demonstrated “touchable” Windows 7!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 8:56 pm
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Microsoft’s next operating system (OS) will come with multi-touch features as an alternative to the mouse. It is hoped the successor will have a better reception than the much-maligned Vista OS, released last year. Scheduled for release in 2009 the new fingertip interface lets users enlarge and shrink photos, trace routes on maps, paint pictures or play the piano. “The way you interact with the system will change dramatically,” said Microsoft chairman Bill Gates. Speaking at the All Things Digital conference in San Diego, the Microsoft Chairman said Windows 7 would incorporate new forms of communication and interaction. “Today almost all the interaction is keyboard-mouse. Over years to come, the role of speech, vision, ink – all of those things – will be huge.” Chief executive Steve Ballmer described the limited demo of the multi touch screen at the conference as “a small snippet” of the next version of Windows after admitting he wants “to do better” than Vista.

Even though Vista has suffered from a poor public image and a lukewarm welcome from many firms and users, Mr Ballmer said the company has shipped 150 million copies of the programme. Industry watchers say Microsoft is hoping that Windows 7 can change the way people interact with PCs in the future. “Touch is quickly becoming a common way of interacting with software and devices,” writes Windows product manager Chris Flores in a blog post. “Touch-enabled surfaces are popping up everywhere including laptop touch pads, cell phones, remote controls, GPS devices and more.” When challenged as to who will get to market first with a new touch screen device, Microsoft or Apple, Mr Ballmer said it was not much of an issue. “We’ll sell 290 million PCs and Apple will sell 10 million Pcs.”

Source: BBC, AP, Martin

May 27, 2008

Microsoft pays users for searching with Live!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 9:25 pm
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Microsoft has decided that the best way to drive users to its search engine is to pay them a nice cheque. Turning Microsoft’s cash mountain into user clicks must have been agreed at the highest level in Redmond. According to the Live Search cashback site, Microsoft will dole out money to online users who find and buy select products through its Live Search engine. There is a fair bit of cash involved too. The amounts range from two per cent of the purchase price to 30 per cent. Microsoft has signed up a long list of merchants to participate in the programme including Barnes & Noble, Sears, Home Depot, J&R, Office Depot and others.

It is not a marketing system that Microsoft is hiding either. Bill Gates mentioned it yesterday when he was chatting to online advertisers at a Microsoft conference in Redmond. Gates said that in a few years time punters will look back and say, ‘Wow, search started to get a fair bit more competitive around that time.’ Consumers would have to sign up for a free Windows Live cashback account to participate in the program. Rebates would be issued after a 60-day waiting period to make sure there are no returned products.

Source: Inquirer, Reuters, Martin

April 28, 2008

Microsoft sold 140 million copies of Vista!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 10:38 pm
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Microsoft claims that sales of Windows Vista are chugging steadily onward, and have now passed the 140 million mark. But that wasn’t enough to help Microsoft extend its string of lights-out quarterly financial performances. In its fiscal third quarter earnings call Thursday, Microsoft met the Street’s expectations but saw quarterly profit drop 11 percent from the year-ago quarter. However, the results were skewed by Microsoft’s booking of $1.7 billion in deferred revenue from its Express Upgrade to Windows Vista and Microsoft Office Technology Guarantee programs as well as pre-shipments of Vista and Office 2007.

But in a Q&A session after the call, Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell denied that Vista related issues dragged down the Client division’s results, and instead chalked it up to changes in the geographical sales mix and a channel shift toward larger OEMs and away from local and regional system builders. Liddell also beat the anti-piracy drum during the call, claiming that an increase of shipments of unlicensed PCs, particularly in Asia, was partially responsible for a 25 percent drop in OEM revenue during the third quarter. “Piracy is a tough matter, and we will need to continue investing in order to make progress,” he said.

Source: CRN, Martin

April 24, 2008

Vista SP1 available through automatic update!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 6:49 pm
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Windows Vista customers can now receive the first service pack for the operating system via the Microsoft Automatic Update service, Microsoft said Wednesday. Windows Vista Service Pack 1 will download automatically to PCs that have the automatic update feature of the OS turned on, the company said. Previously, Vista was available to customers via Windows Update, but people had to specifically download it. Not all customers will receive SP1 immediately via Automatic Update, however. The company is distributing it in phases to “ensure a seamless download experience,” Microsoft said. A timeline for when all customers would receive Vista SP1 via Automatic Update was not immediately available.

SP1 is a rollout of software updates that fix bugs and glitches in Vista and is seen as a milestone that will inspire many customers — especially those in the business market — to adopt the OS. In fact, in a recent report, “Building the Business Case for Windows Vista,” Forrester Research said more business customers plan to upgrade to Vista now that SP1 is available. Microsoft has acknowledged problems with application compatibility and lack of driver support, among others, that customers have had with Vista. It says SP1 and other updates that the company continues to make should remedy these problems.

Source: PC World, Martin

Microsoft sends Win XP SP3 out to manufacturers! Atlast….

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 6:43 pm
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Microsoft has started shipping the first versions of Windows XP Service Pack 3 to PC manufacturers. Current XP users can expect to see the service pack become available for download on 29 April. Windows XP SP3 contains minor performance and stability enhancements, in addition to a cumulative security update. It is the first service pack to be released for Windows XP since SP2 in 2004. The pack will also contain updates which will make it easier for network administrators to manage SP3 machines alongside Windows Vista PCs. SP3 is expected to be the last major update for Windows XP. Microsoft will stop offering the operating system to manufacturers on 30 June, but will still allow vendors to sell the operating system on ” ultra-low cost” PCs.

Windows XP SP3 also steals a page from Vista’s product activation model, meaning that product keys for each copy of the operating system don’t need to be entered during setup. The feature should prove popular with corporate IT managers, who often need to oversee hundreds, or even thousands, of operating system installations. Windows XP SP3 will be available through Microsoft’s Windows Update tool or the Microsoft Download Center website. Automatic distribution of the patch will begin later this summer through Automatic Update.

Source: Vnunet, Martin

April 19, 2008

SP1 for Windows Vista in 31 more languages!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 8:44 pm
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Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), easily one of Microsoft’s most crucial service pack releases, has been in development and beta testing for over a year. Vista SP1 hit the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) milestone in early February but, due to problems with drivers from third-party manufacturers, the first five languages were released to the public much later, on March 18. Although a minority of users experienced various problems with installation and overall stability, the update seemed to improve the performance and reliability of Microsoft’s latest operating system for most. After recently clearing up an issue with SP1’s prerequisite updates, Microsoft has finally released Vista SP1 in the remaining languages.

On top of English, Spanish, German, French, and Japanese, users can now install Vista SP1 in 31 additional languages: Danish, Finnish, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Dutch, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Swedish, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (Hong Kong S.A.R.), Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Greek, Estonian, Hebrew, Croatian, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Serbian (Latin), Thai, Turkish, and Ukrainian. Windows Vista Service Pack 1 All Language Standalone is available in x86 (544.3MB) and x64 (873.0MB) flavors. At the same time, Microsoft has begun offering its TechNet Plus subscribers, MSDN subscribers, and Volume License (VL) customers the slipstreamed .iso DVD images for Windows Vista SP1 in the new languages.

Source: Ars Technica, Martin

April 6, 2008

Rumours: Microsoft Windows 7 in 2009!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 6:43 pm
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Microsoft Corp. has dropped two strong hints in the past two days that the next version of its Windows operating system will arrive in 2009, shaving up to a year off previous expectations. It could also be a signal that Microsoft intends to cut its losses with Windows Vista, which has been poorly received or shunned by customers, especially large companies. Microsoft has long said it wants to release Windows 7 about three years after Vista, which was released to manufacturing in November 2006 but not officially launched until January 2007. Given Microsoft’s recent track record – Vista arrived more than five years after XP — most outsiders had pegged sometime in 2010 as a safe bet for Windows 7’s arrival.

Microsoft is targeting the middle of next year for some sort of release milestone for Windows 7 — the only codename known at the moment — though whether that would be a final release to consumers or an RTM, which allows businesses and resellers to start installing it, is unknown. Gates also said that he was “super-enthused about what [Windows 7] will do in lots of ways” but didn’t elaborate. What could those be? Microsoft has divulged a few things. Responding to criticism that Windows has become unnecessarily bloated, the company has 200 engineers developing a slimmed-down kernel called MinWin that uses 100 files and 25MB, compared to Vista’s 5,000 files and 4GB core and is so small it lacks a graphical subsystem. Microsoft has also confirmed that the operating system will come in consumer and business versions and in 32-bit and 64-bit editions.

Source: Computer World, Martin

March 30, 2008

NVIDIA driver causes 30% Vista crashes!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 4:12 pm
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Nearly 30% of logged Vista crashes were due to NVIDIA driver problems, according to a Microsoft data included in the bundle. That’s some 479,326 hung systems, if you’re keeping score at home, and it’s in first place by a large margin — Microsoft clocks in at number two at 17.9 percent, and ATI is fourth with 9.3 percent. The data points in the table cover an unspecified period in 2007, and Microsoft makes no attempt to break the aggregate data down into which device drivers, specifically, returned the highest number of crashes. If the number of failures were split by month and then graphed, we’d presumably see the number of NVIDIA driver failures per month decreasing as the company slowly brought its driver issues under control.

The data clearly indicates that NVIDIA had a driver problem, but it’s impossible to quantify the scope of that problem given the numbers above. NVIDIA holds a greater percentage of the market than ATI, which means that there will inevitably be a higher percentage of NVIDIA driver crashes than ATI driver crashes; however, the degree to which such market share considerations have affected the results above is hard to determine in the absence of more data. There’s also the matter of data collection; Microsoft’s charts do not clarify if multiple crashes from a single system each counted as separate events. In theory, NVIDIA’s proportion of total driver crashes could be inflated by a relatively small handful of systems with severe driver issues.

Source: Neowin, Martin

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