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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Vista: 150 problems, 0 solutions

 

The following is just interesting and thats why I bloged it.

Source:http://apcmag.com/6649/vista_150_problems_0_solutions

Microsoft likes to boast that Vista is better than ever at logging difficulties with software and suggesting solutions through its Problem Reports and Solutions feature -- but for an OS that's been in final release for six months, the number of actual solutions is a tad on the minimal side. Here's the sorry evidence of what actually happens when you try and get Vista to heal itself. This is a true story, and none of the names have been changed.

Would you like some assistance?: This sounds like a perfectly reasonable offer, and it would be good to know why my machine is crashing slightly more frequently than its XP predecessor.
Would you like some assistance?: This sounds like a perfectly reasonable offer, and it would be good to know why my machine is crashing slightly more frequently than its XP predecessor.

You certainly have some issues:: 150 problems on a two-month old installation? To be frank, that doesn't inspire confidence. But let's go ahead.
You certainly have some issues:: 150 problems on a two-month old installation? To be frank, that doesn't inspire confidence. But let's go ahead.

But wait, there's more!: After grinding through seven-score-and-ten problems, Microsoft wants additional permission to send information about seven of them. Why bother re-checking?
But wait, there's more!:
After grinding through seven-score-and-ten problems, Microsoft wants additional permission to send information about seven of them. Why bother re-checking?

Size matters: A-ha, that's why. Uploading 39MB of data is not something you'd want to casually undertake, but we'll press on. Post-compression, this went down to 3MB, which is still rather large. Warning to dial-up users: don't try this at home.
Size matters: A-ha, that's why. Uploading 39MB of data is not something you'd want to casually undertake, but we'll press on. Post-compression, this went down to 3MB, which is still rather large. Warning to dial-up users: don't try this at home.

And the winner is: After logging the 150 problems, Vista happily tells me that the number of solutions it has found is . . . none.
And the winner is: After logging the 150 problems, Vista happily tells me that the number of solutions it has found is . . . none.

Yep, that's right, none at all. Glad to know I wasted a quarter of an hour on that process. However, there is one intriguing suggestion: a hard disk drive error. Let's check that out. (The other 'new' option, "This problem is being researched", is shorthand for "We have no solution and no plans to release one right now.")

Desk drive: None of this is very helpful, but Microsoft's suggestion that I should check my "hard desk" for errors is an interesting one. Don't they have a spelling and grammar checker lying around somewhere?
Desk drive: None of this is very helpful, but Microsoft's suggestion that I should check my "hard desk" for errors is an interesting one. Don't they have a spelling and grammar checker lying around somewhere?Note also the catch-all cop-out "steps that might or might not prevent the problem from recurring". This is so annoying, I think I'll click on the Provide Feedback button and complain.

D'oh!: Or maybe I won't. Based on this, I certainly won't be running Problem Reports and Solutions again for a while.
D'oh!: Or maybe I won't. Based on this, I certainly won't be running Problem Reports and Solutions again for a while.

AutoRuns 8.70

 

This utility, which has the most comprehensive knowledge of auto-starting locations of any startup monitor, shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and shows you the entries in the order Windows processes them. These programs include ones in your startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys. You can configure Autoruns to show other locations, including Explorer shell extensions, toolbars, browser helper objects, Winlogon notifications, auto-start services, and much more. Autoruns goes way beyond the MSConfig utility bundled with Windows Me and XP. Autoruns' Hide Signed Microsoft Entries option helps you to zoom in on third-party auto-starting images that have been added to your system and it has support for looking at the auto-starting images configured for other accounts configured on a system. Also included in the download package is a command-line equivalent that can output in CSV format, Autorunsc. You'll probably be surprised at how many executables are launched automatically! Autoruns works on all versions of Windows including 64-bit versions.


Changes:
This Autoruns update adds a number of additional locations that can be configured to auto-start software during boot and logon and runs as standard user on Windows Vista by default, allowing administrators to elevate, if desired, by using a new menu option.


 Download: AutoRuns 8.70 freeware
 Screenshot: >> Click here <<
 Link: Home Page


Adobe Flash Player 9.0.47.0 final

 

Adobe Flash Player is the high-performance, lightweight, highly expressive client runtime that delivers powerful and consistent user experiences across major operating systems, browsers, mobile phones, and devices.
Flash Player 9 builds on improvements in Flash Player 8 to execute content and applications faster than ever before with a number of performance improvements:
* Experience up to ten times faster ActionScript 3.0 execution with the new virtual machine and optimized compiler.
* Increase content and application speeds through faster application startup times and a 50% reduction in memory footprint.
* Accelerate rendering performance through more efficient, cached vector graphics.
* Improve text readability and get faster, smoother scrolling of large text blocks with optimized text rendering routines.


 Download: Adobe Flash Player 9.0.47.0 (for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera)


 Link: Adobe Flash Payer Home Page


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More on what’s in store for Vista SP1


So what else will get fixed as part of the first service pack for Vista?

I ran a short list on July 8 of some of the fixes and enhanced functionality that my sources are telling me will be part of Vista SP 1, a first beta of which is due to go to selected testers the week of July 16.

But there are still more fixes likely to make it into SP1.

The AeroXPerience site has a supplementary list that includes other likely Vista SP1 additions, such as Windows Installer 4.1 and  Windows Recovery Environment driver loading enhancements.

Over on Microsoft Security Software Engineer Robert Hensing’s blog, there’s mention of another fix coming in Vista SP1: A patch designed to remedy a ReadyBoost flaw that causes sluggish Vista system resume/startup performance. (Perhaps this is the update designed to fix SP1 shutdown performance that I mentioned on the original Vista SP1 short list?)

Another previously noted update that was, at least at one time, on the Vista SP1 fix-it list was an update for an IIS 7 Manager overwrite bug.

And there’s always the running tally maintained by the folks at TheHotFix.Net of patches (some of which Microsoft already has made available to customers) that could make it into Vista SP1.

I’m hearing SP1 won’t introduce any significant changes to the Vista user interface. Supposedly, the included fixes and updates also will not have a negative impact application compatibility. (In other words, if an app runs on Vista, it also should run automatically on Vista SP1.) No word on whether anything in SP1 will remedy any apps that currently dont’ work right with Vista.

Latest I hear is Microsoft is aiming to release the final version of Vista SP1 in November 2007.

Other Vista SP1 fixes you’re expecting — or for which you’re praying?

 

source: http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=561


Monday, July 9, 2007

Windows Vista SP1 Beta - Mid July

 

It’s official: We are now in the under-promise and over-deliver era at Microsoft.

Just when Microsoft had customers, partners and competitors all believing that it was going to delay the first service pack for Vista — not releasing a first beta of it until just before year-end — the company is set to deliver Beta 1 of Vista SP1 in mid-July.

Word (from various sources who asked not to be named) is Microsoft is gearing up to drop Vista SP1 some time the week of July 16. And despite what Microsoft seemingly led Google, the U.S. Department of Justice and other company watchers to believe, the final version of Vista SP1 is sounding like November 2007.

(November 2007 is also the release-to-manufacturing target for Windows Server 2008, sources say. Microsoft won’t provide an RTM date for Windows Server 2008, other than to say it is still on track to RTM before the end of 2007.)

If Vista SP1 is released in November, the Windows client team will be sticking to a schedule company officials outlined a year ago, when the official plan of record was to release Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 (Longhorn Server) simultaneously.

Another observation: If Microsoft releases Vista SP1 in November, it will have been in beta for an unusually short four months. In the past, Microsoft Windows service packs could be in beta for a year or longer.

Microsoft officials have been wavering over what to say about SP1 for the past year. Throughout that time, a number of company execs wouldn’t even admit they were planning to release a service pack for Vista at all.

Microsoft’s Windows client team, under Director of Windows Engineering Steven Sinofsky, has adopted a much more restrictive information-flow policy. Instead of over-promising and under-delivering, Sinofsky wants the client team to do the opposite. To achieve this, the client team is attempting to institute Apple-like secrecy over anything pertaining to future Windows client directions.

There was a tiny chink in the Windows organization’s armor in June, when Microsoft agreed to Google’s demand that it alter its desktop-search functionality, seemingly to head off another potential antitrust suit. In late June, the Redmondians said they’d have a Beta 1 version of SP1 (which would include alterations to Vista’s search) before the end of calendar 2007. They declined to provide a date for the final Vista SP1 release.

History aside, what’s on tap to be part of Vista SP1?

Microsoft is expected to emphasize that SP1 is more about fixes than new features. Most of the elements of SP1 are expected to enhance or supplment features that are already part of Vista, sources said.

In addition to desktop-search modifications, here’s a list of other fixes likely to make it in:

* Performance tweaks lessening the amount of time it takes to copy files and shut down Vista machines (Yeah, I know Microsoft said Viista shutdown speed wasn’t an issue. Guess users weren’t so crazy, after all.)
* Improved transfer performance and decreased CPU utilization via support for SD Advanced Direct Memory Access (DMA)
* Support for ExFat, the Windows file format for flash memory storage and other consumer devices
* Improvements to BitLocker Drive Encryption to allow not just encryption of the whole Vista volume, but also locally created data volumes
* The ability to boot Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) on an x64 machine
* Improved success rate for firewalled MeetingSpace and Remote Assistance connections

I asked Microsoft officials for a response on Vista SP1’s timing and feature set. I did not hear back before posting this blog entry. (If and when I do get a response, I will add it here.)

There may be more in Vista SP1 than what’s on this list. That’s all I’ve heard so far. Anything you’re hoping makes it in that’s not listed here?

 

source: http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=559


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Media Converter SA Edition free file converter

Media Converter SA Edition is a free file converter which supports many file types. It has also an integrated video downloader to download videos from Youtube and co.
Supported file types:
* Audio: mp3, ogg, wav, wma
* Video: 3g2, 3gp, avi, flv, m4v, mov, mp4, mpg, mpeg, rm, wmv
Special features:
* *New* Batch conversion: Convert multiple files
* Integrated video downloader in connection with mediapirate.org
* Customizable video resolutions
* Customizable audio and video bitrate
* Copy the audio stream out of a movie and save it as an audio file
* Variable file size limit, start position and recording time
Changelog 0.7 -> 0.8:
* Added batch conversion
* New audio bitrate (160)
* Fixed some small bugs
* Error report improvements
Requirements:
* Windows NT/2000/XP
* Fast CPU
* .NET Framework
Download: Media Converter SA 0.8 freeware
Screenshot: >> Click here <<
Link: Home Page

Source http://www.neowin.net/index.php?act=view&id=41356


Monday, July 2, 2007

Update on the Windows Ultimate Extras

 

From
Barry Goffe
Director, Windows Vista Ultimate
Microsoft Corporation

When we launched Windows Vista in January 2007, we identified Windows Ultimate Extras as a unique series of add-ons that would be available to Windows Vista Ultimate customers. To date, we have released four sets of Extras – Windows Hold’Em, 16 Language Packs for the Windows multi-language user interface, Secure Online Key Backup, and Windows BitLocker Drive Preparation Tool. We want to let our Windows Vista Ultimate customers know that we are actively working to deliver the remaining Extras that we identified in January. Our goal is to provide the highest-quality, most secure and reliable offerings, and as a result we are continuing our work on these offerings. We apologize for taking so long to provide a status update to customers.

We intend to ship Windows DreamScene and the remaining 20 Language Packs by the end of the summer. We will not ship the last two Extras showcased in January (Windows DreamScene and the remaining 20 Language Packs) until they meet the high quality bar required by our enthusiastic customers—and we believe that we can achieve that bar by the end of this summer.

Source:

http://windowsultimate.com/blogs/announcements/archive/2007/07/02/update-on-the-windows-ultimate-extras.aspx


Vista users: beware the iPhone, plenty of sync problems


This is what Michael Dragone from Ars Technica posted:

We've been testing the iPhone for a few days now, and while it's still too early to reveal the full results of our testing, we feel compelled to note that the iPhone and Windows Vista do not always play well together. If you're heading out to pick up an iPhone and you're a Windows Vista user, be prepared to wrestle with your computer.

You might want to take a look at the comments there too:

see: http://www.activewin.com/awin/comments.asp?HeadlineIndex=40022


Microsoft evades promise of Vista Ultimate Extras


The Microsoft Corp. in January released Vista Ultimate, the priciest version of the company's new operating system, with the promise of additional downloadable "Extras," available only for the top-of-the-line product.

Months later, buyers of Vista Ultimate have seen no new Extras since the mere handful that were offered around the initial Vista rollout.

Extras were to enhance expensive Vista edition
When Windows Vista was released to consumers on Jan. 30, the operating system debuted in a number of different "editions" — versions with different features and price ranges for different customers.
The so-called Ultimate edition combines the features of Vista Home Premium and Vista Enterprise. Vista Ultimate includes Media Center, DVD Maker, and Movie Maker — multimedia features of Home Premium that aren't in Vista Enterprise. Also, Ultimate offers BitLocker drive encryption, support for Unix-based apps, and Virtual PC Express, which Home Premium does not.
But third-party multimedia and encryption features can easily be added to Vista Home Premium and Vista Enterprise via downloads. The real allure of Vista Ultimate was something that none of the other editions would ever have: Ultimate Extras. Some of Microsoft's promises for these Extras are shown in a Help screen in Vista's Windows Update control panel (see Figure 1).
Summarizing this feature, the marketing site for Windows Vista Ultimate states, "These cutting-edge programs, innovative services, and unique publications provide a richer computing experience for Windows Vista Ultimate users."
As indicated on the Vista Ultimate site, three Extras were released in connection with the launch of the product itself in January of this year. These were:
• Language packs for the Multilingual User Interface (MUI).
• Enhancements for Vista Enterprise's BitLocker and its Encrypting File System (EFS). Some sources, including the Microsoft marketing site for Ultimate, count these as two separate Extras.
• A poker game in which you play "Hold 'Em" against the computer.
Since January, no completed Extras have been released. A pre-release version of Windows DreamScene — which lets you display videos as screen savers on your desktop, something that was possible with previous Windows versions using HTML — has been available for download since March, but no finished version has yet been offered.

source: windowssecrets.com


Holophony is Holography but for sound! Amazing.


I discovered this information on the Internet, and started telling people about it.. It is so amazing and I am sure that the applications of this technology are tremendous.

Holographic Sound (or holophony) is NOT simple stereo!

The sound you will hear below is so realistic it's impressive. Not like 5.1 surround sound, the sound you hear goes all around you then up and down. The concept behind producing this realistic sound is called Holophony. To sum it up, think Holography for sound.
Holophony (or holophonic sound) is an audio recording technique which operates on a similar principle to Holography, except it applies these principles to sound and audio recording. It is related to the technique of wave field synthesis whereby sound is sampled over an area, usually a sphere, now Dummy head KU100 with omnidirectional microphones enabling the recreation of the shape of the sound wavefront as well as its direction. It is derived from the Huygens' Principle, which conveys the idea that an acoustical field within a volume can be expressed as an integral. It has some similarities with higher order Ambisonics. The result has been reported to be realistic and life-like three dimensional sounding audio recordings which have been said to exceed the realism of stereo sound.
(This is not to be confused with Holophonics designed by Argentine researcher Hugo Zuccarelli which is a form of binaural recording.)

The actual 3d sound image is created inside the BRAIN since its neurons is doing a sort of "computing" to find where a sound is coming from.. and your brain is doing this all the time!

You got to see or rather listen to this video clip with EARPHONES

so you can enjoy the 3d effect.

Another alarming video-audio clip is this one.. You have to listen to this with earphones and your eyes closed.. your brain can "see" the exact direction the box of matches is.... its truly amazing

Apparently they are making hearing aids with this technology that are far better than normal hearing aids. Instead of just amplifying the sound they are using the holophonic technology that gives real sound to the ear in a far more natural way so that slight differences are audible, thus making sounds more distinguishable.

Read about this here

http://www.nal.gov.au/Import%20web%20articles/Import%20NAL%20Conf/abstracts/agnew.htm

The Optimization of Binaural Hearing with Hearing Aids

Jeremy Agnew
Starkey Laboratories Inc.
Minnesota, USA

This presentation will focus on Starkey's new Cetera digital hearing aid. Conventional analog amplification can restore the audibility of lost sounds and is usually successful in quiet listening situations. However, simple amplification does not always restore the ability to understand speech in difficult listening situations. Part of this problem is due to the alteration of binaural phase and amplitude cues by analog hearing aids. These cues are required for the normal hearing mechanism to produce binaural squelch effects, thus allowing the brain to suppress interfering sounds that the listener does not wish to hear. The fitting of Cetera hearing aids includes measurement of the difference between unaided and aided external auditory canal filtering effects for the individual being fitted, then compensation with the Cetera digital filtering algorithm for the effects of the hearing aid inserted in the ear. The Cetera algorithm restores the natural relationships of phase and amplitude of the sound processed through the hearing aids during amplification. In this way the relationship of binaural cues that the central auditory system expects to hear is maintained, thus allowing the user's residual binaural hearing to hear and interpret these cues in the correct relationships.

Take a look at this spanish blog too that I have used google translate to convert to english

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.maikelnai.es%2F?p=615&langpair=es%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8


Sunday, July 1, 2007

Microsoft Got Hacked!

 

I wonder if the server was using windows server 2008 beta 3, since it was reported that they was using it also on the Microsoft.com site?

Here is the news:

The official Microsoft U.K. Domain was attacked and defaced by a hacker identified as rEmOtEr. Microsoft confirmed that the hack has been successful. rEmOtEr altered a webpage in the Microsoft.co.uk domain with two images and multiple references to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The U.K. branch of the Redmond company managed to fix the problem, and the functionality of the website is back to normal parameters. The webpage hacked dealt with Microsoft events and can be found here. In the adjacent image you can see how the hacker defaced the page, courtesy of Zone-H.
Roger Halbheer, chief security advisor for Microsoft in Europe, the Middle East and Africa admitted that the hack was successful and revealed that the whole event was unfortunate. According to Microsoft, no sensitive information was compromised in the attack. This is a clear indication that the hack was done for show, rather than to actually cause any harm.
Another argument that supports such a scenario is the fact that rEmOtEr took time to document the hack in two separate video fragments. You will be able to watch for yourselves the live hacking via the two "remoter_vs_microsoft.avi" files.
The hack was possible mainly because of the fact that the database was allowed to return error messages explained Halbheer, as cited by InfoWorld. The attack was possible through a technique referred to as SQL injection. This fact is also confirmed by the hacker in the two videos that were made available. Via Structured Query Language injection rEmOtEr was able to gain access to the database. In the video fragments you will be able to see how easy the hacker obtains both usernames and passwords for the database. Working his way from error message to error message, rEmOtEr finally could switch from SQL queries with an unexpected form to direct instructions to the database.

 

source: news.softpedia.com


Windows Easy Transfer Companion 6.0 FREE(Beta)

 

I made a small video tutorial showing what this program does.

See it below 

Windows Easy Transfer Companion is a Microsoft application that enables you to automatically transfer your most important programs from your Windows XP-based PC to your new Windows Vista-based PC. 

The software will move more than 100 of the most popular programs, as well as many others that you may have installed. You have complete control over selecting which programs to transfer, so only the programs you care about will move. The software will alert you if some programs may not be able to transfer, or may not transfer with high confidence. Most security software is not able to transfer due to technical reasons.

Easy Transfer Companion is designed to be used in addition to Windows Easy Transfer—which is part of Windows Vista and automatically transfers your data and settings. Connecting your two computers can be done with either an Easy Transfer Cable (available online, from retailers, and from PC manufacturers), or a home or small business network. If using an Easy Transfer Cable, you must first install Windows Easy Transfer on your Windows XP-based PC. By using Easy Transfer and Easy Transfer Companion you will be able to quickly and easily setup your new PC with all the data, settings, and programs that matter to you, so you can be productive on your new PC right away.

Easy Transfer Companion only transfers programs from a Windows XP-based PC to a Windows Vista-based PC. Easy Transfer Companion is currently in Beta, and only available for the US market.

Validation Required

Download: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=39f724eb-4e37-4be0-adfc-786786e73e50&displaylang=en

 

Video: