Windows Vista Torrent

Post ImageHaving trouble downloading Vista Beta 2, but don’t want to wait for the DVD? Well now you don’t have to. Microsoft refused to offer Vista Beta 2 via BitTorrent citing problems with ensuring that users end up with genuine software. It’s really not that hard, especially for the techy types who use BitTorrent. Thus, Chris Pirillo and Jake Ludington have created Windows Vista Torrent:

The only official tracker for this torrent is found here at VistaTorrent.com. We’re providing an MD5 hash to verify the file after download to make sure you’re getting the real thing. If the torrent URL is anything other than the one from Vistatorrent.com, don’t download or install the file! We’re staking our reputations on providing a clean ISO torrent here. There is no registration required to download this torrent.

That should help matters! So fire up your BitTorrent clients and enjoy Vista Beta 2 goodness. Assuming there are no major problems as a result of this site, I’d say its a safe bet that Microsoft will more seriously consider BitTorrent support in the future.

Read: TechCrunch

Download Windows Vista Now!

Post ImageIts another sign that Windows Vista is inching closer to launch. Microsoft today announced the “Customer Preview Program” that enables pretty much anyone to download and test out the latest version of Windows Vista:

The software maker is still cautioning that Vista is not ready for the average consumer, pitching the CPP as suited for developers and tech workers, as well as hard-core enthusiasts who don’t mind a few bugs and have a spare machine for testing. Microsoft also recommends those interested in the CPP run its recently released adviser tool, which helps detect how Vista-ready a PC is.

If you think you fit the bill, you can download Vista from the Microsoft website. I’ve had it running in a virtual machine for about a week now, and it’s pretty cool, but very slow inside the VM.

Read: CNET News.com

See Windows Vista

Post ImageI just stumbled across the SeeWindowsVista site via Scoble. It’s basically a marketing site that gives you some interesting information on what Windows Vista can do for you (when it finally launches).

Apparently the site got 39,000 unique visits in the first 24 hours of being live, which is pretty good. My only complaint with the site? Let me see the start menu! Gah, why put the icon there in the bottom left if it doesn’t do anything?! I was very disappointed I couldn’t activate a virtual start menu.

Read: SeeWindowsVista

Vista Upgrade Advisor Beta Released

Post ImageWondering if your computer can run Windows Vista? Now you can find out. Microsoft has launched a beta version of its Vista Upgrade Advisor tool that will help you decide what version of Vista you can run.

The Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor is a small beta application that you can run on your current Windows XP-based computer to find out if it’s ready for an upgrade to Windows Vista. When you run the Upgrade Advisor, it will scan your computer and generate an easy-to-understand report of any known system and device compatibility issues, along with recommendations on how you can get your PC ready for Windows Vista. Microsoft plans to add functionality to Upgrade Advisor, such as checking how your software applications will run with Windows Vista.

I haven’t tried it out yet because the Internet here in the expedia.ca cafe at Pearson isn’t all that fast (but it’s free, so thats good) but I will when I get back. They have also released the minimum requirements for Vista.

Read: Microsoft.com

Windows Vista gets thumbs up from DOJ

Post ImageIt turns out that I’m not the only one who though Google’s whining about Internet Explorer 7 was dumb. The Justice Department has reviewed many parts of Windows Vista, including the new search box, and has found no problems:

While criticizing Microsoft for its implementation of its existing antitrust accord, regulators appear satisfied with the software maker’s plans for Windows Vista, including a new search box that is part of Internet Explorer 7.

As part of its status report on Microsoft’s antitrust compliance, the Justice Department said that it had reviewed the search box and concluded that Microsoft’s implementation “respects users’ and (computer makers’) default choices and is easily changed.”

Thank goodness the government has gotten something correct for once! Apparently they have also approved the “first-boot” experience for Windows Vista, after having reached an agreement with Microsoft that gives flexibility to computer makers.

So what does it all mean? Essentially, it means the only thing holding Windows Vista back now is Microsoft itself.

Read: CNET News.com

Windows Performance Rating

Post ImageThere are lots of great new “little” features coming in Windows Vista, features that you might not hear advertised or that you may not experience right away. One of those features (unless it becomes advertised in stores which would be great) is Windows Performance Rating, a numerical value that represents the performance of your computer:

“The idea behind the Windows Performance Rating is to help average consumers easily understand their Windows Vista PC’s overall performance, and to simplify the process of determining whether certain software applications will run smoothly based on their system components,” Microsoft said in a statement provided to CNET News.com.

It’s not exactly clear how the rating is calculated, or if it will have the same scale as what is currently available in beta builds, but that doesn’t matter. This feature is going to be great for consumers. No more worrying about how much RAM a machine has, or how fast the processor is, etc. What’s the performance rating? That’s all you need to ask.

This rating is similar to the change in processor naming that happened recently. You no longer have to compare clock speed to determine relative performance. Instead, you simply look at the model number (for example, Pentium 4 Processor 630 versus a Pentium 4 Processor 651). This method gives a much more accurate picture of relative performance.

And even better, the performance rating appears to go beyond simply performance, and takes into account other system components to determine how well they improve the Vista experience.

Read: CNET News.com

Windows Vista Presentation Tonight

Want to learn more about Windows Vista? And especially the development side of things? Then you’ll want to attend the Edmonton .NET Wizards event this evening! John Bristowe will be in town talking about Vista, Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Presentation Foundation, and much more:

You’ve heard a lot about Windows Vista from the user’s perspective. But what about the developer? How does one target this platform? In this session, we’ll cover WinFX, which represents the evolution of Win32, the programmatic interface to the Windows operating system. You’ll hear about how to interconnect applications through the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and provide a rich and compelling user experience through Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). Along the way, you’ll see how Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) provides a flexible workflow engine for co-ordinating automated and human-based activities.

The event is free, no registration required. All you have to do is show up! Here are the vitals:

WHAT: Windows Vista Presentation
WHEN: Tuesday, March 14th, 2006 at 6 PM
WHERE: ETLC 1-007, University of Alberta

For maps and more information, click here. Hope to see you there!

Read: .NET Wizards

Origami running Windows XP? Why not Vista?

Post ImageToday is the day we found out a few more details about Microsoft’s secretive Origami Project. The gadget has been a popular topic in the blogosphere lately, with lots of speculation on what it is and what it is not. According to CNET News.com, the device is a mini tablet running Windows XP:

Microsoft refused to go into details, but offered up a statement saying: “As promised on the OrigamiProject.com website, we are offering more details today about Origami, including that it is a new category of mobile PCs that will run Windows XP. We’re excited to share more information with you on March 9.”

The device isn’t anything real new – Microsoft bigwigs like Gates and Ballmer have talked about such devices in the past. What is new is that we’re close to seeing such a device, and not just a concept. But running Windows XP? In the year of Windows Vista? What a wasted opportunity.

Most experts and analysts did not expect a device like Origami any time soon, and I most certainly did not, so there’s no reason to think that Microsoft had to rush its development. So why run Windows XP? The largest challenge facing Microsoft in the next couple of years is articulating to people why they should upgrade to Windows Vista. Why wouldn’t you have a new, interesting, and easy-to-talk-about device like Origami run the latest and greatest to show off what Vista is capable of? Price point for the device maybe, but still. Imagine Vista running on Origami. The early adopters buy them, and take them everywhere they go, exposing more and more people to Windows Vista. More people are going to feel they need Windows Vista if they see it in action, in the real world, than if they see an advertisement.

I think Windows XP is a great operating system, but this new device is a great opportunity to drum up interest in and support for Windows Vista. Why waste it?

Read: CNET News.com

Office 2007 Announced

Post ImageMicrosoft announced yesterday some new details on Office 12, which will officially be named Office 2007. Most interestingly, pricing will not change significantly, and the Student & Teacher edition is being replaced by a Home and Student edition. There are lots of new features in Office 12, which is probably why Microsoft’s Parri Munsell described it as “the most significant advance in over a decade.”

Munsell said the new Office will offer a bevy of new features, including an all-new user interface and new XML-based file formats.

Microsoft released an initial beta of Office 2007 in November, with a second beta planned for this spring.

I can see why people think Microsoft has confusing marketing. They describe both Vista and Office 2007 as the most significant releases in a decade, yet they don’t qualify that. Office 2007 is a significant release in terms of user interface, but not too much else (XML file formats aside). Vista on the other hand is a significant release in terms of “under the hood” (despite the new 3D capabilities, it looks more or less like Windows XP).

You’ve got to pay attention with Microsoft lately, they seem to throw around the cliches and superlatives like there’s no tomorrow!

Read: CNET News.com

Scoble's Vista Demo

Post ImageSo the icon is a little different, but we’re still at Northern Voice. This session is a demo – Robert Scoble is going to be sharing Windows Vista (hence the graphic!). Here are my notes:

  • Scoble’s just getting things setup now, looks pretty sexy so far, people are watching and chatting. I can hear a few people in the audience saying “that’s just expose” or something – the Mac bunch is out in full force!
  • This is not a scripted demo! Chris Pirillo is helping out. The build used in this demo is only two nights old!
  • They are starting by showing a video of two machines, XP against Vista, to see the stress on the system. Windows XP is failing under the stress – essentially they simulate 100% CPU usage with different levels of priority. Now for Vista: much, much better!
  • Underneath the covers, things are quite a bit different.
  • Chris has been talking with the UI team to make sure all of the artwork, icons, etc. are updated.
  • Aero is supposed to evoke a feeling of “more space” on the desktop.
  • Scoble is not showing the tablet, media, or any of the other custom versions.
  • You now have the ability to do per-application volume levels!
  • Entire networking stack has been rewritten, and the performance is about 40 times better between Vista and Vista compared to what it was with XP. There is a 2-10 times performance between Vista and Linux machines.
  • Customization for colors and that sort of thing is much, much improved. No more Blue, Silver and Green – you can choose anything! Chris says he’s been hammering away at making sure that the fit and polish makes it into the product.
  • Apparently when it crashes in the beta builds, a dialog box appears that says “Blue Screen” 🙂
  • Search really is everywhere, in every window.
  • When you edit photos, the original and the edit are both saved, so you can always go back to the original photo. And RAW is handled by default.
  • The new IE7 is “open search compliant” – something created by A9. Chris says this is basically RSS search.
  • Printing has been completely revamped, so printing is easier and much more accurate.
  • IE7 converts everything to RSS 2.0 and uses a transform to display it in the browser. When you subscribe, the feed is pushed to a central store. Windows Mail is the aggregator by default, though IE does save the feeds and stuff. Outlook 12 has an RSS aggregator using the same feed store.
  • The RSS rendering in IE7 also strips out anything that might be a security concern.
  • Apparently the Gadgets will be Firefox compatible.
  • Beta 2 is coming in the next month or so, release sometime in August with a release candidate sometime in the middle, which means users should have it around Christmas time.
  • The concept of tagging and stacking files is definitely in the product. People using the product so far are losing the concept of hierarchies, which is good for everyone!
  • Vista looks awesome!

To end, Chris announces that he has OS X running on his ThinkPad (the developer build). And now we better leave before the Apple lawyers descend…