Posted in Mov Ax, Bx

Cuil and Xobni

Cuil, a new search engine that wants to compete with Google to include results that Google omits. The interface and the way results are displayed is beautiful, however, the searches are poor.

Xobni (inbox spelt reverse) is a new plug-in for Outlook that makes your experience faster and more efficient. It turns your mail-client to a social network, readily displaying your most frequent contacts, conversations, fast search, analytics and files (attachments).

Still in beta (4249), the application requires .NET Framework 2.0 installed on your system.

Xobni

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Posted in Mov Ax, Bx

Vista SP1

I had been waiting for this release with enthusiasm hoping it would drastically improve the performance of my system, however, it is a disappointment.

The 424MB download the largest service pack for a MS OS takes about 1.5 hours to install in passive mode. Whereby, the OS shuts down (not the system) installs over writing files and adding new in three stages restarting thrice.

Unlike previous service packs whereby the installation runs actively on your desktop and you can play minesweeper or solitaire to pass time. On the other hand, XP SP3 beta took half the time and prompted a restart only upon completion.

The boot time remains the same, copying files from one partition to another is now full speed, one of the promised fixes. Defrag has been improved, it now by default does not defrag all your partitions and lets you choose, the defrag times have also improved.

One of the fixes includes improving network transfer file speeds. The first day I tried took hook my laptop to my XP system via a direct network cable took a hair pulling 3 hours and I could still not create a work group. Vista could see the XP system and not vice versa, the network control panel is complicated, the XP SOHO wizard is gone and what is present is a wireless wizard. Transfer times were pathetic, showing hours for transferring a GB, XP to XP does it minutes.

Surprisingly, Microsoft claims that Vista is the fastest selling OS in history. With more than 100 million licenses sold and growing! Every new system ships with Vista, do you have a choice? Manufacturers don’t provide XP drivers for your system components, as I visited my model page on HP and found out the drivers there were for Vista only. So they know what’s best for us.

You can get a list of improvements here.

Posted in Mov Ax, Bx

Windows XP SP3

I was originally going to post why Vista sucks which has made my Core 2 look like a P II, and was therefore going to install XP SP2. But then considering that Vista Home Premium OEM costs around $200 (or more) and that you’ve paid for it in the purchase price you are better off utilizing the OS to justify that money spent or wait for Vista SP1 to be out in Q2 08.

When Vista launched Q4 last year M$ prompted it won’t support previous Windows versions in order to influence Vista sells, and head the market in that direction. So the much awaited SP3 was officially dead, and users could download individual post-SP2 patches through Windows Update.

However, since Vista is slower and less productive then XP, it looked XP wouldn’t die that easily, and that’s why MS decided to roll-out the abandoned SP3. There are also rumours that Vista is dead and that MS will release a new Windows in 2009, a sad story considering that it took five years after XP’s Oct 2001 debut to launch the new RAM intensive OS with fancy Aero interface, and a dead DX10 support so far. MS later denied the release stating it will as schedule launch Windows 7 in 2011.

User can install SP3 RC2 through WU after downloading and installing the script that will enable their systems to see and install SP3 via WU or download the 315MB executable. However, I believe WGA validation may block pirated copies from downloading the update via WU.

Hopefully, a final version download as a single executable will be made available soon, and that XP CDs with integrated SP3 will hit the market. The overview and new features of SP3 can be found here.

In separate news EU has fined MS $1.3bn in the long standing antitrust lawsuit.

Posted in Mov Ax, Bx

YouOS, Your OS?

My first account with YouOS, a MIT project on the future of OS being web-based was about 6 months back. I signed for curiosity and forgot about it quite soon. The OS an alpha build has various apps such as a text editor, RSS reader, email client, lots of other community developed apps. The support seems interesting and everyone is welcome to write apps for it.

I recently revisited the concept and had to set up a new account (forgot old username/password) and decided to explore further and bring you a few shots. Applications:

Applications

YouPanel:

YouPanel

Changing wallpaper (right-click on YouOS desktop):

Wallpaper

The main advantages:
1. They are cheaper (annual subscription fee) than buying a stand alone for your PC software
2. You can access your desktop, apps and files from any where in the world as long as there is access to the Internet.

The main disadvantages:
1. If the web server is down, you are out!
2. The web-based app may not be as fast or as robust as your desktop app

If you really want to view the YouOS as proper desktop than you need to use the -k IE switch, a tip submitted by a user at the YouOS blog:

1. Right-click your desktop and Select New. Select Shortcut and click it.
2. Enter in the Location Field C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE -k http://www.youos.com/ and click Next.
3. Give your shortcut a name and click Finish.
4. Double-click the shortcut and Internet Explorer will open as a kiosk screen.

The future being on the web, is a vision being shared by many especially Google which is developing various web based app and an MS Office alternative. There are already other web-based word processors and spreadsheets available to users now for a fee but none have been a run away success so far.

The future as some see it is having just a display, keyboard and mouse (unless these are obsolete too) with internet connection. You log-in to your desktop, the web server is your processor, your RAM and your hard disk. Your files, music, photos every thing on it. You buy and install apps online to your desktop/system.

Why? Well, to reduce system costs. You don’t have buy any motherboard, processor, RAM, hard disk, graphics cards, sound card, optical devices. Just sign-up with may be http://www.windowsonline.com or http://www.GoOS.com (Google OS may be?) or http://www.mylinux.com and pay an annual fee to get your OS and desktop.

But that still does not remove the concept of a local OS, there still has to be some kind of an OS that just runs the browser on your display, supports peripherals and networking standards for communication, and this could be embedded in an EEPROM inside the display.

No one’s going to dump their desktop for YouOS but it seems that the future is headed that way, or may be not. Time will tell.

But I do find the project interesting and fun, and if it catches up, you can at least boast that you were part of the early adopters.

Posted in Mov Ax, Bx

Microsoft releases free Office Accounting Express 2007

Microsoft is giving away free its Office Accounting Express 2007 software for download (280MB) or on CD (postage costs required) through their website ideawins. Features Include:

Save time on everyday tasks
Create quotes and invoices; track expenses and employee time
Enter data once and share it seamlessly with other Microsoft Office system programs
Manage payroll and taxes with ADPs integrated payroll service

Get a complete view of your business
Store and organize all your customer, vendor, employee, and financial information in one place
Get business insights with over 20 customizable reports
Easily share your books with your accountant through Office Live

Grow your business online
List items on eBay, track sales activity, and download and process orders
Email invoices and get paid faster with PayPal
Monitor your customers business credit in real-time through Equifax

I think this might be a good deal for small businesses rather than dishing out thousands for purchasing other advanced accounting software.

Posted in Mov Ax, Bx

Windows Vista and Office 2007 Packaging and Pricing

Microsoft has unveiled the packaging for all versions of the new Windows OS Vista and Office 2007. The new packaging consists of glossy plastic cases to hold the DVDs ensuring long life of the disc contained.

Vista Ultimate:

Vista Ultimate

Office 2007 Pro:

Office 2007 Pro

All family:

All family

Vista and Office 2007 RTM (Release to Manufacturing) will be available to OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer) on November 30, so that branded or boutique systems running on Vista with Office 2007 are made available. Whereby, Vista and Office 2007 retail (pictured above) will be available to the public at large on Jan 30, 2007.

Microsoft will also be offering the Windows Vista Upgrade program that will let users upgrade to Vista after Nov 30 who choose XP on all new purchases. The users can avail 50% discount on upgrade prices to Home Basic or Home Premium.

The only exception being that one cannot upgrade to Vista Ultimate from XP, a full version needs to be purchased.

Upgrade paths:
Vista Business from XP Pro, XP Tablet PC Edition and XP Pro x64 Edition
Vista Home Basic from XP Home
Vista Home Premium from XP Home, XP Media Center Edition 2005
Vista Ultimate no upgrade path

The above assumes that you already have a licensed XP running on your system and to migrate to Vista you only need to purchase the lesser priced upgrade Vista DVD.

Pricing (full/upgrade):
Vista Business $299/199
Vista Home Basic $199/99
Vista Home Premium $239/159
Vista Ultimate $399/NA
Office Home and Student 2007 $149/NA
Office Professional 2007 $499/329

Initial benchmarks also confirm that DX9 games run slower on Vista than on XP, this was similar with XP on its release DX8 games ran faster on Win 98/ME!

But users were forced to abandon the previous OS as new graphic cards drivers and game developers chose to support XP only. And in order to improve benchmarks (improve frame rates) users had to purchase more powerful graphics card and upgrade systems to get similar or better performance than that offered under Win 98/ME architecture.

Continuing the tradition, Halo 2 for PC will only run on Vista so you’ll need at least 1 Gig RAM (recommended for Vista), a 512MB graphics card, probably a new hard disk, hmmm maybe a dual core cpu, ohh I forgot and a new mobo…!!!

History repeats itself. 😉

Posted in Mov Ax, Bx

WordPress Upgrade

Upgraded to WP 2.0.3, and they just added the two best features I was looking for:

1. On demand backup (MySQL db only)

2. Akismet spam plugin

To use “on demand backup”, you need to login to the Dashboard, click Manage, and Backup is the last tab. I love the option of emailing my backup to my Gmail account.

To activate Akismet anti-spam, you need a WordPress.com API key, which you can obtain freely by signing up for wordpress.com blog, and then checking your profile page, which you can reach by clicking “My Account” on the top-right when you log-in. Once done copy the API key and click Plugins from the Dashboard, click Activate and enter the key for your blog to start using it. Viola.

I now don’t have to delete around 20 spam comments daily. 🙂