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Windows Live Shopping

Michael Arrington points out that there is a placeholder at that says Windows Live Shopping is coming soon. There’s a jobs page that links it to MSN Marketplace along with MSN Shopping and Live Expo.

I find it a bit creepy that the placeholder page just has three items: The Live Shopping logo, the words “coming soon”, and:

Join Us

March 17th, 2006 Posted by | General, Live, Windows | no comments

Xbox 360 Controller Faceplates

Xbox 360 Info and Xbox 360 Fanboy talk up Lik Sang, a company that sells screw-on warranty-voiding faceplates for Xbox 360 controllers. They come in metallic silver, sexy red, solid black, candy pink, transparent, smoke grey and clear blue, look surprisingly cooler than I expected, and retail for $14.95.

There are also official Xbox 360 t-shirts that say “High Definition Details and are targeted at Japan.

March 17th, 2006 Posted by | General, Xbox, Xbox 360 | no comments

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IE7 “Layout Complete” Build Coming Next Week

Mary Jo Foley reports that Microsoft will be unwrapping a “layout-complete” version of Internet Explorer 7 at Mix ’06 next week. The idea is that web developers can rely on the browser rendering engine to not change from the build they get at Mix.

Microsoft will be hosting an “IE7 Compat Lab” at Mix ’06, where developers can test their applications for compatibility with the latest IE test builds. As Microsoft itself has acknowledged, there could be app-compatibility hiccups with IE 7.0.

As Microsoft acknowledges on the Mix ’06 Web site, “reduced need to hack around quirks in older browsers, however, means that existing pages written specifically for older browsers may render differently in IE7. In addition, IE7 includes a number of new security features which may have impact on binary extensions such as toolbars, browser helper objects, and ActiveX controls.”

Bill Gates is doing the Mix keynote on Monday at 9 am Pacific. You can see the webcast here.

March 17th, 2006 Posted by | Applications, Corporate, General, Internet Explorer | no comments

Microsoft Settles With New Yorkers For $12

Microsoft has settled with the state of New York for $350 million. Virtually anyone who bought primary Microsoft software (Windows or Office products) between 1994 and 2004 can be eligible for a $12 coupon per operating system and $5 per Office product. You can only claim up to five products. Eligible software:

  • Windows 1.0-3.2
  • Windows For Workgroups
  • Windows 95
  • Windows NT Workstation
  • Windows 98
  • Windows 98 SE
  • Windows 2000 Professional
  • Windows ME
  • Office
  • Word
  • Excel
  • MS-DOS
  • Windows XP Home
  • Windows XP Preofessional

I can claim five, for a total of $46. You can file your claim online here and find more information here.

You don’t need a receipt, but you do need to still have your product key, so good luck claiming Windows 3.1. If I can round up enough legitimate product keys, I can get an Xbox 360 Play and Charge kit (although the coupons are good for any technology purchase at any store).

Frankly, although I don’t support the many lawsuits against Microsoft over the years, I cannot believe Judge Karla Moskowitz was stupid enough to allow the settlement. Expecting customers will be able to find 13-year old product keys is just silly. You wouldn’t expect people suing Coca-Cola to still have the cans froms 1994, would you?

Worse than that, it is obviously more likely Microsoft will receive claims relating to 2004 purchases than any other year, since more recent purchases are more likely to have held onto the product key. Considering these lawsuits are based upon actions taken in the 90s, but practically no one will get paid based on the 90s, I’m declaring this Just Another Pointless Settlement.
(via the New York Daily News)

March 17th, 2006 Posted by | Applications, General, Law, Office, Windows | no comments

DRM Hurts Battery Life?

Engadget posts that CNet’s MP3 Insider studied several MP3 players and discovered that you lose several hours of battery life when playing DRM music. The iPod loses eight percent of its battery when playing FairPlay AAC tracks, while PlaysForSure devices lose from 2-5 hours. The Creative Zen Vision: M dropped from 16 hours to 12 hours.

The theory (and probably the accurate reason) is that DRM music uses the processor of the player more, draining the battery faster. Of course, it is also possible that WMA/AAC files drain the battery more than MP3 files.

Either way, while this is something that companies should be working on, I think we can all agree that it is more important for them to concentrate on longer battery lives in general. After all, if your player gets 40 hours, but only 35 with DRM, that’s not terrible.

Still, its just another downside of DRM.

March 17th, 2006 Posted by | Apple, General, Windows Media | one comment

Xbox 360 Live Users To Get Free Epic Records Downloads

Microsoft has announced a 12-month deal with Epic Records to bring free downloadable content to Xbox Live, including high definition music videos, monthly sweepstakes and exclusive artist content.

Every month, they will focus on an Artist Of the Month, the first of which is Natasha Bedingfield, who currently has the top pop song on iTunes. Besides promoting her music video, one person will win a chance to play a “Game With Fame” session against her in April.

“Our goal has always been to make Xbox Live a cutting-edge entertainment experience,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “This agreement with Epic Records offers our members exclusive artistic content directly from the source. With Artist of the Month we will be providing exactly what music-loving gamers want: brand-new, exclusive music videos that can be downloaded quickly, easily and free of charge.”

“The fusion of music and video games now plays a significant role in breaking artists and enhancing the video game experience; the cross-cultivation of the two mediums helps new games and new artists thrive together,” said Charlie Walk, president of Epic Records. “Through this alliance, Epic and Xbox show that we are in one business — exciting young adults and leading them to the art of discovery.”

Each month Microsoft and Epic will announce the new Artist of the Month along with exclusive benefits for Xbox 360 gamers around the world. Xbox Live members will be able to download featured music videos from Xbox Live Marketplace at no additional charge and watch exclusive interviews downloaded directly to their Xbox 360 system. Further, monthly Game with Fame sessions will let Xbox Live members play games with some of the world’s most renowned celebrities, as well as enter sweepstakes offering tons of cool prizes, from Xbox 360 consoles to signed CDs.

Press release
Associated Press

March 17th, 2006 Posted by | General, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox Live | no comments

Tony Blair On MSN Messenger


Got a burning question for the Prime Minister (of the UK)? Now’s your chance to ask him face-to-face.

Prime Minister Tony Blair and MSN Messenger have teamed up to take Prime Minister’s Question Time online in a unique competition that will give ten members of the public the chance to put questions live to the PM.

The competition is launched today here. Simply pose your question for the Prime Minister for your chance to win.

On Tuesday 4th April, winners will hold live video conversations over MSN Messenger with the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, the first time he has taken questions via live video over the internet.

Hat tip: Kris from MSN Search

March 17th, 2006 Posted by | General, Messenger, MSN, Search | no comments

links for 2006-03-17

March 17th, 2006 Posted by | Applications, Bookmarks, General, Office, Security, Windows | no comments