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20% Don’t Plan On Getting Vista At All

A Forrester survey last July revealed that only a third of respondents plan to upgrade to Windows Vista in 2006, down from 43% in a survey in 2004, and a full 20% don’t plan to upgrade at all. Of course, they only surveyed 56 people, so it isn’t the world’s greatest survey. I plan on upgrading to Vista, and on buying a new laptop as well when it hits. What about you guys?
(via Vista Buzz)

December 28th, 2005 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Windows, Vista | 11 comments

What Microsoft Can Do To Compete With Google

MakeYouGoHmm has a list of eight things Microsoft can do to compete with Google and AdSense in the coming year. Its an excellent post, with good ideas like MSN Spaces integration and opening AdCenter to all (no invite-only bull). And the best one? “Get the freaking checkbook” out! Yahoo is making you look like fools. There are plenty of great websites out there that can be had for very little and bring oodles of users. So buy ‘em!


December 28th, 2005 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Google, Corporate | 2 comments

What Will Microsoft Deliver In 2006

Bink has a very long list of the products Microsoft expects to ship next year. The question is, how many will hit their target dates? Anyone want to guess a percentage (or if Vista will go off without a major delay problem)?

December 28th, 2005 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Windows, Corporate, Vista | no comments

Tone Down UAC, Or Consolidate?

Windows Vista has a feature called User Account Control that is designed to give the user better protection from all the nasty stuff out there.

Ed Bott explains:

The theory behind UAC is sound: When you’re about to do something that requires an administrator’s privileges, you need an administrator’s consent. For a regular user, that means typing in a set of credentials (username/password) that belong to a member of the Administrators group; if you’re already an administrator, you just have to click a Permit button. This option allows you to see when a program or process is trying to do something that can have an impact on your system’s stability, and it’s an effective way to block untrained or naive users from accidentally screwing up their system.

The issue is that UAC notices appear far too often, and appear often in conjunction with warnings from all of your other security software. If you are a user without the priveleges (and password) for UAC approval, you’re better off than someone who has it, even though you’ll be annoyed fifteen times a day.

The reason is that, when a power user is using their own Windows box, they will see all these warnings, and do as I do, and try to close those boxes as quickly as possible, rarely reading or paying attention to them. They get so annoying, and often, that you don’t have time to read them, you just need to get back to work.

Windows Vista Info discusses:

I’m in 100% agreement with Ed over the feeling of being swamped by dialog boxes already and I can’t help but feel that things are going to get so much worse when you add programs like ZoneAlarm and Norton AntiVirus into the mix. There’s psychology at work against the system already - the scheme becomes annoying so that I can see users quickly go into a trance over it and just enter their password whenever it asks for one. Result, no protection.

I really hope that Microsoft improves this feature. I’m quickly coming to the conclusion that the dialog box idea doesn’t work and I’d rather see a message area developed for Windows that handled all messages to the user. That might be a lot better than the random mix of dialog boxes, message windows, balloons and such that Windows has become.

I think that the best option is indeed for Microsoft to consolidate system security messages into a single console, one that maybe becomes part of the Windows Sidebar. Messages, from all security programs, would be clustered together based on what action triggered them.

Messages would remain in the security message console until they are approved (or disapproved), and they prevent the program in question from acting, while allowing the rest of the system to operate just fine (and they certainly do not cover the desktop with windows that are steal focus and can’t be minimized).

Users could base their conclusions of the safety of programs on the sheer number of messages and variety of programs, if they have no experience in guaging such things. And if they approve an action, they can approve a whole cluster with one click. Such a process engages the user, instead of annoying the user, and is more likely to work.

Microsoft should push forward to consolidate these messages. Other vendors, like Norton, should make the Windows Vista versions of their programs use a system API. And if they don’t, Microsoft should do it themselves. Security is too serious an issue in Windows to have an abundance of security programs ruin the effectiveness of your setup.

December 28th, 2005 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Security, Windows, Vista | 2 comments

Guess Vista Launch Date Win An Xbox 360 Or Free Trip

Microsoft is holding a “Guess the Launch Date” contest. Guess the day Windows Vista will launch, and you can win a trip to the launch event, while 2nd-10th prize is an Xbox 360 (2-4 gets the Premium system). You must be a member of The Beta Experience program to enter, and:

All legal residents of Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, UK who are 18 years of age or older will have the chance to win.

(via Jason Clarke)

December 28th, 2005 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360, Vista | 4 comments

Want An Xbox 360? Buy A Car

Well, you can’t even buy this car. Microsoft and Nissan are unveiling a concept car, the URGE, that has an Xbox 360 integrated, and allows you to play Project Gotham Racing 3 using the car’s steering wheel, gas pedal and brake pedal, all on a flip-down 7-inch LCD screen. And yes, it only works like that when you’re parked, you moron.

From the press release:

The URGE concept car is equipped with the award-winning “PGR 3,” which allows drivers to control a breathtaking trip through the streets of five photo-realistic locations: New York City, London, Las Vegas, Tokyo and the Nurburgring test track in Germany. “PGR 3″ drivers view and play the game on a flip-down LCD screen, which doubles as a rear-view mirror when the car is being used for real driving. They control the action using the Nissan URGE’s race-inspired steering wheel, gas pedal and brake pedal. A Nissan URGE driver can, for example, maneuver through the streets of New York, park the car and fire up the Xbox 360, then virtually race through the same streets using the same steering wheel, gas pedal and brake pedal — blurring fantasy and reality in a way that the automotive world has never before seen.

A very cool idea, but as a concept car you won’t be able to buy it to get around shortages, and you won’t be able to “test drive” the Xbox 360 at your local dealership. You can only see it at the 2006 North American International Auto Show on January 9.

December 28th, 2005 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Xbox, Xbox 360 | no comments

Xbox Live Diamond Card

Ubergizmo reports that Microsoft has come out with the Xbox Live Diamond Card, which entitles cardholders to freebies and deals at selected stores. It is available only to those who have pre-paid for a year of Xbox Live. The card comes with your Gamertag printed on it. Participating retailers include Quiznos, Hollywood Video, Sam Goody and Cambridge Soundworks.
(via Findory)

December 28th, 2005 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox Live | one comment