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Final Vista To Contain Some Surprises

Robert McLaws says that after today’s RC2 (5744) Build of Vista, Microsoft will be changing the product keys and swapping in some User Experience changes designed to surprise when Vista hits stores. That sounds very interesting, and I can’t wait to see what they’ve been holding back. Could it be the fabled “vector Glass”? Mac-like minimize and maximize? Virtual desktops, 3D windows manipulation, active desktop backgrounds, the promised Windows Live Gadgets integration; there are a million ideas, some of them just stupid. The only real question is how long we’ll have to wait to find out.
(via Digg)

October 6th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Vista, Windows, General | one comment

Office 2007 Beta Closes As RTM Begins

Office 2007 has entered the RTM process, and should actually be released to manufacturing in the next few weeks, according to an email from Microsoft. The email announces the end of the very successful beta, and that the retail version is on its way. The betas expire March 15 (May 31 for server products), which will be enough time to pick up the retail version (expected in late January). You will not be able to upgrade from the beta to the final release, but will have to uninstall the beta and install the retail.

Congratulations, Office guys! The hard workers on the various Office programs did a great job putting everything together, and although the new interface is going to have to battle to win consumers, no one can deny the quality of this product. I wish them the best of luck on store shelves.

October 6th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Office, Applications, General | no comments

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Zune, A Hebrew Curse Word? Nope

There’s some discussion as to whether Zune, the name taken by Microsoft’s media player, is a curse word in Hebrew (the language of Jews and Israel). There’s even a cartoon about the subject. However, Microsoft doesn’t need to worry, as the translation is mostly off the mark. Zune, spelled exactly as it is pronounced (and you can bet Microsoft will be careful about this), is in Hebrew זון, in which the first letter is a Z sound, the middle is an “ooh” vowel, and the last letter in an N.

This is similar to two different “dirty” words. זיון, or Z-Ay-U-N, is Hebrew for “penis”. The word for “whore” is זו� ה, or Z-O-N-Ah. In addition, לזיין, or L-Z-Ay-I-N, can mean “fuck”. While these words are very similar to זון/Zune, I don’t think any native Hebrew speaker is going to mistake the two, and say, “I’m not paying for a Microsoft Prostitute”. It is possible, if you accent enough on the U in Zune, to wind up with the first one, זיון, but there are worse things. After all, it’ll get people talking about the Zune’s large, um, screen.
(via Digg)

Just to throw this in somewhere, Gear Live has a video with a hands-on demonstration by a beta tester of the Zune, with sexy user interface shots.
(via Digg)

October 6th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Zune, Windows Media, Humor, General | 13 comments

Windows Vista Viral Marketing

Long Zheng writes about Microsoft’s official viral marketing campaign for Windows Vista, called Clearification. It features Demetri Martin from the Daily Show, and makes absolutely no sense, like all of these campaigns. Can Microsoft just stop doing these things? It’s like every new product has to get (a) a strangely named website, similar to the product name, (b) weird Flash animation, (c) new content leading up to an announcement/release date. Time to realize these things are getting tired and predictable, maybe?

Here’s a taste of what you can expect:

October 6th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Vista, Windows, General | no comments

Simple WPF Demo

Lee Brimelow has created a simple demo that shows off the Windows Presentation Foundation’s 3D capabilities, containing three images stacked that rotate in virtual space. You can also see some older demos at Tim Sneath’s blog. What is amazing is that the files that run these right in the browser (IE only on Vista RC1) are tiny, under 150k, yet are rich, have motion and even 3D. God, I hope developers take advantage of this.
(via Nigel Parker)

October 6th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Vista, Internet Explorer, Windows, Applications, General | no comments

Vista Upgrade Coupons On The Way

CRN reports that Microsoft and PC makers will be handing out coupons for Vista upgrades with new PCs starting October 15. The promotion is called the Windows Vista Technology Upgrade Program, and will run from October 26 through March 15, 2007. If you buy a PC with Windows XP Professional (regular or x64) or XP Tablet, you will get a coupon for a free upgrade to Windows Vista (presumably the Business edition).

Sadly, if you buy a PC with XP Home, you get a discount coupon (no word on XP MCE buyers). That means an upgrade to Vista will be cheaper, just $49 for Home Basic and $79 for Home Premium. That’s not terrible, but if you buy a Microsoft OS, you should get a Microsoft OS. No one is going to be encouraged to buy an XP PC just because they can then buy Vista, just not at the full price. Microsoft should make the Vista Home Basic free, and trust Anytime Upgrade to make them money.

Only PCs that can run Vista will get the coupons. None of this is confirmed, and I’m hoping that the terms will change before it gets announced.
(via Mary Jo Foley)

October 6th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | XP, Vista, Windows, General | no comments