InsideMicrosoft

part of the Blog News Channel

Registry Fix Issued For Windows Mobile Daylight Saving Problem

Edge Blog has gone ahead and built the CAB file that will fix Daylight Saving Time on Windows Mobile devices by adding registry keys provided by Microsoft. Microsoft publicly made available the registry keys device makers need to release to their customers, but those device makers have neglected their customers (as they usually do), forcing the users to create a solution. I’m glad to see this, and will load it on my and my wife’s Windows Mobile-based phones, and smile knowing that such a fix would not be possible on an Apple product.
(via Download Squad)

Also, the next version of Windows Mobile, code-named “Crossbow”, has been leaked onto the internet, and can be installed on many Windows Mobile devices. You’ll be wise to look up wether your own device is compatible, and how it will affect your applications, but if you are willing to experiment, you can install Microsoft’s next mobile OS right now.

January 19th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Windows Mobile, General | 8 comments



Microsoft: Zune #2 Over Holidays

Microsoft is touting sales figures that show the Zune was the second-best selling hard-drive based MP3 player during the holiday season, behind a certain “entrenched competitor” (their words). It’s an interesting statistic, completely ignoring Flash-based MP3 players, but that the Zune has picked up 10.2% of the market (and no one else has) points to at least a good start for Microsoft’s media device, one it has to build on to be successful long-term.


In another Zune-related story, turns out as many as 40% of all songs can’t be transferred to other Zunes due to DRM restrictions. Naturally, this makes zero sense, since the songs expire after just three days, and is a concession Microsoft should never have made to the recording industry.

January 19th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Zune, Windows Media, General | no comments

Hosting sponsored by GoDaddy

Microsoft Officially Announces Several Ways To Get Vista

Microsoft has finally issued a press release confirming all the different ways consumers will be able to get Vista, and in doing so they’ve clarified a lot of what we weren’t sure about. Let’s take a look:

  • Windows Marketplace - Microsoft’s online store, which sells software for download (both Microsoft and third-party software for Windows) will have Windows Vista available for downloads. Yes, for the first time ever, you will be able to download a Microsoft operating system, available at the standard retail price. The Marketplace uses Digital Locker technology to ensure that the process is about as convenient as owning the actual CD, including letting you resume interrupted downloads (which should take 3-4 hours on a modern broadband connection) and helping you out if you need to reinstall.

    The Marketplace will have:

    • Windows Vista Business
    • Windows Vista Home Basic
    • Windows Vista Home Premium
    • Windows Vista Ultimate
    • Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007
    • Microsoft Office Professional 2007
    • Microsoft Office Standard 2007

  • Windows Anytime Upgrade - Anytime Upgrade will let owners of any version of Vista upgrade to a better one after installing the operating system, letting you get the features you wish you had paid for in the beginning. The upgrade paths are:

    • Windows Vista Home Basic » Windows Vista Home Premium = $79 ($20 above upgrade pricing of $159, $40 above full version pricing of $239)
    • Windows Vista Home Basic » Windows Vista Ultimate = $199 ($40 above upgrade pricing of $259, equal to full version pricing of $400)
    • Windows Vista Home Premium » Windows Vista Ultimate = $159 ($60 above upgrade pricing of $259, equal to full version pricing of $400)
    • Windows Vista Business » Windows Vista Ultimate = $139 ($80 above upgrade pricing of $259, $40 above full version pricing of $400)

    As you can see, customers who bought Upgrade versions of Vista wind up getting a raw deal, with the better version of Vista you paid for translating into a more expensive upgrade path. The worst deal is buying an upgrade for Windows Vista Business for $200, then paying $139 to get Ultimate, for a total of $339, while upgrading to Ultimate originally would have cost you just $259! Still, these deal seems more for new computers, and letting those who buy a new PC with Windows now upgrade to a better version later is smart. If you are upgrading a PC now, buy the version you are going to want later, since if you have to use Anytime Upgrade, it’s gonna cost ya.

  • Windows Vista Family Discount - Anyone who buys Windows Vista Ultimate in stores between now and June 30, 2007, will be able to unlock two additional copies of Windows Vista Home Premium for $50 apiece.

    This means that if you buy an upgrade to Ultimate for $259 (and buying the full version wouldn’t make much sense, since you are buying it at retail, and we assume you aren’t building your own computer), you can get Home Premium for two more PCs for $100, for a total of $360. That means you can upgrade three computers, all to versions with Windows Media Center (and one with the uber-cool Ultimate) for just $120 apiece!

    To explain how much you are saving:

    • Upgrading three PCs at retail to Windows Vista Home Premium would cost $160 apiece, for a total of $480. You save $120, or $40 per PC on the discount, and you get a free copy of Ultimate.
    • If you buy extra licenses for Windows Vista Home Premium, they’re $143 apiece, for a total of $445 (the first copy is still full price). You save $100 this time on the discount, or $33 per PC, and you get a free copy of Ultimate.
    • I you buy Windows Vista Ultimate at retail, and buy two extra licenses for Home Premium (the cheapest non-discount way to get the same products as in the deal), you pay $560 ($259 + $150 + $150). You’d save $200 with the discount, or $66 per PC.

    I hate that this is a limited time deal, but I’m thinking the real reason it is limited is so Microsoft can see how the marketplace responds, and adjust pricing as necessary. Apparently, we have Robert McLaws to thank for at least some of this, since he pressured Jim Allchin a year ago to come up with a Family Pack, and they did.

All in all, a lot of complicated ways to buy Windows Vista. Microsoft (or anyone) should come up with a tool that asks you how many PCs you own or plan to buy, how powerful those PCs are, and advises you on which deal to get. Plus, there’s the fact that you can buy Vista significantly cheaper from some online stores that messes up all the calculations, since now there’s an extra price factor to consider.

Still, if you felt Windows was too expensive, you’ve got a lot of options now, if you do your homework. Search for the right promotions, and you could conceivably use the entire Family Discount for just $100 a PC, and that’s never been offered before.

January 19th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Vista, Windows, General | 6 comments

Windows Live Relying On Outdated Netscape File

Okay, this one’s a bit technical, so bear with me: A DTD, or Document Type Definition, is a file used to express or define a type of XML file. RSS 0.91, an outdated but still widely supported and sometimes used type of RSS feed, uses a DTD that is supposed to be located at my.netscape.com/publish/formats/rss-0.91.dtd. As a result, many RSS readers rely on an external file hosted by an independant company, rather than hosting the file (which has not been changed in the better part of a decade) on their own servers.

Okay, got it? Software and web services are relying on a file hosted on netscape.com, rather than just doing the job themselves. Netscape.com is the homepage of what was a small company designing an innovative internet browser, then a portal, then a major site part of a divising of AOL, then a portal as part of AOL, a division of Time Warner, and now a social news website, that may or may not be related to AOL, which may or may not be dying a slow death as part of Time Warner.

Naturally, this is a god-awful stupid, short-sighted idea. Relying on a file hosted by anyone else as part of a spec is a stupid decision, one almost designed to fail, simply due to the passage of time. A lot of RSS readers, including Microsoft’s own Windows Live RSS gadget, saw their ability to read RSS 0.91 files fail completely, because they followed the spec and relied on the Netscape file, which Netscape removed as part of a redesign 12 days ago.

Netscape brought back the file, temporarily, but is planning on deleting it again on July 1, 2007, permanently breaking any feed reader’s ability to read RSS 0.91, providing the creator/maintainer of the feed reader is a lazy moron. Presumably, Windows Live has been paying attention (and if they haven’t, seriously?) and they won’t be affected by the changeover, but it illustrates some of the problems with backwards compatibility, particularly when it relies on external factors.

Perhaps this can be used to convince website to stop supporting the older, completely replaced 0.91 version of RSS. Perhaps this will remind developers to always keep it local, that relying on external files is asking for a problem. I don’t blame Netscape, which is so far divorced from the team that originally hosted the file that they bear no responsibility, and just wanted to save the 32 gigabytes per day the file used. No one, not Microsoft or Google or the U.S. government, should be hosting files that other websites rely on, not on this scale.

Oh, and don’t get me on why people shouldn’t even be using RSS 0.91…
(via Randy)

January 19th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Windows, Blogs, General | 2 comments