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Longhorn Server Gets A Name: Windows Server 2008

The only surprise that could come from Windows Server codename: Longhorn would be if Microsoft named it anything other than Windows Server 2007. Well, Microsoft surprised me, they decide to name it Windows Server 2008. Ooooh! What a curveball! I shoulda seen it coming, as release looked like it would be later this year, possibly just after the beginning of next year. Thanks to Mary Jo Foley for making the discovery and Robert McLaws for getting a lot of confirmation.

May 11th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Server, Windows | 2 comments

Microsoft Screen Sharing Software Available As Free Download

Microsoft has made available SharedView, its screen sharing software formerly known as Tahiti, available on its website as a free download. The 3-megabyte program lets you host a live meeting for a maximum of 15 users, sharing your whole screen or a single program with all of them.

The person sharing can give up control to any participant, with each person having their own personalized mouse pointer. Files can be shared during the session, and all participants can download them directly while there. It integrates tightly with Microsoft Word, and could be used to counter the excellent collaboration features at the center of Google Docs. There may be audio and chat support coming in a future release.

Download the program here, read the help docs, or visit the official site.

May 11th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Word, Applications | 7 comments

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Microsoft/Apple/Adobe/Real Face Legal Action For Not Having Enough DRM

One company, Media Rights Technologies, is trying to drum up some publicity for itself by filing a Cease & Desist order against Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, and Real, ordering the companies to stop producing little things like Windows Vista, the iPod, iTunes, Adobe Flash and RealPlayer. MRT claims that the DMCA’s clause against products designed to infringe on DRM should also apply to products that do not have sufficient DRM, and that since those companies aren’t use MRT’s copy protection software, they should not be allowed to sell their products at all.

It’s such a ridiculous claim, that I haven’t seen anyone actually coming out in support of them. The DMCA doesn’t want software to circumvent DRM, and these products honor that by only dealing with stuff that is not copy protected, or stuff that is licensed with their DRM. MRT is arguing that stuff that doesn’t have DRM should be protected anyway! Crazy people. They just want to get their name in the media, and they’ve certainly succeeded at that.
(via Digg)

May 11th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Apple, Vista, Windows, Media Player, Law, Applications | no comments

Xbox Live Messenger Has A Child Account Problem

The Xbox 360 Spring update came with a great new feature in the form of instant messaging. Problem is, a number of factors have combined to piss off a lot of paying Xbox Live users:

  • If you were under 18 when you created your Xbox Live account (and in some cases, a bug for even if you were over 18, since one guy is 49), your account is created as a “Child Account”.
  • The Windows Live Messenger feature cannot be used by Child Account.
  • If you created the Child Account at 17, and are now 18 or 19, there is absolutely no means for changing your account to an Adult Account.

So, if you were honest and gave your real age, and that age was under 18 at the time, you can’t use the most prominent feature of the update, and you have no means of showing that you are now over 18. Worse, why did Microsoft block this in the first place? Many Live Messenger users on the PC are under 18, since the Terms of Service only require you to be 13, so why block it on the Xbox?

Microsoft seemed to have forgotten that a significant percentage of gamers are these kids, especially on Xbox Live (have you ever heard them talking? Oy), and left out a huge portion of its userbase. Telling teenagers they can’t instant message is like telling an old person they can’t complain about society; it just doesn’t work. Microsoft’s Trixie has said they are working on a fix for the Fall update, but that’s pissing off a lot of kids (who, in case you haven’t heard, aren’t very patient).

What options do you have now? Basically none. You’d have to create a new Xbox Live account, which would cost you all your Gamerscore, and you’d have to pay the subscription for Xbox Live Gold all over again (if you have one). Microsoft didn’t test the Child Account feature properly, and didn’t consider IM usage by teens to be important, and definitely screwed the pooch on this one.
(via Digg)

May 11th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Xbox Live, Xbox 360, Messenger, Xbox, Windows | 16 comments

Xbox 360 Keyboard Renamed ChatPad

When Microsoft announced the Windows Live Messenger support for the Xbox 360 last month, it also announced a special peripheral for the Xbox 360, a Text Input Device, or TID, that would attach to the bottom of a 360 controller and allow for text entry through its tiny keyboard. Now, despite how good of an announcement it was, all I could thing of was how awful Text Input Device was as far as names go. I said:

As a companion to the new feature, Microsoft will sell the (poorly named) Text Input Device, a little keyboard that attaches to the bottom of the Xbox 360 controller, connecting through the headset port.

Thankfully, they’ve come up with a much better name for it: ChatPad. Whew. Microsoft has been fixing some bad product names lately (most notably with Silverlight), and its a great trend.

May 11th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Xbox Live, Xbox 360, Messenger, Windows, Xbox, General | no comments

Mich Mathews On The Gears “Mad World” Ad Viral Success

Long Zheng shared this video of Mich Mathews talking at Microsoft’s Strategic Account Summit about the Gears of War “Mad World” ad that hit an amazing level of viral success. As she mentions, there were over 700 mashups with over a million views, all created by fans of the ad or the game, all of which helped the game sell an unprecedented number of copies.

May 11th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Marketing, Gears of War, Xbox 360, Xbox | no comments

Microsoft’s Web Development Nightmare

Usability nightmareUsability nightmare Hosted on Zooomr

A frame nested in a frame nested in a frame nested in a web page. SEVEN SCROLLBARS! Someone redesign this, for god’s sake.

Courtesy of innerlogic, via Digg.

May 11th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Developers | 4 comments

Who Wants A Windows Live Hotmail Shirt?

Darren Straight got a Windows Live Hotmail poli shirt for being a UK Windows Live Hotmail beta tester. U.S. testers got email signatures. Not to show any sour grapes, but I’m pretty sure my wife wouldn’t mind a shirt for testing it, either. Are all British testers getting the shirt (and not American testers), or did Darren just get it as a personal thank you?
(via Digg)

Here’s another bunch of t-shirts, ones you can buy, and they all feature famous error messages. You can pick up several versions of the Blue Screen of Death, 404 error pages, or even “Bad command or file name“. It’s not a new store, but it is worth checking out.

May 11th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Hotmail, Windows | one comment

Limited Edition Simpsons Xbox 360 Coming

Coinciding with the announcement of the new Simpsons video game (which looks well produced, and as usual, completely devoid of playability), Microsoft has announced 100 limited edition Xbox 360s complete with Simpsons yellow coloring (and Homer’s head and a doughnut, apparently) that will be given out through special promotions in the coming weeks. Keep your eyes on for details on how you can win one.

May 11th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Xbox 360, Xbox | no comments

Crackdown Getting Lots Of New Stuff

Microsoft has announced three downloadable packs for Crackdown.

The first is Title Update, a free automatic update addressing issues with the game, including:

  • The option to reset gangs after you’ve killed them all, so you can do it all over again.
  • Hidden and agility orbs get louder as they get smaller in number
  • Power slam to hit the ground fast while in the air, causing damage when landing
  • Improved firing over walls
  • Improved targeting, including less targeting of corpses
  • Improved fire hydrants
  • Improved visibility of stunt rings
  • No lefty controls for driving (they were more annoying than useful, lefties wanted lefty controls to be walking only)
  • Mines last whereever you go, so you can set them off from far away
  • Explosions can be seen from as far away as you are
  • Improved ramp truck usage
  • Improved camera for stunts
  • Improved shooting of your friends

The next is the Free-For-All Pack, a free downloadable pack of new features, including:

  • Keys To The City, an open mode that you can program and customize in any way, including spawning vehicles in places, customizable character skills, super agent agility above the normal levels, super agent strength above the normal levels, infinite ammo, and all customizations can be changed while playing. The ultimate sandbox mode.
  • You can now impound vehicles, just like you do with weapons, and pick them up at any time from the Agency garage.
  • During co-op a trophy sequence is played when winning.
  • 140 new Gamerscore to earn

And finally, there’s the Getting Busy Bonus Pack, a not free pack of downloadable content, costing 800 Microsoft Points, including:

  • New vehicles (Agency Patrol Buggy, Agency Pursuit Vehicle, Agency Armored Vehicle
  • Street racing mode
  • New weapons (MSK Lobber, EX1 “Proximity Charge”, HRX “Harpoon”, MZ360 “Mini-Gun”, VS1 “Cloaking Device”)
  • Nine new rooftop races
  • New Stockpile collecting game
  • New Checkpoint Chase game
  • New Rocket Tag game
  • 210 more Gamerscore to earn

The co-op modes in the for-pay pack can be played if only one player bought it, which is really cool (and both can earn Gamerscore).

Videos of the new content, courtesy of Major Nelson:

New Equipment:

Street Racing Modes:

New Game Types:

Keys To The City Mode:

More coverage here.

May 11th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Xbox 360, Xbox | one comment