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Windows Live SkyDrive Replaces Folders

Windows Live SkyDrive has launched, and with it, a decent update to what was briefly called Windows Live Folders. SkyDrive offers 500 megabytes of free storage and the ability to store files in private or public folders, and automatically display public folders on a Windows Live Space. You can embed folders on websites as easily as embeding a YouTube video, and SkyDrive now displays thumbnail previews of your images.

Here’s a video by Brandon LeBlanc showing off the new UI and features:


Video: Demo: Windows Live SkyDrive

Scott at LiveSide wrote a plugin for Windows Live Writer that lets you ember your public folders in a blog post.

August 13th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Windows, General | 2 comments



Small Changes In Vista Service Pack 1

There are a few things that look different in Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (coming next week, next month, next season, next equinox, or next leap year cycle). For example, who you look at the system properties, it will say “Windows Vista Service Pack 1″, instead of just “Windows Vista”. Also, Microsoft’s website will have pages talking about it. Also, boxed copies of Windows will say “Service Pack 1″. Also…

Wait, you wanted changes in Vista due to the Service Pack? Oh, okay.

So, there are two changes found already, changes that would look unspectacular except in comparison to the first paragraph. First off, the speaker properties control panel now features gradients behind the volume sliders, so you know the sound is getting higher, not lower:

sp1-volume-slider.jpg

Also, the optional boot screen (activate with the /NOGUI switch) has been changed to this, to better match the logon screen and the hibernating screen:

sp1-nogui-boot.jpg

APC Mag also has an in-depth look, where they reveal a new feature. Vista now lets you create a recovery DVD, which lets you fix and re-install Windows if you don’t have Windows DVD. It also fixes this issue:

When you copy or move a large file, the “estimated time remaining” takes a long time to be calculated and displayed.

August 13th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Vista, Windows, General | no comments

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Microsoft Needs One More Vote On Open XML Standard

Microsoft fell one vote short in a recent internal vote to determine the position the U.S. should take on fast-tracking Microsoft Office 2007’s Open XML file formats as an ISO standard. MS got eight votes for, seven against, and one abstention, falling one short of the nine required. Voting in favor of Open XML:

  • Apple
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • EIA
  • EMC
  • HP
  • Intel
  • Microsoft
  • Sony

Voting against:

  • Farance
  • GS1 US
  • IBM
  • Lexmark
  • NIST
  • Oracle
  • The US Department of Defense

The abstention was from IEEE, which is made up of multiple companies, including the other companies who voted, saying there was too much internal dissent. There are so many companies with a conflict here, including Microsoft itself, IBM, IBM spin-off Lexmark, IEEE (containing companies with conflicts), Oracle, Apple and Sony, that it’s a wonder anything ever gets done.

NIST has conditionally approved Open XML, so when their status goes from conditional to fully approved, their vote will be on the YES side. Ars explains what’s next:

As we have previously reported, many ISO member nations are similarly rejecting the OOXML fast-track proposal. Although this is a considerable setback for Microsoft, it merely slows down the ISO standardization process for OOXML; it does not halt it completely. Now we are in for a protracted debate as standards organizations around the world engage in broad discussion and conduct analysis of the controversial document format.

IBM’s hilarious. Their NO vote comes with this comment:

IBM is voting “NO” because they are substantial technical issues/comments(min 476), IPR issues, accessibility comments and the JTC 1 Directives are clear that in order to be assured that your comments will be addressed in a satisfactory manner you should vote “NO”..IBM is willing to change the vote to a YES if the US changes its position to a “NO” with comments

In other words, they’re willing to vote YES if the overall vote is NO. Beyond ridiculous. Lexmark does say it’ll vote yes if certain letters of support are removed from the proposal.

August 13th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Office, Applications | no comments

Is Long Zheng’s Blog Down?

istartedsomethingcom-down.png

I’m having no luck connecting to istartedsomething.com, the location of Long Zheng’s blog. I am I the only one with this problem?

Right now, it just returns this string of text:

:irc.foonet.com
:irc.foonet.com
:irc.foonet.com 451 GET :You have not registered
:irc.foonet.com 451 User-Agent: :You have not registered
:irc.foonet.com 451 Host: :You have not registered
:irc.foonet.com 451 Accept: :You have not registered
:irc.foonet.com 451 Accept-Language: :You have not registered
:irc.foonet.com 451 Accept-Charset: :You have not registered
:irc.foonet.com 451 Accept-Encoding: :You have not registered
:irc.foonet.com 451 Referer: :You have not registered
:irc.foonet.com 451 Cookie: :You have not registered
:irc.foonet.com 451 Cookie2: :You have not registered
:irc.foonet.com 451 Cache-Control: :You have not registered
:irc.foonet.com 451 Connection: :You have not registered
:irc.foonet.com 451 TE: :You have not registered
ERROR :Closing Link: [69.86.205.125] (Ping timeout)

Weird.

UPDATE: It’s back. Down for a few hours, though.

August 13th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogs | 3 comments

Windows Live Launches New Home Page

Microsoft has launchedlive-home.png

(click to enlarge)

a new beta home page for Windows Live, available now at home.live.com. Presumably designed to eventually become the default page you get when visiting at live.com, the page tries to both be clean and simple while showing off what Windows Live has to offer, and it succeeds. You can see your inbox (though it doesn’t work for me yet), start an IM conversation, find a contact, access Live Spaces, and find out about other services like OneCare, SkyDrive (more on that in a minute), Gallery, Favorites, Live Maps and head over to MSN.

I love that it works identically in Opera, no missing features or design bugs. The Hotmail inbox doesn’t work there, either, but I’m starting to think that feature never works.

Not sure yet if this is going to completely replace the customizable Live.com homepage, or if it’ll just be the default Live.com experience and the personalized page will be an opt-in for advanced users. The lack of any link at all to the personalized homepage might be an unfortunate hint as to its future.

live-home-corner.png

The page has a few nice little touches, like the date in the upper right hand corner and the weather in the upper left, and, of course, the useful Live Orb menu. What’s really cool, as LiveSide discovered, is that the page gets brighter during the day and darker at night. Sweet.

August 13th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Windows | no comments