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Live Gallery Sells With Microsoft Points

Windows Live Gallery, where you get Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets, Live Messenger Emoticons, Winks and Display Pictures, Gadgets, and SideShow Gadgets, is now letting creators sell their downloads using Microsoft Points. The new ability to charge money will encourage developers to make more Gadgets and other content, and the use of Microsoft Points means Xbox Live and Zune owners have another place to spend their credits.

The site has also been updated to the new Windows Live Wave 2 interface design. LiveSide has screenshots.

October 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Windows | no comments

Doritos Xbox Games Online Now

The Doritos contest to have fans design a free Xbox Live Arcade game has reached its final stage, and the five finalist games are available online to play right now. You have to install the “3D Life Player” browser plugin to run them, but if you do, you’ll be able to vote on your favorite, with the winner being turned into a full-fledged Live Arcade title this summer (and the online versions will remain available. The five games are:

  • “Doritos Dash of Destruction” by Mike Borland of Sewickley, PA
    In “Doritos Dash of Destruction,” players can choose to control one of two characters. Either a hungry T-Rex chasing a delivery truck loaded with crunchy Doritos tortilla chips or the delivery truck driver, racing to escape the clutches of the T-Rex. As the chase begins havoc ensues as the lumbering dino barrels through the completely destructible city resulting in an intense game of cat-and-mouse.
  • “Doritos Presents UDC: Ultimate Dodgeball Champions” by Devan Moore of Panama City, FL
    In this futuristic dodgeball game, inspired by Devan’s favorite childhood game and the intensity of Doritos, players start by creating a customized team from a handful of colorful characters. Then, using special “power up” features to create fire balls, teams go at it in futuristic stadiums and compete for ultimate dodgeball dominance.
  • 3. “Monkeys from Mt. Doritos” by Juanito Lagasco, of Algonquin, IL
    In this quick-play, high-fun, retro-style game, one or more people play as monkeys that collect Doritos chips exploding out of Mt. Doritos. The more Doritos players collect, the more points they earn and the closer they get to winning. But, watch out as fellow monkeys and lurking monsters want to steal your prized Doritos chips.
  • “PB’s Quest for Flavor” by Jeremy Mattsen of Colorado Springs, CO
    In “PB’s Quest for Flavor,” PB - the game’s pill bug hero - goes on his quest for the perfect chip flavor. Throughout the game, favorite Doritos flavors are introduced as weapons giving PB unique abilities. With the strength and power of Doritos, players guide PB through a household of obstacles and enemies to successfully complete his quest.
  • “Rythum Racing” by Kenneth Parker of Warner Robins, GA
    In this original racing game, players turn up the volume in game play as they import song files and use music to “drive” the game. Players race around the equalizer race track, where sounds, beats and rhythms will alter the track. Deep bass sounds for example might cause the race track to ripple, throwing the race cars up in the air while other elements of the music generate power-ups.

Voting runs through November 18, so get in there now and pick which game you’d like to be playing in the future.

October 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Xbox Live, Xbox 360, Xbox | no comments

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Take A Walk Around The Windows Home Server House


Microsoft put up a Flash site running you through a house that’s been all tricked out, thanks to Windows Home Server. The house has an HP MediaSmart Home Server, home automation control on the living room lamp, backup for all its photos, streaming to an Xbox 360 and a wifi synced Zune keeping the boombox fresh with new music. There are videos and simple explanations of all the Home Server advantages, so check it out.
(via the Home Server blog)

October 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Home Server, Server, Windows | one comment

Another Vista Tweaking App: VistaTweaker

There’s another application you can download to mess with system settings on Windows Vista, and this one’s a free download. VistaTweaker is light on the graphical flash, but it has seven tabs of checkboxes to keep you satisfied. You can use it to:

  • Disable User Account Control
  • Disable the Secure Desktop or Security Center notifications
  • Enable unsigned drivers
  • Add context (right-click) menu listings, like Register/Unregister DLLs or ActiveX Controls, Copy/Move to Folder, Open with Notepad and Take Ownership
  • Disable AutoReboot
  • Disable AutoComplete in file dialogs
  • Show hidden/system files and file extensions
  • Disable file Tooltips
  • Remove the Shortcut arrow or the “Shortcut to” text from icons
  • Disable Start Menu notifications for newly installed programs
  • Hide Recent Documents
  • Speed up Start Menu search*
  • Enable ClearType
  • Enable Classic View in the Control Panel
  • Disable auto image resizing in Internet Explorer
  • Disable all browser extensions
  • Enable smooth scrolling
  • Disable header/footer printing when printing web pages
  • Open all popups in the same window
  • Disable the Information Bar
  • Disable the Internet Connection Wizard
  • Disable the RSS feed discovery sound
  • Disable header/footer printing when printing from Notepad
  • Disable updates for Windows Media Player
  • Disable Roaming Cache
  • Allow more connections per server
  • Disable low disk space checking
  • Disable the creation of 8+3 filenames
  • Tweak the timeout for killing a service or an application
  • Change the registered owner or company
  • Set the default user, password and domain

There are a lot more settings I left out, and while a lot of them are settings you already know how to change, you might appreciate having them all in one place, instead of having to locate the appropriate control panel, plus it can be run off a flash drive (even U3). You can download the latest version here.
(via Download Squad)

* - I don’t know how exactly it accomplishes this, so I’d worry that it reduces the effectiveness of Vista search in order to speed it up

October 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Vista, Windows | no comments

Live Photo Gallery Screencast

Microsoft’s PhotoBlog did this screencast, showing off the photo navigation and sorting options that Windows Live Photo Gallery brings to the table.

Video: gallery organization

October 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Windows | no comments